Sierra

He is preparing to test for his pilot license. I always liked the idea of the pilot’s alphabet, and took strides when I was younger to learn it somewhat. So, on the way home from school one afternoon, I am on the phone with him and decide to get myself back up to speed on the alphabet (seeing a show he knows them all and can support me easily with this, plus I feel like he might enjoy my delight in something he loves [if for different reasons]). I remember more than half of them, but there’s a handful he had to guide me to figure out or just directly tell me.

“Hmm… Okay, let’s see,” I say. “India, Lima, Oscar, Victor, Echo, Yankee, Oscar, Uniform,” I say, slight pauses and a rolling casualness to my list-sounding words.

“Sierra,” he adds….

“What?” I ask him.

He tells me it was another of the ones with which I had struggled. ::facepalm

Honey, I tell him. I wasn’t listing ones I hadn’t remembered. I was saying something.

He’s surprised, and needs me to start again. Before I finish, however, he gets it. He is actually listening this time, instead of passively making sure I was saying only real words in the alphabet. 😛 We cracked up about it, and it was definitely an added delight to my practice session.

Plus, now, as a regular response to one of us telling the other that we love him or her, instead of saying, “I love you, too,” we sometimes reply, “Sierra,” because that had been his response to my declaration during practice that day. 😛 Same meaning, but shorter and filled with extra history and goofiness and meaning.

Total nerds, yes. I know. Sierra.

Post-a-day 2022

Exercising and Sharing

I really slept in today, but I woke up the second (or fourth) time around 7:30, and then got up and dressed and went downstairs and did the workout from yesterday. Yay!

I had to make modifications, of course, because I do not have all the tools the gym has, and the workout was supposed to be used at the gym this week (but it has to close for the week for COVID-related safety). But it was still a great and a tough workout, and I felt very pushed, and in a positive way.

And I was grateful that I did the workout first thing today. That probably felt better than the workout itself.

I then taught an outdoor workshop for kakizome 書き初め, as part of an Art & Yoga class, and it was awesome to do! Sure, the people involved had their varied life issues that arose, but it still was a great experience, and I am glad and grateful that I was able to share kakizome with more people. And that is despite the fact that they do not see it as I see it. It also gave me an odd sense of reaffirmation for myself, that I am looking at things and approaching things in my life in a very good-for-me-and-the-world way, and that I am perfect being right here, right now, all the uncertainties and unknowns included. I am grateful for this life and for this particular piece of it – thank you, Universe. My ball of energy is rolling beautifully, and I am loving being at its center.

So, how is your ball of energy, your life, doing today? I hope it is helping you to roll onward powerfully, whatever that May mean for you and your life. 🙂

P.S. Just before bed last night, I saw an e-mail that my flight in a couple months – fingers crossed on that trip – was changed dramatically in terms of timing. I was very annoyed, as it was the second such e-mail of the day, and this was a huge change. I checked the website to see if there were a different flight I preferred. The prices were almost half what they had been when I initially booked a few weeks ago! So, what did I do? I promptly canceled my original booking, and I rebooked with the new prices. It had been with points, but I gladly will make the effort in order to spend 5,000 points instead of 8,500! Cha-ching!! And thank you, airline, for allowing such a possibility. Much gratitude from here.

Post-a-day 2021

^That one was oddly easy for me

Pass-where?

For the first time since I was a very small child, I do not have a valid passport for travel.

In a way, it feels utterly odd and out of this world. In another way, I don’t even notice it, because it wouldn’t necessarily do me any good to be valid right now anyway…. which is, in its own way, utterly odd and out of this world.

And, what’s even more weird is that I’m not even sure what I’m going to do about it all. I don’t even know if passports are being processed regularly again yet. Not a clue. And that, in and of itself, is also weird for me and my life.

So, yeah… there’s a lot of weird around passports on my life right now. (It’s extremely doubtful, however, that I am the only one in such a situation right now, though, which is simultaneously comforting and, again, rather weird.) 😛

Post-a-day 2020

Ouch

Well, there’s nothing quite like trekking through snow with a bunch of luggage on your own in an unknown town… especially when you hadn’t realized it would be any cooler than about, say, 5 or 6°C, and it turns out to be -8°C right this minute….

Yup.

Nothing quite like it.

Fortunately, the unanticipated snow is beautiful to me.

😛 Made it to Montréal, and my friend’s place here… next step is back to the airport in the morning when they head off early to work, check my bags back in, take a photo at Tim Horton’s for some kids, and nap before and during my flight over to Japan.

I’m too exhausted even to think about how exhausting that all sounds…

Anyway…, goodnight.

P.S. It’s so cold…brrr

Post-a-day 2019

Opera, Veterans, and Travel

I have two things on my mind right now: opera and emotions.

Tonight, due to the gracious encouragement of a new acquaintance, I found myself attending a unique performance, called “Glory Denied” and put on by Houston Grand Opera and HGOco.  The main character is a man in the Vietnam War, who becomes a prisoner of war for nine years, and then eventually returns to the USA.  The story, essentially, is how his life falls apart throughout it all.  It is sad and tragic, and the music only makes it more so.  The setting of the performance being an old airplane hangar that has turned into a museum added to the show itself.  The comedic and especially unique bit of the night was the fact that directions to the bathrooms included going “around the helicopter tail.”

Now, this opera was sad.  Period.  And I knew it was sad beforehand, so I made an effort to stay detached from it.  I have a history of becoming too engulfed by something to be able to separate myself from it fully.  When I read books, it is so easy for me to fall into the narrator’s experiences, that I find myself being agitated in life, if the narrator was agitated wherever I left off in my reading, or giddy and joyful, if that was his/her mood.  I even take on phrases and mannerisms of the characters, and ask myself questions that I am accustomed to reading (or hearing, if it is an audiobook) from them.  I’m not sure that I’ve been ever as on-edge, frown-y, tense, and distrusting as I was while listening to the Hunger Games audiobooks.  Life was intense during that one.  That is why I wanted to keep my distance tonight, because I know people have very intense experiences when it comes to war.

As I watched the opera, I found myself wondering if these people, the performers, ever have to deal with such a thing as I do.  Do they have repercussions in their daily lives, due to the effect playing that particular character had on their mental state?  Do they find themselves questioning their sanity, when they have been playing a character whose scale leans too far toward the insane?  I wonder.

And I almost succeeded in staying separate from the emotions of the characters.  I made it through most of the show safely, but then a surprising part hit me hard.  As the main character begins pouring out the shattering sorrows of adjusting to a changed world, back in the USA after nine years of imprisonment, I was dragged into his experience.  Tears rolled slowly down my face, unbidden.  No, I have never been a POW nor even been in a war, but I have been in my own version of that same homecoming.  No parades, no parties, no photos nor celebrations.  Life around me is unchanged by my silent arrival to the country I call home.  Did they even notice my return?  The characters sang of the expectations a returning veteran might have of his family and friends, – that they be as loving and excited about him as they were when he left, and that they were missing and thinking of him as much as he was of them during his absence – and of the unstable feeling of returning to a physical world – one in which he had always felt stability – that has altered dramatically, and even unrecognizably in places.

I know this experience.  Again, not the whole war and POW stuff.  Certainly not that.  Living abroad several times, I have been in my own version of this veteran’s experience after the war.  I have learned and improved each time, and I have done my best in more recent years to prepare myself for how people will have changed by the time I return to Houston.  No matter what I do, though, there is always a sort of anticipation, a hopeful expectation of how they will be.  They will be the best versions of themselves with me, and their love will fill me constantly.  They will be patient with me, and gentle.  They will be interested in my experience since I have been gone.  All of this, because they have missed me and thought longingly of me as I have of them, throughout all of my new struggles in this new life I was living temporarily.  And then, when I arrive, finding that this is not the case, they are not as I had unconsciously expected, it is confusing.  I recognize the place and the people, but they are both different from what I left, and I cannot quite see how or why.  They have not been through what I have.  They have not had my struggles.  So why do they not comfort me and love me as I have so needed during my absence, as I so need now?  They are different from how I remember them, from how they have existed in my mind while we have been apart.  But so am I, and I see that they have mistaken who I am now, for an image they have built of me inside their own minds.  They can see that I have changed, and I can see that they have changed, but we don’t understand one another’s change, and it is difficult to cope, to fathom, even.  And there is always that extra edge of my experiences having been good reason for me to have changed, but theirs were not.

I have not been in the military nor in a war, but I know this small, unsettling, and somewhat worldview-shattering experience of coming home to a now-foreign home.  As the lead character raged about his home being so not like the home he once knew, I was dragged into the pain, feeling my own current struggles of readjustment coming forth from deep inside.  I am still living in his pain today, though I have been back for a few months.  And it hurt even more still, as I saw that my own experience of struggle has lasted so long, although I was only gone for a year this time.  How terribly long this period of struggle must have been for this man, must still be for veterans returning today.  I went from peaceful times to peaceful times, and my pain still lingers.  They likely did not and still do not have such peace on both ends.

I am forever grateful that veterans have made that sacrifice of ease, in order to do what they believed best to help the world at large.  I am concerned that we do not do enough to help them with the latter end of their tours, with their returns and readjustments.  It is difficult enough altering a regular lifestyle in one culture to a regular one in another culture, like what I have done so often.  It is practically unfathomable to go from comfort to a war zone lifestyle, and then back to a house in a safe, city life lifestyle – is the brain ever ready to cope with a change so drastic and so quick?  I found myself wanting to hug and hold the characters in the show all tightly to my chest, and to fill them all with love and acceptance of whoever they are and in whatever place they are mentally/emotionally/psychologically.  ‘You are safe here, you are important here, and you are perfect as you are.’  I know it was only a show, but it exists only because the story itself is real, and all too common, I believe.

Post-a-day 2017

 

 

I’m Here!!

Well, I made it to Korea.  A lot happened today to make one question whether 1) I really Am in Korea and 2) I am not just plain crazy.

I have found myself extremely stressed and preoccupied lately, and, as a result, today, for the first one in my life, – and do recall that I have been on likely hundreds of airplanes – I forgot my passport.  Not just that, but I didn’t even consider it until I walked through the train barrier at the airport.  I had a weird feeling about my flight, and it turns out that I didn’t take them after all.  I had to rebook with a different airline, and for half as much more.  However, the booking company did me a solid in refunding the whole airfare to me.  It took forever to figure out, because the airline cancelled my flight for me before the flight happened, so that I would be allowed to get a refund.  But that then removed the ticket information for the booking company to see that Inhad purchased anything at all.  Four hours later, I was back at the airport with my passport and a swimsuit added to my baggage, and crying after I heard the news of my full refund.  As I ate my victory bunch of bananas, the security checkpoint officer was somewhat in a state of awe as he watched me avidly.  It isn’t every day that someone eats the bunch on her own, and definitely not in Japan.

The point is that I am here.  And, truly, I love it.  The vibe of the streets in this part of town is great.  The public transit is wonderfully clean.  They sell all sorts of things next to the underground train stations, from sandals to electronics to freshly made, delicious pastry breads.  (I finally got a pair of headphones that might fit my ears!). The crosswalks and streets are all funked up with little potholes and the likes.  The buildings are colored with rainbow lights.  There’s significantly more English than in Japan.
Okay, it’s 3am.  I’ll sleep know.

All-in-all, this place feels great.  Period.
Post-a-day 2017

Korea and dancing

I think I am going to Korea tomorrow.  To Seoul to be exact-ish.  We shall see how this airline check-in works – it makes my breathing short and nervous, to say the least.

But I am looking forward to wandering the city in search of various forms of KimChi (Is that how it’s written??), and dancing all night each night.

I think I am actually really excited about this trip.
Post-a-day 2017