Along the way to Minneapolis we stopped to visit friends, Joan and Dennis, artists, avid gardeners, and true free thinkers. There we enjoyed a couple days inside the warm house enjoying passionate conversations.
From there we went on to the big city, straight to OfeK's uncle's home, a large building on a well-known street in south Minneapolis, close to downtown. We had visited here in 1999 on our way out of the country when the building still housed an integrated health care clinic. But since then the space transformed into Ecopolitan, housing an organic vegan raw restaurant and eco-shop. There was an empty apartment below the restaurant where we stayed - the first kitchen of our own since we left Palestine!
Being in a major city definitely had its advantages. Soon after arriving we found many exciting things happening in town. Erika never thought she could survive in such cold place but she found out that Minnesotans, with the help of industrial consumerist culture, know how to heat! So from our heated building to the heated bus (and even some heated bus stops!) to our heated destination, life was comfortable. Plus, the sun was shining the majority of the time and because of the dry air, it really wasn't that hard.
During the day, Erika and Momo were often out on the town. They spent much of their time at the library and the YWCA, where Momo enjoyed the huge children' room while Erika did yoga and other classes. She regularly sat at the local Zen center and attended a free yoga class at a local herb store three times a week.
There was also a city park indoors that had weekly entertainment, ice skating rink, creek, and playground.
In 1999, when OfeK sold the vehicle which housed his mobile solar powered composing studio (a.k.a. Ktura) he left the studio (and other things) in boxes in the basement. Reuniting with the equipment, OfeK chose to spend his time creating music again, which he had put off for the past few years. He re-recorded and cleaned up a melodic piece about universal oneness called 'one' [listen] and composed two new songs both in Hebrew and English - 'I Refuse' [listen] - in solidarity with conscientious objectors, refuseniks, and all active non-cooperators of the occupation forces in Palestine and elsewhere... and 'Gaza Don't Lose Hope' [listen]. When he was done, he sold and freecycled all the equipment and the rest of stuff on Ebay. It felt good to get rid of stuff to people who really wanted them enough to pay top cash for them.
Contributing towards our stay, Erika helped at the restaurant a few times, and OfeK, who made their website, continued to enhance it, helped with technical matters, and set up a wireless Internet spot.
We also got hooked in the activist scene. We attended many pro-peace/anti-war protests and rallies and one PETA KFC protest, trudging through the snowy city streets. The turnouts to these protests were inspiring. Erika went to a couple meetings of the Revolutionary Anarchist Mom and Baby League (RAMBL), where she met other idealist mothers with young kids. A couple doors up from our place there was Arise!, a well-stocked info-shop, a great place for meeting people.
Being in close proximity to a raw restaurant we often got to enjoy gourmet raw foods and were inspired to experiment making our own, in addition to the wonderful salads we were already making. We especially liked making raw pies and sauerkraut and pickled eggplant. For most of our food, The Wedge, the largest organic co-op in the country, was two blocks down the street. There, everyday at six, they would put out the produce they couldn't sell, which was a lot! Because of this we had almost no food expenses during our stay. And with our own kitchen and without the temptations of other's foods, we finally decided to follow the totally raw diet we had wanted to for so long.
Slowly the snow started to melt, and by April we were able to enjoy going to the neighborhood parks and the lake, where Momo could play naked in the water with her friend, Maya.
Here she is at her friend Maya's 2nd birthday party.
Feeling like all was complete here in Minneapolis, we left, finally on our way out west!
And here we leave you with scenes of the meals at Ecopolitan....
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