Monday, July 12, 2010

everything that happened, happened. it was real.

i can not stop looking at my hands. they still have mehndi (henna) on them. the designs are swiftly fading but they remind me that it wasn't just a dream.

i have arrived home safely and can now say that i have lived the longest running day of my life. i actually experienced time travel! i left delhi on the 7th and flew back in time, arriving many hours later and just in time to live the 7th of july 2010 all over again. it was strange and awesome. july 7th (#1) was lived out partially in India and mostly in the sky (a kind of "time free" zone) and july 7th (#2) was lived out a little bit in the sky but mostly in the U.S. after landing, i directly went to my parents house for a few days to visit, rest, and do laundry.

it is very difficult to describe all of the feelings that accompany my return to the U.S. i feel like i have alternate lives existing at the same time.... a "sideways", if you will. each one has warm friendships, a feeling of home, and aspects that suit my personality. but, in detail, they are worlds apart. i am still figuring out how to reconcile this within me. where do i go from here?everything that i have just lived is a part of me now...a part of my story....but where does it all go?

i am a pretty old fashioned girl but the only way that i can think of to describe things is in terms of technology (go figure). it is like my brain is a computer and i have just downloaded tons of new (high def) information that requires a lot of space. if i want to be able to support all of the new info, i have to update the operating system. so i guess that is what i am trying to do...update MY operating system...and i am not even sure exactly what that means. i just know that i have to operate a little differently in life, in order to make a home for new ideas, info, people, and new well as blend these things with the old parts. in the bigger cities in India there are signs up that address the growth that is happening. they say things like "KEEP DELHI CLEAN AND GREEN"(even though delhi is neither clean nor green to begin with). i was so used to seeing these signs that when i saw a simple construction sign, which read "WORK IN PROGRESS", i took it to mean so much more than was probably intended. to me, it wasn't just that there was construction work in much other work was in progress as well. and this is how i feel about myself. i am a "work in progress".

i tend to be a sentimental person (in fact, i think maybe a little too much most of the time) and usually at the end of something things become very emotional for me. i did feel some sadness saying goodbye to friends but mostly it was different this time. as i rode to the airport and took my final look at India, i didn't get upset like i thought i would. i felt calm. and two things felt distinct within me.... 1. i will return to this place. i don't exactly know how or when but i truly feel that i will return. and 2. i am so grateful for the time here that i have had. i am grateful for all the experiences and all the friendships, all the homes that i have been welcomed into. there is no need to feel sad about the amount of time that i have had with them...just the fact that they have been a part of this story at all is so lucky.

on the side of the road, right before entering the airport was a sign that read "SEE YOU AGAIN". and it made me smile. India WILL see me again. it is only a matter of time.

*i know that this post isn't really an adventure story but i will be adding more stories from the trip over feel free to keep checking if you like.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

time is a social construction

now i am in Chennai (formerly Madras)

i am now reaching the end of my journey (although i prefer to think of it as just the beginning). i have come to south India to end my trip with a 3 day Indian wedding! my oldest childhood friend (whom i have known since i was 2 years old!) and her family are here for her cousin's wedding and have invited me to attend. it is fun to see my family from home and to take part in all of the celebrations. i have dreamed of being here with them since i was a child so it is surreal coincidence that we are both here so far from home at the same time. so many of my dreams have been met here...i feel very lucky and very grateful.

today is the final day of the wedding and the actual marriage ceremony. the groom (my friend's cousin) is so so excited. it is beautiful to watch him. he can not wait to be a husband and is sweetly enjoying every moment of the wedding celebration. this is the best kind of wedding to attend.

in 3 days i will be on my way home.

i do not feel ready to leave this place.

i am not finished yet.......

D is for Delhi

meditation and lessons on Discipline from a great teacher, discussions of Devotion with a friend, a visit to the beautiful Lotus temple, exploration of the Tibetan camp and the teachings of the Dalai Lama, and a night out Dancing with friends. when i think of leaving now i feel a swift, sharp pinch in my heart.

ok, so it's been a while. i wanted to share as much as possible but at some point the stories became too many. i am sorry for not posting more but the upside is that i have been lost in my experiences. i have seen so much in a short amount of is taking some time for me to process. i was hoping to share things as they happen but i have a feeling i will be posting more stories once i have arrived home as well.

so i will catch you up a bit.....

after agra i headed to jaipur

jaipur (the pink city): -textile heaven -block printing workshops -historical textile exhibits -pink city walls -bright colors everywhere -inspiring palace architecture and mirror mosaic -painted elephants

*i need much more time here!

then back to delhi!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

give me freedom, give me fire

another universal subject...the world cup!

when i was in darjeeling, i noticed the italian flag hanging everywhere and it made me curious. i asked someone about it and they said that it was because the world cup was about to begin and italy was the favored team for many people in the area. the world cup automatically gives me something to talk with people about. and people love it when i tell them that i used to play (even though that was many, many moons ago). i have to say though...the world cup really gets me pumped up about soccer again. i don't really enjoy watching sports on television but whenever i see part of a game i am amazed and thrilled. i also love to see how excited the fans brings out so much energy and creates such a fun atmosphere to be a part of. in addition, i love the theme song..."wavin flag" by K'naan. melanie happen to put on the (wonderful) summer mix that she made me before i left. for me, it is the theme of this summer.

also, i realized that i was abroad the last time a world cup competition was played (it happens every 4 years). last time i was in ireland and i remember taking photos in dublin of people spilling out of bars and into the streets.....everyone was trying to cram in to see the game on the television. i like the idea that this could be a tradition for me. or maybe it could be some sort of freelance around the world making sure that people are celebrating the world cup with ultimate enthusiasm and documenting it with photos as i go!

all of this world cup fever has given me 2 new goals to commit myself to....
1. start playing soccer again...even just a pick-up game every now and then
2. keep the tradition the world cup in a different country every time it is played!

don't stop till you get enough!

i was a little tired when i wrote that last entry but i can NOT believe...i forgot to tell the best MJ story that i have from my trip!!!!

when i was in agra at the Taj Mahal i saw a group of japanese tourists gathered around one of their friends (they were all standing on the taj balcony, taking his photo)...he was very tall with a fedora hat ...and.....he was doing the moon walk pose (with the magnificent taj behind him)!!!!! it was so funny and awesome...i blended myself into the group and snuck a picture...i will definitely post it when i can!!!! :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

tonight i write in honor of the full moon and a single sparkly glove

there is something that i keep meaning to mention but i forget each time i sit down to write. tonight is the perfect night to talk about it. Michael Jackson. in noticing the details that are universal as i travel, MJ is one that keeps popping up.
some examples:

-in the long car ride down the mountain from darjeeling to the airport the driver plays Michael Jackson (the entire "dangerous" album on cassette). i can tell that he is hoping that i will like it...and of course, i do. i love hearing "black or white" as we cut around curves and drive through the fog. it makes me smile.

-MJ t-shirts and posters...even in the most remote spots

-a discussion in the ashram about how MJ was legendary

music is universal but especially MJ's music. i wanted to mention it tonight because today marks the anniversary of his death. i read in the paper this morning that there are special parties (many costume parties) all over India to celebrate MJ at clubs and restaurants in the cities and also dedications on the radio.

i can not say that i completely understand the king of pop and surely he was troubled but today i was thinking......

maybe in a way, he did heal the world...maybe he did make it a better place. he is universal. people all over the world are connected because of his music. i have made many connections in conversation on this trip alone because of MJ.

so tonight, under a full moon in India ......

here's to you Michael Jackson! Thank You for giving us that much more common ground!

*** andrea p. ....i hope that you mention my observations to the greatest living artist...i think it would make her very happy to hear! plus every time i see something related to MJ i think of her too...they are now linked in my mind [i think it might make her very happy to hear that also :) ]