Dear Old Friend

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The holidays have a way of wrapping around your house in fits of projects and chaos. Every counter in my parent’s house is stacked with Christmas cards, empty tins, and half-drank mugs of hot chocolate. Add an enthusiastic (but messy) sixteen year old who has just finished her finals, a groggy twenty year old who just returned from his stay-up-all-night-and-video-game sleepover and you have the perfect conditions for too much holiday cheer (for me).

I needed to leave the house. And work on my thesis.

So as a classical graduate student, I jumped in the car (as old as my groggy brother) and drove to the nearest Starbucks. The three teenage girls huddled around their grande lattes talking quickly about “remember when…” already brought smiles to my face. I turned the counter, scanning the drink menu, only to let my eyes land on the busy barista. 

I recognized her immediately. I would have recognized her anywhere! My best friend from 5th to 8th grade stood behind the counter, taking a woman’s six-bags-of-coffee-and-load-this-giftcard-and-I-want-a-misto order. She did not see me (customer’s first!) but I watched her hurry and fill coffees.

Isn’t it odd how we can remember nothing yet everything about someone? How she pressed the coffee drip pot with only her fingerprints was in her exact mannerism. How she asked questions and inflected her voice matched perfectly to ten years ago. Her hair was tousled back in a bun and I loved how she kept that same side-swept poof with only a headband. 

After the woman left, she looked up and shrieked my name. We laughed at meeting each other there and chatted quickly about a mutual friend. I then asked her about her birthday only four days before. (Which it is a great wonder to me that I cannot remember my PIN number but somehow every year remember her birthday.) She smiled, said it was grand to be twenty four, and rattled off my birthday date in February. Taking my order was awkward for us both (why must we ever order from people we know?) and I quickly side stepped away for the man wanting his blueberry scone. 

How can we remember and forget someone all the same? I sit only a few tables from her now but yet she holds memories that I could never perfectly share with even my dearest friends from college. She is a living time capsule of cute boy’s pseudonames, late night teas and cookies, and fears of going to high school. She remembers one of my first jazz classes because she was in it. She can tell you what my cursive looked like when I stared writing my “K”s differently (she helped me develop it). 

Though we may part on different paths, I guess we never stop treasuring people. So many unexplainable shared moments make those casual bump ins and half smiles mean so much more. Like the three teenage girls huddled around their grande lattes, our half smiles speak to what we are both thinking. Do you remember when? 

I remember when dear friend and I am so glad we bumped into each other today. 

 

 

 

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Everyday Joys

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An older man walking by my coffee shop stand and giving me a wink.

Catching a newly formed friend do something that is extremely ordinary, but noble. 

Fresh fruit in winter.

Feeling the rhythm of a new season of life.

Seeing someone trip up the stairs.

Hearing my sister laugh.

Which movie to watch?

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The eternal cold seeps into my spine again and I toss through the dull toned sweaters in my closet in search of something that will ward it away. I miss the colors of South Africa, in the clothes, in the food, in the people.  I grab my bright purple sweater, in hopes its saturation will be substitute for the hues I long to sense again.

The flu I caught in the traveling frenzy allows space and excuses to lie on the couch. Though I am still, the characters zip around the screen, drawing me into their reality. I enter into their turmoil and love stories with gladness. How long ago was it that I felt like I was in a living documentary?

The ocean that was so clear and vast, the mighty mountain that changed into rolling fields, and the bright, bright sun. Oh, how I miss that sun! It would break beads of sweat on your forehead if you more than sauntered down the street. It seemed to be the only things that shined on the South African people equally. The child digging in the trash two streets away from the mansion wrapped in barbed wire. The dirt scrubbed into the cement of Johannesburg in the church that sounded like heaven. The picture of the old man being held by two young ones, so he could place the ballot in box so his voice could be heard for the first time. We stuck out like a sore thumb in that long, white coach bus. No wonder it felt like a movie. We just watched and watched and watched.

I move back to my movie with the boy and girl so pretty and in love. They are the tools I use to zoom-in. Zoom-in so the world feels very, very small…insofar that I feel the center of it. Those blue eyes of hers are stunning and oh my, is she slight! I love her vintage style and I wonder if I should get straight across bangs. The love story transports me to my love stories, both past and future, and I curiously paint “what ifs” in my head. I become frustrated that I no appetite to eat. Twenty-four hours on the S&S diet (Saltines and Sprite) is far too long. I pull the soft blanket closer to my chin, over my bright purple sweater, and just watch. And watch and watch and watch.

So Close, yet So Far

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I want to be a blogger. You know the type…the one who balances the hilarious and the profound. Who regularly updates this malleable website.

Its like an adult AIM (no offense, if offense is taken). You pick your screen name (web url), color and quote up your profile (blog entries), and follow your AIM buddies (your devoted readers). I was terrible at it then and I am terrible at it now.

I have three running blog enteries in my head. Truly, I edit and format them in my free time. But when it  comes times to type on that good ol’ word press site…I freeze. All seems juvenile or over-dramatic-poet–in-Ray Bans-esque.

The only reasons I am here is 1) I want to break the silence and 2) I am avoiding the daunting task of unpacking and cleaning. Avoidance apparently leads to more avoidance.

But never fear. I will return..hopefully with more profound or meaningful thoughts.

To make up for my lack of sense, I will leave you with a scene from a movie I am currently enthralled with: (500)days of Summer.

I literally smile through this whole video:

Paper Quilting

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I feel as though I am literally “stitching” this paper together.

Two paragraphs. An accumulated of eight hours of two cannot have resulted in just this! Yes, the research was necessary and through, but it as though I am flipping through the Merriam-Webster itself to find the right words. Who knew an introduction could use such thought?

It is odd to know that all the research is gathered, like a pile of quilt squares, yet much meticulous work is still needed to create academic fabric.

Easily Distracted

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More than three times a week I find myself shoes still on and jacket fully zipped admits a project I never intended on doing. I am easily distracted.

For example, today I had grandiose (and necessary) plans for the day. Here are the things I did not plan on doing, but throughly exercised:

1) Washing my sheets (to avoid washing my clothes).

2) Walking the loop three times with a dear friend.

3) Buying a pumpkin spice latte and fresh apples at a quaint farmers market.

4) Taking a two-hour nap.

5) Six missed calls.

5) Going to the library and checking-out book on “the meaning of sex” (classic grad school).

6) #5 was nicely was nicely pared with a well-attended parents banquet, in which I took my “theory of sex” books to a dessert table and snagged a few for the road.

7) Spending forty-five minutes on a family’s blog, which left me laughing at my computer and looking forward to family life. Naturally, I was shoes on, jacket zipped.

And here I am, blogging about my distractibility. Jacket is off. Shoes are still on. Baby stepping towards focus.