I met my Mentee last night--which is a story of its own--and while nervously attempting to tell me about her family, using a language that she's known for less than a year, she told me about her father and how he had recently fallen down a staircase and injured himself very baldy. She told me about how upset she was, how she had to call for an ambulance, and how she is worried for his health and his ability to recover.
I recently pulled from my bookshelf and started re-reading Anne Donovan's Heiroglyphics. I read the entire collection of stories a few years ago on my plane ride home from Scotland, and I remember feeling a real connection to the words and emotions that she put down in those pages of fiction. This morning on the train to work I read this:
It was too complicated tae explain. How tae make him understand a grandfather that he'd never seen, and would never see. Who would never see him.
Funny though, it never really seemed tae her he was dead. It was 20 year ago, yet if he'd walked in that door now she wouldnae of been surprised. Only last year she'd found hersel standin in a shop two days afore Christmas, wondering what tae get him. Yet in the day tae day she hardly thought of him.
Every year, the holidays change. What used to be tradition is now just a fuzzy memory of being in a too-tiny kitchen, with too many people, all waiting our turn for a spot at the table and a scoop of mamaw's stuffing. Now, three of us go here and there... wherever and whenever we can manage to find the money to travel and the time to come together the way that we want to.
Most of the time, it is easy to forget. But this time of year, it's hard not to remember. I can't believe it has been six years...
I cant remember if I've told many people about this, but I decided to be a mentor through a nyc based program called iMentor.org The program is incorporated with underserved nyc high schools and it is based around once a week emails with our mentees and once a month scheduled hang outs and activities.
My mentee's last assignment was to write a poem to me about where she is from. She is a recent immigrant from China and she is 20 years old. Here is the poem that she sent to me:
Where I'm from sounds like the birds sing in the broaches
Where I'm from sounds like the crows moo on the green land
Where I'm from sounds like the dogs bark when they see the strangers
Where I'm from sounds like the pigs snort each other
Where I'm from sounds like the chicken cluck to find some food they want
Where I'm from tastes like my mother cooks some delicius food for us
Where I'm from tastes like little red litchis
Where I'm from tastes like little longans
Where I'm from tastes like big pomegranate
Where I'm from tastes delicious special snacks
Where I'm from looks like a lot of farmers are working on the farm with the sunshine
Where I'm from looks like innocent and lovely children play whth silt
Where I'm from looks like some filial piety children help their parents farming
Where I'm from looks like glistening rice field stretch as far as the eye can see
Where I'm from looks like some groups of ducks, some groups of gooses swim on the lake
Where I'm from smells like a colorful lily
Where I'm from smells like a small purple violet
Where I'm from smells like different colors chrysanthemums have a lively party on September
Where I'm from smells like a lot of delicious food from every house every night
Where I'm from smells like the fresh air after air
Where I'm from feels like a big family
Where I'm from feels like a simple village
Where I'm from feels like the honest children
Where I'm from feels like the harvest party
Where I'm from feels like the beautiful girls dancing under the sky
And here is the poem that I wrote back, about me:
Where I'm from sounds like cats meowing for their food in the morning.
Where I'm from sounds like the neighbor's loud truck engine, reving across the street.
Where I'm from sounds like neighborhood dogs barking when cars drive by.
Where I'm from sounds like birds and squirrels chattering in the trees.
Where I'm from sounds like the wind blowing off of the mountaintops.
Where I'm from tastes like a huge sunday lunch at grandma's house.
Where I'm from tastes like buttermilk biscuits.
Where I'm from tastes like strawberries in summer, squash in winter, and apple cider in fall.
Where I'm from tastes like friendship bread that I get from my best friend.
Where I'm from tastes like holiday feasts of turkey and mashed potatoes and pie.
Where I'm from looks like green, lush mountains.
Where I'm from looks like the effects of mountain top removal coal mining.
Where I'm from looks like wild rivers with rapids twisting through the valleys.
Where I'm from looks like small old houses with yards full of flowers.
Where I'm from looks like hard working, wrinkle-faced people.
Where I'm from smells like smoke from the fire place.
Where I'm from smells like the potpouri in mom's bedroom.
Where I'm from smells like fresh mountain rain and cut grass.
Where I'm from smells like chemicals being processed at the plant.
Where I'm from smells like nature: wood and leaves and dirt.
Where I'm from feels like napping on a big soft couch in front of the t.v.
Where I'm from feels like five cats brushing against your ankles all at once.
Where I'm from feels like the love of friends and family.
"It is so hard not to let boy situations weigh down on every other aspect of our lives.
As for things feeling one sided, I don't know if there will ever be a time when we don't feel that way. We give and try and worry and hope, and seemingly never get back as much as we put into it.
How long to we take that? Putting up with less than what is acceptable, just to not feel a l o n e...? We deserve more than that.
If there is any from-the-heart advice I can offer you, it is this: Try, as hard as you can, to focus on yourself. Pamper yourself in whatever small ways that you can. Surround yourself by the love of your friends and give yourself credit for being the amazing, talented, and successful person that you are. You and I dont need boys to justify how awesome that we are-- and as much as we feel like our worlds will come crashing down around us without them... ultimately, we are much stronger than that.
I love you so much and I really really do understand how easy it is to feel overwhelmed by relationships, your environment, a city that doesn't feel like your home, friends that seem insincere and flakey, having no money, struggling to know what to do- when to do it- and how.
All we can really do is try to stay positive and redirect our focus and efforts to things that make us feel happy and appreciated.
You are beautiful and amazing and smart and awesome, and sooo many people love you, and care about you, and miss you!
there is a cut copy song that says "time stands still when i think of you..."
if i were in cut copy, today i would sing the lyrics like "time stands till when you've got a birthday hangover." because IT DOES... the clock is not moving, and all i want is to be back in my bed right now. my desk fan is blowing directly on my face and rustling the few remaining birthday streamers that my coworkers hung around my cubicle yesterday.
it was an awesome 27th birthday, and i'd totally do it all again-- just maybe without those forced birthday shots. guh.
I recently did some exploring… I explored a facet of life that I am skeptical towards, nevertheless, interested in: clairvoyance.
My main issue here is that I am atheist, and therefore, I shouldn’t believe in spirituality… but I sort of do, at least, I am intrigued by the idea of it. But, spirituality isn’t absolute, it isn’t scientific, it isn’t tangible-- and herein lies my conflict.
All of that aside, I have always been drawn to the glamorous mystery of psychics, mediums, and fortunetellers. Ever since I was little, these things caught my interest: anything involving spirits, auras, voodoo, past lives, mediumship, Sylvia Brown… hello? I was hooked!
Of course after my dad died this became even more intriguing to me-- and while I have never experienced anything to make me stray from my atheistic “ghosts don’t exist and people don’t have spirits” conviction, there is a part of me that wants to believe that there are “spirits” about us.
So this week pretty much rules-- Despite the fact that Monday was pretty depressing, having to face the end of a fabulous weekend getaway at the Oberlechner resort hotel, where we weekended for Sabrina's beach birthday. Luckily my all over sunburn has quickly started to fade into a sweet BASE TAN, and the week hasn't been all that bad knowing that there'd be only four work days to plow through.
Andrea showed up at my doorstep early Tuesday morning, which was a welcomed surprise, even if I didn't have any down time between the end of vacation and his arrival-- all it meant for him was that the sheets weren't clean and the house was a total post out-of-town disaster. He doesn't seem to mind.
Work conditions were pretty terrible the past two days, simply because we don't have AC and my compact disk sized desk fan produces little to no air flow (read: no relief). The summer hour schedule however, is a nice perk, considering that when I walk out the door at 4pm I am walking into at least 8 more hours of hanging out with my boyfriend!!!
Today has been particularly great because 1) I got a package at work from my former temp agency and, 2) I heard the awesome news that I might be able to move upstairs soon!!!
The package was from the Temp Manger at Professionals for NonProfits-- they sent me a glass candy jar (filled with candies) and a letter congratulating me on my hiring at P---- and thanking me for being such an exceptional employee. Hehe.
The best part of the day was when Sabrina shared the awesome information that she'd bumped into our upstairs neighbor, who said that she was looking for a room mate or trying to move out of her apartment (the one I've been coveting for a few months now). Sabrina, being the amazing friend and personal real estate broker that she is, mentioned my desire to move into one of the upstairs units and suggested that maybe we should do an apartment swap! So, I am super stoked about the prospect of moving upstairs, having more space, and hopefully persuading Andrea to skip out on DC and move on up to bustling Brooklyn (where he can properly be my boyfriend, within arms reach).
Excitement, excitement! Even if it doesn't work out, right now I am relishing in the day dream of it all panning out the way I want it to.
Tonight he and I are going to see Akron Family play at a castle (who knew they had those in Manhattan?) for free, as part of the river to river music festival. Then tomorrow we see The Brian Jonestown Massacre (!!!) and Sunday, Spiritualized. This constitutes "taking advantage of living in New York," right? (see #13 of www.43things.com/person/amgamy)
Ah life, what a little roller coaster you are. It's been a good summer so far... keep it coming.*
* Next weekend Sabrina and I are going on a Hamptons road trip adventure: Grey Gardens, here we come!!!
Today is Monday: So far I ran (read: sprinted) to catch my train, spilled coffee on my dress, fell up the stairs at work, chose a stall with no toilet paper, and am convinced that I am developing a stomach ulcer.
Once I reached my desk and pulled myself together, I realized how pleasantly quiet the office was all last week... because that silence came to an abrupt end when I heard her.
How is it that the mere sound of someone's voice across a room or through a cubical wall can cause another individual to cringe from the inside out? There is not even a reason for me to dislike her. I have nothing against her. We never even interact with one another. But every time I hear that voice, it's like a little part of me is being murdered- The sound of those shoes coming down the hallway is like a warning bell- Who is she even talking to? She just talks, about anything, out loud, and in no particular direction- And regardless of what she says or how she says it, it always comes out like the winiest, bitchiest, complaint that any human being has ever expelled.
It must be something in my wiring. The tone of her voice does NOT mesh with the receiving element in my ear drums.
I need to get headphones for work. Or ear plugs. And while we're at it, can I get an air conditioner? Or a fan? Something.
I had such a pleasant weekend, but now, the only thing I can say is: "oh, monday."