A summary of retreat livin’ by Sophie. (Who doesn’t post too much.)
What has it been like to live in a hostel with twenty-five unschooled teenagers?
It is amazing.
Just in the last night I have laughed and cried but been too happy to care about it. I can’t count how many disapproving and weird looks we’ve gotten from the locals (teenager and adult alike). Some people just stare while a few yell rude things at us; intelligent insults such as “assholes” and “fuck you!” One guy just grunted at us and drove away. None of this bothers us though. We laugh at how stupid they are and discuss better insults that we would have used.
All we do is talk about things. It could be politics or the cult that lives down the street. Most of the time it’s about crack dealing squirrels and Matt ax murdering everyone. The randomness of our conversations makes my day. I really look forward to waking up in the morning not knowing what’s going to happen, just that it will be amazing.
Here I have done things I would have never dreamt of doing before I arrived. I have engaged in “girl talk” for three days straight, gone for a walk in a hurricane, walked over three miles for coffee, gone on a pilgrimage for fast food at ten thirty at night, hid in an attic telling riddles and spent more money on food than I thought humanly possible (for me anyway). I have laughed, cried, choked on Coca-Cola, danced outside of bars and everything else in between. There are very few things that are “planed” here. We just make things happen and almost all of them turn out good. Just walking to the CVS is an adventure.
Pulling all-nighters usually turns out some interesting stories but because we’re unschoolers and it wasn’t just staying up all night with friends and doing stupid things as a result of it. This was more like staying up all night with my family. That’s what this place is for me now. It’s home and the people are my family. I’m sad when they’re sad and happy when one of them achieves something great. These people mind me and watch me, try as hard as they can to take care of me. Even now in my slightly obnoxious, sleep deprived, coffee driven state they laugh with me. Every time someone says ‘shower’ I bust out laughing, clutching my sides and they smile and laugh at me.
I can’t think of a more perfect day than yesterday. We played Sardines and after half an hour of searching most of us finally found the hiding place (the side attic off of Matt’s and Cameron’s room) and stayed there for an hour, waiting for the game to end. I spent an hour playing riddle games in the dark hoping I wasn’t lying on any installation. It was perfect. At one thirty AM I made French toast for everyone and had a little too much fun cleaning up. As I write this in my caffeinated haze, I realize how little time I have left. Only eight more days left. A little over a week to play games with, swear with, laugh, write, giggle and clean with the people I have spent the last month learning to love and accept. Only eight more days with my family. This how I felt a week before I left my real home to come to the retreat.
When we leave Hyannis we will be leaving behind the crack dealing squirrels, communist jokes, Laura ranting about Gary Johnson, blues dancing till midnight, watching bad movies and great movies and writing about how crazy the retreat is. For the past five days I have had to remind myself of what Dr. Seuss said. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I’m scared that I’ll start thinking about my retreat family and how much I’ll miss them and that I’ll start crying while I’m sitting at my gate. I know I’ll start crying when I see my family waiting for me at the airport in Atlanta. Alright, I know I’m going to cry so I’ll stop writing about that and try writing something cheery: a feat not yet accomplished by this author.