Abbie: Reusing Ziplocks and Other Fun Things I Make my Roommates Do

As I read back over Georgia and Ozakh’s most recent posts, it struck me that the theme of transformation played strongly in both posts – and that, without even thinking (consciously) of them, it became a major feature of mine. On Sunday night, the five of us found ourselves sitting in the living room talking about how our perceptions of each other have changed since we got the fellowship a year ago. It’s incredible how this group has gone from people I don’t know very well to the kind of squad who has a kitchen dance party in which we decide throwing farmer’s market vegetables around in a circle is a fun idea.

(Were we gonna let the general public know about that one? Oh well, too late.)

On another level, living in the Ruka and being the “sustainability coordinator” has completely altered the way I think about everyday habits. I find myself reading articles on “zero waste living,” ethical/environmental consumerism, and when to plant in Tennessee (spoiler – it’s not ‘til April. Sorry, garden). And while this was born out of my role in Ruka and is technically research for the fellowship, it doesn’t feel like it. It’s fun. If you told my fifth-grade self that I’d one day be passionate about living as waste-free and environmentally friendly as possible, she probably wouldn’t believe you.

Yet here we are.

For the month of February, we’re practicing gradually reducing our waste. We managed to make it through a week (and a party!) with only one trash bag – and (I hope) it’s only going to shrink. Trying to go close to “zero waste” is a challenge, but a good oneThis practice has made me incredibly aware of what I throw away – especially the things I don’t think twice about. Last Wednesday, I rewarded myself for turning in a grad school application with chocolate. Lo and behold, I ripped open the individual packaging and was left with two squares of foil I had to toss. I’ve made about a Styrofoam (ugh) container of trash this week, which my perfectionist self says is not good enough.

It’s okay. I just set a timer reminding myself to take a reusable container to Brother Juniper’s tomorrow.

It’s all a learning process.

This is something I must remind myself of daily. Living in the Ruka is not a magical, immediate change. It’s a constant process. It requires concentration and dedication. But it’s getting easier, and it’s (almost) always fun. I’m excited to see where this next month takes me personally and the house as a whole, and even more excited to see where the rest of the semester leads.

Until next time – Abbie

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