I host many volunteers on our permaculture property. Mostly in their 20’s. This post is dedicated to all young people and all my past, present and future volunteers.
About to turn 20 or 20 something. Just finishing high school, university or a trade. Leaving home for the very first time.
You are looking…looking for a new home or your first home, for sometimes the home where we are raised is no home at all.
Lin Ying-Zhen says that travelling and meeting new people has given her the opportunity to be playful and to test her femininity, something she has always been uncomfortable expressing due to the expectations placed on young women to be something other than themselves.
Leaving to look.
For a safe place.
Where you can be…U.
The very best U.
Where everything inside you can be expressed and honoured.
All your colours released.
This post is dedicated to Lin Ying-Zhen, our current traveller and volunteer fairy and to every young person we have hosted and will host.
I asked Lin Ying-Zhen to write down some of her Australian experience and this is what she wrote.
“Hello! I’m Lin Ying-Zhen, from Taiwan.
I’m a photographer, a chef, a barista, a student studying permaculture.
I play piano, I do massage for people who in needs, I write in order to preserve my life, I draw things show in my head, I’m going to learn scuba diving when I get back to Taiwan.
Currently volunteering at Mara’s ORTO farm.
Meeting Mara is really beautiful, she’s always curious about my story, we have so much in common so sometimes we can’t stop talking, and we forgot time, every time when her alarm rings again I know I should stop start another conversation.
I love how she organize her life in her dreamy village, love the way she see things and people, being in this paradise I can learn things in a really exciting way, I love nature and have strong eager to connect my life with mother earth.
I came to Australia about two years ago, I came here because I want to experience different culture, learn English and also pay off my debt of school tuition. At first I worked at a tomato farm for four months to get my second year visa, it was a really heart-broken experience for me. It’s more like a factory not like a farm .They hire lots of backpackers from Asian country, they set up different rules for Asian people. Most of Asian people don’t speak English very well, not even stand up for ourselves, my English was really poor as well, barely understand anything. But I always remember how stressed it was, supervisors stood behind me, and threatened me “if you can’t go faster there are heaps of people want to do your job”
Sometimes we have to work 16 hours one day, sometimes 60 hours per week without overtime pay. Those four months I live like a surviving stray dog, I have to shut down my feelings in order to keep going.
This experience also taught me how cruel the world is, some people they born in a different country without a good economic condition, if they long for a better life or an opportunity to change, this is the reality they have to bear first.
In that work environment, I forget about kindness, love, sharing, caring, instead it’s all about efficiency, money, competition, survive and feeling unfair.
But every experience has its importance, as an individual I also learned to be tough and resilient, it traumatized me but also brought me to see the real world.
After I got my second year working holiday visa, I sent many resume to different cafes and restaurants, luckily I was found by my biggest life saver Christopher Odrowaz who owns the Mainstreet café in Warragul which is where I worked for fifteen months almost spent all my time there. My English was not good enough to serve people or even communicate well with coworkers, but Toffa is the kindest boss I met in the world, he listened to me patiently and taught me lots of Aussie slangs, brought me into his family, since then I have my second family in Australia. We went down to Phillip island, Mum and Dada have a beach house there, we went swimming with our Labradors, went surfing with friends, one day we brought knives and went snorkeling harvesting some urchins and abalones from the ocean. I had so many important memories with Odrowaz family.
They rebuild my kindness again, they make me trust that there are still lots of beautiful things to expect in the world, as long as we keep doing things right and share what we have with people genuinely, everything will be better and better.
In these fifteen months, I’ve learnt how to cook as a chef because I met a generous, kind soul, vegan chef Benny, he taught me all the skills and trained me as a chef in the kitchen. We have many things in common, sometimes we couldn’t stop talking after work but we knew we both need to go home and rest. He is a very special individual in my life. And also my English was improving quickly, I started writing in English, tried to express myself accurately in different ways, one day I suddenly realize that I can think and speak fluently in English, I can talk to people without hesitation, although sometimes I still need to check some words but it’s alright.
When covid-19 hit into us, I moved to Melbourne, and spent my time in lentil as anything as a volunteer. At that time, it felt uncertain and didn’t know what would happen, I wasn’t sure about going home, just wanna stay and connect with people, see how everything goes here. Luckily my housemates were wonderful artist, we spent lots time playing music or house party, I started doing some drawing and learning piano, juggling, making music video for a band, Easy Brown.
Always so much fun when you’re able to play with lovely people.
And also I finally have time to sort out all the pics I took in past few years, I made a photo album for Odrowaz family as a gift, I made a 40 days drawing challenge in first lockdown.
When I volunteered in Lentil As Anything I met lots of great souls, I spent more and more time there, painting on the wall, knitting, practice hand poke tattoo, lentils is like traveler’s home. I feel accepted and loved when I was there, I had lots of special journey in lentil as anything. Then I met Jasmina in lentils, she brought me into permaculture field, we experienced the magic of soil and compost, we danced around in a veggie garden. I’m fascinated by understanding how ecological cycle system work on the earth, and all the knowledge about how to build up a sustainable living environment.
I feel like I can make the earth healthier for human beings as long as I keep learning, and that’s the reason Mara found me, we found each other.
We just want a better environment for everyone.