Sunday, April 23, 2017

I'm Certain I will Miss the Palms

I’m Certain I will Miss the Palm Trees…

I keep trying to wrap my head around it. To grasp onto the truth of it. To somehow process the fact that I’ve lived in Mexico for almost two years. That already it’s time to transition again.
It seems impossible.
It feels impossible.

I can so vividly remember that frantic morning realizing I had left my passport in a copy machine at the FedEx store just hours before I was to board a plane and move to Mexico. I remember my tiny thrift store bottle of African beach rocks shattering on the floor of the Pittsburgh airport as I fought to hold myself together just until I was out of my family’s view. 
I remember the symbolism as it shattered. 
That Africa was not for now. 
For now I was to leave that dream behind for a different one. 
Now it was time to step into uncertainty and time to trust.
Hugs. Tears. More hugs and so many more tears.
Lincoln refusing to get back into his travel carrier.
Complete breakdown in the Chicago airport. (An airport I intentionally planned to stop in on the way. My favorite airport.)
What was I doing!? Moving to Mexico? Teaching Preschool….?
One hour delay in Houston.
Two hours. Three. Five.
A long, much needed chat with my best friend in the whole world.
And then we were there.
Lincoln and I in our brand new life. That tiny, tiled, upstairs apartment with that big beautiful window with the classically Mexican view. My surprise bedroom.
It seriously seems like a week ago or so.

I remember the preparation.
Convincing my heart to change directions. Sorting through things and fitting my life and my heart into a few suitcases. 
The goodbyes.

Here we are full circle.
 It seems to be a smaller circle this time.
Back where we started.
More preparing. More transitioning. More heart steering.
So many more goodbyes. Hugs. Tears.
Uncertainty once again.

And I just keep looking up at the palm trees. 
Watching their great green leaves sway against the azul. Listening to them dance in the scorching wind.
I remember how they used to make me feel. A constant state of tropical. Like every day was vacation. The sight of them just made me giddy. 
Sandals in February a funny but lovely idea.
And then somewhere along the way, the swaying and the dancing and the sandals and the sun all just became normal.
The everyday ordinary blur of life.

Once the newness blurred into the normal, my heart began to miss what was behind. It learned to long for things that had once been ordinary. Like Autumn and easily accessible pumpkin everything Sweater weather and Target. For random rainy days and free, ice cold water. For a quick walk to the city center or a card in the mailbox. To send birthday packages or make simple calls to friends and family. To eat at Panera and then browse the Old Navy clearance racks. Family dinners on Sunday afternoons (even though I hated pretty much every place that we ate.) Four seasons. A change in the weather. The trees. My home church. 
New places make us miss the old ones. New people make us miss the ones who aren't here with us. New scenery seems to paint a more viivid picture of the old in our heads and our hearts. 
Ohio. If I'm being honest, I never thought I would miss Ohio. 
And perhaps I don't. Perhaps I miss the parts of me that are there but didn't quite make their way to here. The people that couldn't come along. 

Goodbye sheds a different light on things.
Even the palm trees.
Goodbyes force us to look a little closer.
To reflect.
To wonder.
To gather snapshots in our hearts of how we want to remember.

I am certain I will miss them when we are no longer together.

I will be more aware of the palm trees when I am surrounded by pines.
I will crave mango more intensely every Monday afternoon when it's nowhere to be found or a zilion dollars when it is. And tacos. Oh how I will miss the tacos 
I will long to remember Spanish. To speak it, when I am beginning to forget.
I will wish for sunshine (even the scorching afternoon sort) when I am covered by clouds once again. 
Someday not so far from now, everything will be new again. Sort of. And then all of the things that had become ordinary and usual and perhaps even annoying about here will look different in my memories. More vivd. More desirable. 
Because they are gone. 
Like the palm trees. 
I'm certain I will miss the palm trees. 
All that I've gathered beneath them. 
The person I've become surrounded by them.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Cosas as of Late

That's where I live.
Somewhere in between Spanish and English
Between American and Mexican.
Never quite knowing what will fall out when I open my mouth.
A Spanish word?
An English word?
A strange mixture of a little bit of both?
An awful distortion of one or the other?

It's that time again.
When I just want to eat jello all the time.
When I wake up.
After school.
Before bed.
When I choose to ignore that jello is made from crushed up animal bones.
For a little while.
Jesika Barvitski told me that once when she decided to be vegan on an orchestra trip.

The afternoon sun is getting hotter.
Which somehow makes the mornings colder.
Which undoubtedly makes getting dressed in the morning close to impossible.
Exhausting. Confusing.
Enough to make me want to go back to bed and deal with the weather and clothing another time.
And it's not even May yet...

Lincoln got a haircut.
I realize he'll probably only get one more whilst we live in Mexico.
Where has two years even gone?

I think I'm going to really love March.
My nephew will be born.
Middle name Stone.
I love that.
Also, there are so may possibilities that he could be born on a completely prime date.
Which is simply wonderful.
Good month.
Good year.

My house smells like fresh bamboo.
Sort of neutral.
Not too cinnamon, not too floral.
Somewhere just between winter and spring.
If that place even exists here in GDL.

And since when was everyone born in February anyways!?
I've never baked more birthday cakes, thrown more parties, or posted more birthday pictures in my life it seems. Or perhaps I just like the children of February more than most this year.

There's still a pink, dollar store Santa on my end table from a Happy Hipster Christmas that never happened.
I did get a deliciously free latte out of that canceled party. So. No complaints.

I've been strangely obsessed with everything OJ Simpson as of late.
I don't know if me being enthralled by the hot mess all of that was and watching every series about it ever (even though I'm totally NOT on his side) means I've been OJ'd.
Things to consider.

Killing the Oscars nominations this year.
I've made it all the way to animated and documentary.
That's a big deal in case you didn't know.
I'm so taking home that fake, sparkle foam Oscar.

I've had bangs for over a year now.
I can't decide if I'll let them stick around or let that friendship fade out.

I again ran out of gas at an inopportune time.
It is my curse here.
Birthday brunches
10 teenagers attempting to create homemade pizza on a Friday afternoon.
It's whatever.

Essential Oils have been saving my life.
I've officially made it almost a year with no antibiotics and no doctors visits.
Or Farmacias for that matter.
And believe me.
I've had reasons for all of the above.
I'm pretty stoked to be one step closer to complete hippie-ness
My inner Phoebe is thrilled. Monica still has the verdict out.

Humanity strikes again.
Teenagers are making me crazy.
Again begging Jesus to help me see and love as He does.
Seems impossible when I'm looking into eyes that surely are going to roll into the back of a skull.
But love I must.
Give grace.
Have patience.
Seek to understand.
Stay calm.
Stay kind.
Offer all of it though undeserved.
As Christ does for me on a momentary basis.

At this point I'm rambling to avoid grading papers.
And really, what else is left to say?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Las Mariposas

It was, for me, a pilgrimage of sorts.

That sentence came to me weeks before I was riding curvy mountain, Mexican roads in the wee hours of the morning trying to keep my guts inside. And I knew I had to write it.

It began at 4AM on a Saturday morning in Guadalajara, Mexico.
A three hour car ride to a hotel in Morelia to meet a Mexican man with his van.
A long ride through the Mexican mountains.
A different state. Dangerous roads.
Peppermint oil. Peppermint gum. Front seat. Eyes forward. Car sickness spared none.
Seven-ish hours later, only to begin an hour-isa hike around noon.
Stepped into the cold, thin mountain air.
An endless staircase into the sky. The trees helping us breathe on the way.

All to see the butterflies.

(Finally sort of getting there...)

Millions upon millions of the pretty little things. Hanging from the tallest trees in shadowy, heavy clusters. Dancing between branches. Flittering their painted wings against the gray-blue sky.

(It's hard to tell, but all of the dark clusters are butterflies hanging in the trees!)

(Staircases in the sky. What. A. Hike.)

I guess I made the journey for myself. But mostly for my daddy. One of his field guides in my floral backpack all the way up.

(My sweet friend making sure my hair was in order (after an extra long morning) for a once in a lifetime photo with my daddy's field guide amongst the migrated monarchs. Thankful for friends who knew how important this was for me and shared the moment with me :) 

I'm not one of those people who "feels" my dad watching or around me or whatever. But here is an exception.
Here, he is everywhere.
His smile. His passion. His laughter. HIs inner photographer.
I can see so clearly his facial expressions. Feel his excitement.
I wish we could have seen it together. That at least we could have spent hours sifting through the photos together. But this adventure, for whatever reason, was meant to be lived and had without him.

So here I breathe in the bright blue butterfly air and remember him so fondly. So much of who I am because he lived. Because he shared who he was and all he loved most with us.

(Everyone around me started freaking out because one of them landed on me...freaking out in Spanish and in whispers that is...)

(Here's where we ended up. It was pretty magical...I won't lie. Until his little prickly feet made their way into my eye....)

(I'm certain green and yellow will always be my favorite. Life and light.)

*If I've learned anything from losing my daddy and anything from butterflies, it's got to be this. "hands open." It's not mine anyways. It's ALL material for sacrifice. #notetoself