Sunday, September 26, 2010

sticks and stones may break my bones but words...

I wrote this, i suppose it's a journal entry more than a poem, during class fall 2009 and then rewrote it fall 2010.

I'm grateful. Something woke me up.
How painful it is to know my luxury is connected to another's poverty.
or to repeatedly be made aware of my ignorance,
or to recognize that i can get married but some of my friends and family cannot.
And even more painful to feel that the more i know, the more i realize i will never know.
But let me clarify what kind of pain. it is the discomfort of pulling off the blindfold, and that is why I see it as a blessing.
Not the kind of blessing that God rewards good christians, but the kind that reminds me im human.
it requires me to SIT in the pain, it challenges me not to run from uncomfortable thoughts and situations.

Just when i want to put the blindfold back on and fall into a deep sleep,
just when i mistake my own thoughts for the ones i've been taught to think...
Relentless discomfort faithfully wakes me.
Not only does she wake me, but she says:
Reclaim! Reclaim the words that have been used to convince you femininity is objective,
reclaim the systems that teach our children to fear anything that threatens the white American dream,
reclaim the institutions that only support marriage if it's between a MAN, a WOMAN, and the CHURCH,
reclaim the notion that things are the way they are for good reason, and they always will be,
reclaim the lie that if we are all created equal then we have equal opportunity,
reclaim the media that convinces us Success looks something like a CEO, his trophy wife, and 3 children.
pardon me but, Fuck that-
I was raised by a single mother on welfare who not once, but twice, pulled herself off the streets and out of the underworld where those who've succumbed to selling themselves for crack, reside. (without a the help of a husband might i add)
THAT, is success.
it is the opposite of excess- it is doing much with very little and doing it with love.
How backwards our values can be!

So let us start by reclaiming the words that have been tainted and robbed of their beauty-
When i hear the word "God" i want to think of peace rather than patriotism.
When i see the word "Freedom" i want to remind myself that this country places freedom as a value above human lives.
When i hear the word "Community" i want to think of unity not uniformity.
i know you have words to reclaim too,and by that i mean...the words meaning is not held in a dictionary, but rather in people.
so Let us not just be a generation that just shakes our fists in defiance
-though there is a time and a place for it -
but let's also be one that redefines the truth, beauty, and goodnessthat has been robbed of our humanity...starting with the robbers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

itchin' for ink

"May my soul bloom in Love for all existance." -Rudolph Steiner
Rudolph steiner has shaped my life in more ways then i am aware of considering he created waldorf education. This quote is (at this point in my 21-year-old know-it-all faze) what i live by. Poppies are my favorite california wild flower, their color is incomparable to anything else, and i think they'd compliment this quote quite nicely as a tattoo.

My mom has worn this bracelet since she was my age, and for the last few years i too wear one. I'd love for us to eventually get this put on both of our arms permanently.

I have wanted a Mucha piece for a while now. She is by far my favorite because she is adorned with both wheat and poppies. if i were to commit to putting this lovely lady on my body, she would most definitely be a tribute to mama.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Here's to the in between's and i dont know's

Recovering has never been so numb, distant, new, confident, liberating, and haunting. i suppose that's because i've never experienced something like my 5 months in Nepal. I realize that description sounds contradictory, but if you're human you know well what it is to feel a range of emotion all at once. I cannot get myself to think, reminisce, or write about Nepal. I have (literally) swept it all under my bed because it's too much to process, so most of the time when people ask "how was your trip" i smile and answer "great." In actuality it was the longest roller coaster of emotion.

i wrote about how much ive changed, and how i wouldn't know how that change would manifest until i got home, well that change is becoming clear to me now. I care about my body, my health, my well being. I am much more skeptical of people. i am jaded. i am content with staying in one place. I am grateful something feels like home. I am realizing not everything that has purpose is for good. I am allowing myself to indulge in the aspects of America i took for granted. I am running from nostalgia. i am lonely, but i am loved. I dont have much of myself to give away. I am finally entertaining my creativity. I am facing my pain without asking questions like "why?" i am learning to forgive.

i must be ok with not knowing. i have to accept the ambiguity of my last year of college. Not only accept it but live in it and realize that when i'm 50 i will wish i could return to a time when my future was a giant question mark. Here's to the classes i have yet to take, the mistakes i will surely make, my future heart ache (im a poet?), the people i have yet to meet, and the dreams that have yet to come true.
(if a dream doesn't turn out how you'd hoped that doesn't mean it didn't come true).

Friday, June 18, 2010

The End is Near

I woke up in a cloud of mentak yuck today. possibly because i slept until noon for the first time in 4 months.
I leave here in less than two weeks, and as much as i try to savor it, or stay in the moment, i cannot fully fathom what im about to go through coming home.
However, i am getting more excited by the day. I miss my room mates, and saturday breakfast, and theological debates.
I am so curious to see how my heart and mind function in that setting again.

I made a summer wish list a while back, and i re-read it again today. I haven't quite realized it's summer since im still on my GLT. Be careful what you wish for. it was a wishful joke when i wrote "to fall in love" on there, and i certainly was not looking for it here, but it must have been looking for me. I'll spare the mushy details, because blogs are already cheesy enough, but love stories on blogs are even worse. All that to say, leaving is going to be that much harder and i have no idea what will happen. I can hear tegan and sara's "where does the good go," in me head, which im sure will only become more real to me once im home. For now i am enjoying every last second of it, and learning that love is much different than i thought it was in the past, especially when two people come from completely different worlds.

I guess ive come full circle. I look back and remember how alone and scared i was in the beginning. I have felt everything: depression, loneliness, adventure, God, anxiousness, ignorance, uselessness, belonging, friendship, change, romance, and love. so much love. Sometimes when i look out the window as we drive through kathmandu my heart feels so full that it could burst. That is a feeling i never want to forget. its human and divine at the same time. The lightening storms, the long bus rides, the hysterical laughter, the heat, spiritual experiences...Cat stevens describes kathmandu so well when he says "your strange bewildering time." It's true, one can get lost here, and many have. i certainly feel lost today and it makes me somewhat excited for to go home.

In all i am so grateful for this experience. it's been a 360, and my wish is that somehow all people could experience something so huge at some point in their lifetime. I can only hope to return and live here again someday. Living in a third world country has opened my eyes to how vast God is and how miniscule we are. Hopefully i will continue to feel smaller and smaller throughout my life, because it reminds me that me ego is not me, and that i am no more important than the next person.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

only in dreams

i have no idea what is real anymore.
when i think about azusa, my college life, and the contentment i felt there, it hardly feels familiar.
It frightens me and i keep thinking i'll wake up at some point and that'll feel like home again, but that hasn't happened yet.
At least i've learned that with enough time even the most foreign of places becomes familiar, so much so that i can't imagine life any other way. I guess thats what GLT is all about...learning to live, not just experience, somewhere that is nothing like home.
My heart is huge, and alive, and full of love. I have changed so much and i know that i won't fully realize to what extent ive changed until i step foot back on california soil. For now, i have to remember to be present.

I turned 21 a few days ago. this birthday felt different for many reasons, but mostly because it forced me to reflect on who ive become and what it means to enter into adulthood. Im not holding back. Im letting go of who i was according to what i'd done or hadn't done, and it's a beautiful thing. it's also frightening. I have moments here i find myself saying holy shit, i am so alone and im doing things ive never done. But that's what living is after all.

as im writing this i can here the maoists rallying in the streets, and im watching lightening turn kathmandu purple. good night.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

and it stoned me

Holy shit it's happened,
i don't want to leave.
Today hit me hard. suddenly two months does not seem like enough time left here.
I looked around and nothing seemed foreign. It felt like one of those hot summer evenings, when the sun doesn't set until 8 and no matter what you do you're in a romantic mood.
It's become home. The paths i walk every day, the people, the daily routine.
i could live here without the prospect of coming back to the states if it weren't for the relationships i have back home.
I will find a way to come back here, or maybe even live here again.
That, i am sure of.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Half Way Point

After being here two months i have a "life."
Not that i didnt before, but two months is enough time to create familiarity.
I realized today that though it all feels comfortable now, it is nothing like my life at home.

Every morning i wake up to the ringing of Puja bells and the chorus of 50 screaming toddlers outside at the Nursery.
I drink my nescafe (Nanu didi knows how to make it taste like a real latte) and mentally prepare myself for what the day holds.
On bad days i force myself to go immediately outside after waking up, to be greeted by a slew of tiny people who have nothing but love and joy to give me. Instantly i am reminded of how miniscule my problems are and how gigantic my mind makes them seem. Hug a baby, it's therapy.

Walking! walking has saved my life. I have no perception of how far i walk every day but my body certainly feels it and it's now become something i look forward to most every day, regardless of the heat. I will certainly miss walking by the royal palace, having to squeeze through the traffic jam at Durbar marg (while nearly being run over), passing the fruit stands and the ice cream man, and having to cross the street because someone's livestock is blocking the sidewalk. You come to know a place in a completely different way if you've walked it, which is something i didn't realize until LA term.

as for eating, i hate to admit i am now on a first name basis with all the waiters at Noma Buddha, OR2k, and Imago dei. Becca and i always bitch about how we spend all our money on food, but you would too if you had to eat daal bat 3 times day. My excuse is that i have to do homework and they have wifi, but the atmosphere and the friends ive made has much to do with it. I find myself asking the question "why havent i befriended the clerks and waiters at the places i frequent back home?" I suppose i don't desire familiarity or comfort at home, or ive just been conditioned to be impersonal.

Im going to miss being startled mid-tromp by Kishwor yelling "Eyy Kanchi!" from across the street. I have a million Nepali teachers at this point because Narayan, and all the boys at OR2k love to call me out when i say something wrong. When i get home Ashish just yells at me in Nepali (even though he speaks fluent English), because he gets such a kick out of seeing the confusion on my face. I am getting much better at speaking, mostly from just listening to people speak around me. Nepali is nothing like english and trying to compare it structurally to english gets me nowhere. Still, i get way too excited when i can understand a conversation.

You never know where Kathmandu will take you. You find yourself walking down cobblestone streets, through colors, spices, fruits, children, music, temples, and end up somewhere magical. The most recent discovery being the Lassi place near Durbar square. It is so worth the walk. When you arrive you have to fight through the crowd outside the shop to pay for your 30 rupee (50 cent) lassi, but after one sip you're suddenly in yogurt-honey heaven. Every time we find ourselves saying, "They put SOMETHING in this shit, its too good." I've been lucky to make friends who are as up for an adventure as I am. Rosey and i have found ourselves on the roof at the summit hotel, or in the middle of the street surrounded by cops in riot gear. Becca and i have also had our share of memorable moments, let us not forget the man that asked to "sex" her on the street, or the day we up and left to Bhaktapur and realized we were in a time warp walking through the most ancient of streets and palaces.

Coming home to Bina's beaming face every day is truly like having a second mother. Her first question is "Ke Khane" (what do you want to eat), like a good mom she wants to fatten us up, and it's working. My room is my refuge. Saluna, becca and i have spent hours hysterically laughing, whether it be at movies, ourselves, or our daily debocles. The biggest question every night is "when is the light coming?" Since this country is on a load sharing schedule we only get power a few hours a day (thanks india) which means limited tv or computer time. When theres no light we sit around, eat, sing, laugh and realize life is so much better when you have to enjoy each other because theres no other option. But when there is light we find ourselves facebook chatting one room over and pathetically laughing about it. Of course i don't go to sleep without my "gumby" routine as becca calls it. Ive made a habbit of stretching/flailing/doing yoga before i go to bed. She never ceases to laugh at me with my legs over my head, especially after i seriously ripped a muscle in my ass. But my body feels significantly stronger and better every night and morning from my little 15 minute routine.

I find the most comfort in music. When i close my eyes before bed i tend to listen to the songs that i most vividly remember dancing to with my roommates, or singing to in the car (i'll spare you the actual soundtrack). Sometimes i get so carried away i forget im here, and azusa almost feels tangible. You don't know how much you love a place until you leave it. Im sure that will be the case with Kathmandu as well.

When you live abroad time is not money like it is in the states. I have been sleeping more, reading more, walking more, quieting myself more, and working on being a healthier person. And this time i feel it. When i have a problem i do not dwell on it, i let that shit go before it ruins my day. When time is not an issue you can go sit and be quiet for 20 minutes without it effecting any of your responsibilities. Im still not sure how these things will play into my life back home. I never used to take time to read, to stretch, and i certainly never got enough sleep. Most importantly i never took 20 minutes out of my day to stare at the sky and quiet my mind.

it's a beautiful life and im not taking a moment for granted. There is so much more i could describe about what ive experience here, but i'll save that for another time. .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Be set free

I let it go.
what was, what is to come.
I breathed in, went to sleep, and woke up, finally, on the right side of the bed.

Im here and will be for weeks to come.
My imagination has been a good friend but i finally had to tell it to fuck off.
Reality check, im still here.

Time still baffles me. Just when you think you can't take it anymore, it has passed.
I had to let it all go, because i knew i'd regret returning
"home" without ever fully accepting that this place is also my "home"

Today my reverence and gratitude are pointed inward. Something eternal lives in me, and always has.
I love myself. Not me, the part of me that is you, that is everyone, that is eternal.
it sounds ridiculous until it happens to you.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Some of my must-do's for summer 2k10, one can dream right?
Skinny dipping
breakfast at 1am (we're talkin' full breakfast, fruit & all)
pull an all nighter, maybe 2, maybe 10
grow sunflowers again
go camping
make my own ice cream
fall in love
acquire a few more freckles
trips to grandma's house
read "The Power of Now"
topless cigarette nights
walk more, ride more, drive less
so much taco king
give love, share love
T or D
take the train to LA
tell mama i love her every day
fly a kite
play, and sing, and play some more
celebrate the full moon
get in trouble

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Ive been here six weeks and i havent been able to get myself to write in this thing once. thats probably because ive had to update my life to people back home on a daily basis and the last thing i want to do is update it in a blog.
...where to begin,
Life here is beautiful. I am having a much easier GLT than i had expected. Of course I've been sick, had bad days, cried a little, but nothing too extreme...yet. My challenges have mostly been internal.

My biggest challenge by far has been letting go of home. The first month i was here i only had reoccurring dreams of my roommates and friends. The night i finally dreamt of Nepal i also dreamt that i shaved my head. When i woke up i knew i had been made aware of my codependence on "home". I am now reminding myself moment by moment that it's ok to experience these beautiful colors, people, rituals, smells, moments...without my loved ones. If all i am thinking about is how much my friends would enjoy this if they were here, i can never fully experience it. The practice of being present is extremely hard, especially when your mind tends to break things up into increments of time. I tend to count my days here in weeks, and then months, and then quarters, and thirds, etc. etc.

Ive found that gratitude not only keeps me present, it reminds me to be grateful for my solitude. Gratitude is like an all purpose house cleaner, it gets rid of all kinds of ickies. There is so much more ive realized about myself, and humanity in general, in the short time that ive been here. The whole lense through which i view the world with has been shifted. Culture is no longer a barrier. When you learn to love someone that you have nothing in common with, you realize where our true humanity lies. It is not something i can explain, it just has to be experienced.

i take comfort in knowing that some of my fellow GLT-ers are out there feeling the same shit i am. The solidarity we'll have in returning back to the distorted world that is APU, will most likely be a large contributor to my sanity senior year. until then...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Where did december & January go?

Between finals, the holidays, traveling, and planning my GLT i have not had time to make my weekly lists.
Actually, i have been making lists but not the good kind. Rather, the kind that say " order books, doctor appointment, visa application, etc."
December and january have been full of all nighters, dancing, $2 chuck, road trip, friends falling in love, friends falling apart, eating a lot, nostalgia, coffee, thrifty treasures, and by far the most laughter one can experience on a daily basis. not to mention some tears too.

We had a picnic

the wonderful Kyle Neal recorded some of my stuff for the first time.

Redding was the first stop on our road trip, and the best stop at that.

We spent New Years in San Fran!

Estee and i let our impulse get the best of us on Haight, and now we have permanent souvenirs.

As for January, planning and moving has consumed my time.
I'm Headed to Kathmandu in a few weeks, and i still dont know much of what im doing or what's going to happen. But i'm not freaking out...yet.

I will do my best to update the blog while im there because people (like my mom and grandma) might actually want to read it. I also might have to learn to elaborate more because lists just don't work when you're trying to convey life on the other side of the world.

As for my newest music addictions-
i have rediscovered music i loved in high school and given it another chance.
bright eyes- Im Wide awake it's morning & Lifted
RX bandits- And the Battle Begun
& Noah and the Whale

Go find a few albums you havent listened to in years, you'll be surprised what your ears hear now.