Have you noticed I've been a little bit quiet lately. Well I've been a bit busy!
A couple of weeks ago I went to donate blood at a large regional town. While I was there I did a monthly shop because they have more stores than our little town. Then we walked down the street for refreshments (ice-cream). I came across a young couple, surrounded by luggage, limited English, on the phone having difficulties.
Can't help myself...... have to step in. They are backpackers from Italy and threw in jobs in Melbourne to go to a fruit picking job. They arrived in the town and rang the contractor who was supposed to pick them up. He claimed he didn't know what they were talking about. He must have employed someone else in the meantime and they were left stranded with no jobs and no accommodation.
This was the beginning of my un-intentional community!
Now, here they are at my house and so far all is good. I am interested in intentional communities. Very interested! I found a book on the subject at an op shop recently and it is high up on my 'to read' list. These days we tend to live very isolated and private lives. We choose to see people only when we are prepared and can put our best feet forward. I believe we are meant to live with more connection to our fellow man. It makes perfect sense to live near each other and help each other but...............
I am in awe of intentional communities that function well. I struggle with issues of space, decision making, independence etc. I struggle with being seen, warts and all! I'm not so sure I would find it easy. In fact, thinking about communal living makes me slightly uncomfortable that maybe I'm not so easy to get along with?!
But back to my visitors - they are wonderful! Two young people on an adventure who are keen to learn about Australia and the people around them. They have been so considerate and co-operative. We took them with us on a trip to buy paint for our house, only to find out Mauro had been a painter in Italy and he offered to paint our house!!!
And his girlfriend, Giulia, is just delightful! I'm really enjoying having some female company. She's still a teenager, but very capable and she's teaching me to cook the Italian way. We had gnocchi, courtesy of Giulia, for dinner last night. Yum!!!
Life is about to get a lot more difficult though. Tomorrow the kids go back to school and life becomes more hectic and needs to be structured. I don't want to be putting down rules but need to think through how to make life work for everyone while Giulia and Mauro are still here searching for work. What a challenge to begin the school year with! I am already very nervous about Master Six beginning his journey at school. Tomorrow will be a very hard day for me.
I think most mothers shed a few tears as they watch their little ones enter school life and I have been no different with my last three children, but this time there is fear as well. I have watched Master Six so closely for all these years and tomorrow I must entrust his safety to others. Our school is fantastic and he is sensible but, like many children with Down syndrome, he doesn't have the same decision making skills as other children his age. I will be anxiously waiting for three thirty to come around so that my son can safely be delivered back into my arms!!!
As for my Italian friends, I must thank them for my practise introduction to WOOFERS. We have tossed around the idea of WOOFERS for ages but weren't sure if we were ready to cater for extra people. Now I know it can be done! Maybe later in the year when life has settled...........?
Could you live easily in close proximity to other people and do you have ideas on how to structure daily life to make it easy for all involved? I would love to hear your thoughts!