I was on the verge of leaving early. It felt like a curse; every ‘normal’ job I ever had ended in some kind of disaster. When I worked as a cleaner, my social anxiety got me fired and I have left two summer jobs in elderly care homes early, because I couldn’t handle the backstabbing and rule-breaking of the permanent staff.
In these places, my problem always revolved around a lack of safety. I never belonged. I always felt judged. Never enough.
But this summer is different. I just realized today how incredibly safe I feel here. I dare to speak my mind because I know I won’t be judged. I dare to share my wildest ideas and my deepest worries. I dare to be vulnerable. To be different. To be me.
When I realized that my personal stress is the only thing holding me back this summer, my perspective started to shift. I went through my to-do list and accepted it for what it was: unrealistic. Instead of fighting to keep up with my own schedule, I surrendered. Instead of spending every chunk of free time in front of the screen, struggling to focus, I started heading into the forest again, ignoring the voice that whispered hey, you need to work.
One afternoon, I just lay down on the forest ground, letting the rain fall into my face and my worries run into the moss with it. It’s incredible how such a simple thing can flip your mood entirely.
I stopped debating with myself whether I should stay or leave, and decided to thoroughly enjoy my final weeks at Mundekulla. Because behind the stress that clouded my mind for a while, there are so many things I will miss.
All the conversations I have had. All the eyes I have looked into. All the stories I have tucked into my heart.
Learning the ins and outs of the kitchen. Laughing to the point of tears with the chefs. Writing a mental list of all the dishes I will try to recreate when I come home. Observing the groups that come and go, watching this place breathe them in, bring them together and breathe them out a little calmer and stronger than before.
Walking barefoot on the silent, resting fields on the days in-between the courses and retreats. Chatting with the horses and the goats. Breathing the mist in the mornings. Brushing my teeth outside the volunteer camp late at night, when everything is so black that your only point of reference is the canopy of stars.
And so, for my remaining eleven days, I will savour all these moments and the moments to come. Then I will bring them with me into the autumn and the new adventures that await.