Monday, April 20, 2020

norfolk, nashville, and now

Remember traveling? [Hold tight, I share in mixed feelings]. I hopped on many a plane last year; nearly all, domestic flights. Let's start with Virginia, a double-dip destination thanks to two important occasions. First, a most beautiful wedding; second, a critical election. Although "my candidate" didn't win, it was amazing to have helped flip Virginia blue as as a Sister District volunteer.
Moving on to in between, when I flew to Nashville, Tennessee. My mom had proposed the idea. My sister expressed enthused interest. We saw live jazz at Rudy's Jazz Room (times two); wandered through the farmer's market; dined at Monell's and Husk (where they personalized our menu with birthday wishes), ventured to the Grand Ole Opry and, obviously, down Broadway; tasted good beer at Bearded Iris Brewing and fine wines at Arrington VineyardsAll together, it made for a happy, draining, sometimes stressful 31st.
These trips were riddled with sunshine and privilege, good fortune and social proximity. While in Nashville, he texted to see how the holiday weekend was going and ask if I'd like to go out again. We've spent countless weekends (and more) together since then. I'm so grateful for him in this life, during this pandemic, and my gosh what I wouldn't do to be with more family and friends right now.
These times are unprecedented. This virus is affecting all of us, in a multitude of ways. And yet, also, inequities have never been more prevalent. Those who can be home, should be. Those who can be generous, should be. There are so many freaking unknowns...
I hope with all my being that we heal and hold onto–learn from–what has come to light. Please take care. Please love well.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

mine, too

"Is this your first pregnancy?" she asked. The question hit me like a ton of bricks. "Yes," I whispered. Deep shame-ridden breaths. My first pregnancy. My first.
She became gentler with her words. Everything felt so surreal. I wasn't supposed to be in this situation. I thought I'd been responsible. I had been careful.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

hygge in luxembourg

We met at a bar.
How quaint, n'est pas ? He was speaking Spanish and had ordered pisco sours. I was intrigued. Pisco sours were not on the menu nor, in my opinion, are they well-known in the States. I was tipsy enough to rudely interrupt them, ask where he was from. Venezuela. Thus the accent I could not place. I must've followed with an explanation of my familiarity with the cocktailnorthern Chile, study abroad, menu del diasand somehow got to Paris and how he'd recently moved from there, and Madrid, but mostly Cyprus.
He went back to reunite with the birthday party, and I turned back towards the friends I'd come with. This was our second stop after a company Christmas party. We were decked out accordingly. I felt warm, fuzzy, gleefully at ease with how life in SF had evolved. To my right was a Russian friend I'd met in Luxembourg, once. She'd moved back to the Bay not long before I moved up. We've gotten close since. Another friend had joined us, originally from China, with her German boyfriend. Amazing people I only knew by chance.
This was an important realization. Having relocated so regularly as I have, I've often felt lonely; unknown, and too much so.
It's made the serendipitous who matter more. For example: a French girl that cautiously entered an exchange program and ended up in my small hometown at the same time my parents agreed to host an international student, and clicked with myself and my family so completely so that we'd remain close close enough to then visit in Strasbourg, Los Angeles, Luxembourg (see above, below).
She's the reason I've studied French, why moving to Paris for grad school felt accessible, how I somehow had family nearby there.
"Life is about the journey, not the destination" is one of many platitudes I'd prefer to live without, but, as each year passes, my outcome-driven soul is finding it to be mostly true. The experiences have been enriching. But more importantly, my life has been made so full by the amazing souls I've met, stayed in touch with, had the immense pleasure of reuniting with whenever possible.
Then there are those passing connections, in which you're reminded how small and peculiar the world is (case in point: he'd worked with this guy) but also how magically vast. Our conversations were deep and inquisitive; his perspective, completely unique from my own. We discussed the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and racial inequity in the United States and the tensions between immigration and integration in France. He also introduced me to Colombian music. We danced. We laughed, a lot.

It all matters.