Things around the house have definitely been busy the last month so here’s a little recap:
For our last professor meal, we enjoyed an evening with Professor Esen Kirdis of the Rhodes International Studies department. Over a yummy pasta with veggies fresh from the recently opened farmer’s market, we discussed her research this summer, which will be centered in Tunisia and Turkey, as well her experiences in a liberal arts school compared with a larger state institution and her comparison of Memphis with some other metropolitan areas she’s lived in both within and out of the United States.
Also in April, we participated in the first Rhodes Relay for Life on April 20th. Despite some questionable weather, the event was still successful with Rhodes, including team Ruka and Co. raising a substantial amount in the fight for cancer research. The night of the event, we hosted a 60’s themed booth in which participants were able to tie-dye t-shirts or tanks from the event. Pictures of some the shirts drying on out clothesline are below!
Also in April, Emily and I had the opportunity to spend an evening with the 3114 community located a few blocks away here in Memphis. Active with the Binghamton community, this group shared with us the story of their founding, their mission and goals as well as gardening tips and a tour of their recently built “shop” that is going to be used as an art studio as well as gathering space. We were so welcomed and encouraged by this meeting in particular because we were able to share some of our struggles from the year and hear how others handle similar issues (just knowing a more experienced community has similar problem spots makes us feel a little better as bad as that may sound!). We learned a lot from our short time and are looking forward to spending more time with them come the fall.
Also this weekend we wrapped up the year with a lunch to thank Professor McNary-Zak and celebrate Robin’s graduation. This time with some spices from our own garden (the veggies Emily mentioned aren’t ready yet unfortunately) and other yummies from the farmer’s market-seriously everyone needs to check out both the down town and cooper young markets (open every Saturday morning 7am-1 pm) we recapped some fun things from the year and Robin’s college experience. Full of laughter, the meal was easily one of our more relaxed of the year given we’d all had substantially more sleep since finals had ended.
Though the end of the semester has been hard, packing up the house, saying goodbye to the peacemakers (who I think I can speak for everyone in saying we are certainly going to miss them-we had the best time seeing some of them perform in their school “Seussical” ) and solidifying the fellowship plans for 2012-2013; it’s been rewarding to have time to be together without all the stresses of school and reflect on all the things we’ve done this year. Sitting up late on each others’ beds while packing, celebrating Robin’s birthday, showing off our garden/yard to anyone who would listen and having the opportunity to meet new neighbors while spending time in our yard or porch, I had the realization that this really is my family when in Memphis and how different things are going to be away from all this for a couple months. Regardless, I think it’s fair to say the experiences at the Ruka this year have impacted each of us in so many ways that we don’t even realize all the time. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to live in this community, and am excited about its continuation in the coming months. Robin will certainly be missed as she moves on from Rhodes to an undoubtedly bigger and bright future, but the impact she has had on this community and things we’ve learned from her (patience, composure,vegetarian cooking, the list is quite long) will continue to throughout our time in the Ruka.
Over the summer Emily and I will be living with our families, ideally making a few trips to Memphis and working on Eco-friendly living at our homes, while Paula and Allison will be living in Memphis keeping tabs on the garden and planning for our chickens. We’re excited for the time off but, at least I know I will be missing the Ruka while we’re away.