On my first day in Windarra I could never imagine to stay for one entire year. The second day I thought, well, maybe one month was okay. On the third day I was sure that three months were fine. And at the end of my first week I didn´t want to leave any more.
Now it´s been six months that I came to Windarra and I am very happy that there are six months left.
The first five months I shared my room with a Columbian woman, who became a very close friend to me. We shared a lot of time, travelled together through the south of India and could share about all the experiences we had in this community.
Because community-life was very new for me, I experienced it as something both wonderful and challenging.
Wonderful, because the people I live with became my big colourful family. It took me some time to understand certain behaviours of the community members, but I ended up loving these people a lot. Especially the two babies, who seem to be everybody´s children, in a way. Every day in the community is different; I am surrounded by people from the entire world who enrich my life. Apart from the residents there are some long term and many short term volunteers, who bring new ideas and ideals to share.
The conversations we have make me think a lot about life and especially how I want to live my life. Thinking about the future in Germany becomes more and more scary, I got so used to the freedom, living outside with nature, without schedules and fixed rules.
But community-life is also a big challenge.
After my Columbian friend left, our home which we had painted, decorated, made a garden for etc., turned into another dormitory for the huge number of volunteers we are having right now. Again I had to learn to reduce my private space and detach even from expectations such as having a home, a space for myself.
I am missing a place where I can be completely undisturbed, as long as I want. This includes places like showers or the toilet and of course my room.
Also the coming and going of volunteers is not always easy. Often I can be open to new people, but sometimes I am tired of starting at the beginning again and again, talking about my age and where I come from, knowing that the person I am talking to will leave in less than one month.
Even though I am always surrounded by many people, I sometimes feel alone, because most the relationships are more superficial.
Community-life requires a lot of respect for each other. But as different people define respect differently and expect different ways of respect, conflicts are created. In my opinion often just out of misunderstandings and lack of communication, information or structure. Often it is not clear who is responsible for something and this leads into problems.
In our community there is a big conflict between two groups of people. I tried from the very beginning not to become a part of this conflict, i.e. not to become part of one of the groups but spending time with everybody and understanding everybody´s point of view. Most the time this works quite well, but still it is tiring and sad to see how difficult it is to share a place with so many different people who have so many different ideas.
I know that many of the community members will leave the place within the next three months and I have no idea how it is going to be then. Many of them became good friends for me and knowing that they leave soon sometimes makes me feel sad.
In these moments it is important for me to have friends outside of Windarra, to have other houses where I am welcome. Some of the weltwärts-group became very good friends for me and it is good to share with them as they are living similar experiences.
A hard time for all of us was when two weltwärts-students left for personal, psychological reasons. It was us who had to support them and take care of them which wasn´t always easy. I was not so involved in the whole process, but still I felt the weight lasting on us as a group. In these moments it was again very helpful to have friends, to go through this together and share.
I also felt that being in Auroville makes old problems appear again, but for me it was good to reflect and think about all these things, it made me discover more about myself and grow.
Travelling through India I discovered that Auroville is not India, even though it is in India.
But I am so happy to live the experience of both, because both are changing me in many ways.
Being in India and sharing time with Indians who have a total different lifestyle – arranged marriages are normal, a good husband is someone who doesn´t drink or smoke, so many taboo-topics, etc. – makes me think about the culture I come from and about all the habits I take for granted and consider as normal.
I really enjoy working with the Tamil people every day, being invited to their home to cook Indian food, playing with their kids and seeing the real India in front of my door.
Apart from this Auroville offers me plenty opportunities; there are so many different people and opinions about life.
And there is a lot to learn; I took part in a Permaculture workshop due to my interest in learning more about farming, but in a holistic way, not just the scientific way the universities teach, the way I am used from school.
I learned that there is more than only chemistry and biology, that there are things that can´t be explained and don´t need to be explained by natural science.
I learned to love music, dancing, cooking for many people, being together.
I learned to be happy with people around but also to let them go, to not be attached.
I learned to love farming, working every day outside with the earth and seeing everything grow.
I love farming so much that now I could see myself living this way also in the future. So I got the idea to maybe learn farming instead of going to university. But there are still six months left, still a lot to experience, a lot to learn and a lot to live.