Written by Fall 2019 intern, Kate Weigel.
It’s the beginning of our 5 months of internship in Moab and we’ve been laying the foundation for both the houses we’re building and the home we are making together in our communal living arrangement. Every day we are figuring out together what our new normal is; forming habits, building rituals and finding grooves. On the worksite, that new normal is building on a sunny worksite when it’s 107 degrees, drinking obscene amounts of water and wetting our shirts down to stay cool. But it’s also taking time to get to know each other each morning with a thoughtful question to the whole group and a stretching session and being supported in a space that allows us to fully show up as ourselves. Our personal lives are adjusting to a normal of getting by with very little money, but also in celebrating the abundance of chocolate Power Bars rescued from the dumpster, warm fruit picked from community trees and celebrating birthdays with costumes and yard games.
We are learning and relearning the everyday of sharing bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen sinks with 15 other people and also getting used to having a built-in group of folks who are basically always down for adventures: swimming, camping, biking, climbing, paddleboarding.… the list goes on. Even the build staff are adjusting to new processes as this is our first attempt at building homes in the Living Building Challenge, a high standard for regenerative design. Personally, I don’t know if the beauty or magic of Moab will ever be truly normal to me- I am still surprised to walk out the door and be greeted by a doe and her fawn or that I can wake up and see the bike path out of my bedroom window. But I hope that this style of communal living and the work we’re doing towards building more sustainable houses does become normal. Maybe then someday far from now we’ll walk past the ordinary strawbale houses our own neighborhoods in our own cities. Then, we’ll be able to remember when it was all so different and extraordinary, and to feel just how far we have come.