It is almost 4 AM and while reasonable people would be heading off to bed, this is a life style which inspires “unreasonable” behavior. Some vignettes:
i could not get my netbook to charge this morning so i grabbed one of the many laptops which was laying around. Casa itself has a fair few, and you just log on as guest with the well known password and as the Ozzies who frequent this place might say “Bob’s your uncle”. So i was working on this Apple, which had an Italian keyboard, i stumble around and discover things like the @ sign are nowhere to be found, so i go to the handy flag icon up in the corner which drops down the other four language choices for the computer. Slovenian, Hungarian and something that i dont even recognize (since these are all in their native languages) – no English option, this is obviously someones personal computer rather than a Casa notebook. But no one is going to get upset about you using their computer, it is not that type of place.
Casa has gotten more crowded since i was last here two years ago. Shelves have gotten built, clothes hang in the minimal hallways to dry as they did not before. There are probably a dozen people sleeping here tonight, many of them did not know what room they would end up sleeping in when the day starts, it is dynamic like that. Yet dispite the number, the place feels somehow spacious – as tho an extra dimensional force is in effect. Because Willow and Hawina and i have greater needs, we forced out (gracefully without our asking) the people who were sleeping in the cave, which is a converted storage room, with three single mattresses covering the entire floor. It is considered one of the nicer spaces.
Some one offers you tea, people are always offering you things to eat. Cookies, fruit, bread, pastries – people buy stuff, people make stuff from scratch, people rescue stuff from the street market from the dumpster or just before it and turn it into amazing meals. People contribute what they can, it always seems like there is enuf, more than enuf.
Amylin (half Chinese half italian) and Dominic (from New Zealand) are watching this amazing video about these anarchists who rescue an abandoned boat and then sail it on a shoe string. it is homework for them really, they are planning to sail from Europe to New Zealand. I tell some of my boat hitching stories, they are amused and intrigued. Clearly they will create their own.
Some people are working, many people are not. I missed dinner because i had a wonderful conversation with my dear friend and old boss Honza Beranek (the subject of an upcoming blog post) but there is stuff left for me when i return. There is a full on party happening in the kitchen, and completely separate social things happening in the living room and the cave upstairs. It is lively, mostly young, very international an no one pays rent. Actually, Robin technically pays rent, but the place has been sustaining itself on donations both from people who visit and from people from afar. If it is about sustainable hospitality, then it needs to be sustainable.
It is a technophilic environment. There are lots of laptops, Mark has a new job with a free software outfit. And while most of the hosts (they are not called guests, everyone is a host here) are not programmers, there is lots of facebook and email and blogging and wiki updating happening. It is definitely the frontline of the digital nomad revolution.
As you walk into Casa there is picture of Willow from two years ago right beside the door. The picture is there because he is on a laptop and he is one of the few kids who comes thru Casa as a guest. yet when he is here he plays with the cat, talks about setting up a facebook account, responds to his email, plays some computer games and fits right in. He is not super sociable with the adults he does not know. But he was the first to suggest we leave the playground and come back to Casa today.
I have something of a problem with socks. This morning i apparently stole one of Hawina’s and she asked Willow to retrieve it. Since mine did not match i gave him both and he returned with a slightly differently mismatched pair. And upon giving it to me, he quoted this charming scene in Harry Potter saying “i am not an Owl”