I felt a culture-bump when I first arrived, but the family's warmth, sincerity and generosity allowed me to quickly adjust. While there, I learned to be more thankful for everything that I have, and was very grateful for all of the resources and knowledge that they gave me to understand this seemingly basic concept. Since I spent five nights there, we had lots of time to engage in deep conversations concerning religion, psychology, and many othersubjects that are difficult for me to condense. I let myself be very open-minded, and embraced the information they provided and the philosophies that they spoke of. In the end, I enjoyed myself greatly, nurtured my sense of self-awareness and familiarized myself with the concept of humility. I strongly recommend any eager visitors/volunteers to carefully read their website (the "Volunteers" page) before going, and to email Lorraine and/or Joanna with any questions. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable, deeply spiritual experience--my week there taught me things that I will take with me for the rest of my life.
I told my family all about the farm as soon as I came home. They were very intrigued by my stories and loved all of the pictures. I did feel a bit thrown-off and impatient when I first arrived home: of course my routine was completely different. I craved fresh air and the time to gather my thoughts without feeling distracted by my ever-growing to-do list. I also felt a little overwhelmed as I drove home and saw city skylines all around me and the chaotic drivers. It was a bit hard going to work the next day, mostly because I had to snap out of my pensive/relaxed state of mind and instead think very quickly and multi-task. I spent time in my garden that morning, helping my grandmother and sharing with her what I had learned. Whenever I felt that "culture bump"/aftershock that first week back home, I paused and remembered what was important. I think one of things that stayed with me most was the idea of "breadth and depth". For some reason, it's the phrase that I keep coming back to, and what helps me focus on my center and block out what's not important.
I feel as though I learned a lot about myself while I was at the farm, both in terms of how I come across at times, what I valued both before and after the experience, and how much I benefit from routine tasks that also allow time for self-reflection. I realized that I felt very healthy from being outside all day in the sun, breathing fresh, garden air and eating delicious, fresh food that was a result of (some of) my efforts. My level of self-awareness was heightened, and I feel less compelled to "prove things" to both myself and to others. I have learned to keep certain thoughts and feelings within and not necessarily share everything. I've learned to value my alone-time and to feel more comfortable with feeling independent. I still channel the idea of "depth" when I'm overwhelmed by things that seem much more important than they actually are. I've definitely gained more perspective. Finally, I value humility much more now--I respect it in others and feel more conscious of it.