Foreword: This is a combination of my writing on the computer over 4 weeks it is really unorganized and weird but I want to put something on the internet for my mom and aunt. I hope you enjoy! I am sure there will be phrases that you don’t understand, that is okay. Hopefully, if you read this you will see me again and I can explain.
Preface: Taize is a Christian community where you work, pray, and hangout. It is located in Bourg France in the countryside. I am in france right now.
Another safe night, last morning was sort of crazy today doesn’t seem to be as crazy or else I’m the one whos oblivious of everything. I’m going to make tea this morning. A man a 6:40 in the morning walked into our house looking for one of our people, I do not know what could have been so important that he needs to meet at 6:40 in the morning.
Week 2: Volunteer week, Rubbish Collection, my job twice a day. I’m a trashman, I hate it I am one of the responsible who is supposed to lead so I seem like I love it to everyone else but its trash collection, its gross. I helped Trinh with tea this entire week even though it is not my job, I am going to use wifi on Sunday or Monday to check in again with everyone in the states.
Okay I have found it easier to make text documents than write in my journal so right now I will write on my computer as text documents, the problem isn’t the journal, I’ll write in the journal when I am out and about but right now, I am taking a rest, it is just a tad bit easier to type than it is to write. That is no matter! I have gone for a run today, I have gotten sort of situated with my schedule so now I have some free time, here’s the thing about rubbish collection, it is fast, one of the jobs that have the least time on the job….. but your handling trash which literally stinks.
But that’s the thing would you rather do easy work for 3-4 hours or hard work for 2 hours? YOU CHOOSE! Taize is fun! basically, you hang out all day, work a couple hours a day, and eat the rest of the day, then sleep at nights. It is really weird when your stay your first week you eat normal food, a spoon of this a couple pieces of bread, cheese, a fruit, a cup for water and a cookie. This lunch the meals are great, but when you stay for longer as a permanent everything gets better. Your beds actually feel like beds and pillows, you have your own little closet, a washing place, a desk, tons of outlets!
Anyone would think this is great but here’s where it really steps up, the food, breakfast is similar pieces of bread, sticks of chocolate, butter, marmalade or honey if you would like. Lunch well starts off with a salad (it is just lettuce but that is not a problem), then you have bread and cheese, the main course which is nicer than you would get as a week-long stay, an entire side of vegetables, cookies galore. Then dinner comes along, and we have soup, cheese, and bread, real ceramic plates, vegetables, fancy desserts, its close to fine dining at this point. Every meal is such a treat, the only caveat is that at the beginning of the meal the food is handed out while we listen to classical music silently. At first, it was sort of trippy, what is going on here, why are we doing this but then as I’ve gotten used to it it becomes very relaxing, a way to wind down before eating the dinner, it’s very nice. The only weird thing is that is only for males, I am not sure what the long stay female volunteers eat but I hope they are treated just as nicely. That’s the only problem with Taize, we are focused on Christ, love, peace, and community, but it is a little bit striking when we do not even break bread with the opposite sex. When I first arrived I lost my bible and the only bible they sell here is the New Jerusalem Bible, which seems to just have a couple more books and verses than the NSRV (New revised standard version) which is fine, not quite sure where they came from but hey, if its in a bible that has been published there must be some significance to it. I didn’t have an idea of where to start so I open up to ecleasticius, which as I remembered only had a couple of verses, this one had 53 verses, that was not the problem the problem was that some of the verse would be so insightful about knowledge and living life, then it would turn around and say hey Women are the reason there is sin. Hold on just one second, we are going from encouraging knowledge to blaming sin on women? SLOW DOWN DUDE, THINK FOR TWO SECONDS. Even the brother’s sisters at Taize cannot sit within the special middle aisle of the church. Someday in the future, I hope there is a change, maybe I can ask to learn why we do what we do? maybe create changes in the community. I have been blabbering on but I’ll say I’m mind dumping and it will make the run-on sentences permissible. I need to get ready for prayer see talk to you later.
I got music and workouts so this week has been getting better and I’ve been focusing on eating better. My stay is getting better as it goes and I am King of Tea next week so the horizons are looking up. I mainly started writing because I wanted to talk about my afternoon group of french rubbish collectors. I’m not sure the culture difference played a role but I loved these guys everyone was so funny,
the boys are these skinny french swag masters and the girls are unconcerned and above anything that the boys do but it just makes for the funniest time. We get the work done but we also have time to joke around, and in the afternoon the work seems to be a bit more lose, they’ve relaxed the entire day now we can chill, collect rubbish, and have a good time. It seemed like if there was a tv show about
us it would be the biggest hit in France.
I’ve grown close with the people in Maison Brule as well, we’ve had dance parties, getting kicked out for being too loud. It is a fraternity centered around Christ which I think is a better fraternity then actual frat’s. I’m tired, I’m going to workout shower and pray.
Okay it’s a couple days later, I’m a king, KING OF BREAKFAST and TEA. I don’t have much time, really what happens is that my morning until 11:00 is doing breakfast and tea, then I chill at the house for an hour until prayer at 12:20 then we have lunch at 1 PM then back to make tea for small groups for a bit then, about a 1:30 hour break until 4:30 when we have tea time for everyone.
Its crazy to see 2,500 people go through a line for tea. There is like no way that you could say enjoy to everyone who goes through the line. My first week here there were maybe 300-500 people, you could say hello, remember some of the faces, you’d see the same faces at bible study it was a nice small community. Now everyone is just another face, you’ll meet people you won’t see again ever,
its sort of a sad wasteland, especially since I’m one of the cold and war-hardened volunteers, I see lowly field people (1-week staying people) as I walk through my home. It is nice when you see a fellow volunteer a nod, a smile, its usually pretty hard work, I mean half the time the responsible are just scattered among the field people at various jobs, but when you’re a responsible (leader of the group) you do a lot.
I mean the name makes sense we wouldn’t call the responsible if they were Irresponsible. I will hopefully post this one as a very large Odessey of Taize, I need to workout right now, I don’t have much time but whenever I can squeeze one it I try to.
I’m so close, so close to being done with everything breakfast and tea, I can’t wait, it will be great less waking up early to work more waking up early to run, a workout doing anything else that isn’t making tea. I’m tired I’m going to try and take a little nap.
Okay so I got a new job, I’m the electricity boy of Taize. Yep, Mr light specialist. Tomorrow I have a good amount on my plate, I’m wishing I could stay longer now, but how could I know that Taize would be so awesome, and I really need to go so I will be able to easily get home also I would like to see my family in France. I overheard these two permanents talking, they were explaining
there are so many cool people that we do not get to meet, we see each other in prayer but that is it outside of that and name stay we don’t really get to know each other which is honestly pretty sad. It’s a sentiment that fill’s many Taize travelers whether only for a week or for a long stay. I should maybe reach out to people, I mean what is the possible worst that could happen, I never come back to Taize,
then chances there are already pretty slim.
It’s pretty sad, I was living in this wonderous world in which my time in taize would never end, It felt like I will be here for ever and nothing will stop me from enjoying life, that was until my friend ebin left, my first friend of taize gone, simitainously 3 other people left and it really hit me, I will likely never see these people again, and then it hit me that I will just be the next one, the next person to leave
just another name in the registrar, gone and forgotten within days, I mean already during my two weeks, bastien, gert-jan, krillil, toni, yurico, ebin. Six people whose name I knew, at least 2 more who I didn’t know the name of. There are long stay people, like Jella and Victoria that I’ve met and I just wonder what they feel every nameste everytime another comrade leaves in the morning or in the night.
It is sort of weird, Taize life is real life but it is not. You feel everything you feel as you do the real living, but then it really isn’t real life, everything just seems to work by your work. It seemed weird when I watched the Netflix series Wild wild country about the rashneesh, thinking that they were crazy when I come to somewhere that is just like the commune that they tried to create in northeastern Oregan.
There are a few differences, Our religious practices, our actual cultural significance, There are other things but It is weird that I ridiculed this place then I go to a place that is quite similar. I mean do not get me wrong the community that these people tried to build in Oregon has more malicious intent and crazier motives. I am getting side tracked, It is really sad that I will leave and never really come back and when I do
it will be completly changed, The nice thing is that I can focus on what we have now and come back with an entirely new outlook, search or question that I would like to awnswer it is very weird many people come to taize with a question, a goal, something that they would like to change about themselves, but I came with nothing, maybe looking to find friends or make friends. I don’t really know what I came here for but I already know
what I have left with, I have left with a strengthened faith, Honestly after Missouri my faith was not very strong, I had such a hard time with my age, what I was doing, why I was doing anything in missouri, how to move on, and when everything sort of crumbled in my mind and me just deicied to stay back in California I was sort of confused and distrought but the trip to france and to taize really sharpned my sight for at least one
aspect of my life. If I can learn anything from reading the bible it is that a faithful life is more than a life worth living. I am a poor man, saved by the grace of God. 3 months ago, I would have felt weird saying that. I don’t think I am a crazy Christian, but I don’t think that I would ever want to live without Christ. And it’s really hard to differentiate between the people who are crazy Christians that just blindly accept Gods
love but don’t really follow the commandment to love one another as Jesus has loved us. It feels different to me and maybe I am some crazy Christian but there is no right way for me to live my life so I’m going to live it how I like.
At Taize, for the longer stays, we have these things called Lama stay which are basically little non-alcoholic parties. Of course, they are as non-alcoholic parties should be sort of shameful, really weirdly fun, sort of awkward all the time but at the same time they are not awkward at all! So here’s what happened the last Lama stay before I left, It was Martizas birthday, When I first arrived the lights were off and someone was playing music really quietly, I was really confused but we are all there to have a good time, Danielle on of my friends start dancing. I really don’t remember what happened next but somehow the party progressed to people playing a violin, guitar, and accordion in a Mexican style and we were chanting OLAY! After that we started remixing prayer songs, everyone was dancing and skipping around It was super fun! I wish I could have had some way to document it but it was so out of my mind crazy! Best party of my life! I think my writing has really become worse. I don’t feel nearly as motivated to write, but I do when I want to. There is no editor reading as well so it really becomes just a brain dump.
I’ve somewhat read through this and there is a lot of writing in here. Pretty hard to digest.
If you’re looking to contact me my phone got washed in the washing machine so I am not able to respond.
Oh, I am going to Seattle Pacific in the fall!
I miss Taize but the rest of France is awesome.
I’ll try and post at least another one by the end of the trip!
Love all you!
Joke of the day:
The thief that stole my diary and my Bible died today.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family.