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By Catherine Taylor

I am told, repeatedly, that each year I say “that was my favorite.”…So I won’t. But…

It could be that the site is on a coast line with gorgeous pathways and clouds that could have their own gallery.

It could be that the Othona community wrapped us into their family by setting us up to do kitchen chores in small groups. We found ourselves talking in ways we never would have otherwise. We thought we would resent the imposition and then found the chores were one of the top things enjoyed when we gave our feedback.

It could be the meeting room with comfortable cushioned chairs, sofas, and a fireplace.

It could have been the food and way we shared it. Or it could have been taking part in their morning meditation.

It could be the intimacy that gets built in a small group that cooks, eats, walks, and brushes teeth together. It’s been years since I leaned against a window ledge and talked to a man while he was shaving.

It could be having a group where there are representatives from the first European Kinship meeting and people who met us for the first time. There is something about a group helping a first-time person get over the jitters of meeting us.

It could be that we had a powerful and gentle mix of invested allies and the rest of us on the alphabet spectrum.

It could be that Floyd sets us up with a WhatsApp group that allows us to “travel” with everyone as they make the journey to our EKM home.  Or that Ingrid adds artistic touches that help us connect with and remember each other throughout the following year. Or that Tom found us a wonderful place. Or that Ruud fills in gaps that some of us don’t even remember to consider.

It could be that Helen and Mike Pearson brought an atmosphere of sharing and thinking together. Their presentations were an invitation to talk about ways we can heal ourselves and our community while we build ourselves and our community. There were some there who wanted more of a speaker presentation. They were gracious even though they didn’t get their own wishes.

Oh yes...and then there is the trip to Exeter: sightseeing in the underground tunnels, wandering the Cathedral, hugging park trees, exploring Roman walls, enjoying our great tour guide, and dining in a middle eastern restaurant decorated like the One Thousand and One Nights.

It could be and was all of those things. The only missing part was you!

Next year, we meet in the Netherlands…you are most welcome to join us!