This week was an even spread of fun and work, well maybe it leaned a little harder on the work side- a good week all the same. I had a lot more time than usual to myself, which I savoured. On Monday night David and I hosted all the NFS staff at our place for a crab bake. Keturah the organisational wizard that she is, bought and cooked all the crab, under the watchful eye of Benita, and we gorged ourselves in groups, crowded into the joint kitchen and living room of my house. I was put in charge of kerplunking the scampering crabs into the pot, seasoned with Old Bay and Bud. I’ll be honest, I felt pretty bad, I was after all putting them into boiling water. Amidst the laughter and jubilation beaming from my colleagues as they tried to not to talk about work, I swear you could hear the poor Dungeness crabs pleading for me to stop…just joking, it was kind of hectic though. They tasted amazing. Word of advice, lace the floor with news paper and all the counter tops and tables and open all of the windows or have your crab and guests outside as the next day our house smelt utterly horrible.
The week progressed, the smell subsided, sun came out, the sun went away, the fog crept in, and on Wednesday night myself and a bunch of people from NFS went to watch the Giants play the Dodgers at AT&T park, which was as much as anything, a cultural experience. With the harbour as the backdrop, a packed stadium, and a nosebleed view, the Giants home ground at night was epic and beautiful. I may or may not have eaten my body weight in peanuts, leaving the outline of my shoes, surrounded by shells. To top an awesome night off, the Giants won. It was a good fill of Americana at its finest.
I spent most of my work week, working on the International Projects (IP) side of NFS, I still wore my Academy hat at times, as I had a few bit and pieces to do, but I mostly focused on IP. One of my tasks was to write an article, for which I had interviewed my mum (mom), about the NFS Australian Initiative that she is heading up in Sydney. My only brief was to tell a story; that is essentially what NFS does through all of its platforms, which is why we have been so successful, we are good at telling stories. Not For Sale was inspired by a story, the story of an artist in Thailand who would become a remarkable modern-day abolitionist, Kru Nam. Not For Sale the book is a story; an amalgamation of story’s bound together. The story that I slotted in among the necessary information about upcoming events and the NFS ethos, was about my Mother. I used a quote in which my Mum was talking about my families engagement with Not For Sale and this issue, when we all took part in the Global Forum of Human Trafficking and two Academies, which turned out to be life changing and pivotal for all of us. Me being here and my Mum being in Sydney, both working with Not For Sale, and the rest of my fam being involved, as Sly and the Family Stone would say, It’s a Family Affair.
Although I was well aware of this, it stood out to me even further, as I wrote the article, that what I am doing, working with Not For Sale, working for justice, is part of my DNA. Both of my parents have been doing this work for most of their lives. They met in Berkeley in the 70s, brought together by their faith and involvement in the anti-war anti-arms race movements of that era. That might seem like a funny family tradition, albeit a radical one. Writing the article took longer than it should have as I found myself being extremely nostalgic, dipping back into thoughts and memories of my upbringing – which at the time seemed normal, but in retrospect, were not at all. I feel really grateful above all else for the lives my parents led, that paved the path for me to get here. I’m glad I didn’t have a “normal” upbringing. Whatever a normal life is, I think in my idealised adolescence I thought I wanted one. I think now, in my late twenties, that I am in a way the sum total of all of my experiences, all the sh*t I struggled with growing up, my faith, assumed expectations, being a lazy perfectionist, happy-go-lucky, insecure, heart-on-the-sleave, brother, son, friend, boy. Now that I’m a err, not a boy, it’s starting to all make a little more sense. Clarity is something I find myself finding, as I grow older. It is definitely something I have gained throughout this experience. When I do go home I ’m going to be very deliberate about maintaining that perspective. Last week I wrote about going away to come back. I’ve done the going away bit and when I do the coming back part, I think that is going to be the truest test of all these things I think I’ve learnt. Clarity, perspective, discipline. All easy in this insular environment, less easy surrounded by the distractions of “normal” life. In time, and only in time, will time tell if it was time well spent.