If only I could capture this
Filled with sweaty sadness
And fleeting breaths
Was all she had
But in those
She captured all there was to
Those captives alone
Remained carved in her eyes
Only for her to see
Only for eyes imagining
In the beams
Of the sun's last reaches
She reached her thick fingers
To kiss light
Dancing with her shadow
As she steeped
And set into the sun
Monday, August 31, 2015
If only I could capture this
Sunday, August 30, 2015
a quiet Echo
purrs over puzzles
if you listen closely
quick heartbeats dance
in your palm
clever eyes meet yours
to find magic
eons of evolution
into narrow caves
lazily doling curiosity
as we find our inner dopamine dealer
and curiously a purring Echo
reaches my ear
Saturday, August 29, 2015
there are few moments
when i feel big enough
to walk in my shoes
mostly i'm breathing in
of the kind that
today i swam in those moments
diving through forests of smallness
of the infinitesimal smallness
of time and breath
that are mine
in this cosmic vastness
space of endlessness
through pokey pine needles of restless
time and space
how else do you respond
to a 34 million year old
petrified redwood tree stump?
Friday, August 28, 2015
Thursday, August 27, 2015
5, 6, 7, 8
Mauja hi mauja
Time and again
My body moves to a beat
My ears have yet to find
My legs see direction
Before my eyes have found their compass
Music is written to move to
My body knows its directive too
Move, be guided only by fearlessness and the beat
Joy is a body tired from dancing
Today, that's what my body did
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Fear does funny things to us
Like watching a scary movie
With Dimitri and Dan
And secretly watching other
Cringe, curl up, and cry out in surprise
I imagine how my physiology and immune system are responding
To the jumps, screams, and shocks
And I don't like it
The wall asked me today
And I answered,
Losing all passion
Standing for nothing worth standing for
Unidentified poo colored objects
Shapes in the dark that don't comply with reality
When my imagination doesn't get enough rest
I have something worth living for
And fearing its loss
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
"No, you can't take a picture of my shirt for uncle Dan, but you can take a picture of my shoes."
"Alright, Adam. Let's take a picture of your shoes."
Some joys are better captured
rather than sweeping tides of time
Today's joy is elusive
tough to capture in words
Defying time and space
my nephew and niece
asked questions and explored answers
In a time in my life
when I miss young humans pushing me to grow
today's joy was timely and apropos
Monday, August 24, 2015
I wish I could hold on to you
like I do this beautiful homemade treat
before it melts
into time and my insides
before we melt away
of melting pudding pops
in our hands
until that I will hold you
hold on to you
before you melt away
into the beginning
from which you came
Sunday, August 23, 2015
I wish I could find
all the right moments
to hold on to
that would remind us of
these moments past
when they're no longer
filled with breath and life
when we're too something
to sit on our bikes
and ride in search of nothing
and adventure hidden in everything
we can look back at
at these right moments
we held on to
Saturday, August 22, 2015
A good old time
Immersed in good old habits
With good old friends
Is what a good old body needs
Tonight left me grateful
For good old abilities
To be my good old self
In a new and uncertain time
Filled with good old memories
It's these good old nights
That refresh and renew
In good old ways
To fill an old cup
With new wine
Friday, August 21, 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Her voice cracked a bit.
Between sips of water,
jabs at Donald Trump,
Huck Finn outpourings,
and genuine pleas for knowledge,
"Curiosity is insubordination in its purest form"
I would rather be insubordinate
I would rather be uncomfortable knowing
than complacently conforming
I would rather dumpster dive for hope
and to resuscitate imagination
than let passion flail
and dreams suffocate
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
One Deep Breath
Is all I've got
To send out to the universe
As I fill my cup
In an empty world
With hand weary and old
Bring my attention to
Take in a breath
And send out love
Kindness and gratitude
Is my offering
To this interconnected life
I live in
One Deep Breath
Monday, August 17, 2015
Time to take the leap
My next big step
A new beginning
in every respect
In new realms
Old habits tested
In these new lands
Where this path will go
I do not really know
Surrendering to unknowing
And learning some more
It must be crossed
For I stand before it
No turning back
From this - a new bridge
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Many a hot night and day
Left us sweltering in our nuevo chez
Ultimately we decided it was time for
A quick trip to the hardware store
New window AC, shims, and 2x2s
Glued together with some handy screws
5.5 hours of measuring later
We had our very own window air conditioner
I brought my iffy pessimism
And you, your joyous optimism
To build a cooling balance of the two
For a night sleep-worthy and cool
I come from a land where diy is rare
There's someone to change a light bulb and put on a spare
So watching you install this monster yourself
I must admit has left me quite impressed!
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Friday, August 14, 2015
...something happens to our loved ones while we're away
...you get sick and you would be miserable
...I get sick and therefore I ruin our trip
...we get robbed/mugged/assaulted
...we get injured (and have to actually use our travel insurance we so prudently purchased)
...we miss our flight/train/bus/boat
...we lose our passports
...what if we get so late because of me
...I have to use many public bathrooms
...flying poop and puke monsters come to get me (and my elf ; )
...we become bankrupt
...there's a coup in the country we're visiting and we're never able to go back home
...we end up hating traveling
...we can't stand each other on this trip and decide we're not traveling together ever again
...our friends and family in different places hate us and don't want to meet us
...we find no vegetarian food and starve
We're homeward bound, so here's my final post. I've enjoyed spending this time to you, and writing every day. It's helped the reflective process and I'm sure it will help us remember this epic journey for many years to come. Without further ado, here's some of the lessons I've learned and things I noticed (not exhaustive by any means):
Time together: We haven't spent this much time together since we got together a decade ago. It was lovely. Even as fiercely independent as I am, I didn't feel like I needed more time to myself.
Travelers: Rahul asked us what kind of travelers we were. We've never traveled so much before, so coming into this, I don't think we knew. But we definitely learned that we're not so much the typical tourists, and we LOVED just walking around and exploring places, eating good food, and people watching to absorb new cultures. I think learning more about other people helped us learn more about ourselves.
Silliness: We met a lot of wonderful people and spent great time with them. It also reaffirmed for me that you're so far from the typical Indian, and I'm so far from the typical American. I guess that's why we work. I loved that we could do things like dedicate a day to an Amelie tour, or eating 5 crepes in a day, or whatever other things struck us at the time.
Teamwork: We're both really different and have really diverse strengths and weaknesses. The times when we worked together with these differences we were great. I think it's okay (and wonderful) that we can be so different. When we didn't work together (which was pretty rare), it wasn't quite so great. We'll still have to figure out how to make the most of that initial few hours of exhaustion after landing in a new place. ;-)
Food: We both really really really really really like food and like trying new different things. Even though lots of people had pity on us for being vegetarians, I think we might appreciate food even more than they do. Strange, isn't it?
Not needing much: We lived a month out of two rucksacks, and yet I never felt like we didn't have everything we needed. It was great.
Water (and food to a lesser extent): I surprised myself by how anxious I would get when there wasn't a readily available source of water. Like, really, I became a not very fun person.
Slowing down: We both know that I'm pretty much a go-go-go person, but I think during this trip I really learned a lot about just slowing down and being in the moment. For the most part I was really happy with the pace we found, which was us meeting each other in the middle.
Planning: I was surprised that I was able to plan as much as I could in a flexible way. I didn't know that I could...
Shyness: When I would get out of my comfort zone (especially with language) I noticed how quiet I would get and would really rely on you.
"City Mode:" I know that I grew up as a naive country boy, and at some point living in Berkeley I think I flipped to the opposite extreme. I was surprised how much I turned on the "don't mess with me" mode when we would be out on the streets, and basically refused to talk to anyone I didn't know or be the least bit helpful. Not sure if this is good or bad, but nobody gave us any trouble. :-) I certainly can't take all of the credit for that though.
People: I guess I knew this to some extent already, but really people are the priority for me. Spending time with friends and family (and learning about new places) was really great.
Money: I know we've been through this plenty of times, but really, for the most part I just didn't care about the money. I tried to be sensible, but also just flipped a switch in my head not to worry about it. It worked.
Temperature: If food and water are my vices, then temperature is definitely yours. I think the times you got most frustrated and cranky were when it was too hot or too cold. This generally related to tiredness.
Flexibility and Timing: You had to deal with a lot of really new situations and getting ready under difficult and unfamiliar circumstances. You were really great, and anytime that we really needed to get somewhere, you were ready early. Wow!
Keeping in touch: You made a huge huge huge priority to keep sending pictures and staying in touch with everyone back home. I hope they appreciated how much effort it was. I don't think many people would do the same.
Language: While I readily accept that your English is vastly superior to most Americans (whether or not they try to correct your English), I was impressed at just how good you were communicating with people even when there was very little overlap in language. I would love to learn to get better at this from you.
Relying on me: I always think of you as a super strong person (and I still do), but I also got surprised by the little ways and in the places you would rely on me. I was glad I could be there when I could.
Let's leave things there for now, until the next epic trip. Can't wait to see everyone back home!
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Our last full day of our Epic Europe Trip is coming to a close. And I'm so glad we did this. We tried to do an epic trip like this last year, but we had to change our plans, and it worked out wonderfully, because here we are, as a result of our change of plans.
I will reflect wholly more about this unbelievably spectacular trip in another letter, but for now, I just want to take in this moment.
My feet are still frigid from the ice cold and wet day today. We had to change our plans today because of the weather. The prized snorkeling experience between two tectonic plates we saved money and time for that was to happen today got cancelled an hour before we were supposed to leave. A cursory and unempathetic phone call (that we made to follow up on an unempathetic email) informed us that the rain dampened all tours today. What a bummer, especially knowing just how excited you were for it.
So we changed plans. More walking in the cold, a trip to the Icelandic Phallologic Museum (I guess we don't have the necessary humor quotient to appreciate over 50 samples of dissected penises from over 30 animals floating in jars of formaldehyde), and seeing the clouds part to actually see the cliffs on the other side of Reykjavik!
We also had to change our plans of snorkeling and we found a very pleasing water based activity to do just that! Swimming in geothermal pools straight from under the earth! We found one that locals frequent and man, I loved the steam bath!
So after a day of changing plans and being flexible, I'm ready to dream and begin the slow process of saying goodbye to the beautiful continent.
Today was the last full day of our trip. I was wondering when to write about the "not so good things," and I guess today is very fitting. We were supposed to go snorkeling in Silfra - an amazing place where you can go in waters that are just above freezing and actually touch two different continental plates. Given how much I love water, this was one of the things I was most excited about for our entire trip. Well, given the terrible weather we have been having in Reykjavik, we got a call about 45 minutes before our departure that the trip was canceled due to rain. Devastating.
I suppose that pretty much sums up the day from there. We ended up visiting the Icelandic phallological museum as a consolation...which was quite a creepy and odd place. And we tried to visit Laugardalslaug, a hot springs in Reykjavik mostly frequented by locals. Well, I tried to use the straeto bus app that the transportation department here has created, but it's pretty awful. It reported that there were really no buses from the city center of any use, so we started walking. Walking 2 miles in the cold rain is awful. So we jumped on a bus and asked the driver if he could get us to the place we were going. He said yes, took us two stops further (actually away from the springs), and then dropped us off. Useless! We ended up walking the rest of the way.
The springs themselves were a cultural experience. I had read in many places that Icelanders are very strict about people showering before using the pools, to the point where everyone must publicly shower with soap and water, and make sure they aren't wearing their swimsuits (because they should not get dirty). This wasn't a big deal. The odd thing, though, is that there were two men in the locker room policing this process, and not so politely scolding people who weren't doing things the right way. After I got finished with this I had to go back to get the towel for you. Well, at this point I was wet, and the same wonderful men prohibited me from going back to the locker room to get the towel. Instead, I had to use the "swimsuit drying machine" to dry off my suit, and then use it to wipe myself like a towel. I had to do this three times to dry off to the guard's satisfaction. Frustrating, and I guess it would be humiliating if I really cared, but I didn't. I'll never see these people again. At least I got the towel for you. After all this hooplah, the springs themselves were pretty great. Going in a hot spring that was 44C was pretty amazing when the outside temperature was 6C with frigid rain.
Well, overall the day was a bust, and it was our last day, but we tried to make something decent out of it. The blog post I was saving for today was the "not so good," so I guess they dovetail nicely. I'll be sure to leave on a more positive note tomorrow for my last post.
The "Not So Good"
The good definitely outweighs the bad, but here are some things that were hard or annoying during our trip. I'm turning my rant mode on, and there may be some hyperbole, but I want to capture this. (Take it all with a grain of salt - I really loved Europe.) The vast majority of these relate to the basic needs of food, water, and getting rid of that food and water. :-)
Vegetarian food lags way behind the USA: While we were able to find some hidden gems (like that super awesome fake tuna), in general the availability and quality of vegetarian food was much less than in the USA. For instance, it seems like Norway hasn't yet discovered tofu, or has just shunned it altogether.
Things not saying when they are closed: It's amazing that people have as many holidays as they do; it's really great. The only sad thing is when a restaurant is closed for an entire month but they don't post it anywhere on their website. Maybe insiders just know that it's the time when they close? Either way, it was a mystery to us, and there were a few things we were very sad to miss.
Paying to pee: The corollary to how difficult it was to get water was how difficult it often was to find a bathroom. And then when you finally do one, it charges money. The cost is never a lot, but the principle of paying money just to pee is really obnoxious. I think the Indian response (peeing on the walls of the buildings) is probably appropriate here.
Sharing a bathroom: I guess this was the result of my trying to save money, but the times when we had to do this it was not so fun (walking down the hall in the middle of the night just isn't great). I know it was not so good for you either. Sorry. :-(
Drunk people in public: We had a few encounters with very drunk people out in public (like on our Fjord cruise, and on our flight from Munich to Manchester). I suppose these types of "bros" are hanging around in the USA too though.
People smoking everywhere: I was surprised by how common smoking is, pretty much in all countries we went to. As someone who is very sensitive to smoke, this was definitely not welcome.
Planes not connected to the airport: This didn't really matter too much, but it was interesting that planes almost always required you to walk out on the runway and/or take a bus to get to your plane. I like the US system of staying indoors, in climate controlled conditions. :-)
Hot places and no AC: This goes for a number of the rooms we stayed in - pretty hot but there as no AC; only a fan if we were lucky. In Barcelona it was super hot, but unfortunately most places (like the airport too!) didn't really seem to be air conditioned. This resulted in us standing under lots of fans/vents in the ceilings and in us standing next to refrigeration areas in stores. I guess it's the Indian way - jugaar!
People cutting in line: In most places people didn't respect the queue, so you had to learn to push forward or people would just cut in front of you.
Not having a consistent space: It's been so amazing seeing all of these new people, places, and things, but it also makes you miss the normalcy of home and routine.
Missing friends and family: Related to the last one, we missed all of you guys a lot!
|An ussie with Leifur Eiriksson and Hallgrímskirkja in the background|
|Reykjavik's stormy skies with the only appearance of blue sky we saw on our entire day and the clouds below it were moving at 30mph so that was a quick glimpse of the patch of blue!|
|Us saying, "Bring it on!" to Reykjavik clouds!|
|Dazzling lava rock at the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean|
|Fresh ingredients and food - what's not to love as our Get-Thawed-Out Round #1 began|
|Harpa Concert Hall aka - "that funky looking building" by you!|
|The inside foyer|
|The hall from above and inside|
|Mirrors playing tricks|
|Don't get run over!|
|Speed Dating - single gloves|
|Inspiration on a jar|
|Those are tears of happiness and not to be mistaken as cold-induced trauma ; )|
|The Sólfar or Sun Voyager - more like Rain Voyager today ; )|