Saturday, January 29, 2005

from my older sister living in sri lanki: perspective

"Well, the mental picture you paint is all I need to hear - I'm glad your moving to a less stinky area :) The situation here is crazy. Remember how it was after 9/11? Everyone was flying flags, hugging the ones they love, being kind to strangers: that's the thing about tradgedies. People are touched by the realization of how short life is and how much love we feel towards each other. On this island you see men holding hands, girls walking arm in arm, children who leave their parents house only after their married and that's usually not until their 30's. It's like Mexican families - gramma, uncle and cousin are all immediate family members and usually reside within the same domocile. But these things aren't new here. They didn't start happening after the tsunami - it's always been like that here. Tragedy has always been at their doorsteps, walking their streets, lurking in their neighbors house. This country was already taking each day and cherishing it. These people already openly loved one another and were kind to strangers.

Some days here in the city it seems like nothing has changed. The destruction was to the south and north of Colombo but, miraculously, missed the 30 km of coastline of the city. The other day I was at the health club where we work out. It's actually a Hilton Resdience Hotel and it's where Brett lived from March until August when we moved into the house we're in. A man was wondering around the bar, talking to people. One of the waiters told us the man lost his wife in the tsunami. In my mind I wondered, why he was still here. Why doesn't he leave? Does he want to stay? Is he unable to find the magical 'closure' that's suppose to begin the healing? Or, like Brett, does he work here in Sri Lanka and lived in this Hotel with his wife, his wife who is now gone.

Other days you hear the impossible. A bus swept off the coast of Sri Lanka washed up on one of the islands of the Maldives. Another story of a girl in a hospital, around 7 or 8 years of age. She doesn't remember her name, who she was here with, she has complete amnesia. No one has called looking for her. Then you hear about miracles. People who left just one day early from vacationing, a couple driving along the coast who decided to go and look at a waterfall in the mountains and when they returned everthing was gone including the road they'd been on; a small factory that faced the ocean moved a mile inland just two weeks before the tsunami hit.

The city hasn't changed, the people really haven't changed much either there's just a new word in their language now - tsunami. It's the story's that have changed and its the foriegners arriving in the airport who have come to help the people who live here. And the ex-pats. I was grateful before this disaster to the people living here and the kindness they showed but now there is a gentleness in my gratitude. And there's something else I feel too, but I can't describe it. The word appreciative is probably closest to how I feel but it doesn't quite fit the feeling. I guess that's something I'll have to think on.

Hope that helps paint a picture for you of what I am seeing here. No major physical damage where I am but emotional trauma.

Love ya bunches - give Michelle a hug for me then have her hug you for me :)

Monday, January 17, 2005

not by any means of intention is this blogging thing coming to an end. i feel it to be more of an natural elimination; the shuffling of commitments; a sooner than later, later. but who knows. i tried skateboarding tonight...what a riot. i was holding a cig with one hand, a beer with the other, while breezing through a warehouse on 'my board'. no, not my board, literally; just trying to hip to the lingo. it was fun and i think i could be good. make that golden. i think i could be golden. yes, golden. that's nice. i've always had this premination that there are some things, if ambition and preserverance applied, i would be awesome at. like ice-skating and gymnastics, sculpting and somethingology. i'm a vault of potential, what can i say...the salty dogs are, definitely, wearing off.

Monday, January 10, 2005

like most things in life, finishing my new york saga is more effort than it's worth. but i'm in a mood tonight. an awfully dangerous mood. the type that involves me frozen in my car at 1am, listening to sinatra, and watching the neighbors sprinkler make a puddle in the street. not reflective, not pre-occupied, not enamored with this or with that, not trapped in some thought process, simply, mentally, lethargic. a tad bit tipsy too, perhaps. there has been a lot to take in today, but as i sat in my car just a few minutes ago, i can honestly say that i was blank as a blank and it felt nice. after sinatra, i let the silence in, even though i hate that silence: the silence so silent it in itself is loud, is obnoxious, makes your ears want to bleed and your heart beat a little faster, unsteady in perfection. i use to make myself sit in my car till i absolutely couldn't take it a second longer. like holding your breath under water, just 30 seconds longer, 10 seconds longer, breathe. i did it till this one night when the silence was so loud that i crumbled into tears. just pushing the limit, my weirdness, a limit of, in an audible and contradicting (non-)sense, the invisible nihilism. or an ear infection....i'm not sure. going to rock shows can do that. in fact, thanks to radiant, my ears are buzzing as i write. and being past 2am, my bed looks down right tasty. on that note,

sweet dreams.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

part 2...

exactly on schedule, the plane hits the run way. it was as smooth of a flight as i have ever been on. i contemplated praising the pilot on my out but shortly came to the conclusion that i, knowing nothing about flying, might come across as someone trying to be a know-it-all by complimenting on something i knew nothing but the comfort about.

walking through the terminal to the baggage claim, i thought about 'the terminal', the movie. i remember someone telling me that it was based off of a true story-and while watching the movie weeks ago, how the thought of it being an actual account versus a fictionalized script, affected me deeply; on how cruel everyone was to this helpless and victimized man. and although the terminal was filmed in and about jfk, how incredibly similar la guardia mirrored the appearance of jfk. but it was the cruelty tom hanks character received that i found to be puzzling. this was because on my last trip to the city, i experienced nothing but kindness and helpfulness from new yorkers: a girl in a bar offering me a cigarette, an old man on some street in china town, after looking at me looking dumbfounded at a map then back up to the street sign, asking me, with the gruffiest new york accent imaginable, if i needed some help with directions, the couple in the subway suggesting places i should visit, and the friends of erik who enthusiatically cheered for me each time i got up to bowl.

as i stood on the corner outside the airport, sweetly waving my hand for a cab like they do in the movies, a cab driver pointed at the sign behind me, which read, "taxis ->". i must have looked like a total goof but the people behind me didn't chuckle, they just kept on moving. as did i, but with rosy cheeks.

after waiting in line for over half a hour for a taxi, i'm finally in one and on my way to the lower east side apartment jackie(rachels sister) found for us on craigs list. the cab driver is telling me about when he was young. his accent is strong and i have a vexxing time at understanding everything he's telling me, but being conscious of the moment at hand; of feeling the coolness of the pleather seat become warmer each second i'm slumped over it, of the reflection of me-of the tassels of my hair that had mysteriously fallen from my pony tail and the cream wool scarf swallowing my face, staring back at me from the night lit maze of senescent apartments and dodgy streets outside the window, of this conversation between two people from two different worlds--i doubt my previous suspensions of this trip being a mistake could be true, even despite the yearning in my heart to be on the opposite coast in another type of automobile with a man i can verbally understand.

to be continued...

Monday, January 03, 2005

real world: nyc

to my right was the hov lane. it stretched out ahead of me gleaming and sparkling with the possibility of uninhibited speed. in less than forty-five minutes, flight 412 would be taking off to la guardia with or without me. and at that moment in time, painfully snailing through traffic on 635's pre-5 o'clock rush hour rush hour , i was afraid it would be without me. the stress levels were at their highest, i could feel the anxiety welling up into tight knots within my chest and adding heat to my face-i still had to drop off jons parents mini van to the park and fly, catch the shuttle to the airport, check in my bags, and haul ass to my gate. i took a deep breathe and closed my eyes for some buddha reflection: "you should not fight what you can not control". i repeated it silently over and over and decided i would stay in the traffic trapped lane despite the need for speed; that i would do my very very best at making my flight, and if i could not, then i could not. sure i had worked my ass off for over a month to do this trip. sure i had spent over a month pinching my pennies, nickels, and dimes. sure i had decided to follow through on my word of going to new york with the girls over a later request to spend the holiday weekend with the devilishly good looking, jon. sure i would be missing out on, what i assumed would be, a week full of priceless memories. sure.

to my right, is a barren field. the blades of grass are dull with color. out in the distance bleakers, or something of that nature, paints the horizon with sci-fi imagery. closer in view, is the wing of flight 412's plane. i'm sitting, still trying to catch my breath from the sprint in, astonished that i made it and curious if perhaps i shouldn't have; questioning the possibilities at why it seemed everything was against me making it on this plane. of course, being prone to epic stricken curiosities, i speculate that the plane will probably crash, and such that i will die, or that it was just a busy day and i wasn't as prepared as i should have been.

to be continued.