29 January 2011

There are no words.

Yesterday was brutal. I was a mess. Currently typing this in the Jo-burg airport waiting (seven hours) to catch my flight to Sydney. And all I can think about is Haines and Dulla and my Mighty Mighty Jambiani.

I break into tears pretty much at the drop of the hat, but then one of the vols had to go and post this picture and I fuckin' lost it. Wow, does this feeling hurt...

Both Dulla and Toni said to me before I left that they were 100% sure that they'd see me back in Jambiani again. God, I hope they're right. It would hurt too much if I were to disappoint them.

Currently am too numb and exhausted to type much more. Maybe after I catch up on all of my movies (thank you 14 hours of free movies, Qantas!) and am shoved back into culture shock mode.

My heart was just left behind in Zanzi, but what I have to spare I'm sending to you guys.

23 January 2011

Changing Colours

You look at me with uncertainty
You look at me with urgency
You look at me with fear in your eyes
Like you’re about to fall away

But don’t be afraid to change your colours now
I’ve known you’ve all summer
And you’ve rose above it all
I see you hesitate to fall down
But it’s a pretty good view from down here too

And when the wind takes you
It takes me too
When you change colours
I’ll change mine too
Try not to think
And I will try too
When you let go,
I will let go too

Knew you when you were green and small
Like a feather on a wing solo
You know I will miss you when you are gone
But don’t be afraid
If you just can’t hang on…

The cold air is pushing hard on you
I know what you say, I can feel it too
You’ll go through changes,
I’ll go through them too…

Yet another random tangent about how music affects me. We can thank this week’s tangent to the wonderful, ever-talented Josh Groban and his cover (?) of ‘Changing Colours.’ Obviously, the lyrics are above; the bolded and underlined are the ones that make me catch myself and stop to think. It seems that it’s a song of comfort, and words cannot describe how much I need that song of comfort right now. As I’ve mentioned several times previously, I’m absolutely terrified about what’s going to happen within the next two months (OMG, exactly that on my birthday…). But with this song, as silly as it may sound, I can imagine someone in my corner, rooting for me. I can imagine a boyfriend/friend just sitting me down and saying, ‘Look, I know you’re scared and unsure about things, but that’s ok. You’re allowed to struggle and fall, so long as you don’t take it too hard and you pick yourself up after. I’ll be with you every step of the way; that’s what I’m here for – to be your calm through the storm.’ I also think this song accurately describes the normal progression of life: starting timid and shy, but then letting go and changing colours, making leaps and bounds to become a new, better person. Like I said, I know it sounds silly, but sometimes I really do need those stupidly vivid pictures like this that come with certain songs. Cases in point: ‘Edge of Desire,’ ‘Never Think,’ ‘Nicest Thing,’ and ‘Wheel.’ 

I’ve already started having to mentally prepare myself for what is going to end up happening on Friday. I can honestly say that I have NO fucking idea what’s going to happen, other than my being an emotional wreck. I don’t know that I’ll be able to say goodbye to Dulla, Toni, the kids, and the boys (with one in particular). I’ve been with these guys for four months, practically every day – I just don’t feel that I can properly walk away from something like that. These people have become my family, my rock away from home, and knowing that I have to leave them with no certainty that I’ll ever see them again (despite how much I want to), is just heart-wrenching. I got lucky last summer when I was here the first time, as I kept in touch and made a decent enough impression for them to want me to come back, but there was once again that fear that that goodbye would be the end. They’ve all been so instrumental in who I’ve become as a person, that I can’t bring myself to say goodbye! I don’t want it to seem like I won’t try and keep in contact with them, ‘cause God knows I do, I love these guys with my whole heart, I just don’t know the likelihood of that happening; everyone’s lives continue on. The same can be said for the few vols that have weaseled their ways into my life as well (you know who you are!) – there is a very low chance, unless we bust ass and MAKE it happen, that we’ll be nothing more than really awesome Facebook buddies. This is me being pessimistic, obviously, ‘cause I’m only going to get as much out of it as I put in, but while on the having-to-say-goodbye-and-losing-friends track, I’m just going to roll with it.

There’s one guy in particular that I’m so confused about saying goodbye to – we kind of had a fling (if you can even really call it that) while I’ve been here. Like, it’s been nice and fun while it’s lasted, but what do you say to end that? Knowing that there won’t ever be anything more? And with my trains of thought as they are, I don’t even know how genuine he is/was about the whole thing! Alright, I’m going to sound like an uber-bitch when I say this, but it’s kind of true: sometimes with the guys here, and the relationships that may or may not occur, there is an ulterior motive at work. I’d like to HOPE that said guy wouldn’t do something like that and that he’s genuinely interested in me, but there’s always that little niggling feeling at the back of my head. I can’t honestly say that I want to continue anything long-distance, especially what with all the shit I have to deal with when I go back to the States – reverse culture shock, more goodbyes (harder ones!), and getting ready for PC. Sorry, buddy, but you just won’t be my priority. But how does one get that across in a nice way while saying goodbye all at once? Sometimes I feel like I just want to ignore the whole problem and hope that it’ll all just go away, but I know it won’t and that’s probably the worst possible thing I could do… I’ve never had to do this before and I feel that no matter what I’m do I’ll be doing the wrong thing and botch it all completely.

Words cannot describe how much I love every single one of you and cannot wait to see your smiling, beautiful faces when I get home. Pay attention to that last entry so we make sure to see each other before Kyrgyzstan!

18 January 2011

Calendars at the ready?

Hello my lovely, lovely friends and family! I now have a tentative plan for my trip to Oz/NZ and the five weeks I shall be in the States before departing to the unknown of Kyrgsrueiwoabjklt-stan. :) Please pay attention and start planning accordingly, 'cause obviously I want to see each and every one of you as much as humanly possible. Haha.

Continuation of Holiday
30 Jan - 3 Feb: Sydney.
3 - 6 Feb: Melbourne.
6 - 16 Feb: Auckland/random places in NZ.

Back in the States
16 - 25 Feb: Omaha.
25 Feb - 1 (or 2) March: Chi!
1 (or 2) - 8 March: G'ma and G'pa's!
8 March: Williamsburg - ELLIOTTS!
9 - 14 March: DC - Caps/Hawks, Ri, and assorted family members.
14 - 17 March: NYC
17 (hopefully early enough!) - 19 March: Chi.
19 - 25 March: Omaha.

Hopefully this all makes sense. And as I said, it's all tentative, as we (Mom and I) haven't actually looked at tickets and such yet.


06 January 2011

Happy New Yearrrr! :)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Who has any fun stories from New Year’s Eve? Come on, someone keep me updated on everyone’s fun, partying lives!

It’s quite weird to think that it’s already 2011. Where the hell did 2010 go?! I feel like I don’t remember any of it! Which is sad and quite embarrassing, because quite a number of important things happened over the year! Another tattoo, tons of amazing concerts, stellar trips, graduating from uni, back to Africa, wonderful memories and friendships… I mean, who could forget John with my mom and bestie (yes, I did cry during ‘Edge of Desire’ during the encore)? Or laughing my arse off at Tyler Perry’s Madea? Or seeing my mates from Edinburgh? Or the many crazy nights in Chicago with The Birches or at Madonnarama with my Disney crew? Forcing Kathryn to take me to Hobbiton for my birthday – nothing better! ;) It astounds me that so much has taken place in the span of 365 days. And I am sincerely, utterly grateful for every single one of those three hundred and sixty-five (it wasn’t a leap year, was it?) days. I really have been, and continue to be, so lucky and privileged to have been able to do the aforementioned things and to go to these amazing places.

And, to think, so much more is to come in the next few months and over the course of two years! MOM COMING TO AFRICA IN FOUR DAYS! [I know it sounds incredibly silly and childish to be so excited about your mother coming to visit, but she really is one of my best friends and I’ve missed her so much over the past four months! Can only imagine the kind of havoc we’ll wreak on Jambiani once she gets here. PUMPED.] Another birthday (an odd number one! L) in 21 days. A jaunt over to Oz and NZ – friends, plays, and Hobbits? Yes, please! Tazer and Laichs with Risa in DC. Norbert (hopefully/FINALLY!) in NYC. Traveling to say goodbye in Georgia, Chicago, Virginia, DC, etc. Heading to Kyrgyzstan for the Peace Corps waaaay too soon. There’s so much in need of being crammed in once I get home. Everything is happening so quickly; too quickly for me to really get myself mentally prepared for whatever is ahead. I know I keep harping on this fact; it’s just all catching up with me now, catching me off entirely guard. At this precise moment in time, I’m scared absolutely shitless about what’s going to happen in March. Like, actually crying about it while I type this. I’m scared. I know you’re tired of me saying this over and over, but I’m terrified.

There’s a quote from a book that I talked about a few weeks ago (Night Train to Lisbon) that I feel fits my inability to really articulate how much everything I’ve done and will do means to me. ‘Of the thousand experiences we have, we find language for one at most and even this one merely by chance and without the care it deserves. Buried under all the mute experiences are those unseen ones that give our life its form, its colour, and its melody.’ So, even though I’ve experienced (and will continue to do so over the course of the next 27 months, and the rest of my life) all of these monumental things, it’s the little things that really shape and influence me. The days when nothing outstanding happens are the ones that actually mean the most. Finding out who we all are through the little things; growing inch by inch, day by day. And now that that’s written, I have absolutely no idea if it even makes sense, but I’m rollin’ with it anyway. ;)

Today was the first day back to nursery school for me. It was definitely a weird experience to walk into my classroom at Kikadini and NOT have my normal kids in class since all of ‘em (but one – poor Muza!) moved up a class. I don’t know how teachers handle that, year after year. You get so attached and used to your kids and then they’re gone! It doesn’t seem fair. I’m not sure I could do that every single year. I have so much more respect for the teachers I’ve had in the past and all of my friends who are now teachers. You all are amazing at letting go! How do you do it? Any suggestions for me for my near future? I guess this should act as practice for my job in Peace Corps, eh? Even though it’ll be with high school students (dear God, save me already) instead of ickle ones. Think that will make it easier or harder to say bye at the end of each school year?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bookworm. To the nth degree. Almost embarrassingly so, but that’s just me. Haha. Anyway, I think it’s about time that I update everyone on my latest reading endeavors and offer book suggestions for everyone. Get ready; there are quite a few (which is what happens when you have nothing to do for two weeks but lay in the sun and read).

  • The Eight by Katherine Neville – this is one I reread ‘cause I love it so much. It’s kind of like The DaVinci Code, except not at all. Haha. Think a chess set, that when played correctly, uncovers a dark secret. Phenom. Promise.
  • The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – LONG. Was an alright story, but really only finished it so that I would know what’s going on in the miniseries (if I ever get the chance to see it).
  • Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin – I thought it was going to be better than it was. Love the concept of hearing from the ‘survivors’ of the Rwandan genocide and how they ‘move on,’ but overall story wasn’t great.
  • Hornet Flight by Ken Follett – MUCH better than PotE. Definitely a page-turner. Complete historical brain fluff, but still a good read.
  • Savage Garden by Mark Mills – this was a bit of a slow read for me without a real climax or ending; had great potential, but then just kind of puttered off…
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Moving, fictional story that takes place during the Kenyan (maybe? The one where Biafra is created for a short amount of time?) civil war. Ending was abrupt, but decent. Didn’t think it deserved the acclaim of being written by this generation’s Chinua Achebe, though.
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – already spoke about this one; still makes me glad to be a lover of history.
  • The Writer’s Tale: The Final Chapter by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook – fun, geeky ready that every Doctor Who fan should read. Actually also a surprisingly informative read about the concept of writing.
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer – reread, which made me surprisingly (somewhat) side more with Jacob than Edward. Maybe I’m slowly being disillusioned to the whole franchise? Haha.
  • Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier – reminded me quite a bit of Shadow of the Wind, except not nearly as amazing. No climax. Only worthwhile because of a number of passages that made one really stop and think.
  • A Weekend With Mr Darcy by Victoria Connelly – SERIOUS brain candy. The title says it all: two women go to a Jane Austen conference and find love. Hey, I needed one of these while I was here, right?
  • Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates – fantastically written book that overturns the myth of Paradise in Suburbia during the late 1950s. Film stayed incredibly close to the book, which I like. And with Kate and Leo as the leads – perfect casting.
  • Currently reading: Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin – about 200 pages in and not quite sure how I feel about it yet. Admirable and exciting, but there are little things about this guy that just piss me off. We’ll see what happens when I finish it!

Looking back, I really wish that I had written down the length of each of these books. ‘Cause last summer, when I was here for two months, I read 12 books; this year, after three months, I’m only on book 13, yet a few of the above books were in the 900 – 1000 page range. That makes up for the fewer NUMBER of books completed, right? And I have a good chunk more books to read before I leave/head back to the States. Fahrenheit 451, Fugitive Pieces, The Blind Assassin, The Motorcycle Diaries, and I’m trying SO HARD to leave Water for Elephants to reread on the way home. ‘Cause I love that book and want it fresh in my head for the gorgeousness of RPattz in the film (even though I won’t be able to see it!). ;)

Brain has lost its coherency. More as it comes – probably after Mom arrives, though!

PS – Listened to the soundtrack to 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee last night while I couldn’t sleep and words cannot describe how excited I am to see my friends in this at OCP, come February. No joke. And how much I want someone to rig the system so that I get to be one of the guest spellers. Haha. Skank (or Chris!), get on that for me. ;)