At first, it was a legend, a myth on the fringes of the known. Reports came trickling back to my home swamp town of Ljubljana, carried by the messengers: random scouts, usually older women. All of them awesome, but also … a bit weird*. So I passively decided, at the age of 18 or so, to let it pass. To maybe return to the thought of going to this “E-M-V” some other day, some other era.
Flashforward to the year 2010. Many things have happened since, and one of them was I got together with this super cool scout girl that has of course, been to IMWe, but was even cool enough not to press the matter on me. New decade brought Decision-Making Power. I decided to go to IMWe. Period. I needed to see for my own eyes, what all the fuss was about.
Flashforward: Registration. What, we need to wear costumes? Mrhm…. Okay, could be fun. Hm … which planet will I come from? I don’t really have clothes for the elfish Ardor or the forested planet of Belua. Hm … The watery Oceanus is not my coup of soup, either. OOohh, I know! –
Flashforward: Arrival. Lots of people hugging in the courtyard. I am pretty sure at the end of the week, I will hug with some of those as well, when we get to know each other. But for now, I’ll just stay low.
// Come the first afternoon, I am amazed by the costumes and our leader. We are from Alcatron, the solar system’s prison planet. We are the “scum of the universe”. Epic. (AND, I get to ‘wear’ my black lipstick – left over from a Maori Haka idea from last summer’s scout camp.) We make a hymn to sing at the introduction evening, something that sounds almost, but not quite, remarkably unlike the song from the little hooded creatures from StarWars (Jawas).
Next day. The workshops start and the days start flying by. It all becomes a tangle of music, great people, dressing up and down, more music, hugs, laughs, story … I’m blown away by the storyline and the make-believe everybody chooses to be a part of. I’m bedazzled by the musical and other talents these incredible people possess and display. And the best part? Nobody is bragging about it. We are all equals. We are all human. We are all scouts. Sigh. Tear.
Flashforward: I am singing the Farewell song, with my hands and heart intertwined with these lovely people I shared a week of my life with. I loved every. single. moment. of it. Tears are welling up, both inside and under the eyes. And yet, there is room for love and hugs.
// I am happy, as the clean-up of the castle is progressing so smoothly. [whole friggin castle, owned (rented) by the scouts! Wawa-wiwa!] Everybody is working, singing, hugging, if we get a chance. Wow. It gives me new hope, and new strength: knowing that working so efficiently with people from so many different countries is possible.
FlashFWDFWD: Three years later. IMWe. Still amazed by the same things. Same make-believe. Same great spirit of camaraderie, of human-ness. I attached more than just a few pieces of my heart to one of the places I now call home: the Rieneck Castle.
Flashback: Back ‘home’ (which at the time was still Slovenia). I turn of the light, before going to sleep. I think back – was it just an incredible dream? Nooo – I still see my jagged plastic sword I wore while in costume. And my scout uniform has a new, shiny badge: IMWe 2011: Mission Supernova. I rest easy, knowing I have met some of the most amazing, most beautiful people of my life at IMWe. That I have woven the bonds that will keep for years to come. Oh, gosh, and this was just my first IMWe. #happysigh #sleep
* [In retrospective, I think the life shining through them scared me. Their ‘saying yes! to themselves’.]