Open Arms

Troi is one of our eight Summer Apprentices this year.  She’s described her personal experience during her first weeks here.  We always say “working in service to others is curative and puts life in perspective”.  Troi’s story exemplifies this.

Written by: Troi Gale

Tatu, Dar, Loulis, and the rest of the CHCI family have welcomed the apprentices with open arms, and in only two weeks have given me a life changing experience. I have six weeks left of this apprenticeship and if I can feel such monumental change and growth within myself in the first two weeks, I can only suspect that I might be an entirely different person by the time I return home.

This experience has pushed me so far out of my comfort zone. I decided to not stay in the dorms or rent a place here in Ellensburg, and instead couch surf the whole time. As a shy and timid individual who hates to be in other people’s way, this has been one of my bigger challenges to overcome. But that is small in comparison to the bounds beyond my comfort zone I am reaching thru this program. I am used to routine. I am used to running at the speed of light and never slowing down because, who knows what slowing down could cause within myself. I am used to an anxiety disorder that sometimes overwhelms me. I am used to reaching for my dreams and achieving them. This dream however, adds an entirely different dimension to my aspirations.

But here’s the thing, serving other beings is one of the most powerful experiences to be had! I can deal with being thrown outside of my comfort zone and having three panic attacks the first week I am here, because when I am making dinner for Tatu, Dar, and Loulis and I know it is something they are going to enjoy, the anxiety leaves. I know that by planning an enrichment day just for them and making sure that I utilize my resources, I will glow and gush and feel at peace. I have come to figure out that slowing down and taking an hour to work on creative enrichment projects for them, also enriches me. I feel that putting out items and tea for “tea day” and then hearing about Tatu emerging into the outside enclosure while sipping tea from a teacup was exactly what I had hoped for. There is also something so special when Tatu comes right up to me out on berm and starts signing “BLACK BLACK, THAT BLACK” to let me know she likes my black leather jacket. All that to say. . .

Everyday, there is a new experience to be had, projects to be worked on, things that inspire and challenge me, and growth that is at my doorstep. While we are attempting to assist the chimpanzees, they are really the ones teaching us about ourselves and the way of a good life. I am so happy I am here and get to envelop myself in this experience. I am looking forward to the many many things I learn from Tatu, Dar, Loulis and the rest of the CHCI family.

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One Response to Open Arms

  1. Sandy Hanson says:

    Kudos to you Troi. And, BTW, you’re a gifted writer!

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