So Happy I Could Die – On 32 Trips Around the Sun (and my final days at Green String Farm)

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This post is starting with a Lady Gaga song, but bear with me here it will make sense soon.

Just know when that glass is empty
That the world is gonna bend

The last time I remember listening to this song and feeling it this strongly on a deeper level was six years ago. I had just broken up with the person I expected to marry and grow old with. I was finally breaking through the sad part of the grief cycle and into the strong independent woman stage. It was New Year’s Day of 2010 and I splurged and took the train to New York City to meet up with my best friends from college. Life as I knew it was over, but a new exciting life was beginning and starting off with the people I loved most in the world.

I listened to this song repeatedly on the train and thought of all the new adventures I’d be having in the days/months/years to come. Just as the lyrics go we spent the weekend painting the town red, laughing until we cried, drinking ourselves silly, wearing all black in tribute to the recently deceased Brittany Murphy, and closing down bars at gay clubs. As silly as it feels to relate to a Lady GaGa song, this song will always bring back prominent memories of a really important and transformative time in my life (We won’t get started on “Monster”).

The past seven years certainly were an adventure. New loves and losses, changes in friendships as people grew apart due to distance/relationships/everything/nothing, (multiple) drastic changes in my career path, etc. The last of which brings me to where I am today.


I write this on the 32nd anniversary of my existence while preparing for the final week of my internship at Green String Institute. I’m sitting in the Schoolhouse, reminiscing on the most unique summer of my life while listening to So Happy I Could Die on loop again and thinking about how far I’ve come since this song first came into my life. For the first time in seven years, this song represents my feelings perfectly (minus the clubs and sexual references, but keeping the red wine). There are still difficulties in life and things to work through, but looking at my life now compared to what I was expecting in 2009, I am completely blown away.

My original expectations to frantically blog about every detail of this internship were thwarted by lack of wifi and time/care to go to coffee shops and make it happen. I have detailed accounts of things in a spreadsheet and do plan to have a section of my website dedicated to the internship, but for now the memories are scribbled here and there and locked within (hundreds of) photos on my phone/computer/whatever waiting to be carefully unpacked and organized. I think it’s better this way because it gives me a way to debrief and reassess the things I’ve learned while at Green String.

What I can say is that eleven weeks flew by as a foreign peach house and it’s surrounding vineyards turned into home and eight intimidating strangers turned into the people who know me inside and out, who see me first thing in the morning and hear me farting in my sleep, who listen to me rant and rage, who encourage me to be comfortable with my feelings and then console me when I cry, and the people who have brought more happiness to my life than I’ve felt in a long time.

Adirchai flies me on his feet relaxing my brain and my body at the same time, he also reminds us all to live our lives however the hell we want… even if that means showing up to class in your underoos; Cynthia reminds me to be kind and gentle, and to maybe set that tick free instead of squashing it, just this one time; Dylan makes me laugh more than I want to admit with his puns and taught me to make bread; Jordin teaches me how to properly spice food and inspires me to stop being so shy and sing out loud; Madi inspires me to think deeper about bigger issues in the world and teaches me to be kinder to myself; Mollie calmly listens to and helps end my most anxious moments (and bakes the most delicious pies I’ve ever eaten); Nita encourages me to express myself even in times of sadness (and she’s funny AF); Stephen reminds me to live in the moment and stop being so stressed out over nothing/everything.

I thought that maybe one day I might wake up and be so accustomed to being here that I am no longer enthralled by the beauty of the farm, but I still take moments throughout the day to look around and it never fails to make me smile. Green String’s beauty absorbs you body and soul and I have to keep reminding myself that this won’t be home forever. I can only imagine the harsh reality that’s awaiting me when Green String spits me back out into the real world. Luckily, I’ll only be in the urban center (as Bob calls it) for a few days before heading to my next farm adventure at Cloudview Ecofarm in Royal City, WA (more on that in another entry).

As I prepare for our final week, I find myself frantically trying to remember the best moments of the summer to recall here. There are more than I could ever transcribe, but a broad view plays a movie reel of memories: our whole intern family laughing over beautiful meals composed entirely of vegetables we’ve grown and harvested ourselves; the group sitting under a willow tree-sprawled across chairs and a picnic table-all eyes on Bob as he reveals personal stories from his past that strike us all silent, absorbing every word; a Saturday morning spent gathered around a long table at the ironworks as Aurelio gives us life advice so profound it brings tears to multiple intern’s eyes; a dramatic game of would you rather where we bite our fingernails and try to decide if it would be worse to have six foot arms (as in length) or six foot-arms (as in feet for arms) for life; Madi’s excited announcements to the entire group; whenever she’s decided that she is going to make an egg; the shared stress of a sternly worded letter from Suzie; more free wine tastings than I can possibly count; the never-ending sound of the piano in the intern house; more fresh baked bread than I’ve consumed in my entire life; the awkward shifting of eyes as we all claim innocence upon discovering someone wheel hoed a row of dill mistaken for weeds; laughing until tears streamed down our faces at the dramatic reading of a science fiction story by Dylan about our time here-and again when we had Bob read it; sneakily crowding around a window with interns who will remain nameless, trying to catch a glimpse of dreamy graduate student Sean without his hat on. The list could go on until my fingers bled from typing.

The point of all this is to say that another year has flown by and I’m in a place I couldn’t have dreamed of last August. Once again, life as I knew it is over, but a new and exciting life is just beginning. Here’s to a lifetime of memories made at Green String and to my 33rd trip around the sun being bigger, brighter, and happier than I can even imagine.

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About tamarahala

Tamara is currently living in Petaluma, CA as an intern at Green String Institute! She is a mixed media artist, student aerialist, and former neuroscientist.

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