Finding A New Routine

At the start of 2009 I went to New Zealand and Fiji with my friend Gina. It was perhaps one of the top travel experiences of my life. I have a friend going to New Zealand next month so there will be a blog post dedicated to some of my favorite things NZ along with photos very soon, as soon as I can unpack my books that is. It’s strange in retrospect that that is how I started 2009; it was such “a highlight” as Astrid would say. It also started some shift inside me that I couldn’t be certain of and I am still not entirely clear on. But in the moment it was delightful, it was a dream, it was “a highlight”. I was certain 2009 would be a watershed year and it was, only not in any way that I expected. I met the Dalai Lama in 2009, well more my mother than me, but I took a plate of food from him and bowed deeply. More prominently forever will be the fact that a week before the Dalai Lama, my grandmother died, and 5 months later my mother.

I had no way of knowing any of this in January and February of 2009 as I felt myself in a living dream of New Zealand lupine. Fiji was different, but wonderful in the end. It was an addition we made to our trip because we would have to take a flight through Fiji and the cost of staying a few nights was so low it seemed too good to pass up. The reason for such a good deal we would learn later when just days before we arrived, a cyclone hit the island. We spent frantic days in New Zealand trying to get information and ascertain if it was safe to travel to Fiji, which was not the easiest task. In the end we went. We flew with a number of refugees returning to their home after having been evacuated during the brunt of the storm. We arrived only days after the storm front left and the rain continued (we eventually came to love this, swimming in a pool with a tropical rain falling). The airport quarantined my precious New Zealand honey. We drove through deserted cities and flooded towns, in the blackness, as most electricity other than generators was not turned on. We were told that leaving our resort was strongly advised against. It was a different experience than the one we expected; and it has left me with stories but the feeling that I have never REALLY been to Fiji. One day we were able to go snorkeling. They told us the waters had calmed down and most of the debris the storm had picked up was settling. We only had a window between rains but we were able to dive off a boat and see amazing coral and fish.

The reason I bring this up is that this was almost exactly three years ago from now. This was somehow the start of at times an almost unnoticeable and other times very overt shifting in me, a shifting that has not come to a steady end. I bring it up because somehow I feel as though I am in a hurricane these days. It was so much easier in the clarity of the RAvolution to pack my house up and move a year ago. It is proving to be so much easier than it is to unpack those same boxes, which seem to have a way of never ending no matter how many I unpack. The anticipation of the adventures filled me where now it is the stories and memories. I miss the adventures far more than I thought and I think only in sitting still am I noticing that.

I am trying to find a routine again; it is proving a struggle at times. I have found a yoga place I love. I have gone to the movies and been delighted. I saw a show at Ars Nova that was splendid. I saw the THE WARSAW VILLAGE BAND and I can’t get enough of their music now. I am doing a lot and yet in the face of so many other things it feels like not nearly enough. With the comfort of my own stuff I find how much I miss the sociability of the house I lived in in Kenya. I miss my friends from South East Asia. I miss inconvenience, who thought I would say that? I miss the clear direction I had a year ago and seem in desperate need of now.

I have cooked a few things in my new apartment – this soup, this chicken, my first risotto. And I have become a big fan of what I call Ramona’s House Blend Trail Mix. It’s easy— a quarter  cup of each ingredient combined that’s it – cashews raw, almonds raw, macadamia nuts roasted and lightly salted, coconut flakes, golden raisins, dried mango cut up. Delicious!!

I guess I started with the story of Fiji because who would have guessed that it’s the adventure, the unexpected, the surprises of travel is what I miss in my daily life now that I am settling back in. The other day at yoga the instructor told a story about how we all view the world as if we are looking at the sky through the end of a straw. Imagine thinking the sky was as big as the hole in the end of a straw, which is how we view life. But in the yoga practice she explained for moments you are able to see more and more of the sky. You cannot always see the entire sky but you look at it not through the lens of a straw, you see how much you are not seeing in your daily life. And I guess that is it, having to see life in a smaller lens for a while. Perhaps it will help me see myself more clearly—the self I have become, but oh do I miss the greater view of a sky I couldn’t wrap my mind around before and I can’t get out of my imagination now.

Last night was one of the many I had in fitful sleep, so after two hours of tossing and turning I dragged my weary self out of bed at 4:40AM and turned on the computer to watch/listen to Christopher Walken read WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. Brilliant!! Nothing like a bedtime story.

I wish you all clear skies, big views at moments, and good night sleeps.


Photos: 1,2,5 from Fiji 2009

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