Rain & Ropes

I have had love for you like rain

like a violent rain,

once it even ruptured my insides;

that was before it poured

I have had love for you for years

it is a painful kind that curves in and out

sometimes I cant see it but I can touch it with

half-hearted fingertips.

It takes half of it to be twisted

half of it to be thrown around,

whipped about like a taut rope

that’s only really breaking strands as a form of movement.

Love like rain and ropes, my love:

this is how we love.

the things that end our lives make them whole,

like loving someone ‘till your swinging,

bound by wind, jumping ropes that emit

little stringed shards;

this is what my body does when I’m

dying for something that loves me so much

I fall apart.

We Were Rosy

**Note: Thank you to the gods of inspiration, that bolt has finally hit me.  in the past couple week, this blog has hit 3,000 views and the views keep rising.  Hopefully one day I’ll be able to have a whole website.  In the meantime, I want to thank everyone who has shown genuine interest in my thoughts/beliefs and feelings about life and the world.  This next one is so extremely important to what I do and who I’ve become.  At this stage in the game, writing about love is writing about life.  To Paul: I love you, dude.**

We Were Rosy

We were rosy-cheek in love, listening to songs just to get back in one another’s head just in case one of us snuck out.  We used to talk about us before you and I, as if the components didn’t even exist.  We used to entwine ourselves with more ferocity as if we were slipping from one another.  I could paint a scene of love imperfect.  I could attempt to make it beautiful: the way literature makes a car crash perfect.  But perfect wasn’t right.

I can remember age eighteen with frightening clarity—meeting a man when men had formerly wreaked taboo.  I’d never chalked the world up to something celestial until I came face-to-face with the only worthwhile stuff of the universe.  Individuals: faces and eyes that make one understand why Zarathustra came down (I remember my Nietzsche professor couldn’t stress that enough—the guy came down!).  So, when I met him, he made the world more of a place for me to state my intent, to be myself, execute the deepest desires of my heart.

Time allegedly heals, but I find it likelier that it smears a coat of BIC brand white out over a wound’s surface.  Time wears and chips away the wood.  If a fine-crafted mahogany table is a sweet November stroll through the oaky, shaded-over neighborhoods of Roland Park circa 2009, then my four-year-long relationship is that same table after a number of moves across country in the back of a Uhaul, having incurred the stamina to handle vases and hideous cross-generational accoutrements, ranging from Lalique to Precious Moments.  We will continue to transport that table, keeping it close, despite its watermarks and chipped edges.

I will carry the table; I will carry you.

I can recall the early fights: me muffling his voice anytime so much as a friendly confrontation came forth from his nervous lips.  I’d do anything to maintain our status as that flawlessly alluring couple that graced an otherwise Playboy campus brimming with modern day oligarchs in oxfords.  I’d mitigate, in efforts to brush the white out over the smeared pen, only to find that this would be my first go around at throwing non literal gasoline on the non literal fire of my relationship.  All I needed to do was let the fire crackle—perhaps blow it about a bit, so it could electrify and affect a chain reaction.  This is the stuff of the earth, the flames I must let go but can’t bear watch burn.  It would take awhile until I was good at this—using words, allowing love to arrive gradually out of strife, rather than quelling fighting words that make the times of peace more lit up: robust with pale brilliance.

I remember the first 9 months together, six of which were spent with him in Scotland. I’d write him long letters of how we’d one day counter the prototypical numbed middle-aged couple.  I’d talk about how lively we’d be—how innocently in love we’d find ourselves even after 10, 20, 60 years.  I’d loved him like a child: fully, but closed to any indication that I was wrong.  I would love, but I didn’t want to work, I didn’t want to turn my gaze toward the truth: that my inability to open myself to the possibility that I was wrong had created a one-way street—the kind one doesn’t automatically perceive and begins to turn down, only to realize its there, just barely executing a 7-point turn in the middle of the road, ashamed, confused, and unable to grasp how a smart, perceptive individual, would ever turn down this street.  For me, feigning euphoria seemed like a better choice than acknowledging what I’d later learn was life and realism disguised by my ballooned perceptions as a faulty relationship.

I first watched the flames flicker during a miniature Renaissance at the start of the Fall.  I was Michelangelo, furiously breaking my back, painting “I’m Sorry” on the ceiling like a heart-sleeved maniac.  Sitting by his door with my hands folded was “I’m sorry for saying that.”  My tears, the film’s epilogue, were “I’m sorry I did that.”  Using words without the words was the best thing I’d ever done.  Now, we’d each have our turn to start the fire: he’d be the gas-thrower, me: the extinguisher.  Then, like the best painters and artists we’d invent our love story with erratic brushstrokes and zigzagging chalk lines: this goes here and maybe that’ll come in way down there.  It had plenty of seams, but that was all right.

Now when I redden with frustration, he’ll likely shake his head and walk away, but it’s cold outside now, and we’ll take November walks, our cheeks rosy but mostly from the cold and our eyes lit up, knowing we wont be here forever.  I will not turn down that road again; I will not make 7-point turns.  Instead, before I blame him for my lost tube of chapstick, I will ask him about this constellation, and we will walk like careful giants, up the stairs of the Library of Congress, through this city, it could be any city really, but it’s this one and it’s ours.  They’ll put scaffolding up on the Capitol building soon, but we’ll have the night to remember when it was just another bit of the troposphere.  And that’s where we are too, frozen on earth, which is really the only celestial body for which we’ve got to live.  You’re the sky, I’m the sky, and so is this building.  And I don’t have to write sorry in the stars, not yet, not tonight.

What it did for me I’ll never forget, but what it did to me in the moment, I’d like to try to forget. I bring you a post and general topic I’ve wanted to tackle for awhile: Leah Writes on High School

“True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

(I’ll come back to Vonnegut, but part of me is still thinking I just let Kurt get some words in there before me since he tends to have a way with thoughts that most cannot express).

*Begin romanticized imagery and language now*

I was a proud 17-year old that fine day on June 6, 2009.  My skin was a deep shade of fake brown, my hair made as straight as I could get it, and I looked in that mirror and thought, “It’s over.” Pause.  Now, as the tears welled up I went from one version of, “It’s over” to another.  It was over.  High school was about to be finished.  I was sad.  I’d never make the morning drive again, hear the bell ring, I’d never experience any of it after that day.  But then I remember that moment when I realized, on a different level, “It’s over.”  Everything I’ve faked, felt uncomfortable with, struggled through yet triumphed through, everything I’ve hurt, everything that’s hurt me.  This is all over.  That is one of the feelings I will never forget.  Knowing that some of the hardest years were about to be put away and if I wanted to I could lock it all away and recreate it.  I could tell my kids I was the prom queen, that I dated lots of cool guys, that I made so many amazing friends.  Now I know I’ll probably just tell them that I ruined a play when I was 15, skipped gym class almost every week to go “meet with teachers,” and was most intimidated throughout my four years by my biggest bully: a 70-something year old choir directing nun.  But still, I thought that was it.  And liberation day only marked the very beginning of a long process of realization and understanding of what exactly went on from 2005-2009.

I’m going to begin at a place with which most of us are eerily familiar: the exterior.  If anything makes preteen and teenagehood easier, it’s wearing the right things and looking the right way.  Some of us don’t always do this.  Okay, some of us have never done this, even when they’ve tried.  Alright, let’s not beat around the bush, I was a disgrace.  I was just coming out of a summer spent at Shakespeare camp (I’m warning you, when it rains…….) where I experienced my first kick of being fully convinced that I was some sort of free-spirited hippie and had all the rights in the world to wear whatever I damn well pleased.  I wasn’t dressing myself in clothing I liked, I was like a statement-making bulletin board–I would continue this for years and years.  So, my favorite look included a random ass t-shirt with a belt around the thinnest part of my waist and many beaded necklaces, usually bought at a thrift shop (trend-setting-14-year-old-leah), accompanied by some like patchwork jeans or jorts.  And the best news was, I didn’t even enjoy these get-ups.  Splendid.  THEN, I did something, I did something to my beautifully-fresh, young, freckled face that would define me for the rest of high school and even the beginning of college (until I could at least escape from anyone I’d known during these dark times).  I developed the worst trademark for myself.  Alright, I’ll tell you, I essentially spackled the holy hell out of my naturally pink lips with yellow-y concealer (for men, this is women’s under-eye cover-up makeup).  No worries, though, this eventually morphed into a trend of glopped-on light colored-mood ring, opal-y toned lipgloss.  I applied it so many times a day that in retrospect I am able to say that it was absolutely obsessive-compulsive.  I carried it in my skirt pocket at all times, along with, uh, nothing else, and I sometimes went to the restroom for the sole purpose of applying my lipgloss.  Looking back, this is the defining factor for why I now know that I was not okay.  A simple overly-regimented lip treatment may not seem like that much, but when I play a matching game with vivid memories of lipgloss mania and significantly negative life events, well, it all seems to play out as one awfully harmonious transformational time in the life of leah.

Image

I remember freshman year, though, as also being one of the most beneficial years of my entire life.  Although they may not be so present in my life anymore, I established my first ever real group of friends.  This would forever change then entire course of my highschool years.  For the first time, I was going to dances and going out on the weekends with friends.  Things were looking up, even though I was looking like the makeup aisle at CVS gone wrong mixed with a bad Limited Too ad.  Then…………..my friends started dating and I started, um, going to bed at 11 instead of 10.  The relationship bug infected most if not all of my friends, but the fact that I seemed incapable of heralding attraction at this point wasn’t the biggest worry of mine.  In fact, looking back, I was much more apathetic towards guys and relationships than I gave off.  The biggest annoyance and scarlet letter-like mark of loserdom was the fact that I was one of the very last girls to have her first kiss (Ok, this is, in fact, quite the opposite of the scarlet letter, I understand that a little hormonal prude in Urban Outfitters jeans and a flannel shirt who had never dreamed of being kissed was not nearly the same as a guillotine-going adulteress).

While that did eventually happen for me at a whopping sixteen and a half, I’ll always remember the year that followed with mixed feelings.  This was the year I lost myself big time.  Sure I could say that I was both swarmed in and surrounded by non-ideal relationships, but the truth of the matter was that I was a sad teenage girl who, unlike many, did know what she wanted out of life (and on top of it, had already been through many things people twice her age would never experience) but was too afraid to push everybody out of the way and go get it.  There are times when I still wonder what would have been different if I had lived this particular year-a year where I simply went from static to downward sloping- differently.  But I lived it in such a way that I followed blindly, I conformed my beliefs and attitudes to those around me, and frankly I rarely vocalized in the way that many know me as being infamous for now.  I had also taken a year-long break off from singing, something I’ve only now become comfortable to express my love for and embrace.  After a period of time with a nun who, all jokes aside, jolted my confidence, which was already in the tank, into the damn ground.  I believed I was both incapable and unsuited and I turned away from a form of expression I loved, and like I said, have only been able to rejuvenate within the last year.  Out of that open elective spot where I’d usually be singing, though, came the opportunity to embrace another talent.  It was through my creative writing class that I’d meet one of my best and most influential teachers: a spunky young lady who taught me that the metaphysical stuff I was writing was not weird, but was in fact pretty cool.  I credit the 50% of my current college major that is writing to her, and honestly, I credit some of my sanity to her as well.  Writing was the silent weapon of my self expression, particularly as I was not expressing much of my true self in the vocal sense throughout my entire third year of high school.  I tried to write poems about love, family, stories about friends and nature. But what came out instead were some of the best things I’ve ever written and ever will write: several stories about losing loved ones, vague poetic pieces about what it was like for me growing up, poems about the “picasso pieces of my mind,” a screen play about an alternate cyber universe, almost anything escapist, and finally, a final piece that I was supposed to read at the unveiling of the 2008 creative writing class literary magazine.  This one was a stream of consciousness reflection about a car accident I had been in just 2 months prior that was still having great impact on me.  As I shall breeze by details, it wasn’t so much this reading that was my penultimate test of strength, but it was stopping some friends at the time from blackmailing me via recording my reading.  I’ll never forget putting my hand out and telling them “NO.”  I don’t care how small it was.  I had done it.  This had meant something to me.

Image

I came back senior year confused as ever.  I felt overripe and overdone, like I was long ready to leave, like nothing made sense, like I made no sense to anyone.  But, I was starting to make sense to me.  I was starting to grasp the fact that I was damn weird, ready to leave from day one of that last school year, and uncomfortable about past choices I’d made mainly because I had just spent 3 years fairly aware of myself and my desires, but never voicing any of it aloud.  And I am one vocal mother effer.  I remember focusing really hard on school that year, focusing on getting into schools.  I started dressing in ways that I genuinely loved.  I loved my style, my hair, my makeup now looked like it belonged on a human being, although there was still a lot of it.  My relationships, though, were fizzling out and I hated it.  I hated it mostly because I felt it but I tried so strongly to force everything to feel okay.  I felt like I was growing up in double time, and I felt like everyone else was not.  On the bright side, I felt an inexplicably strong pull toward a university that I visited on a whim, a place where I’d go one to meet a partner for life and 3 to 5 outstanding lifelong friends.  I had no idea what was in store for me, yet I had an idea that there was something that was next to come.  I had “This can’t be it” syndrome.  And I felt confused and angry and wished I had spent my last 4 years differently.  But I didn’t.  But you know what?  At least those 4 years of unassured angst and insecurity were over and done with by age 18.  Most don’t get that lucky.

Image

So I stood on that day of graduation and honestly, I was sad, yes.  But, most of me took a deep breath and thought, “I got through that.”  I remember being so thankful for experiences, friendships, classes, teachers, but I was happy to be finished with that old skin, a hard shell that just wouldn’t crack until I left my mom and sister crying on August 23, 2009 and stood in front of a university chapel where I’d play an ice breaker in a circle that literally beheld some of the best gifts I’d ever known and gifts I had never known: a few people who helped me be me and who loved me.  And you know what Vonnegut, I’m getting closer and closer to that day when I will wake up and realize my high school class is running the country, but let’s rest assured that the other members of the graduating class of 2009 will be waking up to know that the one running the country, as least in a not-so-executive-branch kind of way, is me.  And on June 6, 2009, I thought to myself for the first time ever, “I got through that.  I can do things.  I can do big things.”

Image

So no, I’ve chosen not to use my men in black mind erasing tool to disregard all thoughts of anything high school because 1) they don’t sell those on ebay and 2) even if I had them, I’d still keep these memories.  I’d even keep the one of me slipping on a wet floor and crashing into the wall of the cafeteria in front of the seniors freshman year, or the missed cue during opening night of the play sophomore year, or the intense embarrassment in realizing my first kiss was a well-played set up of events because some young ladies don’t realize that it is in fact not normal to make the boy wait 1 month to kiss you after you’ve initially started dating, I’d even keep the worst ones, the fights, the tears, the last time I ever talked to her and her and her.  I’m not letting these memories go away.  They are such a critical part of me and let’s face it, they’re the ones that’ll matter most to the four years I will always remember as the time wherein I developed most, during four years where it seemed like nothing took place in me at all.

Years later, that is what I am most inspired by: the silenced version of the now very audible me.

peace, love, and ongoing musings about things that are forever impactful on one’s life,

LR

Image

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.Eleanor Roosevelt


A Not-so Open Letter….

I remember when the chastity people came to high school (you’re thinking, “this is gonna be good…”), and they handed out loads of pamphlets, one of them being “An Open Letter to My Future Husband.”  But I never liked associating with words that were not my own, particularly when I had not yet come in contact with anything that even closely resembled love.  So, I’m writing my own.  And at this point in life, it is now my “Not-so Open Letter.”

Today is your birthday.  Happy Birthday!  I have been counting down the days now, and for as much as it has been the most thrilling to live here, thrive here, gain experiences here, I am ready to not be here.  I have grown, I have been challenged, I have felt blessed, gifted, befriended.  I’ve felt happy.  And you know, sometimes this word, happy, is hard for me to feel, although it is tossed about so often.  There is something that makes me want to be with you more when I consider the growth that’s taken place within me.  It’s like linked together fingers that must venture off separately until one day before you know it, you have linked together hands.  It may not make much sense to some, but I like to think of it in that way.  I hope and somehow know that one day we will remember the distance because there is something about feeling far that makes one feel so much closer to a person.  I hope and somehow know that we are each silently celebrating the fact that three years ago I sat at home in Abington, Pennsylvania, silently anticipating my first year of college, thinking about how I’d do on my own, what I’d wear everyday, how I’d present myself, if I’d change, if I’d start partying, what my friends would be like, what the boys would be like.  I laugh silently to myself at the fact that three years ago I sat silently wondering if I’d seem pretty or cool enough to anyone, even myself, I sat wondering what the boys would be like and if they’d find me pretty and cool enough.  The only one to really find me to this day will say he found me interesting, above all else.  Pretty and cool sat in the backseat, still gleaming, but less in view.

Some may say I am an adventurer.  I am in Nepal.  I love traveling in general.  I just bungee jumped.  Yet, I still can’t think of myself as much of the adventurer type because it’s a newer thing for me, or at least, the part of me that acts on my love for adventure–that’s new for me.  You inspired a lot of this.  You might know that.  You gave me books to read and things to talk about that no one ever wanted to talk about before.  People are afraid to talk about the big picture.  People are afraid to talk about the world.  Many choose not to know what’s out there.  I used to think it was just because they were apathetic, but now I sometimes think it’s because they know they’ll never see it, they know they’ll never be a part of it, they’ve resigned their lives to that.  That may be okay for some, but you taught me that that wasn’t okay for me.  And soon, I went from wanting to just write about it, to wanting to be right in the heart of it.  You told me one day we’d be right in the heart of it, soaking up the world, exploring, adventuring, meandering.  I learned this early on, as we’d take walks, sometimes in the blistery cold, to no where.  We’d just walk.  And I liked that.

You knew from the beginning that I was an odd one.  I am sometimes girly as can be.  Other times I am a bit snippy, blunt, serious, stressed, tired, lazy, boisterous, and childish.  Sometimes I act 40, sometimes even 80.  Yeah, you know what I mean, friends who know I have back problems.  But, interestingly enough, you know how to be direct, goofy, relaxed, energetic, low key, and well, childish for the sake of complimenting my moods. It’s like a color wheel and you are always the orange to my purple, and although I don’t quite understand how orange and purple can look nice together, I get how you being nice and quiet and kind totally fits, puzzle piece style, right in with my bluntness.

In many other past encounters I tended  to be intimidating with guy and girls, alike.  As a matter of fact, out of all my friends, I’m pretty sure 50% were terrified of me at first.  I’m actually quite warm, and while I usually need to justify that to people, no justifying had to be done with you.  You just got me.  You dove right in and maybe thought, she seems crazy and out there and a bit feisty and loud and fairly direct, but I’m game.

I remember when the chastity people came to high school, and they handed out loads of pamphlets, one of them being “An Open Letter to My Future Husband.”  But I never liked associating with words that were not my own, particularly when I had not yet come in contact with anything that even closely resembled love.  Their letter was more of an instruction, paragraphs and paragraphs of things like “how to treat me.”  My experience tells me that if I have to instruct you on how I want to be treated, you’re not right.  But I don’t.  This letter was an ultimatum, and we all have our deal breakers, but real love doesn’t involve too much of this.  Real love doesn’t need a locker room pre-game warm up talk.  Their letter was an open letter, and any words I have, any words I have are for you.  Mine is closed.  So, I’m writing my own.

I love you.  And somehow you feel the same about me even though in the words of my girl, Simone de Beauvoir, “I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.” >(This type of quoting is called nerding out Philosophy major-style)

And, if you can love that, you can do anything.  You can do anything.

“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.”
― Antoine de Saint-ExupéryEl Principito

And just for fun:

“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.” ………Sorry, Charlie 😉
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Outside my Window…

If I could somehow take almost everything as metaphorical, I would.  So, you can only imagine how I’m handling the resurrection of the once seemingly abandoned construction project outside my window.  Perhaps where I’m headed is some sort of connection between the construction of the building across the road and my own inner construction that’s taken place over the past two and a half weeks.  I have begun working with two more projects in Kathmandu.  One is with an orphanage in the area (I will come back to this).  And for the other I am doing PR and promotional work and writing for a great non-profit centered on women’s empowerment and skill building that takes place in my very own home here in Kathmandu.  I shall return to explain these soon.  I am beginning to feel comfortable here, and the stares, even if they involve the starer stopping right in the middle of the road just to look at me, don’t phase me as much anymore.  Sometimes I forget the color of my skin, or at least forget how very different I am from them on the outside.  I only remember by the stares.  It’s so interesting because there would never be a scenario where I am from in which a single darker skinned person walked through a crowd of light-skinned people and the majority group just stared pointed and laughed quite obviously.  Apart from a good portion of hippies, and those who only hang out in the concentrated tourist district, people outside of that area get confused by my very existence.  I am beginning to understand life here, and for as much as I often crave my normal standards of living, breathing, and eating at home, I feel obliged somehow to stay here and soak in the lifestyle even more.

I am beginning to see the same faces, everywhere: in the neighborhood where I live, the neighborhood where I work, in Thamel-some of the same shop owners say hi to me repeatedly.  It’s not tourism, doing it this way.  It’s something more.

I will eventually cover one of my new duties here in a separate post, but for now I’d like to talk about my morning at the orphanage.  I knew it would be challenging, but all was illuminated when one near flawless little girl sang the Happy Birthday song while I was holding her.  This told me a few positive things: 1) She somehow telepathically, maybe, knew it was my birthday in 2 days, 2) She’s learning English, 3) And despite the fact that she was orphaned and had such a tiny physical frame, she seemed pretty happy.  The orphanage wasn’t all good though.  Only three of the children were full orphans.  Some had no mother or father and some had both parents but just dropped the children off for the day since the orphanage also operated as a day care center.  Not all of the day was full of lots of love and hugs and kisses from little kids, though.  Much of what I saw struck me hard.  One of my friends, who has been volunteering at the orphanage for about a week now told me that one of the baby girls, only a few months old, was wearing the same outfit she had work the previous three days.  The baby did not smell good, and after she had an accident there was no way of cleaning her up or changing her clothes.  I am also sure that she had no diaper either.  I felt horrible just watching her cry in her dirty clothes.  This would be unacceptable in our country.  A parent would be shamed, but here there are not many other options.  The little girl Nisa, who I mentioned before, was very beautiful.  She had hazel eyes and looked more Mongolian than Indian, as Nepali people tend to go either way.  She was very different from another girl, Ishna, who still had her parents.  Ishna was showing off her snacks and pretty pencil case full of things to Nisa, who clearly did not have these sorts of things.  Though they seemed to be friends, I could not help but feel for Nisa.  I took to her immediately. The children somehow make things more worth the while.  One thinks, If I do this than one day they will believe they can do this.  The will remember what I say, how I hold them, how I smile at them.  They will remember how much I care.

Outside my window, the men are finally recommencing their construction work.  Panels are being erected on top of the building.  They are whistling and sweating and working hard.  The building is coming together.  I like to look out every morning and have poetic moments, naturally.  Maybe I’m gaining new panels, some of them are being painfully hammered into me, but once they’re in, I feel strong and empowered, like I can make a definite difference.  I feel differently about the world.  I feel differently about myself.  I am a different building than what I was before.

“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something”-Ancient Proverb

Up until now I’ve had a tendency to speak about what it is I am doing.  Well, kids, I’m not doing it all alone.  I present you with, the people I’ve met, or at least a deep and well-construed reflection on surrounding oneself with the company of others while in a foreign country…

I knew one of my fellow volunteers before I arrived and that was about it.  At that point we hadn’t even known eachother too well.  Naturally, most if not all people who decide to take this sort of leap of faith and immerse themselves for a summer into the Nepalese culture must be interesting and must have their own interesting story.  Just in the same way as everyone else on the planet, but still one must wonder:  why is this person spending their summer in the third world?  This question and answers pulled from this question are enough to build bonds.

Sometimes you have to wonder, especially as a gal who always seemed to be the cliche of a square peg, how do I work well with others if I can’t seem to figure my own self out half of the time?  Fitting in or meshing is something I try not to hold my own abilities up against.  Just bein’ Leah tends to work, well, as well as it can.  And if it doesn’t work, and the meshing or fitting in was the only way to go, then you know how the old proverbial saying goes, it wasn’t mean to be.  And I have had many “It wasn’t meant to be’s.”

(Shoutout) Last year when I went to Poland for a service experience doing conservational work in the concentration camps, though I was with a very small group, I came out with friendships–one in particular.  Isn’t it interesting that I would get to know a person for only 10 days and then stay in contact with her quite often for the next year, and even still I consider her to be one of my closest confidants?  There have been some relationships I worked at for years and years and it didn’t seem quite as right as one like this.  There truly is something about sharing the company of a person when one chooses this sort of experience, an immersion.  You could have more in common in the first minute of meeting one another than with someone you’ve been faking it with for years.

First coming to Nepal was like Kindergarden.  The fear of the experience itself equaled out exactly to the fear of making friends throughout the experience.  Sounds like Kindergarden doesn’t it?  The important part of Kindergarden isn’t making macaroni necklaces, per say, it is the strength and solace found it knowing that you will have a buddy who will purposefully get in trouble for shoving a piece of macaroni up their nose just to make sure you don’t spend your time-out alone while everyone else makes macaroni necklaces.

While I realize many blog readers want to hear more about me bargaining in the markets or my plans to go paragliding in Pokhara, this is what you’re getting for today, because honestly whether you’ve traveled a ton, very little, or not at all, the company–those you’re with and those you meet–can impact you more than anything else.  For instance, If it wasn’t for one of my friends here, I would not have gotten up on stage and tribal danced with the Tharu dancers in Chitwan last weekend.  But seriously, there’s no way I would’ve done it.  I’ve also had friends convince me to buy things–which, who doesn’t need that in their lives.

I feel as though I have so much more to learn from my fellow volunteers and friends.  Sometimes, we just snuggle, sometimes we talk, we even work out, which is sometimes productive and sometimes just messy–at least when it goes unguided.  We talk about uneventful and eventful days at work, we talk about food we miss back home (sometimes to no avail), we talk about our futures (boy, do we talk about our futures), but mostly, even if we won’t admit it, we really do enjoy our time here…together.

Yesterday at work for the first time I began to feel the most in-touch I’ve been with the Nepalis here.  I have met one girl who I plan on visiting soon.  She had a very inspiring story; she even wanted to go to New York City one day to pursue fashion design.  Yesterday, though, I talked to the Nepali volunteers who are about my age in the office.  I had a really great conversation with one–comparing our cultures, how we live on our own after age 18 and they never really do, arranged marriages, the school system.  We even planned a time for her to take me shopping to get a traditional Nepali outfit, comprised of a short sleeved tunic with tighter pants on the bottom and a scarf with colors to match…I think it’s called a corta (?) There’s a special feeling one gets when forming a connection with someone who really is of another world, in many ways.

I can’t really explain it, but just now that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.  And know that if you meet them in Nepal, their story is one you probably one you want to hear.  The ones that are most dissimilar from your own tend to be that way.

Namaste,

Leah

That the freckles in our eyes are mirror images…

Dedicating myself to just the idea of beginning to type words in this space is more of an “I know I should” than an “I will” most of the time.  I thought I’d write this first time in the second person (thank you grammar school) to someone I am used to speaking to with great ease.

I am sitting across from you.  It’s the first time you’ve picked up your guitar in, well, too long.  To start, many people seem to know us or know about us.  They like us.  Some more than others.  I think most like our relationship better than they like me.  Maybe sometimes, although I’m happy with just us–just us knowing and thinking about us, just us loving–I wonder, what if these people knew?  What if they knew just a bit more.  Right now is one of those times that occurs only every so often where I find myself falling in love–again.  You don’t know yet, but I’m recording you as you play.  It’s an intro to a version of “Such Great Heights” by Landon Austin.  You are frustrated, but I’m not noticing that.  Sometimes I am looking at your furrowed brow, sometimes I find my gaze drift toward your hands and especially your reddening fingertips.

We’ve been together for over two and a half years.  And to say I am amazed is an understatement on so many levels.  To speak to solely this moment, though.  This is one of those oddly cinematic moments where you, unbeknownst to me, perform some sort of magic.  This time you are emitting that magic from your fingertips right to the core of me and then back out again to my eyes which can’t seem to look away.  Now, I know we joked, in light of our sass-a-frassing, shared sense of non-conformism, for the first month or so of dating that we hated one another, couldn’t wait to get out of the relationship, what have you.  But, now, though I still delight in our mindless banter and feigned disdain for the other, I find myself having to contain my ratting insides from becoming too excited, even still, when you look at me.

Maybe I never thought men to be redeemable.  You know, I’ve told you I once felt that way.  But because of the previous examples I’d had, you still, to this day, seem unreal to me.  Thank you.