In Which Julia Tries to Convince Herself it’s Over

So I had to take a second look at my calendar to make sure of this, but I think it’s really true–this is my last individual blog post in the 2016-2017 Ruka year. Now, this is assuming that we don’t do some sort of culminating blog endeavor, like the 5 Days of Ruka posts we did when everyone was gone for Winter Break, but for the purposes of this entry I’mma go ahead and gear up for the end. Because it is the end. I’ll soon walk across that stage wearing a dumb hat and be a college graduate. It’s over, or almost. I can repeat that as much as I want, though, and it still won’t feel like reality. I can keep telling myself over and over again that this is the conclusion of my college career, but all I can think about is that case study I have due next week, my exams, and how to responsibly spend the rest of the Ruka stipend. It’s the curse of the college student that we never quite get to wind down and reflect until we wake up and see our graduation robes hanging at the ready on May 13th. That down-time may come after exams during Senior Week, but with a couple more Ruka obligations and cleaning out the house, I have an idea that that won’t be much of a break either. Regardless, I won’t be writing a blog post that week, so I’ll do the best I can here and now to communicate a situation that I myself cannot understand.

I’ll try to do this quantitatively, then, because my sentiments can’t argue with the facts, and it seems my brain just isn’t quite ready to any qualitative thinking. Classic treasurer. So, a few weeks ago we held the fifth and last of our dinners for Rhodes faculty/staff and Memphis community leaders. We had Eric Gottlieb and Rebecca Terrell at our table, a power couple for the ages, and our other dinner guests have included one President of Rhodes College, four Deans, at least six professors, and at least three community leaders. Last month we hosted the fifth and last of our Ruka parties, an early-2000s themed bash complete with pop rocks, baby bottle pops, and 6 different flavors of Pringles. This Sunday will be our sixth and last group meeting with Professor McNary-Zak in the Ruka house, and we’ll come having each prepared individual reflections on our year together. There will be tears, and I unfortunately cannot give an exact number of those. Probably at least a pint or so if we’re going for volume measurements. There’ll be 3 more trips to the farmers market out of about 35 total, and one more group meeting out of about 30. We’ve spent 86% of our budget, and we’ll take care of that last 14% as we work during Senior Week to thank those who have made this year in the fellowship wonderful. There are 23 days left in the house until we stop being Rhodes students on May 13th, and 41 more days until our lease runs out on May 31st. That’s out of about 250 days total living together since my plane touched down in Memphis, give or take a few days of absence over various academic breaks.

Also, when I scrolled back through my calendar to count some of these events, I saw “Mom’s MRI” and “Mom’s surgery (outpatient)” back in September when my mother fought cancer, and I had a house of 5 to check in on me. I saw October, a time which McKenzie thought would be “the month to be alive,” but turned out to actually break each of our spirits, one by one. Thankfully, though, we had each other to try to patch it all up. I saw “Election Day,” when we needed each other, plus food and coloring books, for emotional support. I saw “Ruka room shuffle,” when we spent an evening roasting sweet potatoes, blasting rap music, and carrying each other’s bed frames up and down a tight flight of stairs. I saw the week when my regular “work” time slots stopped–I got laid off and the girls showered me with condolences and offers to get up together at 5 AM to make croissant dough since I was no longer getting paid to do so. I can’t quite quantify moments like these, but I can describe them, and hope that the slight pangs of emotion I feel in writing will later culminate in an ability to face and acknowledge this particular ending. It could come after we take a last group picture together in our caps and gowns, or it may be this Sunday, when we try to wrap it all up at home with Professor McNary-Zak. Either way, it’s coming for me, and when it hits me like a freight train, I won’t be able to reduce the year to numbers and dates. I’ll just have to face it, without the structure and denial I hide behind. For now, though, I’ll keep counting, finish up that last case study, take those finals, and turn in more receipts. The end is coming, but it’s not here yet, and when it arrives I’ll let the emotion take me where it will. That is, straight to the nearest tissue box.

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The Final Countdown (Somehow We’re Here?)

Abbie here, bringing you your weekly Ruka blog post…two weeks late. When the musical I was in ended, I thought I would have barrels of free time to do all the things I’d been neglecting. I thought I’d be skipping around in fields of flowers and going to my volunteer site so much they wouldn’t know what to do with me. But this is Rhodes, and Rhodes always finds a way to fill your time.

And the way to deal with that? Procrastination.

It’s funny how seniors are reacting to the last few weeks of college. (Lol. What. Those words didn’t just come out of my keyboard.) Everyone seems to be undergoing equal parts stress and senioritis. I didn’t think senioritis was something I’d experience, but it’s hit full force. I think part of that is a reaction to feeling things winding down. Every day, there are more announcements about what friends are going to be doing next year, and recently, the idea of finishing college has become, well…normal.

(Insert giant question mark here. I don’t know when it happened.)

As scary as being in the last few weeks of undergrad is, I’m so glad to be going through it with my fellow Rukettes. Having a group of people there to celebrate when you get good news or commiserate when you are stressed about the future or listen to you when you hear about something and have to run downstairs immediately to spew words at someone’s face (thanks, fam) has been such a good and necessary component of this whole process. When I think about the last year, I often find myself thinking about how the Ruka and my roommates have helped me in ways I didn’t know I needed. I definitely didn’t apply to this fellowship thinking about how creating (or deepening) four new relationships would drastically change me and how I see friendship at college. But as things wind to a close, it’s more obvious to me than ever.

So here’s to not taking these last few weeks of school for granted. Here’s to trying to live fully in the moment (and the arrival of Easter break providing the recharge I needed to do so). I can’t wait to see what these next few weeks bring, no matter the amount of senioritis I have to fight.

Ozakh: The Power of Friendship (Bread)

Update: The denial is still real. Graduation is no longer the door at the end of the tunnel that seemingly moves farther and farther away. We are here at the end of the tunnel, and that light people so often talk about? Well, it’s a little hard to see at the moment. At least for me. A common discussion topic at the Ruka is the concept of uncertainty. Our dinner guests on Monday night, Dr. Gottleib and Rebecca Terrell, inevitably asked about post-graduation plans. This immediately cued bouts of nervous laughter. “We’re considering our options,” one of us explained. “Hopefully something in this incredibly broad field,” another said. “Either this or this.” The upside? We are all in a similar boat. Not one of us has a concrete plan and the fact that we are almost always together in the home, at Rhodes, or in the Memphis community helps to normalize and cope with these feelings of anticipatory unease.

We discussed the transition away from Rhodes and away from Ruka at our most recent group therapy session with the fabulous Joe and I realized that my comfort with moving forward in my life is directly related to me working on vulnerability. You see, when I disclosed to Georgia that I cried in the bathroom at work the other day because graduation and jobs and emotions, I felt so much better. And later on when she saw me at home and so genuinely asked how I was, it was like a weight was lifted off of my chest. Had I not, in a moment of intentional vulnerability, discussed my bathroom tears, she would never have known that I maybe needed an extra pat on the back that day. This realization eases my apprehension towards moving on and moving out. At least two other fellow Rukas will be in Memphis post-grad and knowing that I have support if I ask for it in the months or years following May graduation greatly reduces apprehension related to growing up.

I want us to sit around and cry about how life sucks sometimes and I want us to laugh our asses off at pictures from middle school. I want to spend time domesticating our new potential cuddle buddy Rukoon and drink wine by the double bottle. I want to celebrate when each of us does figure out what we’re doing next year. I want community dinners. I want community. All of these things are Ruka and all of these things can continue after our academic fellowship officially ends. Ruka is lifelong and I know that we will all stay connected (with friendship bread).

I also want clean counters, but that’s a different blog post… 😉

Here’s a quick pic of us at Abbie’s play, Heathers. Aren’t we just the cutest things you ever did see?

Georgia: Denial

Greetings!  When I woke up this morning, I dreaded getting out of bed.  I took an extended Spring Break to spend a week in Cuba, and I knew that today was going to be a harsh return to reality.  I also was hit with the realization that we are getting closer and closer to the end, that scary thing called graduation.  Though we are only 54 days away (cue the anxiety) from the end of the world as we know it graduation, it feels like it is a world away.  The lovely little thing that is keeping me from realizing how close this fateful day truly is something I’ve come to realize total, absolute denial. 

I have always been someone who is very on top of things, but lately, that has all changed.  For example, I was supposed to write this blog post two weeks ago, before we went on Spring Break.  It was not until last week when I was sipping my morning coffee in Cuba that I realized I never wrote a blog post.  I began to realize in that moment that I was putting things off and not doing things as a form of denial, a way to avoid embracing the end and all that is to come with it.  My denial about graduation and the end of my time at Rhodes has become something that is keeping me from jumping head first into things and living in the present.

I do not like “lasts” or “goodbyes” and those moments are part of the reason that I am living in denial.  One of the main problems with constantly living in denial is that there is no way to live in the present.  Living in the Ruka is something that has challenged me to remain living in the present, not worrying about the future or living in absolute denial.  The women I live with continuously encourage me to be present, slap some intentionality into my life and conversations, and live in the moment.  Though we have come to realize that we try to avoid the subject of future plans like the plague (hello denial!), the conversations we do have not only remind me to enjoy the moments we have together now, but also encourage me as I know I will have these wonderful women by my side (literately and figuratively) through the end of the school year and beyond.

McKenzie: When Senioritis Kicks In

It is exciting being a senior. This past week I got my cap and gown measurements, invited new potential majors to both art and political science departments, and helped to lead my ultimate frisbee team to New Orleans for our annual tournament. It seems like there is a billion things on my mind between ideas for next year, work, the Ruka, and art this year… but what is not on my brain? Actual schoolwork.

For example, on Sunday I was challenged to write a seven page paper on the most boring writers in American history. I was wracking my brain for anything, ANYTHING that could get this paper written by the next morning. With Georgia’s advice to “#slapsomeintentionalityonit,” I got to work. By that, I mean Ozakh took my computer to write an inspiring paragraph in the middle of my paper to get me working again. While I was tempted to keep some parts of her paragraph in my paper, I was reminded that both the honor code and For example, when chastising his cat for purring too loud, Lock frequently exclaimed, “Nein!” In essence, this German command evokes a militant vibe. However, the connection between this word, “nein,” and the number nine must be addressed. There are 10 fingers on a human, which is only one more than nine. This was significant for the formation of the nation and the community would not be as tantalizing had there not been an established number of fingers on each human. We are, after all, solely a collection of humans…” was not quite what the professor was looking for in John Locke and Roger Williams. Despite these concerns, it is really hard writing a paper on toleration in Puritan America during a beautiful weekend. To that the Ruka must question, “is it?” “Is it what?” Very hard. No doubt.

It is really exciting to see how our house has turned into more like a crazy group of siblings. We poke fun at each other, laugh until we cry.. Cry until we laugh, and definitely #slapsomeintentionalityonit. Together, we have created a new language of vegetables, created a million puns, and found ourselves reconciling grades for genuine fun. Did I mention that the carrots we planted four months ago ARE FINALLY GROWING? I’m a proud Ruka gardener. I literally carrot wait until harvest time. 

Anyway, as I jovially  continue to ignore the midterms ahead of me, I can in fact say that senior year has pushed me to do new things, forget the old, and look forward to the future. Although it has been frustrating at times not knowing where the next place I’ll call home will be, I hope that this concern will allow me to more freely decide where my next home should be. It is unbelievable that we are almost to the last quarter of school at Rhodes, but I am SO EXCITED to take this step to something that seems even more freeing. 

Short and sweet: Our house is actually really good at telling jokes (lol).

Julia: Emojis and Emotion

Good news buds: Prince is back on Spotify, and this semester has indeed been an easier one in terms of really dedicating myself fully and ungrudgingly to this fellowship. (I’m referencing my previous contribution in our 5 Days of Ruka series, in which I expressed my disappointment in my first-semester attitude and behavior. If you haven’t read it, I’d definitely recommend scrolling down a bit and reading each fellow’s entry–and all the other blog posts while you’re at it. Go wild.) I mention the first, Prince, because it’s what’s currently grooving me on through writing this blog post and the second because I recently finished a vegan, gluten-free heart-shaped cake for myself and my housemates in honor of Valentine’s Day/Capitalist Day/Tuesday. Last semester I wouldn’t have dreamed of dedicating three homework hours to a baking experiment if it weren’t necessary for an assignment or a community dinner, but this time around things seem to be looking up. I have more free time now, which gives me just enough breathing room to be joyful about my obligations rather than, feeling well, obligated. It’s incredible what a lighter class load and rearranged work schedule can do for the soul.

With this more cheerful and healthy perspective on things, I’m really noticing the ways in which the Ruka has affected me. Previously, my recurring grumpiness and exhaustion gave me a bleaker outlook on this fellowship, one that convinced me that this is cool and all, but ultimately not as life-changing like I’m supposed to make it seem. Now, though, I’m starting to realize that living in community with these four girls really is making an impact on me. To illustrate this change, I’ll use my emoji usage as an example. It’s about to be a real Millennial™ post. Some context: when I’m texting, I don’t really emote. In fact, I usually don’t have any punctuation at all because, honestly, it’s just too much to think about. Like if I end certain sentences just with a period, I may unintentionally come across as passive aggressive or irritated, and don’t even get me started on exclamation points. I have a strict quota system for those. So when it comes to emojis, that’s a whole new level of stress, one that adds a certain layer of distrust on anybody who sends them to me regularly, the face ones in particular. Any text I receive with the laughing-tongue-out emoji is a candidate for immediate skepticism. Recently, though, I’ve actually been using them more. The red-dress flamenco dancer has always been nonthreatening for me, as well as the thumbs-up or praise hands, or the poop emoji, obviously, so I’ve been known to send those in the past. However, just in the last week, I’ve used heart emojis multiple times in multiple colors, and each time it was with one of the Ruka women.

Now this may not seem like that big of a deal, but I’m my father’s daughter, and if he uses even one exclamation point in a text message I assume my mother wrote it for him. So my using heart emojis and even sometimes the blushing-smile or heart-eyes smiley is kinda huge. Living with four other girls who are dedicated to sharing their lives and hearts with me has helped me learn to share with them my life and my heart–I’m talking about the real one now. My only other collective living situation was with my three brothers growing up, and, at the risk of straying too far into gender normativity, that rather masculine environment wasn’t super big on sharing strong feelings outwardly. Blame society. Now, though, I’m learning that some people actually do want to be touched and hugged when they’re upset, and not everybody wants to be left alone when they’re dealing with tough stuff like I do. So for me, using a little cartoon heart, or a stream of them, are my steps toward validating my loved ones. It’s a virtual representation of real emotional support, not just a superficial, fake shape on a cell phone screen. So as I grow more comfortable opening up the emoji keyboard, I also expand in my capabilities to be affectionate and, well, touchy. At this point it’s barely noticeable–honestly I’m not sure if the other Ruka girls have noticed a change–but I can tell. I’m getting better at showing affection toward friends in daily, mundane interactions, not just at a great time of change or tragedy, after I’ve been able to muster up the ~Perfect~ emotional response. So with every new emoji, every color of cartoon heart I can send, I’m learning. As Ozakh mentioned a couple posts ago, it’s very Ruka.

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

Ozakh: Bad & Boujee

If you hang out around all of us enough, you know you’ll hear at least one iteration of “That’s so Ruka!” or “That’s so not community!” come out of our mouths. I probably say it way more than my fair share. What is incredibly interesting about this is that it is telling of the way the Ruka Fellowship values are permeating into all facets of our lives. At home over break, my family noticed that I turn lights off if their use is not immediately necessary and I found myself being more conscious of minimizing waste. I’m eating healthier. I focus more on community building within academic, social, activist, and other spaces and I am constantly thinking about how actions’ impacts are interconnected. It’s fun and sort of cathartic to, as a group, say “That’s so Ruka!” when someone picks up a piece of trash on campus or “That’s so not community!” when one of us uses a styrofoam cup. But real talk, I definitely find myself muttering it under my breath when I do something “so Ruka!” and none of the other fellows are around…

It’s almost become a game to see how many things we can relate back to the values of the fellowship. This weekend, while Georgia and I were driving to the Cooper Young Farmers’ Market, we realized that the new and popular hip-hop song ‘Bad & Boujee’ may actually be about the Ruka. They definitely use crock pots in order to more efficiently cook for and host community members, if we need something, we can always call up our Ruka friends and they’ll come and get us, and if one of us has the feels and lets a few tears slip, another will definitely get you a tissue. Also, I’m pretty sure at some point in the song the lyrics go, “Raindrop / drop top / weekly Farmers’ Market pit stop.” I digress. The point is that I think we are finally adjusting into this moment where Ruka is finally integrated into our daily lives even outside of the fellowship. There wasn’t a eureka moment when suddenly we said, “Hey, I just did something in _(insert one of the 1,000 other roles we have)_ that really reflected an intentional way of living!” It was gradual. It was a process. It was tossing 10 banana peels into the garbage before finally getting your brain to remember that you have a compost.

The end of January is upon us and I can’t help but think about the impending end of the semester. What does Ruka look like post-fellowship? We are part of a family that now spans six years. This feels like a type of consciousness raising experience. Our intentionality is making us aware of the personal, social, political, and emotional factors that affect us every day and that affect how we communicate and interact with the world around us. How will we maintain this when May rolls around? I know we will, and I’m excited to find our roles in each others lives when we move our separate ways in a few short months.

Bad & Boujee (Migos)
*warning: explicit content*

Georgia: Scheduling

Hello friends!  I can’t believe that there is only one week left in January.  If this month is any indicator of how the year is going to go, 2017 is going to fly by!!  I am thrilled to be back in the house with all of the wonderful women that I am beyond blessed to live with.  As I wrote in my blog for “Five Days of Ruka,” the Ruka house has turned into home for me.  Coming back from break made all of those warm, fuzzy feelings return as I am extremely happy to be back in our home.   

One of the unfortunate things that we have to do at the beginning of each semester is figuring out our schedule for the semester.  Thank goodness it only had to happen twice, because let me tell you, scheduling a pain in the you-know-what.  Imagine the dread of sitting down with five people who each have jammed packed calendars and trying to find times to have group meetings, community dinners, gatherings for Rhodes students, etc.  Now take the difficulty you are imagining and double it, maybe even triple it, and that is what we were faced with in trying to create our master calendar for the semester.

We were scheduled to make our master calendar at the end of our January retreat, but we abandoned that thought as our stomachs growled, I became hangry, and we had hamburgers on the brain.  So, on MLK day after we competed an afternoon of service in our community, we all sat down (dirty, stinky, and sweaty) and dove head first into scheduling.  What was important about this moment was not the absolute miracle that we managed to schedule everything on our list, or us finding time (even if that time is 7:00 a.m.) to share a weekly meal together, but rather what I saw as important in this moment was the desire that we had to make sure that we had time set apart to spend together.  As we noticed our schedules filling up and us seeming to be much busier than last semester (which I didn’t think was actually possible), we all expressed the desire to spend more “group buddy time,” or as I like to call it, family time. 

This week that time looked like a group trip to Yolo for some frozen yogurt and cramming onto the couch to all watch a movie together.  This moment of all of us laying together on the couch made me think about how much our relationships have changed since August.  Though our calendars may be more full and there seems to not be a surplus of time that we have available to be together as a whole, the time that we do have available we desire to spend together intentionally.  As I have thought more and more about our desire to spend as much time together as possible, I have realized that the simple explanation to this desire is that since moving in together in August our relationships have shifted and we have all truly become friends.  Rather than being “that group of girls who applied to live together for the fellowship where they shop at the farmer’s market and don’t take long showers,” we have become a group of friends who desire to love and care for one another.  I do not know exactly what this family time will look like throughout the rest of the semester, but I do know that I am grateful for a group of incredible women that are standing by my side as supporters and friends through the chaos of second semester senior year. 

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!