The cookies are done. They sit in piping hot rounds, reeking of cinnamon and butter and loving mixing. The crisp of the baking paper, the rustle of the heat as it cools and crackles through the mixture, settling back into the searing black tray, causing the edges of the biscuits to curl upwards as though to escape from the blistering heat. Is there anything more loving than baking? A pain-staking, wondrous activity, precise measuring and slapdash rolling, peeking through hot oven doors and wiping of floured hands on a starchy apron. Sometimes all you need to pull you out of a bad day is that flow, the gorgeous concentration that goes into lining a cake tin, the closed eyed, somewhat hedonistic act of rolling cookie dough with your fingers, or reaching for a fistful of flour and feeling cool white dust all the way up to your wrist.
I have noticed, looking back through my posts, that I seem to start a disproportionate amount of them with the words ‘I love’. And though I generally try to avoid the words ‘I hate’, I think that today I might employ them, just this once, because this emotion that I’m feeling today is much stronger than a vague dislike. So here goes…
I hate how much stuff I have. I hate lugging my huge green suitcase up and down metro station staircases. I hate that each time we arrive at a farm the new hosts will shake my hand and then look me up and down, immediately forming opinions. Ahh, a suitcase girl. I hate every tube of moisturizer, every pair of jeans when I’m carrying that unwieldy big green bus down a muddy dirt track.
There are people who live with only 50 items! Forever! Look!
I am sure I do not need all this stuff. I wear the same pair of shorts everyday! But I have an ingenious way to turn all this negative hate energy into a positive force – I am going to do something about it! So today I am going to buy a backpack, and then I will purge most of my belongings.
And then, at long last, I will be a Kiwi backpacker. Oh god the cliché!!
I can see the sheet of paper shivering, catching in the breeze as he paces the room. His voice is agitated, thin with stress, head bent down to the phone he holds tight to his ear. The room is hot, stuffy almost, a long rectangle of sun from the old window resting on the dusty patterned floor. Papers are strewn across the dilapidated bed, bags open, awaiting the contents of the room. There is other moving paraphernalia here too. A black plastic bag sits in the corner, a few empty water bottles littered alongside the white wall. Cardboard boxes sit beside the bed, upturned to use as makeshift bedside tables, a small, unsuccessful stab at cozy homeliness. The dirty fan still spins, oblivious to my incensed rage. Just a few more ropes to slash, and we can fly from this place forever.
There is a wasp above me. I’m watching him, sure that at any moment he’ll fall into a kamikaze dive towards my face. He looks like a badass. Ants and spiders crawl across the black tarp, meandering around each comparatively giant obstacle, in search of God knows what. A fly lands on the smooth metal of my laptop, so out of place here, and takes just a few tentative steps before he twitches and disappears again. Everything thrives here. Every square metre is full, teeming with minuscule life. The tent is stuffy, green light shining through the thin polyester, so the ambience is as though we are living underwater in a shallow pond. Every so often the tent is rustled by the arms of the wind, as though an invisible being is caressing each side, creating a whirlpool of air outside. All of our clothes are covered in dirt, our huge bags strewn around the raspy sleeping bag nest. I have to cook tonight, vegan. I don’t think I’ve ever made a vegan meal in my life.
It is so different to be here. This place where the toilet is a long drop hidden by plastic sheets, the kitchen some cinderblocks under a tree and the shower a black hose coiled in the sun. It is strange to rub my eyes ruthlessly at the end of a long day, when the sun has set and the full moon is bright enough to cast shadows against the ivy covered ground, and know that there is not a trace of mascara or eye make up to worry about. I haven’t seen my reflection in over a week, and even stranger, I don’t care. I only feel a mild curiosity, a vague hope that I haven’t had a behemoth pimple over that time. It is truly back to basics here, and it makes you realize what you need. Our huge suitcases seem ridiculous and precious, our nice, clean clothes embarrassingly amateur.
These people don’t just live like this for a holiday either, for two weeks before they go back to their under-floor heating and plumbed in bathrooms. They live here forever, come rain, hail or shine. I wonder how long I can handle it, like this. Because although I love it now, and feel elated to be woken by the sun and step outside the tent to a dew covered wonderland, the mist rising off the far trees down in the valley, I wonder if I am truly Zen. Will I still love it in a week or so? Maybe I’ll be pulling my hair out by then, demanding a toaster, flushing toilet and a mattress.
I have always been obsessed with home decor. I spend most of my television time watching home improvement shows, and I love paint stores, mainly for their delicious paint swatches. So I was so happy when I came across this website and it gave my style a label! Go and give it a go, it only takes a minute and then you can namedrop your style to everyone. I got Cottage Chic, Rustic Revival and Contemporary, quite surprising for me!