Five Days of Ruka: McKenzie

In the finale of the ‘Five Days of Ruka,’ I thought I’d be a little creative. Hang tight, y’all.


My ~unofficial~ recipe of Ruka: Turning fond memories into even better futures

First, start by mixing together:

  • 1 home
      • Serves as a shelter, common area, a space to love.
      • Home is important to the Ruka (referencing Georgia’s latest post), and it is something that I have loved sharing for the past year. It was home for me since the first week I moved in over the summer, transplanting cucumber plants for a healthier grow. I was able to invest the time and the energy the garden needed despite the utter absurdity of a Memphis summer’s heat and humidity. In my life, outdoor space has always been treated just as, if not more, sacred than indoor space. Therefore was hard to see the garden dying into the winter, even harder to feel like I could do nothing to save it. Although I realize I can’t wish for springtime weather at the beginning of the new year and a full crop before summer, I would like to refocus and revitalize my energy for the environment and community where we, the Ruka, are planted in.
  • 5 personalities
      • Now this is an important ingredient of the Ruka. While the five personalities are all different, we join together to create something bigger than ourselves. It turns an I into a we, and it makes space for accountability and community. From waking up together early in the morning to drink coffee and go to the farmers’ market, to cleaning up after a dinner, the Ruka combines all of our strengths as leaders and followers in a combined passion to do something for others. As 2017 brings a breath of new air, I hope to be more dedicated to the Ruka (collective) as well as in buddy times with each member (individual). Honestly, I just want to keep on having fun, dance, laugh, and ignore schoolwork entirely. (We shall see how that plays out.)

Second, add some unusual flavors:

  • Cut 7 previously unknown vegetables
      • Did you know three colors of carrots grow in Tennessee? That asparagus grows straight out of the ground? I surely did not. For those that know my stories of growing vegetables over the summer, I have fell in love with gardening. But actually, how does a seed, dirt, and water create magically purple eggplant and edible foods? I am purely amazed by Earth, even more amazed by the amount of gardening puns the Ruka has been able to come up with. It’s always good to know there will more thyme to garden in the new year.
  • Combine with 20 cups of coffee
      • Seriously. The Ruka is fun, but  it is unbelievably tiring. 12 hours of school, a party, and work the next day? Better believe caffeine is necessary. Coffee is the first thing on our farmers’ market list and it is what wakes me up every morning.  (Julia goes without coffee most of the time and has 5 am work, so I have just started to believe she has magical powers??)

Lastly, to make the Ruka stronger:

  • Fold in generous amounts of laughter
      • The more, the merrier. 2016 has had us rolling on the floor laughing. 2017 asks for more. I’m still Ruka 2016 ROFLing over our holiday card, vegetable YouTube songs, gluten-free pasta smells, and trying not to laugh during holiday music concerts… 
  • Add a pinch of learning
      • I have found that learning takes humility, patience, confidence, and trust. Learning tells you that you may have been wrong before, or there’s a better way, a better approach to doing something. I have learned in the Ruka in a way I had not before, and I am looking forward to learning more.

After combining these essential ingredients, bake at an economical and environmentally-conscious temperature, with lots of love, patience, and understanding.  I remind myself to enjoy the process more than the outcome, and to share with others generously. While this recipe will change from day to day and year to year, the purpose of our time creating it is the same–to love one another, the environment, the community, and ourselves.

The end of 2016 and our first semester have come to a close. I am looking forward to this new year, big changes, and all the new experiences with Ruka. Thank you readers for joining us for Five Days of Ruka. Happy New Year!


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