I met Benjamin, called Benj, thanks to my colleague Maja. Benj studied forestry and did an apprenticeship in adventure and experiental education. He is collaborating with schools in terms of environmental education and offers children's camps at organic farms.
What makes me happy. Nice people, being in nature and good food.
First, what has always been very important for me to feel at home, is that I have the feeling of being understood. Also, I had to leave and come back to notice that it's home. Home is more than just my stuff, my things, my flat, it is my whole region, the Black Forest. Where I actually feel, that there are my roots. I grew up there and I never lived more North in Germany than in Freiburg.
The Black Forest is a big part of being at home and feeling at home. And of course, when I am returning from a journey, even when I was just away for a weekend; the return to the place where I have my own stuff, my own created room and my flatmates, that is also a kind of home.
But what's the reason for you to travel then?
Maybe to get over this restlessness. Also, meeting people, coming out, getting new impressions. And of course, to come home again every time and to see, that it's still a good place to be.
To find that state of inner silence, that resembles the feeling of being at home, I do not necessarily need the place of my home though. Mostly, it is combined with nature.
A very big influence is coming from my grandmother, I guess. She was really rudimental, almost self-sufficant, and very connected with nature. I went out with her on walks for so many times. My father had a tree nursery, we had a big ground. There was a vegetable garden, at the house of my grandmother was also one, and at our house was one. I was working or helping in all of the three gardens. When I wasn't in the garden with my grandmother, I was in the forest with her, searching mushrooms or berries, collecting stuff... I spent so much time with her out in nature. When I was a little bit older, around six or seven, I took my dog with us on the walks. And until now, many friends of mine are not okay with me saying “Let's go for a walk”, because these walks can easily last up to six hours...
That's one very life-shaping thing in my life.
The next was the comprehension of what food does with us. It is getting more and more important to me what I am eating and where my food comes from. Also the act or the ritual of making, preparing food becomes more and more like a celebration or a kind of meditation of creating good food. I like this idea in Buddhism, that it takes the same amount of time to prepare tea as it takes to drink tea. When I am cooking for six hours, it is impossible to eat for six hours, but what I mean is to consciously value the worth food holds for us. Finding out how cooking and baking nurture not only us, but also the talents of spontaneity and improvisation, was great for me. It has been a kind of process to find out or to get closer to what I am because of what I eat.
The third thing would be my forestry studies in Freiburg, where I came really close to myself because of really, really great people I had around me. There, I noticed what friendship really means. What it does to me, when I am with friends. Today, seven years after I finished my studies, I know what a big treasure it is to have such great friends.
All three points combined may lead back to the first questions; to what makes me happy.
Blanca's question: What is the most difficult task you ever faced or might face?
That's really, really difficult to answer. There were many difficult things that I struggled with, but mostly – maybe I have not one answer that directly fits the question, because I guess I have a quite good talent to go through every struggle. Every single one strengthened me more. One example could be a situation when I was in Highschool, where I had to live for four weeks with absolutely no money. Means I had around 10€ (DM, in former years) and that was it. I had friends with exactly the same problem, we were five people. And we managed to cook everyday super nice food – without having any money. We didn't go containering, it wasn't common then. But everyday, we had a nice dish, five people eating for one or two DMark a day. But this wasn't the most difficult task.... we just managed it. And that's kind of what happens all the time; that I find a solution. But it's a really nice question. Probably someone else could answer it better...
And concerning the future; I also do not see this as a problem, but maybe to create an own family and to build a strong basis for the children, that they don't have to suffer of hunger or other needs. That might be the biggest task I might face. But it does not worry me.
Benjamin's question: Is there something that would make a day to the greatest day of your life?