Thursday, August 28, 2008

a written account of home

we live behind a pawn shop. people come and go, trading away their lives; selling what they need, in order to get by. getting by hasn't been so universally tough in such a long time. so now, that pawn shop, it sees a lot of action.

from the couch, i watch the cars pull in and out of its parking lot. the window framed by my bright green kitchen table (which is, incidentally, not in my kitchen) and the paper lantern that hangs above it. while in bangkok, i bought a hanging lamp with which to replace it. and while i'm a very intelligent person, i can't for the life of me figure out how to put the damn thing together. so, it sits in a pile on the bright green table, under the original lamp, waiting for someone who happens to stop by, to decide to put it together for me. people stop by all the time. it's nice.

the white-washed panel walls of our bedroom are lined with maps of all the places i have lived. points of interest highlighted, circled, summarized in my beautiful but messy hand-writing. my hands tremble, from an accident in a pool. buckley's bed sits beside ours, which is a joke, because i'm quite certain she's never actually slept in it. in all actuality, though, if she ever did, it would feel lonely in ours without her.

it was once pointed out to me that i like to bring the outdoors inside. i have birds flying across my living room wall, tree-lined 3-form hung beside the closet, big plants in every room, green patterns and framed furniture, and bird lights. even our wedding registry is full of nature themed and printed materials - serveware, artwork, bamboo. it's funny the things you never notice on your own.

our kitchen hutch always has an open bottle of wine on it. there is always coffee in the coffeemaker. and the fridge is littered with old postcards from friends, stuck with both clever and free magnets. my generations seems to have created an entire industry on the acid tongue of cleverness, sarcasm and wit. it's really undeniable. it's really everywhere we frequent. sometimes it's so jarring, we search for the sincerely fucked up, as opposed to the tongue-in-cheek.

there are books everywhere in our house. everywhere. in every room. on every surface. i value books. apart from photographs, they are the only things with which i just can't part. i value someone who cherishes the books they've read. i have, for a while now, refused to furnish my living room with a television. it seems an awful focal point. so, instead, our media cabinet is covered with lonely planet guides and my favorite novels. let's talk about books, not watch reruns of seinfeld we've seen a million times.

i say cabinet for a lack of a better word. i don't have large furniture. i hate large furniture. i like sleek, sightly, minimal and urban. i, of course, blew this to crap the other day when i acquired the biggest, comfiest, fluffy couch. now everything looks tiny. it's a bit awkward, but the couch really is so comfortable.

we have a walk-in closet, thank god. between the two of us, we could stock an entire vintage clothing store. it's excessive and disgusting; but one must be allowed their bad habits every now and again. it's so bad that, when scott first moved in, he had to immediately purchase a slew of closet organizers just so he could fit everything in our closet, which is bigger than most bathrooms. the perk is: i fit into most of his clothing, so my wardrobe just doubled.

every morning, he wakes up, walks the dog, watches the news. and then he leaves, just around the time i'm waking up to make coffee. every morning, like clockwork. we never close the blinds, so every morning we wake to the sun moreso than any alarm. mornings here are nice. we quietly go about our routines, like we've been doing it for decades.

every afternoon, buckley naps on the floor next to me, while i sit on the couch and write. she occasionally looks up, and i occasionally find myself staring off into space at that pawn shop. people come and go, trading in their lives. and we watch, creating and cementing our own life. everyone doing what they can to get by. and with the economy crashing, and getting by getting harder, i look around grateful. and i take in the surplus of huge changes that are abound. and i don't trade any of it, for all its worth.

i write and i write. i write about my trip and i write about my life. and i slowly figure it all out. and i realize that everything that has happened to me this year are the makings of something fantastic to come. i am about to sew some fucking gold.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

lost in america

i think all our hearts hurt a little, at least, all of the time. at least, i like to think so. it makes us more human. it makes us more understanding. and it doesn't make us any less lovely. i think it's always been this way. i mean, you rarely see a smiling statue or work of art. we, as humans, have perfected only the art of making do. any one person can only hold so much in their hands. i guess our insides are on reserve for what we're not capable of dealing with or confronting. what's not good to us now. and it wells up, makes space and takes up residency. i don't think it even makes us less happy. i think it's just what we're accustomed to, because it's always been that way.

i think what we choose to do with it is what makes us unhappy. we can use it to be better. to be stronger. to love harder, longer, more. or it can drive us crazy. we can let it destroy everything good that isn't hurting.

we all have histories; histories so evident on our skin. you just have to choose to look for them. to see them. to see what makes us us. it's the dark and dank alleyways that make us individuals. we have to allow ourselves our own histories, and we cannot deny the histories of those around us. just because you can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there; doesn't mean you can pretend it's not. we spend so much time focusing on how life affects us; it's easy to forget everybody else.

i... i don't quite know how to make do where i am, in the wake of what i've just experienced. when you are so brazenly faced with how life affects others, it becomes impossible to forget everybody else. it gets harder to see yourself. it gets harder to live in a world full of advertisements and self-absorption and mountains out of mole hills and negativity. it becomes more and more evident how so many americans thrive on negativity. as though, perhaps, they can create chaos and war and problems so that they can avoid the hurt in their own hearts.

it gets harder when you feel so surrounded by ingratitude. when you feel lost in space, like an animal in the streets, trying to make do in a world you don't understand. in a world that doesn't feel like it's yours.

i returned. and the hurt in my heart had changed. i've been so hypnotized by a pair of eyes and a smile i can never do justice. a smile over a bag of food out in the street, alone on the dirty sidewalk, with no parents or clothes or chances or choices. and now i look around and can barely see a smile for all the houses and menus and waste and work and worship and words. and it just... breaks my heart a little.

i think all our hearts hurt a little, at least, all of the time. i just wish it wasn't so easy to forget everybody else.

i feel so lost, back in america.

Monday, August 25, 2008


some days you just try to do too much on your own. and as a result, get trapped inside your house, because you've gotten a couch completely lodged in your entryway.

some day, i will learn my lesson.

at least we have a couch now.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


we immortalize the blame. we take seconds to soothe the loss. we soothe the loss with weight. we take seconds to roll over to the blame. to the names we never knew. written in sand to wash away. we accept the tides for what they are. we take seconds and try to make it mean something. something more. we take seconds like it means something. anything at all. we take what we can get. we take as much as we can. and we run. we throw our weight around, and then we run. run away from what we can't take. from what we can't have. from who we can't be. we crawl around, weeding through the carpet, trying to find some time. more time. time to reconcile. time to rehearse the lines we think they want to hear. we try to find the endings they want to see. we try to find pieces of who we used to be. on our knees, we weed around the carpet.

i bought meals for starving children. and now, now i buy another round of beers and throw my arms back.

we immortalize the blame. we take seconds to soothe the loss. we throw our arms back. like it means something. like it means anything at all.

with all the luck we've had, why are our songs so sad? when you giggle, can i tape you?

Saturday, August 23, 2008


i returned. i returned to a completely different life. with completely different insights. to everything changes. i was dumbfounded and shell-shocked. i am dumbfounded and shell-shocked. i just don't quite know what to say. or do. how to react or act or properly re-enact all that i've witnessed. i can't properly piece it all together; all that's happened with all that's become. everything has been rearranged, and i know longer no where to put things. where to put myself. how to put myself down. how to intersect the big picture, when the big picture just keeps getting bigger.

i woke up thursday morning, at 4:30 in gumi, korea. i woke up to a long day. to the sun barely sining over gumisan. i woke up exhausted and hungover, ready to leave, but not ready to depart. standing in the bus terminal, wrought with emotion, i quietly said my goodbyes. and for the three hour bus ride to seoul, got lost in the green and rolling hills, the rice plantations, the bridges of south korea. i got so lost in the oh so many mountains of emotions and lessons and liaisons i could never do justice, could never fully articulate, nor recount.

twenty two hours lated we landed in portland; 9:10 on thursday morning. i made the trek home, narrow-eyed and bedraggled. i arrived home to a vet appointment for ladyflaps, a doctor's appointment for myself, a live-in boyfriend, and an urgent email from my boss looming over me. shrouds to a life i'd forgotten how to live. it all seemed so real it didn't seem real at all.

when my boss finally did lay me off (over the phone) i was numb. none of it seemed to really matter to me. none of it seemed real anymore. after seeing the things and people and lives and pain and elation and progress and recess and monument i'd seen, everything here just seemed so overbuilt. overdone and rehearsed. under-felt. saccharine in replace of repair. like everything existed for the sake of having something to do, to feel, to see. no rhyme, no reason; capitalism abound and around, surrounding us everywhere we look. the problems we all face, suddenly so minute; so laughable. i didn't know how to adjust. how to see devoid of the myopia i'd been hiding behind.

i don't know what to say or do, how to act or react, how to re-enter all this. the walls seem so fake. the people seem so cold and pristine. it's been over a week and i'm still absolutely shell-shocked. i still wake from dreams of cambodia. dreams of the places and faces i have seen. unsure how to reconcile all that persists. all that consists of mere moments, taking over me. make it impossible to see beyond hypermetropia. it makes me feel so alien. so foreign. like i'm speaking another language. i can't adjust to what's in right in front of me. so great, so nice, but so different. i'm having a hard time adjusting. dumbfounded and shell-shocked.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

to be loved

vast figures in the background get smaller and fade from view the further along we get. i'm getting the picture, so blurry before. i'm getting to where i need to be. what's done is done, and what i have is so complete and completely sound and abound with love and life and futures that go on for miles and miles to come. 

i can touch and feel and see and hear and taste the team we have become. i can get around the get around and see the big picture. it's so hard to see the big picture amongst the weeds and the reeds, blowing in the wind. any which way for whatever you've supplanted yourself in. 

home is getting closer. getting closer everyday. just around the bend. for the first time in 10 months i'm no longer dying. i'm living a fantastic life that somehow snuck up on me. i'm real life. 

i fly home tomorrow. so many places, so many stories fill my limbs and lips. so many faces and features embedded and indebted to. 
cambodia has changed my life.
i have changed my life.
you have changed my life.

Monday, August 11, 2008


i have been a busy kid. 5 countries in 3 weeks busy. i'm in gumi, korea now. when i get back home this weekend, i'll tell you all about it.

did i mention i'm tired?
i'm tired.

proximity is hard to get a hold of. could you see me waving from the plane overhead? well, i was.