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that moment

I stood there bewildered as she’d found fault in yet another thing that I’d supposedly had done wrong.  Speechless, I looked at her. In me, some part of my heart hardened, and then died.  I stood there and simply watched her as she complained once more.

I can’t remember exactly what she was going on about at this point except that it was just more yelling, more of how I wasn’t doing something properly, how none of my efforts really ever amounted to her being happy, pleased, or proud, and how it always had be done her way, when she wanted it, and with nothing other than absolute obedience.

I remember distinctly, the moments that I’ve stopped loving someone, be it a friend that was once so dear to me, that I loved like a sister or brother, or a lover.  That moment is always the same.  It was always after a string of moments where I would take yet another step towards trying to make something work out, doing yet one more thing in hopes that perhaps this, this is the thing that would finally fix things.

But for those that have fallen in that camp, and lucky for me, those are few and far between, nothing was ever enough.  And my offering a hand, my heart, my friendship in good faith, believing that they were simply going through a rough patch, was just some sort of proof to them that I could not and would not live without them. So regardless of what I’d do, the other party would find fault. And I suspect, because each of them had thought that my love for each of them would mean that I would tolerate their bad behaviour, possibly indefinitely.

And years later, each of them has come back to me, wondering why I’d left it all behind.  How I could have just turned off so quickly after everything. The only thing I can ever tell them is this…

You mistook my kindness for weakness, and I am not weak.

 

Posted in Everything else.

nostalgia

I drove I5 en route to San Francisco from Los Angeles, cursing the experience along the way. 6 hours of driving, not especially attractive scenery, some amount of rain, and hoping to make it in time for my 3pm meeting.

“remind me not to drive to / from LA” I’d txted a friend from one of two pit stops I’d made along the way. “don’t drive to / from LA”, she’d txted back, “fly instead”. I love how I can count on my friends for sage advice more or less after the fact.

I kicked myself mentally. Then I remembered WHY I used to drive it instead, it was always a way for me to catch up with books on tape / mp3s / podcasts.

I fumbled a bit with my droid to find mp3 on innovation and permaculture, all 4 of the podcasts mysteriously died mid way which left me hungry for more info. dammit. I never do seem to have wifi when I truly need it, like in the middle of the central coast. I went back to browsing the “7 signs of evil” and spanish speaking radio shows. Why didn’t I ever learn Spanish? I asked myself. Made a mental note to learn Portuguese again.

After some time, my mind started to quiet a bit, and the assorted things occupying it started to settle. I thought about how L had told me he would never come for me, how painful it was to hear and know this, and the sheer will that it takes for me to try to disassociate, that it is no less than feeling like I have to cut off my own arm. And then as I rolled into Palo Alto for my 4:30 meeting, a wave of sadness hit me. I remember so many happy happy memories of my 6 years in the Bay Area, how I had wanted to go back to NY, as I’d always felt just a little out of place here, and yet, how my closest of friends continue to exist largely here and in London, and not where I live now, a small little spot in the heart of Brooklyn. I start wondering how to start a new tribe, how I’d thought L and I were doing that, and how so frequently, we just have no idea what really is ahead of us.

I sit in my rental car writing this, with a wave of nostalgia hitting me as my phone rings. It’s B, we’re working out dinner plans, and visit plans with my most favourite kid on the planet. And once again, I am grateful that I have this to come back to on occasion, even when I miss it so dearly when I’m officially “home”.

Posted in Everything else.

+class -crass please?

Last night as I watched the news of Americans gloating over the death of Bin Laden, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of embarrassment.  Are we really such a crass culture as the rest of the world perceives?  That we would brag about offing someone?  Anyone?

I can’t help but wonder if the new media, and some of those with government affiliations can’t just find a little bit of class.  Death and violence are not things to gloat over, regardless of the conflict.

 

Posted in Everything else.

+1

I’ve received all sorts of advice.

…”guys just say that they want to stay in touch because they don’t want to be the asshole”
…”oh, he’s never going to call”
…”you’re not a wallower, that’s why you feel so crappy”
…”oh just give it some time, you’ll get over it, you always do”

But here’s what I remember…
…the 10 days that it took him to stencil and paint my bathroom
…the look of pure joy on his face when we woke up
…how he waited hours for me to get out of work, and didn’t complain at all
…how he knew that I knew that we should never ask him mum for her special lasagna recipe, because it’s her way of telling him how much she loves him
…the afternoon he dropped everything for 2 hours, when I had the worst day at work
…the way we worked together to design my closet
…the hours that he’s spent mocking up a design concept of mine
…how proud he was when he’d found out that I was a designer and an engineer
…the way he tried his best to do the right thing, for everyone
…how he’d become my closest friend and confidant
…and that one thursday, when we’d gotten back together again, after a particularly long day at work, he came over to comfort me, we’d quibbled, we resolved it, and then on his way out the door on the way home, he turned around, looked me in the eyes, smiled, and said…

you’re beautiful.

+1 month and slowly, but surely, letting go. And some things, those small wonderful things, I am thankful for. I just need to move them over a little, release my heart further, and focus on what’s ahead of me.

I loved him, I was all in, head over heels, and I’m glad that I experienced it, even if it didn’t last forever, at least for me, it was as real as the day.

And now, onwards.

Posted in Everything else.

When Spring Came…

When Spring came, he left.

7 months of I love yous cumulated to one thing, that when he reflected on where he is and his current state, that there was little to no chance of disentanglement within a certain timeframe.

Staying together would just add additional stress to an already stressful situation, he’d said. And he needed to really figure things out and find himself.

I wished him happiness and the best of luck, we said our goodbyes and I drove away. The happiness of our moments dissipated in the wind behind me and I wondered how the strongest connection could essentially amount to nothing at all.

Posted in Everything else.

Dutch Baby

Dutch Baby

Do the Dutch just call this baby? :)

“My mom makes the best Dutch Babies.”

It was quite the proud and declarative statement and at age 18, I wasn’t sure what to make of it, especially when my only contextual identification of a Dutch Baby was a small child born in the Netherlands.  RT sounded excited so I went along with it.  Plus, I was meeting him mother (always spoken of in the most esteemed way) for the first time.  I was really nervous.

“Hmm, ok… what else does she make?”, I’d somehow managed to ask gingerly.  Clearly my college boyfriend wasn’t trying to tell me that his mom liked to get it on with Dutch men + umm, you know… right?

“Her Satay is awesome too, as well as her baby jewel cheesecakes, you’ll love them.”

Ok, so he might be talking about food, right?  I finally fessed up.

“I’ve never had a Dutch Baby”, I’d said, feeling a bit unworldly.

His eyes lit up.  I could see him put it on his mental list of things to expose me to.

It’s been very many years since that day, and the subsequent days where I’d stayed with Bobbie + RT and was fed, cared for, and just spoiled in general.  Bobbie has been, and will always be, the most influential person in my life.  I am quite sure of that now.  She got me when I was 18 and helped form me over the years.  I think of her often with a fondness reserved for… I don’t know who, I have never felt this for anyone else.

Over the years, as I’ve met people from different places, I’ve collected their recipes.  My intent has been to preserve a certain moment.  Some of these are foods from tehir childhood, so that in the event that they have a crap day, I can make them something yummy that would take them back.  I know that it will never be as good as their mother’s cooking, but I can only hope that it would bring some comfort to them in some way, especially when they are having a somewhat crap day.

This morning started out as not so nice.  So I thought some good thoughts, remembered Bobbie, her kindness to me over the years, her belief in me, and it cheered me up a bit.  Then I dug up a recipe for a Dutch Baby, and made one for myself.  It’s no where as close to hers in tastiness.  It never will be.  I remembered watching it bake in her apartment in Chicago, the first time I’d taken a flight somewhere on my own, with a great guy by my side and the world ahead of me.  I’d felt at home, at peace, and somewhat invincible.

Fast forward more than a decade + L knocked on my door, looking a little nervous, a little concerned.  We’d argued the night before to no resolution and he’d come over unannounced.  I was a little surprised to see him standing there as I went through my little morning ritual and thought things over from the previous night.  I was a bit amused taht he happened to show up exactly when my Dutch Baby came out of the oven.  And so I shared it, along with my day, with a great guy by my side.

Posted in Everything else.

Hej Sweden

Back in March, a friend asked me to describe my ideal guy and I rattled off a list of what must have sounded like a description for the Aryan nation.  She, being a Swede said, “I think you really want to try to find a nice Swedish guy”.

About 2 months ago, a nice Swedish guy found me.  And then he introduced me to his friends, his parents, and they in turn invited me to Stockholm for Christmas.

So now I’ve switched gears a little in an attempt to learn some Swedish prior to my trip.  Hoenstly, it’s even harder than Mandarin!  All of those sounds are so foreign!

So that is my exciting life at this point.  Work had been nuts prior to my last week tehre (last week) and now I’m off to new things yet again.  It never does get dull, does it? :)

Posted in Everything else.

I’ll Bury Your Pets With You

“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” he’d asked.

We sat in his car in front of the house.  And I was unsure that I wanted to invite him in.

“C’mon, let me in, what? Are you afraid of showing me the pet cemetery in the back yard?” he’d joked, referring to a scene in Garden State.

“Listen, my living situation, it’s…different”, I’d responded.

I did let him in, feeling as vulnerable as I’d been in a long time.  I was hesitant to show him my home life.  I liked him and I didn’t want to scare him away. I lived in a National Park at the time, literally.  We were one of 8 or so houses.  There were 6 of us in the house.  We were all just a little “quirky”.

The next morning, he stood in my kitchen making pancakes as my housemates filtered in, one by one.

That was 5 years ago.

I woke up this morning at 4:30, my sleep cycle is a bit off these days as I’m exploring the infinite abyss, wondering what the next step is, packing up my things once more.  I’d popped on the tv for some background noise and cruised the channels when I stumbled on Garden State.  So I stopped and watched, and let myself remember everything.

Posted in Everything else.

I Better Pop Out Some Babies to Tell These Stories To

On and off, I’ve been writing.  Over dinner the other evening, my date had told me that he’d decided to become a surgeon when his hard drive storing his full collection of stories crashed.

I may have visibly gasped.

I’d told him that I had found old journals of mine, dating back from when I was 9.  It’s embarrassing to admit that certain core parts of me have not changed, nor would I want it to.  I love reading those so I remember the exact feeling of the moment and relive it, for better or for worse.  And I tended to wrote when it was worse, likely because I was too happy having a blast to want to interrupt it to write.

That has changed, surely.

Today marks the one year anniversary of my H1N1.  The event unfolded in a strange bizarre way over Twitter.  And people across the globe, literally came to my aid.  Finding hospitals, filling up my phone card whilst I was in the hospital, sending my phone numbers to the CDC.  And as I got sicker and sicker, someone finally alerted the news media of my strange situation.  That I was stuck in a hotel, hoping to not contaminate anyone, and unable to get hospital help because none of the Hong Kong officials could understand that I was really an American tourist who was entitled to quarantine, not a local HKese who could stay home and sleep it off.

I think of the people who have read my silly quips about living abroad, and those who stepped in to make it happen.  Strangers who took me into their homes sight unseen, and strangers that I’ve taken into my home in the same manner.  I’ve been one lucky lucky girl.

Now that I’m settling in, I have other challenges to face, and other adventures to experience.  They are all on the ‘home’ front.  I will always miss being out there, and hope that I can be out there again.  And it was only after having had this experience that I can truly understand the look in my dad’s eyes when he told me the stories of his travels, years ago.  And boy, I wish I could go back in time to rehear those stories that he no longer tells, so I can really appreciate it, the way only someone who’s been there can.

Today I sat with a friend, talking shop, and specifically around China.  I felt like a weight had been lifted, taht I could speak to someone on my native soil about everything that happened there, without hesitation, or judgement because I knew that he would simply understand.  These friends are not rare, but my time with them is.

I treasure every moment.

Posted in Everything else.

chemistry

I had told A the story.  The story of how we fell in love, and then of how it ended.

It was a while into our chat before she stopped me.  ”Wait, so you were really in LOVE with him?”, she’d said.  ”Yes, head over heels”, I’d answered.

She then asked me how I knew, and I wasn’t able to articulate it.  I just knew.  I knew as clear as day that I loved him, and the moment that I’d fallen in love with him (on a bus in China), and that as much as I wish that I could stop loving him, I don’t, I can only stay away, lick my wounds, and pray that I never see him again.  I simply don’t know that I could survive another round of this.

I told her how in my mind, I still see him, still long for him, and still feel the sting in our last days together.  I told her how the only way I could move on with my life was to grieve and wait for the day when this passes.

I had written that on Feb 8th of this year and had thought that I could never fall in love again.  So what a surprise when I did, only a few months later.  I hadn’t forgotten about U but I had already let him go in my heart and mind when Pf and I were reacquainted.

Pf and I were a repeat, and the second time around was no less sweet.  He’s the only person that I’ve had that instant zing with.  Instant love.  I can’t explain it.  And although it ended traumatically, and I will always want to say goodbye in person, I always re-read one of his last emails, feel heartbroken all over again, silently wish him the best from my heart, and stay away.  I am always amazed that even in times like those, when I’d chosen to end things, that it was still so difficult.  And well, I’d chosen to end things because it became apparent that he wasn’t as into it as I was.  Faced with a glittery job offer from Austin, I was ready to relocate only to discover that he wasn’t ready to pick up the phone to hear the news.  I didn’t know how to deal with that except to break things off.

It also makes me appreciate the exes who have chosen to stay in touch, however lightly.  And my preference is on the light side.  It makes me think of their wives who are so much better for them than I ever would have been, and how happy I am for them, and grateful of the women’s graciousness in accepting me as a friend rather than a foe.

And then the irony that cumulatively, these guys know me better than anyone else on earth.  That in the however many years we’ve parted, they’ve figured me out, and that if we hadn’t parted, perhaps we would never get to this point.  It’s as pure of a friendship as anyone could ever hope for.  And I am so very grateful.

I had hoped that some day, Pf and I can be there as well but whenever I read those soul wrecking emails, I can’t imagine how it would ever come about.  His anger at me seems insurmountable and I recalled the ferocity of his anger towards someone else years after an incident which was much lighter in scale.  So, instead of reaching out to him, I just send good thoughts in that general direction.

Where U was my twin, Pf was my compliment.  Perhaps the right mix is someone in between.

Posted in Everything else.