Sunday, March 18, 2007

Today's the day.

I don't even know where to start. The last month and a half has been a whirlwind. I left my job, hopped on more than a few planes, did my best to catch up with everyone I could and give my head some time to clear after a few years on not-quite-the-right path. It didn't end up like I thought it would - I didn't surf quite as often, didn't get through all the research I've been putting aside for when I have a bit more time - didn't figure it "all" out - whatever that means. But I did learn to breathe easier about my future, to trust that gut feeling that this is the right thing to do - and most important, I realized that this really is home for me.

On Friday night my friends indulged me in a "Karaoke to keep from crying" going away party. The vast majority of the people who carried me through the past eight and a half years were here to help send me off on this next adventure. I looked around the room and saw one of my oldest college friends and roommates - now pregnant with her first child and singing her head off alongside my best friend from high school who recently moved to L.A. Two of my absolutely favorite people, sharing one of the things that brought us together - music - and having a ball. I sang Ryan Adams and let my roommate cry on my shoulder with three of my favorite women in all the world. I smoked a cigar with my best friend Eric, and took goofy pictures with my nephew (and he gets major kudos for loading up my new ipod, which Will at the Cherry Ride has suggested you all offer suggestions on a name for. I've been thinking of calling it "button" - thoughts?). We ate cupcakes until we were blue in the face, stayed up obscenely late, and I simply reveled in being surrounded by love and people who inspire me and who I know stand behind me in this step.

The past month or so has been incredible. I've been able to soak up the SoCal sun with a carefree heart. I've had my best friend who just moved to L.A. by my side for much of it - and as I type she's busy running around doing a number of little errands for me to get me ready to leave (in an hour!) and for that, I can't say thank you enough. The time with her before I leave has been grounding - a reminder that no matter where any of us go, we always end up back together and life is that much sweeter for those moments when we can live the day to day stuff together.

I have a letter on my bureau from my roommate. I know it's filled with words of encouragement, strength, love and the stuff of a friendship that will last a lifetime. I haven't been able to read it yet - I'm saving it for the airplane. Wish me luck!

With all this, and my parents helping me move, and so many words of encouragement and excitement - it's just been blessing upon heaping blessing. I must admit - there's an increasingly thicker layer of guilt I feel for leaving this all behind. Or perhaps it's because I know there have been so many times when I've taken this all for granted. Now that the day of departure is upon me, I know that I've figured out some of the most important things to life as it's meant to be lived. Friends, family, time together - holding each other up through the big stuff (and I'm being held up in so many ways right now) - it couldn't be sweeter. I don't know what radical shift I'm about to experience - it's scary and exciting - but my foundation couldn't be stronger. Clearly I don't lack words to try and identify this - but I know I'm not doing it justice.

I've got to sign off for now - I'm going to try and get some Africa links up when I get some time in an internet cafe. For now - I should be posting here: (will be set up in the next week or so).

Sorry for this frantic sign off - I will miss being able to read all your comments and stay up to date on your blogs - I'll have a lot of catching up to do when I get back! Until then - be blessed on your individual journeys, and thank you for being a part of mine.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

my life as poultry

I don't know what NVTech is - but other than that, this just about sums it up.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

the tears of life lived

Today was a day of sifting through things that were once a part of my daily life. I unpacked our storage area and priced about a million odds and ends for a garage sale tomorrow morning (well I wish it was a million odds and ends - even if I sold everything for a quarter I'd be in good shape!). Tonight, my roommate* helped me start loading up my room - taking all my sacred boxes of pictures and journals and art down from the top of my closet to get them ready to send on to their next resting place.

Regardless of whether you've laid your head to rest next to all these things every night for a number of years, it's usually only when you move that they get the love they deserve. I've come across letters I've cherished since high school. Journals full of teenage angst and the absolute explosive joy of first love. Artistic endeavors, friends now lost, trinkets collected around the world - all mementos I've carried from home to home to home.

I'm letting go of a few. The music box that plays "You are my sunshine" that the first (and somewhat only) boy to break my heart gave me on my birthday because it was our song - it's going in the garage sale pile. But there are some things, like the letter that my brother Todd wrote me on my 16th birthday that makes me cry just holding the envelope for all the love it holds inside, that will be packaged oh-so-carefully so that they can be stumbled upon once again when I figure out where I'll next call home and bring tears to my eyes once again.

And when that happens, there will be a whole new set of reminders of this time to accompany them. Pictures, and cards and music - the things that remind me of where I've been these last two and a half years - and the six before them - of the people who shared this time with me, the tasks I undertook - the heart aches, the celebrations, the losses and most importantly, the gains.

But the best parts - the things that transcend all these mementos I'll take with me are the voices I'll continue to hear (though sometimes now by phone), and the trips we'll continue to take, and the celebrations we'll continue to share. Because these eight and a half years have been life being lived, and you don't leave that behind - you take it with you.

*The Frenchman asked me the other day why I call her my roomate, and not by her name. What he should really ask is why I don't call her my darling dearest most wonderful friend - because that's what she is. But because that might make me sound suspiciously non-hetero, I stick with roomate, because this girl has lived with me, and trust that my point comes across :)

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Deconstructing Relationships

The word Relationship has two "Is" - looking at it one way each could symbolize the individuals involved. But right now I'm going to assign these Is two different definitions - imperfection, and insecurity.

As I crawl back into the world of relationships, I confront moments where I am reminded of the many facets that don't involve first dates, giggles and stolen kisses. Because along with all that fun stuff comes the reality of allowing another I-clad person into your life, and laying your own Is on the table.

Last night the Frenchman and I had a lovely meal, worked on some details for South Africa (he's going to visit at the very end of my trip) and enjoyed down town San Diego. At some point I made a joke in poor taste that ended up hurting his feelings. As I (with my head in my hands) tried to un-do what I'd done, which was to basically chide him for something that he has a lot of insecurity about, I realized that this was the first real touch of me and my imperfections meeting him and his.

As we sorted through what I'd said, and he in turn made a statement that ended up hurting my feelings (both of our actions totally unintentional and as far from malicious as could be), I realized that at some point relationships go from being surface-level and lovely by default, to deeper and lovely by virtue of really getting to know someone. Because now, in front of me, was the reality that to be with someone you have to admit to the pieces of yourself that you don't like, and accept that someone else can like you in spite of them (which was really my point in making the joke in the first place).

Nothing we were discussing was major or about deeply-seeded character traits - but this small experience did make me realize that this is where "baggage" comes up, because I was suddenly unable to imagine admitting to someone else just how far from perfect I am. I wanted to hold on to that glow I get when someone has fallen for me and I can do no wrong in their eyes. And yet that's not real, and what's more important than actually being perfect, is finding someone who you can be at peace with your imperfections with.

We both confronted this a bit last night, and I think we came out on top - our communication and care for each other remains strong - and while in the midst of it I was a bit panicked, in the end it was yet another confirmation that I'm more and more ready for the real deal. Whether this is it or not remains to be determined, but it feels real, and I know at the very least that I'm bringing the real me to the table.


Saturday, March 03, 2007

This doesn't bode well...

...for my upcoming HGTV appearance in May. Allan finally received a copy of the show he filmed while I was in Montreal with him. I make a very brief appearance looking quite baffled as I don't speak french and hadn't a clue what was going on. I do know at some point he made a catty comment about me not speaking French but I can't remember what his exact words were.

I thought it might be nice to share this and give an AYMW update. Allan continues to keep in touch as he makes his way around the world. I think his project has morphed quite a bit and I don't honestly think his focus is on finding a "wife" - if it ever was. I do think this experience will impact who he is and what he ultimately offers to whoever he finds or chooses to settle down with - though unless he's really kept me in the dark, I don't think that will be any time soon. Still, he's having a blast and he's come across some truly exceptional people - any one of which I think he'd probably be lucky to end up with. I'm still glad for my involvement and mini-adventure in Montreal, but looking back I realize I was primed for romance and ultimately, his project doesn't leave much room for that. Still, perhaps it helped me get to a point where I was better prepared to handle the Frenchman that's now in my life and not go overboard right off the bat. Watching this video I couldn't help but laugh that the two mini-romances I've had in the past six months were both with French speakers.

On that note, I bought a set of French language CDs at Costco the other day. If the cosmos are telling me anything, I suppose it's that it's time for me to learn the language of love, once and for all.


Friday, March 02, 2007


I'm behind on everything. On my to-do list, on blogging, on laundry. The only thing I can say I've been doing quite well at is taking these remaining weeks to spend time with friends - and I'm treasuring the moments I'm able to do so. It's the little things that give me that little pang in my heart - the calls from a friend who is in the neighborhood and wants to meet for coffee, the setting up a brunch date on what I know will be a sunny Sunday. Being able to see my best friend who has just moved to L.A. and simply spend the day with her. There have been concerts, and dinners, and simply wandering about with some of my favorite people - and how I will leave these, the simplest of moments, I don't know.

I didn't realize how bittersweet all of this would be. My excitement has been so big for so long in planning this adventure that I didn't realize that saying goodbye could be so hard. A few days ago my friend Josh and I were staring at a very choppy sea and contemplating surfing, and he told me he'd had a total cry fest the day before thinking about me moving. It was so touching - having a moment to realize that to someone's daily life my absence will be felt (and by the way, how awesome is a guy who can admit he cries?). How lucky am I to have someone who cares about me that much? It's these moments that I'm trying to record - to store up so I can revisit them when I need them most. Because as emotional as this week was (and it really wiped me out in a lot of ways), I have a feeling I have no idea what lies ahead.