My Secret Garden

Today I’m gonna tell you another story that will probably make you think I’m completely crazy. Alright, here we go.

This happened back in the end of February. And things were starting to look good, I had just made a new friend (Laurinha) and had just found out that I was accepted into the altMBA. But I still felt… bored.

All I was doing (when not exercising or doing chores around the house) was studying for the SAT (fun!), slowly working on my coding skills (this actually is fun, but again SLOWW), and “exploring my interests” which pretty much just means reading about whatever the hell I want, hoping I’ll get a clue of what I want to spend thousands of hours studying in the future.

But these hobbies, even though I know they will help me one day, don’t really give me any instant gratification or that feeling of “hey! I did something today”. And they involved a lot of sitting around. I hate sitting.

So, on a beautiful rest day, when my butt got tired of the chair – partially inspired by the book I was reading about WW2 at the time – I had what seemed to be the greatest idea of all time: I’m going to start a garden!

There’s just one little problem – I live in a pretty modern neighborhood. There’s barely any land left for houses.

My mom was very mad at me at first: “you don’t even water the little plants we have in the balcony!”

Well, of course I don’t, they are little. If I’m gonna have a garden, I want it to be the best frickin garden in town!

To that she rolled her eyes, but then she gave me the solution. She has a friend that lives here in Jurerê and next to her house there’s an abandoned lot. Apparently, the owner of the lot told my mom’s friend that she could use for something if she’d like and she had already thought of planting some stuff there but just hadn’t had the chance.

The gods approve!

Crazy idea… check!

Land to plant on… check!

My mom says that she’ll talk to her friend to pay someone to go clean the lot and get it ready for me to plant.

My first instinct was to say: NO! If I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do all of it! I’m not paying someone to make it pretty and easy, what’s the point in that?

That same day I asked Laurinha a very weird question: “hey, Laurinha, you wouldn’t happen to have a hoe I could use right?” she must have thought I was completely crazy – keep in mind our friendship was just starting and she was just beginning to comprehend what she was getting herself into.

Surprisingly enough, she said yes!

So, later that afternoon, I ran to her house and borrowed the hoe. Then, I began to make my way to the lot.

It’s only like a 5 minute walk away from her house but I was still learning my way around the new neighborhood and I got just a little lost… nothing more normal then a lost teenager walking around with a huge hoe on her shoulder. I got some funny, and maybe even scared, looks. I’m surprised no one called the police. But, eventually found my way to the lot and sized the job ahead of me.

Here’s what it looked like before:

I figured it would take me a little while to clean it all up, but I could probably get it done in like… 40 minutes right?

Hahaah silly Luisa.

It took me almost 2 hours of pretty intense work.

But it wasn’t too bad, I even got some prizes!

It was pretty comical actually, I would smash the dirt with the hoe and a random onion or sweet potato would spawn from the ground (Very similar to when you right click grass in MINECRAFT).

When I was finally done, all covered in dirt and sweat (because of course I figured the middle of the afternoon on a sunny summer day was the best time to do this) this is what my future-garden looked like:

Not too bad, not bad at all.

Next step: actually plant something.

I figured it was enough gardening for a day and I still had to take the hoe back (more funny stares from the neighbors), but that same week I rode my bike to a flower shop and bought some seeds and saplings.

Here’s what it looked like when after I had planted my little seeds 😌

And here’s what it’s looking like today:

Needless to say I’m pretty proud of my little garden and it’s a good place to go when I need some time away from the daily stresses of life.

On one of these days, as I watched the seed finally germinate and slowly win their battle against gravity, I stumbled across a curious question: how do seeds know how to grow up? How do the specializing cells of the plant know that the “root” cells have to go “down” and the rest “up”?

If you’re also curious about this, check out this post (coming soon) where I try to answer those very questions.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed and maybe even had a laugh.

And finally, what is something you’d like to do? Not thinking about a huge reward in the future, not thinking about being “productive” or getting anything away from it.
Just for the joy of doing it.

Thank you for reading! 

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