I Live in Mist


What is it about weather that inspires us to write? More specifically, why are we always moved by rain? I suppose rain symbolizes new beginnings as it cleans the streets and helps the crops and flowers grow. I think there’s something more, some other reason that we like to write poems and songs and entire novels about rain. But I have a feeling that by the end of this particular post, that reason will remain a mystery to me.

It’s absolutely pouring here. Monsoon status rain outside my window…and I don’t take monsoon rains lightly, having been caught in several during my stay in India…but I don’t think I’ve ever seen rain this powerful in this tiny little town, and I just love it. All my windows are open, and I went outside on my tiny porch to feel the mist on my face. It’s just…wonderful. It made me write.

I’m scared and anxious lately because I move out of my college town in three days, and within a few weeks will be living in Portland. I want everything to be for sure: I want a nice, cheap apartment in a good part of town. I want a job (literally any job). I want to be happy there. I want to know things about my future in Portland, but unfortunately that’s the weird part about making plans for the future…you never really know anything until it becomes the present. It’s exciting, all those unknowns, but in another sense it’s really really not. It’s just terrifying.

I went to India basically on a whim. I mean, I was heavily invested in going, and I researched a lot, but there’s no way to be prepared for what India presents you with. I just sort of showed up, very white and very naive, with a lot of sunscreen and Pepto Bismol in my suitcase. And I was fine. I survived. I got e. Coli, which was absolutely horrific and not really an experience I’d recommend to a friend, but I totally survived. And I loved my time in India. Every experience was new and exciting, every conversation challenging and beautiful.

So I guess I just need to pretend that this massive new step in my life is like traveling to India. It’ll probably be easier, now that I think of it. I’m relocating from one town in the Pacific Northwest to another (albeit much larger) city. My apartment was dingy, plain, and randomly full of tiny lizards in India…wherever I live in Oregon will be a step up. I’ll have my health. I’ll have a fantastic roommate who cares about me and will look out for me if needed. I’ll have every new opportunity I could ever imaging presenting itself to me, all while wearing the cool vibe of Portlandia…

I’m still terrified. But maybe I can be terrified in a way that at least puts things into perspective. I had this same mini-panic a few weeks before I went to India…this time last year, actually. I just sat there and thought, “I cannot do this.” But I did it. I’m kinda awesome.

It’ll be more than fine. This new part of my life is going to be epic. 

You guys, I figured it out. Just now, totally unexpectedly as a breeze ran through the window I’m sitting next to: it’s rain smell. Rain smell, combined with all those other cleansing qualities and new opportunities that rain represents. It’s rain smell that inspires us, with its woody, green notes and crisp coldness. No matter where I travel, rain smells like the Pacific Northwest. Even when I was in India, rain brought me home.

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Goodbye


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The view from Haylie’s apartment. Spectacular.

I’m leaving Seattle and I want to cry. This has never happened.

The Ice is Getting Thinner by Death Cab for Cutie came on my iPod, which doesn’t help since it’s full of tragedy and sadness and practically pulls the tears out of your eyeballs anyway.

I’ve never had a great experience in Seattle. I typically get shouted at by at least 3 people, or a cab driver tries to kidnap my suitcase, or the weather is depressing. This weekend, though, was my island. I visited my beautiful friend Haylie who is my spirit animal, and…the weekend was a dream.

We went to a cat show, y’all. There were so many Maine Coons I practically peed, and I watched a cat judging thing (weird–they’re all number one in my heart) and got stamped with a cat stamp. Every time a cat got loose they’d yell “CAT OUT, CLOSE THE DOORS, DO NOT TRY TO CATCH THE CAT” and it was weird and wonderful, just like the entire show.

Ate the best curry I’ve ever had. Bamboo shoots? Yes.

Pike Place Market: homemade latte flavored Greek yogurt? YES.

Got slightly accosted by a man who pretended to take a bite out of the pastry I was holding. He got way too close to my head and I screamed and jumped, and he laughed and said “I didn’t mean to scare you!” Really? Then he had the audacity to try to hit on me, so that’s apparently a thing that happens.

Saw Tegan and Sara live, which was actually incredible. I don’t know why I was kinda surprised, but I wasn’t really sure that I still liked them. My dad had randomly bought their album So Jealous at a record shop in Seattle and I might’ve fallen in love with them freshman year of high school, but it’s been at least 4 years since I actually listened to them much. They’re really good live, though, and even though Haylie and I sat basically behind the stage, it was still pretty brilliant.

Ra Ra Riot, however, sucks. A lot. They were technically a good band, and the singer has a nice voice, but he’s much too “oh-whoa-ho!”-y for my taste. I don’t particularly enjoy bands with no energy, and even though the violinist and cellist were both sassy and awesome, there wasn’t much that could save the lead singer from being incredibly lackluster. Also, I’m pretty sure the drummer was a wizard and possessed the crowd at one point. Nobody was really into it, and then suddenly everyone was screaming and twirling around in the stands and on the floor, and Haylie and I could only wonder what is this black magic? (I’m pretty sure that’s actually a thing, though, that everyone in the crowd knew about; when the singer sang a certain line, everyone knew to twirl. I definitely prefer to think that it’s black magic.)

And of course Death Cab was brilliant, but I wouldn’t have expected anything less. I saw them 5 years ago in my hometown, then saw The Postal Service over the summer (amazingamazingamazing) and now all I have to do is see Ben Gibbard solo before I can die happy (I mean, I’d love to see The Strokes, but that might never happen so I just have to dream).

I miss Haylie. I miss Seattle. I miss feeling free. Coming home was weird — I was in a coma for the entire flight, and came home and wanted to cry. I think this weekend sparked a bit of an existential crisis, so look forward to some moody “who am I, what am I doing, blah” posts in the future.

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Baby flower children frolic in fields and rainbows. Meow.

I’m Nine Again


I was that kid who literally shoved her nose in a book and didn’t take it out until she’d flipped cover to cover. Most of my childhood memories are centered around lying on my couch, feet up, reading a book. On sick days, I’d make blanket forts in the living room and hide away, reading Zoo Books or Ranger Rick magazines.
I think we all lose a little of that as we grow up. Our day demands more studying and working, and allows for less free time. We get caught up in ourselves and our relationships, good or bad, and we forget that what really made us happy was that time alone, practically upside down on the sofa, reading Harriet the Spy, Tom Sawyer, Harry Potter.

And then this weird thing happens. We somehow come back around to those simpler times and remember how full our life was with them. Books fill that void, stop that gushing sorrow we feel in our heart, as a cork would stop a leaking rowboat in some terrible cartoon.
I accidentally found that 9 year old inside of me today. It took the end of a year-long relationship and a trip to the ocean to coax her out, but it’s been a long time coming, really.

That little girl is my personal Jesus. Because where some pray frequently, as I have occasionally, to find comfort and calm, I reach for stories and memoirs to pull me into their world and out of mine. But the escapism I get from books doesn’t lead inevitably to a denial of my problems, but more to a solution. Somehow, by forgetting them for a few hours, I work them out in the back of my mind. It feels good, lately, to let that happen.

As a child, I rode the bus 20 minutes home from school, then walked 3/4 of a mile to my house. I would read a book on the bus and, not wanting to put it away for even ten minutes, continue reading as I walked down my street. I lived out in the country, and rarely had to worry about cars driving past, so I could walk without incident. I have to admit, though, my walk would take twice as long when I had a book in hand. I barely noticed and definitely never cared.

I hadn’t done that in at least ten years until today. We’re staying at a house by the ocean, about a 15 minute walk from the beach. We had a beach house in the Puget Sound until I was about 10, and coming back here is so wonderfully nostalgic. The air smells briny, so much better than in California or Hawaii, and the water is too cold to enter but I always do anyway, like I’m still that little kid who didn’t care.  My mom, sister and I went wore our swimsuits and brought towels and books down to the water this afternoon, but I got cold after about an hour and decided to walk back to the house. It was nice to have some time with my thoughts, but after a while I really wanted to keep reading my book. So I did. And it felt wonderful. As if that little girl, so impatient to find out what happened next, just jumped out of me.

I don’t ever want that girl to go away. She’ll hide, maybe for years, but I’d like to think she’s here to stay.