BRENAZET

 Brenazet - a beautiful place to stay in Auvergne, France

WIDENING MY HORIZONS

The first time I met Mariken, she hugged me so close, without knowing me at all. We had talked briefly via email, via Help-X, which in itself is a WWOOFing platform, which in turn is a movement to bring volunteers to organic farms.

Previous to this meeting, and even before my study-abroad exchange I had talked with my mother about the possibilities of working for room and board. Or rather, my mother had conjectured the idea, and I had hated it. But now, five months into my transformative journey, I found myself wanting to widen my horizons.

So there I was, at Brenazet, a small campsite inhabited by all manner of interesting beings. They were: Mariken and Ron, the good-natured Dutch couple and all round extraordinary individuals, their sons Igor and Nikola, the black dog Elza, a stable full of ponies, a brood of chickens, and all of the guests.

And oh man, were my horizons stretched in that one week!


THINGS I LEARNT AT BRENAZET

That it is possible to find an extra family, at a home away from home. Also, that it is possible to keep that extra family in your heart and mind for a very long time.
That it is possible to get up every morning, make tea, do yoga, go on a hike, dig in the garden, and bake a cake; to do all of that, and make it your life.
That there are people out there who build their own homes, their own pizza ovens, their own barns, their own ponds, and their own ecological water filtering systems. That there are people who don't care that someone told them it was improbable, and did it anyway.
That I am one of those people.
That raw carrot cake can taste good, even though all those other ones tasted so bad.
That nudity is not such a big deal 
That you can put bee pollen in smoothies. Also, that you may eat, if you wish, the plantain that grows in the grass in your front yard.
That belief can be part of the creation of a reality, and even though there may be two people with two opposing ideas, it does not mean the other's reality is any less valid.
That people will do kind things for others, will paint them a masterpiece to hang on the stable door, or will save garlic for their neighbors.
That French wood cutters also do yoga.
That I have a deep-rooted desire to spend my future days building and gardening and sprouting beans; my evenings reading, and talking and painting with kin.
That it is an amazing thing to simply listen to one another, with a wide open mind.

 

 Mariken
 Ron
 Elza the dog sleeping amongst all the shoes
 yummy raw cakes
 five-storey card tower and good times at night in cozy Brenazet
 A lovely cup of tea and yoga in the morning at Brenazet
 Cooking a chicken coq a vin using a farm chicken
 Feeding the hens in the morning with food scraps
 Copain the cat sleeping on the warm printer
 Copain the cat - painting by Zoe
 Radishes dug up straight from the garden
 Tiny greenhouses for seedlings - made from an old school desk
 Fresh mint tea, and rainbows in the kitchen
 Rainbows from crystals on the kitchen table, and a heart shaped anomaly on the wood
 My little log cabin at Brenazet, in France
 The miniature horses grazing free range at Brenazet
 Horses in their stable and a beautiful painting of them done by a woofer, at Brenazet
 Making tea in my cabin at Brenazet - using mint from the garden
 Yoga on the porch of my tiny log cabin, in the beautiful morning of Brenazet, France
 Pizza oven at Brenazet - made of cob
 Yoga in an old French barn with dim light and persian rugs
 Pizzas for a party
 Kids blowing bubbles at sunset
 A rainbow over the trees at Brenazet