Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Wind

It's a cold, rainy day in San Diego. The ocean is choppy and white-caps punctuate the normally smooth horizon. Dark clouds hang low and students rush to class tucked deep within their jackets and scarves. It's finals week and we only have a day to go until break. Freedom is close; for me, it's just one more test away.

This morning I was up early to take donated gifts to the IRC Office. While our gift drive was a bit last-minute and attempted to extract presents from broke students, it was a success. I hauled three large, brightly-wrapped christmas boxes to the office and imagine the little hands that will be opening them in a few weeks time. Little hands, joyful eyes, grateful parents. It's a beautiful thing and I'm so glad we did it. Next year we'll be able to spend more time on it and advertise better. But driving back to campus in the rain, my mind raced with new ideas, possible partners, events we could do, ways to publicize throughout San Diego. We're on to something great here and I desperately don't want it to "die" next year when I hand the presidency over...or when I graduate. So it's building partnerships now; establishing longevity. I hope it lasts.

Back home, I return to the familiar place before the stove, slowly stirring the pasta that still not quite al dente. It's been pasta and alfredo sauce for the past four days - lunch and dinner - and you'd think I'd have turned into the rolly-polly Carb Queen by now, but the noodles refuse to disappear no matter how many I eat. Yet, it's not Top Ramen, so I'm not complaining. Anything with alfredo means gourmet, right? My man calls as I strain the noodles into the sink. We catch up on my morning as I cool the steaming pasta with my breath; I tell him of the rain, the gifts, the possible speaker I'm corresponding with for February's event, my final coming up I haven't studied for, the monotonous details of the day. We talk, he looks out the window at the honking cars below, I rinse off my dishes, we sigh and say goodbye for the next three days. He'll be traveling in Northern Peru with a friend and is leaving his laptop behind. A smart decision given the high rates of theft on the Peruvian road. I blow a kiss and we hang up.

It's cold and rainy. Looking down over the treetops from my kitchen window, I watched the leaves flail in the gusts of wind blowing in off the ocean. White-caps punctuate the normally smooth horizon. My heart is restless, and I don't know why. I feel unsettled. Anxious. I feel disconnected with myself; unsure of what I feel or why. It's a strange feeling, but I'm going to blame it on the wind. The wind and the rain and the distance. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012


For the past two nights I've gone to bed after 2am. My body is tired and my mind feels slow; not a strong combo heading into finals week. But I have a man who randomly skypes me throughout the day to say he likes my face. Misses my face. My sleep-deprived, tired face. 

And I'll get to see his face in 10 days. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

La Jolla Labnah

I'm back sitting in my special La Jolla cafe overlooking the ocean sipping Turkish espresso. But today is different; today I discovered this cafe sells not only rolls of baklava, but homemade labnah. My mind flew to early mornings in the Baqa'a camp health clinic when I'd duck into a back pantry with the doctors and talk about the new day over a bowl of labnah. As we'd dip our warm pieces of bread into the creamy yogurt and olive oil, we'd discuss Jordanian politics, the reason why waterborne diseases were so prevalent among the kids, and what to do with the cranky old woman in the hallway. Labnah was the beginning of every day there and an edible symbol for a moment of quiet amongst the chaotic whirlwind pervading that little understaffed clinic. Even now, back home in San Diego, rediscovering it in this little urban cafe soothed my mind and I find myself craving it almost desperately. I'm going to see if I can buy it directly from the cafe....something the barista found unusual, but that's okay. I want to start my days with some fruit, piece of warm bread and a dollop of Jordanian nostalgia. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Long Distance Love - Sarah Kay

I had already fallen in love with too many postage stamps when you appeared on my doorstep wearing nothing but a post stamp promise.

No, appeared is the wrong word. Is there a word for sucker punching someone in the heart? Is there a word for when you're sitting at the bottom of the roller coaster and you realize the climb is coming, that you know what the climb means, that you can already feel the flip in your stomach from the fall, before you've even moved? Is there a word for that?

There should be. You can only fit so many words in a postcard. Only so many in a phone call. Only so many into space, before you forget that words are sometimes used for things other than filling emptiness. It's hard to build a body out of words. I have tried. We both have tried.

Instead of holding your head to my chest, I tell you about the boy who lives downstairs from me, who stays up all night long practicing his drum set. The neighbors have complained, they have busy days tomorrow, but he keeps on thumping through the night. Convinced, I think, that practice makes perfect.

Instead of holding my hand, you tell me about the sandwich you ate for lunch today. How the pickles fit so perfectly with the lettuce. Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent. Repeat the same mistakes over and over and you don't get any closer to Carnegie Hall, even I know that. Repeat the same mistakes over and over and you don't get any closer. You, never get any closer.

Is there a word for the moment you win tug of war, when the weight gives and all that extra rope comes hurdling toward you. How even though you've won, you still wind up with muddy knees and burns on your hands, is there a word for that? I wish there was. I would've said it when we were finally together on your couch, neither one of us with anything left to say.

Still now, I send letters into space, hoping that some mail man somewhere will track you down and recognize you from the description in my poems. That he will place the stack of them in your hands and tell you, 'there's a girl who still writes you, she doesn't know how not to.' 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I'm curled up in the corner of a cafe with honey-cinnamon chai tea and a surprise moment to write. Today has been a flurry of doctor's calls, scheduling appointments, calling restaurants to cater at next quarter's events, classes, and skype time with a face I miss.  It's been a long day and the fact that I can count on my fingers the amount of days until I'm home make studying seem inconsequential. A fact that can't be farther from the truth.

But I've discovered The Piano Guys' newest masterpiece and the breathtaking chords of the cello transport my nostalgic Christmas heart back to days of decorating trees in the Fremont sanctuary and listening to the 90-piece orchestra tune up. The video's architecture reminds me of Spanish and French cathedrals and my mind wanders to the icy streets of Madrid; sparkling orbs of light dangling above pavement sent shadows of light dancing across ancient stained glass windows.

I love the haunting melodies of old carols. O Come, Emmanuel. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Mary Did You Know? They're deep and rich, powerful songs full of mystery and intrigue. Each version is different. Each an interpretation of someone's memories and heartfelt emotion poured into the notes on the page. I think that's what makes them so beautiful - the songs become human.

And this one is particularly beautiful.