Tag Archives: life

The Days are Getting Longer

24 Feb

Thank goodness for the solstice and increasing sunlight!  Our days here are filled with more sunlight and more work and I love them both.  I’ve been on a real kick lately repeating our country director’s mantra regarding Peace Corps: it’s all about the work. I mean, a lot. I think people are going to get sick of me.  I can’t help it – it helps me get through some of these days in which I feel like I am forever playing catch up.  Because, despite what I find to complain about – no heat, no water, missing my family, my list goes on – I wouldn’t change any of it for the great projects I’ve been fortunate to work with lately. I think I’m at my mid-service high and I’m hoping the momentum continues. There’s a lot going on here, team!

And isn’t that weird to say? Mid-service? We’ve been here nearly a whole year. Though we don’t know our exact close of service date (and won’t until July) we will potentially be going home in May 2015.  There’s finally enough going on that I don’t go stir crazy and I don’t know that I’ll ever fit it all in.

While I don’t always use my time in the most appropriate fashion, I do feel just real exhausted lately.  We discovered some intense black mold growing in our kitchen; who’s to say if it’s the culprit or not, but I’m blaming the extra fatigue on that culprit! Combine that fun fungus and long days and a heck of a stiff bed, and I’m pooped before I even start my day.

So, let me blame my lagging behind-ness in my Year of Gladness on all that, but I’m hoping this energy refocuses into some stellar movements. I’m fortunate to be so busy and I do hope it stays that way.

To catch up, let’s go back and recount this missing week and a half:

13th: Thursday! We had our first community village meeting with TONS of community members show up to talk about the school project. A great day with lots of energy.

14th: so glad to spend, truly, one of the best Valentine’s Days with my partner. We made our famous Cajun pasta, drank a little wine, the power went out to make the candles even more perfect, and had a lovely evening chatting in the glow of our gas stove.

15th: first weekend back at site in a long time! I was able to enjoy the sunshine and do tons of laundry and clean our bath house – the joys of warmer weather.

16th: spent the day in a village with friends and food. Saw the weirdest turkey in the world, met some very kind people, and explored a new part of our region.

17th: back to work! We had a solid meeting regarding our school project between the volunteers and our counterpart. I finally feel that I have a good handle on where to move from here and we enjoyed some delicious pumpkin pilaf.

18th: held my first teacher conversation club. It’s been in the works for ages, and it was truly a success! We had 20 great teachers and I look forward to continuing the discussions.

19th: hooray for TOEFL Wednesday. It has quickly become one of my favorite activities. We had a great discussion on some English phrases and I am forever being impressed by their wit, knowledge, and energy.

20th: one of the highlights of my service so far. I was able to lead our next community village meeting. In front of a room full of village elders, respected staff and community parents and members, we discussed the project and how the community can contribute and what we need in a school. It really is the toughest job you’ll ever love.

21st: made my way to the south to lead a teacher training seminar with my fellow teacher trainer. We met up with my dear friend and her host mother and had tacos with REAL AMERICAN TORTILLAS sent from the states. Perfection.

22nd: had our second teacher training seminar. Thirty-two teachers! It was a great group of people from all over the region and much more than we expected. That evening, I had a dinner with one of the coolest families I have had the pleasure to meet. A lovely evening of good food, good conversation, and a picture of a man standing on a giant potato. Love it.

23rd: despite a 7 hour ride to get home, it was a good day and I had a lovely lunch with my partner. He’s the best.

AND, that’s today. Let’s hope this busyness continues  – I love it.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.  – Walt Whitman


The Red Wing Shoe Store

7 Feb

Did I ever tell you the story about the shoes?

Like all good evenings, it started with a glass of gin.

Rather, it began with several glasses of gin.  And one can of Lienies, shotgunned to prove a year-long quest for championing bragging rights.

I like to think it was a Saturday night, but since in those college years every night opened itself up to unbounded zest and possibility, it very well could have been a Thursday or Friday. Or, really, a Wednesday, Monday or Tuesday.  It definitely wasn’t a Sunday, though.  In fact, I think it was a Thursday.

After rambling chats and a few slamming of drinks in my apartment up the street, my partner, my buddies and I moved the gathering down to the bar a few blocks away.   It was that perfect late summer-heat, the kind that leaves small beads of perspiration on your back and pushes you to laugh just a little bit harder and love the swoon of liquor just one moment grander.

Together around the table, the five of us drank and argued and  toasted to the complete perfection of the evening. My poor partner, bless his heart, finished his drink, smiled, and with the pushing-in of his chair, bid us all a good night; while some of us could sleep off the evening in the morning, he had to face an early shift that was already all too near. We saw him off and with a sloppy kiss I wished him well. He smiled, patted my head, kissed me on the nose, and promised I’d be safe and Not Be Stupid and call if I needed anything.

We wandered over and got a burrito, of course, and devoured them on the corner.  We stopped into our favorite place, saved for last, and finished the evening with found friends and too much loud music.   Since we’d spent our last dollars and were now regretting the burritos that sat poorly on top of gallons of booze, it was decided It Was Time To Go.

I still remember the exact feel of peeling out into the cooling evening, the heat of the cramped bar behind me and the street lights buzzing on the crowded streets. Everyone in town, it seemed, couldn’t get enough of the Indian summer. With hugs and slaps and promises to meet up for breakfast, we separated ways and I turned back home.

And that’s when I saw him.

He looked familiar, though he was tucked a little into the corner between buildings, shadows covering a bit of his face.  When I walked a little further down, I recognized him as one of the high-school kids I worked with at the waterpark that summer, The Worst Job I’ve Ever Had In My Life, Ever.

I turned back to gaze a little harder, not to catch eyes and say hello but because around his neck hung three pairs of laced work boots, a pair of unlaced ones on his feet and another in his hands.  Despite mild tipsiness, I was fairly certain this was Extraordinary.

“Liv!” he shouted. “Hey! Come on! We’re taking the shoes!”

I blinked a few times and laughed in surprise, then stopped.  Through his spurts and general blubberiness, he managed to explain that he had been walking past when he noticed the doors to the Red Wing Shoe Store had been left open.

“And,” he continued, “no one can even see inside. I’m waiting here til a friend of mine gets back and we’re going for more.”

He was right: you couldn’t see anything.  With the spacing of lamp posts and the angle of the door, anyone could have been going in and out  all evening. Which, it seemed, was the plan.

I stammered a bit, raised a finger, opened my mouth to respond — and bolted.

Blame it on being the middle child, a bossy rule-follower, a former 5th grade Safety Patrol Captain; chalk it up to being a goody-two-shoes, an acts-tough-but-tries-hard-in-school attitude, a desire to Do The Right Thing; call me a snitch and a narc and a tattle-tale but my immediate and full reaction pushed me to Get Some Cops.

Full of stamina, a lifetime of following the rules, and one too many gimlets, I rushed down the street, scanning for the cops that always stood watch on the college town street but of course were no where in sight.  I reached into my pocket to pull out my cell phone, realizing I could easily call for back up on this mission that had suddenly consumed every inch of me and needed – nay, demanded! – my full and undivided attention.

You see, it was just too much.

Not only was he stealing, but from the Red Wing Shoe Store. The shoe store! Quite possibly the smallest and most adorable store ever. I walked past the shop every day to class, the small frame of the elderly owner hunched in back, shuffling papers and stacking boxes –  the quintessential owner of a small, family owned business. It was really quite a depressingly perfect place.

And he was stealing! He was breaking the law!  I hardly knew him aside from his name and the fact that we did, in fact, share an employer but I’d yet to see him actually turn up for a shift, and any loyalty I’d felt towards him vanished the moment he laughed at the misery of that poor old man.

I felt injustice! I felt violated! I felt several ales cursing through my veins!

When I finally managed to pull my phone from my pocket, it was, of course, dead.

I looked around, panicked. There were dozens of people out but at that moment I knew there was only one thing to do.

Three minutes later, out of breath and even more jacked up, I burst through my sleeping partner’s front door having run the seven blocks to his house at world record pace.  Switching on all the lights, I swung open his bedroom door to find him rubbing sleep from his eyes. “Wha -” he started.

“SHOES!” I shouted. “Give… me… your… PHONE. 9-1-1!” I stammered between breaths.

I rushed his nightstand for his phone and ran into his blocked arm.

“Wait a minute,” he said. “Calm down. What are you doing?” He tried to pull some clarity, which is fair, given that the last time he saw me I was leading a brigade of fellow lushes on a quest for Mexican, but I was having none of it.


With Wonder Woman strength, I pulled the phone from his hands and dialed 9-1-1.

Still out of breath and trying to shush a confused partner from ruining what had now amounted in my mind to a Threat to National Security, I spoke to the kindly dispatcher.

“The shoes!” I continued, picking up with her where I’d left off.

“Ma’am,” she said, “you’re going to have to calm down and be more specific. I am here to help you.”

“Okay,” I said, taking deep breaths. The room was a little swimmy, my heart was racing, I felt a tugging need to toss up some cookies,  but this was it.

Finally, in one long breath, I blurted out the entire story, including the summer heat and the waterpark and the fact that right now, they were stealing his shoes and It Needed To Be Stopped.

She paused. She asked me if I was okay, if anyone was hurt, and if I could repeat again what was happening and where.

“Lady,” I said. “The shoes.” I heard her talking to someone in the background.

“Ma’am,” she came back. “We just got another call about a break in at a shoe store downtown and are sending officers over. Is this what you are trying to tell me?”

“YES!” I shouted. We had done it! We had saved the country.

“Is there also something happening with the burritos? I didn’t understand that part,” she said.

I told her that they were just simply delicious, thanked her for her help, and hung up the phone.

With an unwarranted smugness, I gave my partner back his phone, smiled at our bravery, told him not to worry, I’d fixed it all, and promptly passed out on the couch.




In this crazy Year of Gladness, I am infinitely pleased to stumble across this video today from my beautiful city and the Red Wing Shoe, Co.  During this week of long trips away from site, weird hospital visits, missing home and everything stable, I loved seeing familiar sights and thinking of ridiculous days with beautiful people and the craziness of life that makes things all worth it.


Press close, bare-bosomed Night! Press close, magnetic,
nourishing Night!
Night of south winds!  Night of the large, few stars!
Still, nodding Night!  Mad, naked, Summer Night!
~Walt Whitman

Gummy Worms, Life, and the Little Red Oven

10 Jan

As a child, my parents swear they had to teach me how to chew.  An inherent ability in all homo sapiens, a skill with which we are born, a vital necessity we require in order to survive, it seems, wasn’t all that obvious to one O. Nelson.

It’s like you were just a big-mouthed baby bird, my mom says. You’d pop something in and try to swallow it whole. One of my favorite stories I loved to have my parents tell me about was the time during a picnic my old man looked over and I was blue in the face.  Realizing I was choking , my dad rushed over and after a quick inspection, pulled a giant blob of gummy worms out of my chubby cheeks. You had like twenty of them just crammed in your mouth, he says.  You just keep going and going – we had to physically show you how to take small bites and chew before you tried to swallow.  I don’t know why, I thought this was the funniest story ever growing up.  I shared it with everyone – heck, I’m still sharing it with everyone.  You think I’d be embarrassed, but for whatever reason it’s so the opposite. I loved to think of little me, going to town on some gummy worms, taking all I could handle and then some. It’s so ridiculous – who doesn’t know how to eat?  Get’s me every time!

But those early setbacks didn’t stop me, friends, no way. My love for food grew tenfold.  Once I actually knew how to eat (seriously, who doesn’t just know this??), one would be hard pressed to find a photo of me before the age of 13 that didn’t include Cheeto dust or frosting all over my apple head. Why I wasn’t a rolly polly giant I can only credit with a hell of a metabolism and incessant twitchiness.

I still love to eat. My ability to digest an entire family sized bag of snacks? Meh, not quite what it used to be, however.  At one Thanksgiving when I was maybe 15 or so, my older cousin glanced at my heaping plate and made a gagging sound. Wow Liv, she said, you are going to be so fat when you get older. Have fun eating now and good luck with that metabolism. 

I was so mad – how dare she insult food! Though she was right in some ways, I’m hoping I’m a little wiser than I once was. It’s taken me a long time, but I finally get what eating well and healthfully is all about. I’ve always had a weird relationship with food, and I think it took moving across the world to really show me what it means to give my body what it’s asking for. Yeah, I still might splurge and inhale an entire box of Dots in one sitting now and then, but I also know how much better I feel when I eat the right greens and slow down when I’m full and drink enough boiled-filtered-filtered-again water.  I still have a long way to go, but I finally feel like my love for food has changed into a love for life with food on the side.

I’m also insanely glad for having zero restaurants and fast food places.  I didn’t think I’d ever be one to say such foul words, as you know how much I obsess over a good Chinese take-out, but it’s created a love for cooking and preparing meals I never had before. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, but since it is now infinitely more time consuming and involved and such a part of my daily routine, I’ve found a passion for mixing dishes I never knew I could have.

My little red oven – with zero temperature gauges and a strange hot-spot in the back left corner – has quickly become my new companion. He’s a temperamental little beast, but along with my crazy gas stove and hodgepodge of kitchen utensils, we’ve really been spoiled with some amazing meals in our little home.  I love finding new recipes and would take a meal cooked together with my partner at home nearly always over a pre-made, take home feast.

Unless we’re talking gummy worms, because seriously. Those things are always the best.


my little amigo

my little amigo

To see no possession but you may possess it, enjoying all without labor or purchase, abstracting the feast yet not abstracting one particle of it,
To take the best of the farmer’s farm and the rich man’s elegant villa, and the chaste blessings of the well-married couple, and the fruits of orchards and flowers of gardens.   – Walt Whitman


4 Jan

Don’t get me wrong, I love the out-of-doors. I love nature and the wild and, especially since living sans trees and recently visiting bustling metropolises (metropoli?) I know that I am most content and relaxed when I am in the woods and near big, green places with leaves and brush and trails for miles.

However, despite my desire to get away from it all, for the most part I long to be SUCH a part of it all. I love being connected. 

There are those who claim distaste for all things Media – for all things New Episode Tonight and Like Us On Facebook. I got you, friend – I appreciate you and will let you have your thoughts: “Oh, I deleted my Facebook years ago – too much gossip” or “Well, I don’t even watch tv.”

And to that I say, good! More for me!

Give me your news feed updates, your flashy, your downloaded series yearning to be binge watched  in one cold winter’s evening!  Sure, I love waking up at sunrise to watch the brilliance peeking over the hills, but damned if I don’t also adore being in the loop as to who is leaving what show this season and creeping on all my amigos and following life stories – both fictional and otherwise –  while I’m here.

So today, I am infinitely glad for my accounts. I had the most wonderful conversation with a dear friend over messenger and I am stilling riding on the highs from our connection. Sure, we could have found other ways to reach each other, but it was so easy and delightful and I couldn’t possibly get enough.

In this Year of Gladness, while I am fortunate to have so many things to find worth it all, I’m mostly glad for you, and the chance to connect with you and share with you and maybe, on occasion, watch a whole season of a trashy sitcom – I’m always open for some great t.v.

This is the city, and I am one of the citizens,
Whatever interests the rest interests me.   – Walt Whitman

And We’re Back: Physically, Emotionally, Blogging-ly

19 Nov

Last week, I was fortunate enough to take my first, honest-to-goodness world traveling trip to another country during my Peace Corps service.

It was the sort of adventure I dreamed of before moving half way across the world. Living in a new country and growing and serving with others certainly made up most of decision to join Peace Corps, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to a wee bit o’ selfishness in my desire to join as it allows me to see and travel more of this big crazy world that I’ve met so little of.

And boy, did it not disappoint. My dear partner and I traveled with two fellow friends and volunteers to Tbilisi, spending four days discovering the capital and nearby sites. Though it rained for most of the trip, we were easily comforted by pork (cheese wrapped in bacon, two nights in a row), wine, cheap eats, stunning waterfalls, ancient ruins, and more wine. Did I mention wine? We had a lot of wine.

While I knew coming back might be  a bit of a struggle, as it always is when vacation glow wears thin, I don’t think I was quite as prepared as I considered myself  being.  Don’t get me wrong. I am madly in love with our new home and am finally on the upswing at work. We held our first teacher training seminar (on the always stimulating topic of FLASHCARDS – hollah!) and we are on a roll with visiting schools. I am making (minimal) progress with my language skills and finally feel a strong level of confidence and comfort when walking the streets.

But after a whirlwind trip, coming home to no gas, no electricity, no water, and no internet can really take me down a few pegs. And quickly.

It’s never really as bad as my diva self likes to make it, but those first few hours home when all I wanted was some hot water to splash on myself after over 20+ hours of traveling (night trains! taxis! city buses! buses back home! walking! getting stopped by the police for looking suspicious!) took a toll on my perseverance far more than they should have. I was just at such a high and through self-inflicted exuberance met reality with the wrong face. Overall, I’ve had a pretty stellar service thus far, but for whatever reason – be it lack of sleep, lack of utilities, a chilly dark house, missing home. family, and the thrill of travel, nerves for the coming work week, smelling like a weird piece of cheese – it was one of the lowest moments I’ve felt so far.

I like to imagine myself as a strange little third party observer during those moments – maybe a little speck on the wall looking down on the two people in a dark living room. One, a smelly blonde in hysterics, one moment shaking it off and smiling and walking around unpacking things into drawers and eating old carrots, the next moment dramatically hurling herself onto the chair ruing life, the universe and everything;  the other figure, a tall, equally smelly but infinitely calmer gentleman patting the former’s back when calmed and dodging flying arms when gesticulating about the unfairness and cruelties of life – a true saint in the making.

As that speck, I’d like to remain unseen for most of the time just to soak in all the ridiculousness of the smelly woman’s behaviors. But around 11 0’clock, as the sadness and despair are just getting too pathetic to bare, I’d like to jump in and pop her right in her big round face. I’d like to shake her up a bit, force her to change her clothes, pull her hair back, hug her partner and look in the mirror and remind herself what she committed to. Life isn’t easy, but it isn’t that damn hard, either. Some days you find yourself strolling around and easily taking in the majesty of the world, and other days you have to take a moment, breathe some deep breaths, and still see all the majesty of the world, but know that it might take a bit more will power and patience.

Eventually I discovered such things on my own, but only after pushing my spouse unfairly through an annoying evening of reassuring me we’d be just fine. At some point, I fell asleep, cuddled close, and woke up hours later to a sunny day. I turned on our gas stove, got the room all toasty, made some coffee and toast and with a smile, pulled my work things together and made it a great day. And it really was.  My father, annoying as it is, turns out to be right way too often: attitude really is everything. I think I learned it the hard way, but the NEXT time we face a small bump or detour or concern or any sort of inconvenience, I’m hoping I can more easily re-discover this passion that makes it all worth while.

As you dropp’d from the sky low down as if to my side (while the other stars all look’d on),
As we wander’d together the solemn night (for something I know not what kept me from sleep),
As the night advanced, and I saw on the rim of the west how full you were of woe,
As I stood on the rising ground in the breeze in the cool transparent night,
As I watch’d where you pass’d and was lost in the netherward black of the night,
As my soul in its trouble dissatisfied sank, as where you sad orb,
Concluded, dropt in the night, and was gone. 
– Walt Whitman

Dumplings and Meetings

27 Aug

As a TEFL volunteer arriving at site right at the beginning of summer, life has been both lugubriously snail-paced as well as delightfully undemanding.  I met with my counterpart for a grand total of maybe ten hours before she was off for her summer vacation, leaving me and my imagination in search of ways to fill the two months of heat in the palm before returning to school.

Having site mates with whom I can tag along and learn from made these past two months thoroughly enjoyable and I’ve gained a much better insight into life in our region. I am eternally grateful for those afternoon invites to do anything and everything; any excuse to migrate from the cocoon of my host family’s home into a planned, partnered activity was a lifesaver.

Finally, though, we are headed towards what to me will forever feel like the real start of the year and I am very much looking forward to really beginning my service. That’s not to say these past few months have slipped by unattached, but I’m anxious to begin work in my area of focus.

Yesterday I finally called up my dear counterpart to talk about meeting plans. While we were supposed to meet up again two weeks ago, life always seems to tag on more than we think so I was not discouraged when I hadn’t heard from her.

I loved our chat from beginning to end.

From the moment she recognized my voice to the last sputtered good-bye, she entered into this beautifully hectic word spiral, trying to find a delicate and mildly-apologetic way in which to express, in so many unnecessary words, that summer is summer and work is just rotten: “Oh my dear, I promise I didn’t forget about you but it’s summer, you know, and I just haven’t been around much and I was visiting my son and then I had this conference and I kept meaning to call and invite you to tea but then my sister came and we went to the countryside and then it got so dreadfully hot and I forgot to attend these meetings and I hope you don’t think I forgot because I did not but I was just so busy and I – well, let’s meet on Monday, okay?”

So, Monday it is. I was hoping to get back into action this week, but what’s another few days of tottering around the house and grant-searching online? Our internet has been on the fritz (big shocker, hey?) so that is a bit rotten, but, like always, life goes on as normal at the quiet end of the street.

Instead of heading to the office, I spent a lovely afternoon making düşbərə (“small dumplings stuffed with minced lamb and herbs, served in broth” – thanks, Lonely Planet!) with Bibi and my host cousin, making progress on my first of sixty-five books in my lame but totally awesome personal reading challenge, and pretending to study language on and off throughout the day.

And while I still have these moments where I find myself thinking “what the whaaa?” and desperately trying to make sense of my purpose here, things, like always, have a way of slowly falling into place and I know that it’s all just part of this big, ridiculous, crazy journey.

To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.
– Walt Whitman


14 Jul

Peace Corps loves its metaphors. At various points during training, I’ve been out on a limb, learning to scuba dive, discovering the tips of icebergs, living epic-ally, holding heavy glasses of water all on my own, standing alone in a field, standing in the middle of a busy street, building a house brick by brick – I think you get the picture. Or really, the pictures. Lots of them.

One I hear most commonly, however, is that king of all metaphors (see what I did there?) “riding a rollercoaster.” You ask nearly any volunteer or listen in on any training session and they’ll throw it out:

“Oh, the highs are high, and the lows are low, but it is quite a ride.”

“Yes, the highs are totally worth it! But I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster!”

“You don’t know which way your emotions will go next – up, down, sideways, it’s a constant ride.”

“Yup. It’s a rollercoaster, alright.”

Since we’ve been at site nearly three weeks already (whoooooa), I can certainly attest to the presence of those brilliant moments as well as the potentially less enthusiastic ones.  There are certainly ups – and just as many downs.

But I don’t know whether it’s because I’m insanely stubborn, or annoying, or vigilant, or that I just like to be a pain in the ass, but I promise I will never use that mantra.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you why, but I just cringe and die a little inside every time I hear that r word. It’s totally accurate – especially in terms of these first few weeks.

When we first got to site, I couldn’t even begin to fathom ever functioning like a normal person, never the less a productive volunteer, while living in my community. Everything was so new and challenging and big and often scary and just as often monotonous and at the same time quickly changing then dull and duller and then it was nap time, followed by nap time, followed by a little rest and then it started all over again.

As time passes, however, I am slowly starting to get it. I mean, not really get it get it, but I’m no longer worried that I won’t ever get it. I’m increasingly astounded by my courageous and active site mates and love seeing and tagging along on all the great things they are doing. I’m meeting people. I’m becoming (slowly) less awkward around every person I meet. I’m not squinching away from every kiss slobbered on my sweaty cheek by all the little old ladies. I even went into the music store! And made friends! And we played instruments together and it was totally bitching!

So yes – there are certainly crazy-high highs and I constantly worry about what might turn up next. But I just can’t picture myself on that rollercoaster.

Maybe it’s because I’m bossy, but I don’t like to think that I’m helplessly strapped into a speeding car moving up and down and under and around on a rickety track, passively just dealing with what happens to me next.

Sure, I have very little say in where my host mother will escort me next (today, it was across the street to wash, literally, hundreds of dishes from a neighbor’s party. I’ve never had so much fun cleaning). I can’t control the stares I get walking down the street, and I certainly don’t know what crazy things my community people will tell or ask me next (“Is your hair real?” “Your head looks like an apple.” “Your big eyes scare me.” “Look – let’s pluck this chicken! First we have to cut its head off.” “I like Americans, especially Jackie Chan.”) Nor do I really know what my counterpart will pounce on me next. In fact, I don’t even really know what to expect when I wake up each morning.

But I do, however, have this amazing gift of a new day and a new chance to react and move and create and live in this crazy-beautiful world that I’m so grateful to be a part of. I am fortunate to have this ridiculously perfect (albeit totally weird) life partner and positive family and wonderful friends – both golden and new. And sure things go up and down, but more than being a rollercoaster of emotions they are a strong force by which I am insanely awed each and every moment of each and every day.  More than dipping up and down, it is constantly pushing forward, and I’m just trying my best to control those things I can, contribute and learn when possible, and take deep breaths and relax when I cannot.

More than anything, I’m just excited to be here. To be – here.


Long enough have you dream’d contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore,
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.

– Walt Whitman


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