According to Wikipedia, community is a social group of organisms sharing an environment, normally with shared interests. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs, risks and a number of other conditions may be present and common, affecting the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness.

I like to ask myself who makes up my community. Family? Yes. Friends? Yes. Coworkers and volunteers and associates from all my jobs? Yes! The community I am part of is large, but as time passes I begin to see the beauty in my growing community; the larger it becomes, the smaller it feels.

Britney, my friend and roommate, is working on a folklore project about our friends and how our sense of community is defined. Bicycles, laughter, good drinks and good food, a kitchen table and lots of conversation are the most basic characteristics of our family of friends. We also enjoy "making things" with our hands, and we each have our areas of expertise. In this house we do thing a bit different than the rest of the world...

In Britney's study, the word "communalism" is used to describe our way of life and interactions with each other. I believe it was my friend Justin who created this word, and although it lacks a technical definition, we all understand it's meaning. Allow me to further explain us to you.

Living in this house are 2 full time students:

Sara studies something in Natural Resources... environmental ecology?? I never remember the exact term. She completed a year with AmeriCorps before starting college, and last year she was in Spain doing a study abroad program. Sara and I share a room... even though there's an extra empty room in our apartment. We agree that it's nice to wake up to someone else in the morning, and our room is so cozy with the rainbow striped Pace (Italian for peace) flag hanging over our window and random house plants. Sara is rather soft spoken in her mannerisms. We both wear skirts more than we do pants, and we are coworkers in the Wildland Soils lab.

Britney is a student in the horticulture program and this is her final semester as an undergrad; she will be returning to school next fall as a graduate student studying the effects of high tunnels, a low cost green house used to extend the growing season. She is an artist; we are lucky to have her creative energy fill the house, as well as creations of hers decorating the walls. Britney is rather blunt, often speaking her mind when others wouldn't, and I like it. We frequently joke about how amazing we are... but sometimes feel guilt for our egotistical views.

Also living in the house, myself.

I'm not sure what to say about myself. I'm an undeclared student at USU, but am taking this semester off to work myself to the bone and remember how much I love classes. I enjoy translating classical Latin, cooking good meals, and dancing wherever I go. I'm pretty free spirited and somewhat of a wild thinker... like when I decided to live in the mountains for a while, or suggested to my roommates that we do away with toilet paper and instead use a hand-held bidet and sections of cloth. I find myself hard to define. Maybe you can help...

AND, not living in the house, but practically a roommate, is Justin. Justin is a student in the Anthropology program at USU and will be graduating in the Spring. Before he does that, however, he will be taking over as Volunteer Coordinator at GVG when I leave. He carves wooden trinkets, smokes a pipe, and brews his own beer. Justin does not drive a car (Sara, too!) and is a vegetarian.

We are all very honest with each other.

There are numerous other friends in our group but I feel these 4 people make up the tight-knit household we live in. In our home we do not have television-- there is a rarely used television in the living room sometimes used for movies, but in the two months I've lived here have only used it once (in conjunction with 3 other people). Instead, we sit around doing other thing like cooking, eating, drinking, laughing, studying, planning and plotting our future endeavors, and each of us completing random crafts. We like to listen to the radio program "This American Life" and other talk radio shows. We sometimes think our conversations are worthy of recording and playback for the outside world, and I secretly wish for us to have our own feature on the radio.

Morning, noon, and night I could spend with these friends. They make my life whole.


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