Wednesday, September 30, 2009

vida y verdad

Her deep, dark round eyes looked up at me expectantly. They shown through wispy bangs that were a little too long, causing her to brush them away with the back of her hand every 30 seconds or so. Her smile gave her eyes a little extra mysterious sparkle, she leaned towards me and pondered over the decision at hand. Right or left? Which hand held the treasure? When she picked the right hand, I produced a small blue flat marble that was used as a marker for one of the games. The marble gleamed in the fluorescent light of the basement room of the Spanish church. The treasure made her eyes get even rounder and made the smile stretch from ear to ear. She reached for the treasure, then transfered it from hand to hand, weighing it's specialness. She wrapped her little fingers around it and held it close to her heart. Her lips curled in a smile that stretched across her entire face and sheer pleasure shown in her eyes. She beamed with a pleasure that was contagious.

This is how my heart feels after being at Iglesia Camino. It's my little treasure that I keep close to my heart that brings a smile to my face, warmth to my heart and overflowing contentment.

Life is good. Life is really good.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


So I was thinking today about how crazy I really am. It's true. I'm ridiculous. Here are just a couple of examples....

I have weird associations with smells. They say that smell is the best at bringing back memories, but my smell associations typically have no tie to memories with these people... but it's fun none the less to smell these things and think about these people.

Charcoal grills make me think of my friends at the White House

Garlic makes me think of a friend from long ago

Peanut butter makes me think of a new friend that has taken garlic friend's place

The smell of my contact solution makes me think of my Galician friend

Crazy... probably, but what can you do?


I have been informed of my absence from the big bad interwebs. I love writing and have been doing a lot of it, it just isn't necessarily the most appropriate things to be posted here. But I have decided I do my best thinking in the bathroom, whether that be on the toilet, in the shower, or even brushing my teeth. So here are my recent bathroom inspired musings (i've kept them clean, don't worry) ....

I've been experiencing this really weird feeling lately. It's a mixture between nausea and spontaneous combustion, and it continues to grow stronger. At first I thought it was from a stomach bug or the dreaded swine, but no other symptoms came with it, and then at church on Sunday I think I grasped what it actually was.... my plans for the future are solidifying. Extremely.

Saying that my plans have changed in the last four months would be a dramatic understatement. My initial plans are as long gone as Michael Jackson (is it too early to be making these comparisons?) and there are no conspiracy theories to dredge them back up. I'm at peace with the passing of these plans however, and was content with not knowing what my life will bring come May 16th. However that contentment was slapped in the face two weeks ago by a brief statement said in passing by a friend. That was when the ideas started to form.

So my plans currently are in the embryo stage. They are there, but not quite yet ready to come out. The one thing that I struggle with though is that by accepting this plan and pursuing this dream I will be saying goodbye to the stereotypical life that I was raised to accept. I won't be having the white-picket fenced yard. I won't be getting married right after graduation, I won't be going to work from 9-5 in my fancy yet gas-efficient car. I will be doing things a new way, an exciting, adventurous, hold on to your hat because it's going to get rough kind of way.

That thrills me.

Yet at the same time it makes me a little tentative about the decision. So I'm going to keep incubating and nurturing this little dream-embryo and let it grow until it's ready to enter this big bad world, knock those stereotypes on their knees, and then make them beg for mercy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

bottom of the barrel

He talked out of the side of his mouth. Not in a way that was sly or deceiving, just his method of talking when he was comfortable. We talked about conforming, our love lives, reentry into the United States, everything that was supposed to make me feel better, but it just made my heart hurt. It's heavy for Portugal. It awakened my deepest fears and the yearnings of my heart at the same time. So while I was just getting used to the fact that I had to keep my feet on the ground here in Liberty, I have gone back to the idea of flying elsewhere. Letting myself soar in whatever direction I desire, changing on any whim.

It makes me long for Portugal. For adventure. For Hugo. For the metro. For my castle. For the river Tejo. Sardinhas. Caracols. Miguel. Marques Pombal. Meu coração. Todas coisas Portugese.

So the roller coaster swings back down and the fight to re-assimilate starts anew. The same uphill battle to fight, back at square one.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Labor day

My yellow dress and flowered heels stuck out from the drab black heels and boring fall color scheme. I'm not ready to let go of summer. Screw the Labor Day rules.

I'm a big girl, I do what I want.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

deepest darkest secrets...

I hate public toilets. It takes a lot of me to become comfortable using them, and even then i prefer to use them by myself, which is often a rarity. So typically I pass them up and just hope to make it home in time. Today however I couldn't wait any longer. I walked to the corner bathroom that is tucked out of the way and usually deserted and was struck with an odd thought...

I'm very territorial about the bathroom stall that I use.

The bathroom wasn't deserted. There was one other person in the stall, but she was in my stall. I don't know if it's a germ thing and I want to limit the amount of toilet seats I'm sitting on, or if it's a loyalty thing, or maybe all those irrational rumors about getting an STD from communal toilet seats. Either way there is only one stall I have ever used in that bathroom and it was taken. So I walked back out and decided I could wait...

I mean, what's one more hour without an infectious disease and an uncomfortably full bladder?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Corn cache

I walked into her office with the intention of rescheduling an appointment. I sat in rocking chair that had held thousands of brilliant and determined minds, worn smooth by the constant nervous rocking; back and forth, back and forth, as futures were being determined. The moment my back hit the support of the gleaming thin wooden slats I felt my worries start bubbling to the surface. After getting through business I started rambling about drama and life and being pulled in twenty different directions. Her eyes twinkled in response as she shook her head in agreement. She knew exactly what I was going through. I was on the verge of tears while she talked of running down gravel roads and how freeing a long drive was, especially with no destination. We were more alike than I thought. Her voice coaxed more and more of my worries out and before I knew it, my heart was spilling over. It had nothing to do with the Fellowships or prestigious scholarships she was known for, nothing really to do with the future. Just things I couldn’t handle, relationships that were becoming more and more difficult, the strength that people expected me to have, even family drama. After a few moments of leaving out way too many details for her to be able to follow she brought up a story of my grandmother I had told her the week before. She introduced the topic by saying she was changing the sheets and couldn’t get my grandmother out of her mind. And that every time she went to the freezer she would move the bag of frozen corn out of the way, hoping that maybe someone was storing frozen wads of cash in there like my grandmother did. Big hot heavy tears started rolling down my cheeks. She was upset for bringing up my dead grandmother and pushing me over the edge. I exclaimed, “she wasn’t even a good grandma” and let the tears fall. It wasn’t until later that I thought about checking the tub of corn that had made the trip from the farm in Arlington to Wichita to my freezer. Only corn, no secret cache.

glamorous despair

The image is back, the one where I'm sitting in a heap on the floor with my dress fanned out around me in a sort of glamorous despair. It always shows itself when life gets stressful or hard. The hallway stretches out in front and behind me and people are passing by like someone has pressed the fast forward button. Only this time, there is someone who is moving slowly towards me. They are there to pick me up.
Every bone in my body screams to be left in a heap on the floor, but there is a certain comfort in the arms that are reaching out to save me. Do I fall completely into those arms and let them rescue me? Or do I resist and keep up this independent streak. There's perks to either choice. Comfort and protection vs. the struggle of doing something by myself. But in that struggle there is the sweet release when success finally arrives and the battle is won.
How long can i stay on the floor without reaching for the outstretched arm? How long will they wait for me to be willing to accept their help? Will they be there when I'm ready to stand up?

I want it. I want to accept the aid of the outstretched arm, but my heart is still fighting the urge to stay whole. It doesn't want to risk the pain of potential heartbreak. It still wants the attention and the thrill of the chase. It wants to be pursued and fought for, but instead it stays folded away within me on the floor. Maybe there it will be safe.

Or maybe giving it away is the ultimate adventure it craves....

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The cigarette is lifted by a practiced hand to his full waiting lips. The lips purse to accept the gift and wrap around the cigarette creating a seal, allowing his lungs to pull in the nicotine and smoke. In milliseconds the lungs are full and the cigarette is back down, but the tendrils of smoke drift on the wind over towards my table. The smoke brings memories of Portugal mornings, bright and crisp and full of promise, watching a friend's lips search just as hungrily for the same fix.

The Plaza is my current location, while not my favorite place, it was designed with influences from Sevilla Spain. The buildings have the Spanish yellow color that burns in the rising and setting sun. They have flowers in the window boxes and the typical red tile roofs. The combination of the visual scene in front of me and the smell of smoke takes me back to Portugal. I'm back to laid back people who place huge priorities on relationships. It's peaceful and calming and just what I need, until my dream is interrupted by the exorbitant gaudy cars and expensive outfits that walk in front of me. They do not belong in my picture, or my life.

Can I paint my life picture without them? Can I pick and choose what I want?

I want the people who are like the flower-boxes that make me happy, I want the person who is like the sun and will make me burn like the spanish color palette. I want the peacefulness that the thoughts of Portugal bring. I don't want the drama of the gaudy cars or the competition of who has the best outfit, most toned muscles, best relationship. I want to paint this picture my way, without boundaries, wild, flowing, free, like the smoke from the cigarette drifting on the wind. Slipping through your fingers, unable to be caught or tied down, or made to conform to any boundaries. You can let me sate your addiction for awhile, but I'll be gone before you know it. Leaving you with an even stronger addiction for a smoke that once was...

Fight or Flight...


Thursday, September 10, 2009

oh how the mighty have fallen...

It was late. I had fallen asleep on a couch in a house that wasn't mine and after a lot of coaxing and pleading for five more minutes, was finally convinced to make the two and a half block walk home to my own eagerly awaiting bed. I gathered my things, put on my big rubber boots and stumbled down the street.

At the corner I was brought out of my stupor by the loud ferocious barking of an enormous dog. The sleep from my eyes was gone in milliseconds as my body fought through the fight or flight decision. The dog was mere inches from the toe of my large rubber boots and the thought of giving him a quick kick crossed my mind before i realized he was a very short jump from my throat, and needed no coaxing to do something vicious.

So i clutched my pile of things closer and slowly backed away keeping my head down. The barking continued as I inched backwards and the dog pushed closer. Then all of a sudden I felt a stabbing pain in the back of my leg, and my feet give from underneath me. Figuring this was the end and hoping that someone would find me in the morning i let myself fall, covering my neck in case the dog was coming for blood.

It took a few seconds to realize that the barking had stopped and that my neck was still in one piece. I looked up and saw the dog had left. The dog was throughly amused that I was taken down by a fire hydrant, probably the very one he had just relieved himself on.

oh how the mighty have fallen....

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Specks and planks

I walked in to see purple mats splayed haphazardly around the room in a sort of organized chaos. As I claimed a spot for my own purple mat I watched as a short yet unsurprisingly lean older women danced about the front of the room. Her dark sandy blonde curls bobbed with each little excited jump and her smile stretched across her relaxed face. The class started when she clapped her hands and stopped her jumping. In seconds she was immersed in a speech on the importance of breathing, connecting with your inner self and other crazy left-over hippy nonsense. This afternoon, during our first yoga class, I couldn’t hold it together. The giggles and laughter escaped me while she was throwing out the best “that’s what she said” lines along with her wonderful hippy nonsense. Surprisingly the laughter was more relaxing then the actual class, despite the long minutes we focused on our breathing. The moment however that should have brought me out of my laughing fit was when she was talking about emotions. She had settled on anger. Recently I have felt myself be rather immune to anger, so yesterday when I felt it for the first time since the night of my Portuguese proposal I was scared. Afraid that I couldn’t handle life anymore and was brought back to the moment where a not so typical crazy hippy was teaching profound life lessons.

Amira strikes the mat to the right of where she is sitting and begins talking to herself, as she is gathering her thoughts, she gets a funny look on her face as if she is regretting starting this conversation, but she plows ahead regardless. She is making a point on dealing with your emotions and who you are, head on. You can’t escape from them or run out on them. She strikes the mat with the palm of her hand and resumes her conversation with herself.

“come sit here angry Amira. Angry Amira, what makes you angry? Is it the fact that your father is angry? That your father mistreats you with that anger? Or is it because you are angry at yourself for treating others with that same anger? Angry Amira what makes you angry?”

At this point I’m in the throws of disguising my current fit of laughter. I didn’t know if it was from her body language or from the animated way she approached life. Either way I missed the point she was making until it slapped me in the face last night. You can’t be angry at others for the way they treat you. It only leads to the creation of a double standard for yourself. You can’t No Faz Mal it away either. You have to approach it, albeit respectfully head-on. Tear it down from the inside before you can chip away from the outside. I know Amira’s yoga planks aren’t the same as the one’s Christ had to talk about, but they both have a lot to say about dealing with the specks in your own eye.

Friday, September 4, 2009

being here, yearning for there

There is a fly that has been in my room for two days now. I've watched him fly from place to place, landing where he will. He investigates my computer, bumps into the dresser, sits on the wall, and stares out the window. He reminds me a little of the life I have been thrown into. The one that I have no idea how to navigate. It's like swimming in a huge ocean. Some days the ocean is calm and settled. Some days it is wild and overwhelming. Some days my arms are strong enough to swim, some days they cannot fight another wave.

I'm overwhelmed by the little things. The anger is seeping back in and my heart yearns for what it cannot have. The thrill, the chase, the power all allude me. I'm simply back to being me, whatever that means.

Where is the confident cold-hearted seductress? The powerful women that could handle foreign countries, foreign languages, foreign men. She is giving into the comfortable, becoming what others expect and giving up on the adventure. The work boots didn’t give her comfort, the teasingly short dresses are hung up in the closet and her Portugal self is shelved next to her other various old selves that serve no purpose any longer. She's making things complicated, adding to the drama, unable to decide whether to laugh or breakdown and cry. She's losing the "no faz mal" attitude.

Where are the words that were her addiction? The words that give her comfort and soothed her soul. The ones that brought peace and sweet release. They are lost behind lessons of calculus and chemistry, stress and expectations. They are hauntingly quiet when they are needed the most.

How can I be happy here, when I long for my adventure there?