Dear Pelan Village,
These last 4 months have been…
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, ho ho ho!
As I cram to write you a legible letter before I catch the bus to take the ferry, these past 4 months blur before my eyes: all the grumpy Kaori moments are overwhelmed by the love and peace that radiates throughout the island. Chika, Ryo, Umi & Manzo (& Goro and Rinn), you have reminded me how to live, to communicate, and to find inner solace.
As many WWOOFers have expressed before me, and no doubt many after my departure will say, your partnership and respect for nature is truly unequaled, at least in my personal experience. It seems as though, through your eyes, nature is another person whose needs and gift must always be reciprocated and respected. Over decades, you, the Shimizu family, have built your own ecosystem up in these wild coffee hills, and the breadth of your open hearts astonishes me on a daily basis. Even on days when I feel I did not go above and beyond WWOOFer duties, you showed me love, took me kayaking, made me laugh. I can only hope that I have left as bright a presence as you have on my life.
It is easy to say I will return, but having seen Sekshin & Bobu-san return after 13, 15 years, I am confident that I too, shall return. Building an English website for Pelan Village, growing close to Sanae Koike, Fumi & many other strong women and men, supporting our 5 adorable chicks, and even cleaning the compost toilets has been such a pleasure, a memory to treasure. I’m really really happy that Umi warmed up to me and I really hope she paints a lot after I’m gone. I know how she feels about art – if she ever wants to make art in America or needs a helping hand, I’ll be there – just email me!
Words do not suffice. After an insane 4 years of grueling college, this is exactly the kind of nurturing community and tropical paradise that my heart was looking for.
Chika, for being a strong, fierce, and peaceful woman, for sharing your passion for yoga and inviting me into your beautiful home.
Ryo, for your huge grin, soothing tunes, and incredible drive to create, to sculpt, to build: your hands are always busy and your heart is always pure.
Umi, lady you got a ton of potential as an artist. Follow your dreams!
Manzo, for being super cool and literally being a character out of Fairy Tale, a favourite manga.
Goro. For peeing on my roof and teaching me how to quell my irritation and focus on the good stuff instead.
Kaori Freda, long time California & Oregon resident, artist, rock climber, obsessive snorkeler, teacher, learner.