The Aspect Of My Life

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just What I Needed

Blurry, but Funny
With the passing of my dear friend Koko, I feel even more blessed to have Maria in my life.  I didn't want to be alone in my grief so I went to Florence, OR earlier than anticipated so I could spend a few nights with Maria.  It was just what I needed.

We went to the Chowder Blues and Brews Festival and laughed ourselves silly.  And we danced.  A lot.  Maria spent some time dancing with a 90 year old dance instructor but I guess I ditched him on the dance floor because he was trying to instruct me on the finer nuances of the dance moves.  It was BLUES music for gawd sakes and I had the blues!  I needed to allow my body to dance untethered and no instructor was going to rein me in.  And it was just what I needed.

We had good food, good brews, good laughs and good music.

And it was just what I needed.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Koko the Weaver

My dearest of friends, Koko, passed suddenly and unexpectedly on September 19, 2012.  Each day I wake up and have to remind myself that yes, she is really gone from her physical body.  I cannot imagine my world without her.

I met Koko my second time to Glastonbury, England.  She owned a B&B and I stayed there every time I returned over the next 5 years.  She always told the story of how I arrived over her door step, dropped my bags and called "Koko..I'm home!".  And whenever I was with Koko I did feel that I was at home.

We traveled together to Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Cornwall.  Twice she came to visit me in Oregon and we traveled through Oregon, California and spent a memorable week in Sedona, AZ.  In Cornwall we camped in her "condo" tent (it had a separate bedroom on each side of the tent and was large enough to cook in!).  Koko always traveled in style :).

But the thing I remember most is how she walked all those many lands we traveled.  Every step she took was sacred.  She walked in Beauty.  Countless times we would stop and create a ceremony honoring Mother Earth.  We created a labyrinth on the beaches of Ireland.  While we were in Sedona every day was a different ceremony.  Once she picked me up at the bus station in Bristol, England and before long we stopped at a cave along the road side to drum, tone and honor the Land.  Everywhere we went was a sacred pilgrimage for Koko.  She showed me her world and then shared it with me.

She was also a Weaver of people.  While sitting at her kitchen table I met people from around world.  I met people from South Africa, Wales, Spain, England, Ireland, Scotland and the United States.  We all congregated at Koko's table and all of our lives were impacted.

She woke up each day like a kid, ready to embrace whatever magic the day held.  And she in turn created magic out of each day.

It is not often you meet someone who changes your life forever, in such a profound way.  But that is who Koko was, to everyone she met.  My heart deeply feels her passing but I know she will always be with me, my constant traveling companion.
In Ireland with Koko (second from right)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Last Man Standing

Well, almost.  There will be one workamper left after today.  Since I have been here 9 workampers have left.  One left so quickly I never even met her.

This has been my experience of the management style:
You arrive happy to start the season and happy to have such a pleasant management couple to work with.  The agreed upon working hours are great and there are a few other workampers to befriend.  Because you are so happy, you want to please the couple and do your best work possible.  That is when it starts to get interesting.

Nothing, nothing, is good enough for them so you try to work even harder.  They just keep raising the expectation bar until you crack.  And most left.  And when they left, others were expected to pick up the slack.  The management couple actually said it was easy for them to always get other workampers.  But I guess it wasn't so easy for them as we never got anyone new until just recently.  And that man is working so many hours he is actually paying them to work here.  A few conversations with him and he has come to this realization.

They made it clear from the beginning that they would not tolerate any gossiping.  I thought that was a good policy until I realized they didn't want any of us talking together because then we could compare notes.  I kept to myself but as each person prepared to leave earlier than anticipated, they came to my door to tell me their stories.  No one left on good terms and no one had anything good to say.

But I stayed because I liked the park and I liked the job.  And I learned a great deal for future workamping jobs.  I will always have a written agreement that specifies how many hours I will work.  That came in handy when they asked me to work extra hours and I could refer to my agreement and politely decline.  Another woman in the office started working extra hours for them and in the end she was working 5 days a week.  Her choice, but she just couldn't say "no".  A written agreement makes it easier to decline.

I did stay out of the gossiping, but it also kept the workampers from feeling any sense of community.  It was only upon their leaving that we bonded.  Beware of managers who don't want workampers socializing together!  I constantly had the feeling that we were being watched and scrutinized. 

Beware of managers that leave notes instead of personal communication!

Beware of managers that immediately become defensive if you ask to talk to them!

Beware of managers that are too young to have the maturity skills necessary to manage!

Beware of managers that believe they are your "boss" and you are an "employee"!

As I said, I learned a lot and now I am ready to be done.  Today is my last day of work.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Short Timer

My summer workamping job officially ends on September 15th.  They are happy for me to stay as long as I want, but I haven't quite decided how long that will be.  Should I stay or should I go?

I have reservations at my favorite park in Eugene for the month of October so there are several weeks to fill before my October 1st date.  I am not thrilled about working more days but still love this particular park and not sure where to go from here.  Another park on the Coast?  Pay extra money for a park maybe not as nice as this one?  Head to Eugene earlier than anticipated?  Decisions, decisions....

My motto is "don't make a decision until you need to make a decision" and since the travel bug hasn't bitten yet, I guess I will just wait until it feels right to move.

Until then I am snug as a bug inside of Minnie on this cool and misty day with plenty of football games for amusement.  But I am now officially a short timer.