Thursday, August 21, 2008

Attic Attack & Sentimental Sisters

My sister and I have been cleaning out the attic this week. For those of you who did not know, my mom got remarried this summer and is moving to Venezuela (yes, South America-Hugo-Chavez-Venezuela). Therefore, everything that has been accumulated by my sister and I for the past 26 years is being sorted, stacked, and placed in piles of "Give Away" or "I could never part with this (insert item such as: tennis shoe scooter, Barbie in neon pink dress, etc)." We have laughed hysterically, remembered long forgotten stories and even shed a few sentimental tears. It is much more emotional that I thought. I am at a stage in my life where I am really focusing on simplifying everything. If it isn't practical, artistic or rationally sentimental why do I need it? Do I really need three boxes of rocks? Yes, I do.

Sidenote: I was an avid rock collector. You think you were too? Did you have your own private rock tumbler? Can you pin point a geod? Amethyst? What is Oklahoma's state rock? Do you have that state rock mounted on a ring? Did you consider each and every rock- including the gravel at the end of your driveway- precious gems? Well I did. I loved rocks. I even had books about rocks.

No, I do not need three boxes full of rocks. So I condensed them into one. I threw out the large, oddly shaped stones that I obviously took from someone's yard during a bikeride. I did not need those large rocks that sort of resembled guns and sunny side up eggs. But I know that I once loved them. Just like I loved my glow bug and my Amy Grant Sings Christmas cassette tape.

Despite the large collection of items from my childhood that have jolted memories and made me rather sad to part with, it is quite freeing to condense everything. I love giving things away. I love limiting myself to one box. You can only keep one box, make it work. Right now I am sifting through my clothes and limiting my number of t-shirts. I am currently trying to get rid of all but 25 t-shirts. And even worse, it's hard. I find myself thinking "well, maybe someday I will want to wear this" and then I have to catch myself and remember that I am insane. I do not need that many t-shirts. No one needs that many t-shirts! Simplify. I have found that life becomes much clearer when "things" are not surrouding me. They can be suffocating. Simplify, simplify, simplify. Something I think I will be continuously striving to do.

This is for Liz:
Currently Listening to: Chris Thile
Currently Reading: Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters
Current Summer Realizations: My life is not normal, my sister is incredible, I like domestic activities, and I don't drink enough water
Currently Eating: Vegan Chocolate Cake

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Life is a highway...

I must admit, I am currently struggling with the new concept of domestic blogging. International travel and quips about African children are do-able for me. But talking about myself in America, much harder. Thankfully I have brilliant friends like Sarah and Liz who show me how wonderful it can be to read the thoughts of those you love. They have inspired me to push through and write.

Life in America has been extremely hard for me these past two years. I had been judgmental, bitter, jaded and angry more times that I can count. Consumerism and apathy have surrounded me because I have allowed them to. I have focused on the negative and idealized the rest of the world. It has been especially difficult to readjust once again into the American life without losing the beauty of African life. So what's the cure for my ill, you ask? Roadtrip. Ingredients: Sister, beach, good talks, nuns, public transportation and camping. No hydrogenated oils.

After teaching gardening in Tulsa for 3 weeks, I embarked on yet another adventure. My friend John and I headed out to California via Route 66, Sedona and long endless highways. Fueled by too many cups of coffee, we made it to San Diego where my sister and brother-in-law are currently teaching. It was perfect. I love my sister. I realized that this was our first "trip" together without the 'rents. We got to chill at the beach, eat lots of Mexican food, drink good beers, and search for used socio-politcal books like nerds. What more could a girl want?
In addition, I stayed at a Carmelite Monastery with fourteen beautiful nuns. I had my own apartment with a kitchen, bathroom and windows that opened out onto the insanely gorgeous gardens. It was one of the most clearly holy places I have been. The presence of the Lord was found in the stillness of the halls, the vibrant colors of the SoCal flowers and the smile of Sister Yvonne, the Prioress who welcomed my Protestant self into her humble abode. I cried when I left. There was good half hour where I seriously considered joining the Carmelites and becoming a nun. It's not been completely ruled out.

After having some good quality sister time, we headed up highway 1 toward the final destination of San Francisco. We had the best Thai food of my life in LA, slept illegally in a State Park, cooked pancakes on the beach north of Santa Cruz and made it to San Francisco to drink coffee by mid-morning. I love San Francisco. An intoxicated Frenchmen told John and me that no one was actually from San Francisco, it's just that all the crazies and outcasts from everywhere else in America move there. Sounds perfect to me.

Most details I will keep to myself because I feel like the more things are spoken, the less sacred they remain. And roadtrips are sacred, as far as I am concerned.
So instead, I will leave you with the image of Bhadri and John during an intense game of checkers at a local San Diego coffee shop. Bethanie and I watched on with about as much anticipation as these two expressed during the match.