Archive for January 16th, 2009

Tools of the Trade



I don’t think it’s a good idea to go into anything with set expectations.  I have this picture of Auroville in my mind, mostly fueled by their extensive website and stories I’ve heard from people who have been there.  I know that it will definitely be different from anywhere I’ve ever been, but other than that I’m trying not to think about it.  I’ll see what it’s like when I get there. 

Although I’ll be leaving all expectations at home, I’m still bursting with questions.  I’m going to list the ones that I think are most important, and when I get to Auroville I’m going to set out to finding answers.  With help from my cameras, voice recorder, laptop, and trusty pen and paper, I’ll share what I find with anyone who cares to know.  I have a feeling though that my most important discoveries will have nothing to do with these questions, but it’s still good to have somewhere to start.  If there are any questions that you have about ecovillages, or any things that you think I should explore while I’m in Auroville, or any of my questions that you think are really important, comment on this post and share!

Who has power?  Are decisions made by consensus?  If they are, how do they manage to do this with 2,000 residents?  Are there laws or rules?  Who enforces them?  How do Aurovillians view the decision making process?  Do they think it’s efficient? 

How do people get around?  Is everything they need within walking distance?  If not do they bike or drive? 

What’s the food like?  Is allof it grown at Auroville, and if so, what’s the farming like?

What is the Aurovillians’ relationship to technology?  Do they have computers and TVs?  How much time do they spend using them?

What do they do for a living?

Have most of the residents been born there, or have they moved from somewhere else?  If they moved to Auroville, what motivated them to do so?

What do people do with their free time?  How much free time do they have?

What kind of relationship do Aurovillians have with each other?  How well do they know each other? 

How do Aurovillians view nature and their connection to it?

What role does spirituality play in everyday life?

How do Aurovillians view environmental problems like global warming and pollution?  Do they see their lifestyle as a way to offset these issues?

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A Heartfelt Goodbye

Have you ever had one of those moments when all of a sudden you realize that exactly what you’ve been searching for was always right in front of you? It’s like when there’s a word on the tip of your tongue; you know that the word’s obvious, and you know that you know what it is, and yet you just can’t think of it.

Last night I had one of those moments. My mother invited the family over our house for finger food and dessert so that I’d have a chance to say goodbye to everyone. Her side of the family was always big; there are always over twenty people at our family gatherings and upwards of thirty at Christmas. I’ve taken to calling it the ‘Crotti Clan’ in my head. We’ll all have dinner together whenever there’s an excuse to, although it’s hard for me to make them when I’m away at school. All of these people came over my house last night just because they wanted to see me one last time before I left for eight months, to let me know that I would be missed. Many of them used this as their last chance to ask me not to go, even though they all knew that I still would. Last night I realized that being asked not to go is one of the best ways to be told that you’re loved.

Sometimes I dread coming home to Scranton. I miss my bike. I detest having to drive everywhere. I’m the only person in Borders Café who insists on having her coffee in a mug instead of a paper cup. I’m out of my element. But my family is the exception to that. I know that they don’t agree with a lot of what I do (whether it’s being vegetarian or living on an ecovillage in India), but they care enough to ask why I do it, and even if they don’t agree with me, they still support me.

The irony is that I’m going to India to search for the secrets to community when so many of the answers are right here. The bond that holds my family together transcends blood ties. No matter what I do, who I become, or where I go, I know that my cousins and aunts and uncles will always be there for me if I ever need them. It gives me the strength to be who I am. I am incredibly blessed to have such a close family. Like I said though, our bonds transcend blood. Maybe this is part of the reason I’m searching for a lifestyle that makes it easier to create relationships like these. I want everyone to be able to feel like I did last night, to be able to leave a place knowing that they will be missed, and that there will be people who love them dearly waiting patiently for their return.

The Cousins of the Crotti Clan, at my Uncle Jack and Aunt Rosie's house for Christmas

The Cousins of the Crotti Clan, at my Uncle Jack and Aunt Rosie's house for Christmas

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