May Pink Tinge Your Day

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The day when pink, red, and white are strewn about, flowers are bought in high quantities (matching the high prices), and love is declared in many classic and crazy ways.

But, the difference between today and my past 23 Valentine’s days is: this year I have a BOY Valentine (Lauren joined the “boy for Valentine’s” club a while ago—but now it’s my year).

I’ll admit, I have conflicting feelings about this day—the commercialism is somewhat off-putting (sometimes immensely so).  But, if left simply to me, I really do love it!  A day dedicated to sharing, giving, expressing, surprising, being…ALL in the name of love.  Yes, yes, it is a good and wonderful thing to show love and care all year long.  But, Valentine’s Day allows it all to be done with a PINK tinge (and I’m all about that pink, bout that pink).

I remember Valentine’s Day when I was six or seven.  I awoke to these cute, pink cards with little love notes to me from my parents.  They are still safely stored in my jewelry box.  When I was nine, we watched a movie about St. Valentine during school.  This was a little awkward—I didn’t know how to react after it ended and St. Valentine was killed, so I laughed a little.  A classmate said something to me along the lines of, “How can you laugh?”  Too young to explain/understand that when uncomfortable, sometimes the wrong reaction happens.  Like I said,awkward.  Of course, there was the year the boy I had a crush on gave me a Valentine that said, “We’ve got chemistry.” Yes, I read into it.  I was a very romantic and thinking sixth grader.

Of course, if you’d been privy to the Skype date I just finished, you’d have seen two little girls excitedly showing me their Valentine necklaces from their parents, Valentines they had made for their mommy, and their Valentine outfits.  You’d have seen their big sister showing me her Valentine outfit, too!  You’d have heard my cousin sharing the plans she and her husband made while her mom watches the kids.  Yes, they’re home is FILLED to overflowing with PINK (i.e. love).

Back to where I started: this year I have a BOY Valentine.  He’s the handsomest fellow I know.  The kindest, most loving, filled with compassion, funny, silly, intelligent, wise, stubborn, truth seeking, justice wanting person I know.  He loves beauty—true beauty.  It’s the kind found on a back of a beetle, shimmering in the summer sun.  He runs through the pouring rain with me, laughing as we find cover, not caring that the people sheltered and (mostly) dry might be staring. He takes me to fashion exhibits because he knows I’d like it.  He meets me with a cup of tea just the way I like it.  He reminds me to drink water when I don’t drink enough.  He carries my purse through the museum so that my back won’t hurt.  He notices when I get bruises and reminds me to be aware so that I won’t keep bumping into things. My dentist will love him: he hands me floss, even when I’m tired.  Also, he makes seriously yummy scrambled eggs, and created an original breakfast dish that is delish.

He is the BEST <3

So, regardless of what society says about this day, shorten your branches so that the twine of culture won’t hold you hostage (gardening reference inspired by my philosophy prof), and instead choose to enjoy a day of special moments, surprises, heart shaped pizza, a cuddle on the couch, a homemade valentine with lots of cut-out hearts because your five year old LOVES making them, a cup of peppermint hot chocolate from your daughter (Mama, I’d make you one if I was home), and soak up the day.

*Please note, this was not written in ignorance of the origin of Valentine’s Day

ReBecoming

I had my first internet interview this afternoon.  I think I liked it.  It went pretty well…though, nerves did show themselves.  Now, the incessant email checking and waiting commences.

Sherlock convention tickets just went on sale, and the website isn’t working.  I had my first experience relating to The Big Bang Theory when the guys click for ten minutes before finally getting in to buy Comicon tickets.  I just want to read the details!  Wah.

The past few days I’ve begun easing into some of my old routines (this is good).  For various reasons, after moving it was very difficult for me to put energy and concentration into things that used to come (mostly) naturally and easily.  It feels SO good journaling, reading, exercising, writing…stepping back into myself.

 

 

What Hairspray Can Teach Us About Current USA Problems

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This morning we three girls watched the musical Hairspray.  I had not seen the movie in over six years and did not recall the plot (it was practically like seeing it for the first time–with a few exceptions).  What caught me off guard were the glaring similarities to the current, American, societal issues, particularly the ones occurring on the racial/governmental front.

While there is no longer legal segregation, racial prejudices are an underlying (and blatant) problem–all ways, might I add, not only white to black.  In the movie, there is a peaceful walking protest made up of black people and a few white people.  In the middle of the street, they come across a line of policemen that do not want to let them cross.  The woman leading the walk speaks calmly, saying they are peacefully walking, the officer won’t budge, the main, white character hits the officer on the back with her sign, and he calls her on assault of a police officer (if you want to know the rest, watch the movie).

The first issue is the line of police officers refusing passage to a peaceful walking protest.  The scene bears an eerie resemblance to current happenings in the USA.  The second issue was assaulting the officer–violence, no matter the level, is not the solution.  The third issue was that the individuals/entity that people expect to go to when injustice occurs were the very ones acting unjustly.  Again, how many YouTube videos display officers blatantly shooting non-violent and unarmed individuals, committing a crime for which a non-officer would be arrested?

There is a deep-seated problem in the United States (yes, in the world, too,but I’m addressing the USA in this post), one that many claim is not an issue, but daily news headlines are saying otherwise.  Find the movie and watch it–don’t let the fact that it is a musical deter you.  As you watch it, look past the plot and understand the message.  Then, compare it to today.  If you are a teacher and you are reading this, may I recommend you play it in your classroom and have each student make notes of issues and comparisons to today.  This is not the time to play the part of an ostrich.  When young children are being shot for holding toy guns, when officers’ first instinct is to shoot to kill and not to injure, when law-enforcement is no longer considered safe–SOMETHING IS WRONG.  And something needs to change.

It Started With Donetsk

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A lot is happening in the world.  Attacks, war, attacks, lost trust, attacks, and more.

I left the USA just as things began to heat up (unintentional on my part).

Now, I sit in England, not far from more attacks and war–France, Ukraine, and, because my idea of distance is different than other people’s, the Middle East and Africa….and all I want to do is talk about it, write about it, bring light to the truth of what is happening.  However, in order to do that I must be there.  I must talk with people.  There is a story, many stories, that need to be shared.  I rack my mind, thinking of ways to write truth into a world of lies.  While anonymous officials make anonymous statements, REAL people are dying.  Artillery is being fired.

People don’t stop living because their surroundings are in turmoil.

I read a brief interview transcript from NPR’s Corey Flintoff in which he shared the environment of Donetsk, Ukraine.  Shelling, spurts of artillery going off—and I asked myself how it would change me to experience that.

Why are we all not asking ourselves that question?

Perhaps if we attempted to place ourselves in the shoes of those who are accustomed to guns constantly exploding in the near distance and where the death count is more than a number–it’s family, friends, the neighborhood grocer–we might work harder, and with more passion, for justice, truth, and ending the war(s).

*Photo of painting taken in summer 2014 at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, NC

Day 24: Truthful Feelings

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Photo by K.L.R.

*Cue Spotify playlist “Favorite Michael Buble Songs”*

Music to fit my mood–and to set the tone–is necessary.  I want to write, I want to create.  One of my favorite things is sitting down to a blank sheet or notebook of paper.  Sometimes I simply crave writing–I want to write, something, anything, WORDS!

However, there is a chance this blog post creation will be the sum total of my creative writing today–barring some unexpected strike of inspiration.

I’ve been in England for 24 days.  The adjustment is much harder than I ever expected.  I hesitate to use the words “depressed”, but things that normally appeal greatly to me, I have no desire to do–especially alone.  Yes, perhaps loneliness is a better word, but I don’t want to go out and make friends.  I’m enjoying the solitude of my room and the family interaction with the Pfeiffers.  My life in the States was…crazy.  Busy=understatement.  Maybe my body, mind, and soul are relishing the pause–and aren’t ready for it to end.

A day will arrive when I crave people; I’ll want to get out, and London won’t be prepared for me.  But, for the time being, my little room is perfect.  I have a desk when I feel structured, a chair when I want to curl up, and a comfy bed when I want to lounge about.  Perhaps a book–an old friend–is just the remedy.  The thing I just realized…I brought mostly books I haven’t read but have been on my reading list.  Drat.  I may need to pop into a local book shop (good thing they are plentiful) and find an old friend.

Cups of tea and talking with friends in America definitely helps (I’m VERY thankful for technology and social media).

Family, too.  My parents, brother, and others are supportive of this venture.  It helps ease the transition.

And…cups of tea ;)

Tour Time: My New Abode

I’ve lived in many rooms and spaces over the past six years.  Sometimes I had wardrobes and cupboards, other times I lived out of a suitcase.  Many are the hours I’ve dreamed and looked forward to having my own place.  I’ve made roommate plans with several friends–none of which came to fruition because life took a different direction.  (Post-university life is a different kind of world, especially with the current economical state.  And there are emotions and challenges for which none of the “you’re about to graduate” talks prepare you.  I say this to encourage anyone reading this who is dealing with depression, lack of direction, frustration at yet another “dead end application”–it’s ok.  You’re not the only one…even if it feels like it.)

But, the time has arrived, and I have a room entirely my own.  I have a bed, a wardrobe, shelves on the wall, a desk with clean lines, a giant leather arm chair (perfect for reading–I have a hard time reading when I’m not comfortable), and a slanted ceiling.  It feels like an attic room (I even have stairs going down from my room).  Basically, it’s perfect.  My nineteen books, two journals, eight DVD cases (including a season of White Collar), two Christmas CDs and two non-Christmas CDs, stationary, notebooks, and various other items fit beautifully on my shelves.  Four card games (Dutch Blitz, Phase Ten, Uno, and Quiddler) fit nicely next to the DVDs.  My wardrobe holds everything nicely (though, some reorganization needs to happen).  My scarves hang beautifully on the back of my door.  And there is plenty of space for my Vogue magazine to lie about (yes, I did bring two Vogue magazines, one W magazine, the Travel section for the NYT, and a copy of TIME with me from America…all with good reason).

Storing suitcases required moving the chair a few inches and playing one of those “move the ___ around until you get it where it needs to be” games with my shoes.

Oh, and I mustn’t forget my lovely, white rug that elongates my room and adds a crispness and homeyness to it.

All in all, I am happy and content in my little room at the top of the house.  I have the P.S. I Love You soundtrack playing, my door open (allowing the children’s voices to float upward while they play), and am enjoying my sunny, light room on this morning that I anticipate making productive (obviously with a large cuppa tea–and yes, I did bring a mug with me from America…my London Starbucks Mug, since I’m in London.)

What I realized, while looking about, is all these “things” are representative of people in my life whom I love.  Miles separate us, but they are ever present.

P.S. Not pictured are the few dishes that accumulated in my room (bad habit #1 I shall try and kick).

P.P.S. A few things to note: my copy of A Moveable Feast–a first addition (my first ever!) gifted to me by a dear, kindred spirit. The little bowl on my bedside table–Turkish.  And it’s no mistake that those particular Christmas items accompanied me across the ocean.

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Growing Up: An International Move

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Apparently I’m living in a new country.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t abducted by anyone. I’ve had the plan in the works for some time.
It’s only my first move as an adult.
Approximately 3,825 miles.
NBD.

I’m back in London.
My “other home.”
Adjustment is still required.

After arriving Tuesday afternoon, I’ve lounged around, visited my uncle’s and aunt’s house for dinner, and visited a cafe in the park.

Considering the past two months (or more) of craziness, I’m relishing the relaxation. Next week, I’ll kick back into gear.

Until then, this evening shall consist of: tea, Skype, and ice cream.

Mhmm. Sounds perfect, right?