I am from…

Recently, in my cleaning out, I’ve come across loads of papers and files and folders and binders from almost all of my years of schooling.  While, I’ve found things from that same school year (lots of them today, actually), I have yet to find the original I am from poem that I wrote about myself in seventh grade.  When I find it, I will share it, followed by the one I wrote about myself during college, as well as the two(three?) that my friends wrote about me from their own perspectives during, I believe, high school together.

For now, though, I share the one I wrote during college about myself.  If you do not know, an I am from poem is essentially a work where one inputs pieces of information related to certain topics.  For example, the format could be as follows:

[First Name]
I am from [three traits you like about yourself]
[three traits you want to improve about yourself]
lover of [two things you love]
believer in [two things in which you believe]
who fears [two things you fear]
who hopes for [two things for which you hope]
brother/sister to [list your siblings]
daughter/son to [list your parents’ names]
resident of [the street where you grew up living]
[your city and state]
[your country]
[Last Name]

The original one I did was longer than that, but the point was just to explain the general format, so I’ll leave it at that.  The following, as mentioned already, is the version I wrote in college, which was following a rather free format that did not have distinct criteria other than being about ourselves (so far as I currently remember, anyway).


4 Sept 2011 ED351

I am from gentle, caring, lovable, wonderful
I am from sisterhood and subtle observations
from Music and Dance and Poetry
I am from contentedness with what one is given, blissfulness when around music, and the desire to do good
I am from hugs, laughs, and love, and recycling it all back
I am from giving harmony to life, consideration to call, and cheerfulness to one’s surroundings
I am from confidence: one so strong I fear only a loss of things or people whom I love and with whom I share my life
I am from Grace, in name and in action
I am from “How do you say ‘How do you say?'” in as many languages as possible
I am from connectedness and communication: be honest, be clear, be concise, lift up others with what you say, and mean it every time
I am from clarity: now inhale deeply and be with what is and what isn’t – identify the story and render it powerless in what happened
I am from when you’re on it, get off it; when you’re incomplete, get complete with yourself and with all those involved; and when you’re being inauthentic, be authentic about your being inauthentic
I am from live in the moment and remember what’s possible
I am from the long time sun, may it always shine upon you
I am from love, may it always surround you
I am from Woman, the greatest power, and from the one pure light within us
I am from a world to be treated with care
I am from mother: Earth and the human
I am from understanding, consciousness, choices, and freedom of self-expression
I am from mother, all-encompassing, all-loving, and ever-present
I am from God, the World, and the stars
I am from Mother


Post-a-day 2018


A letter from my past self

The following is the transcription of a letter I found this week.  (Yes, it was in one of the boxes of papers and folders and such.)  I wish I had found it months ago, when I’d first returned from Japan.  However, it still did me loads of good when I read it the other day.  While I missed out on some bits it mentions, I actually did a really good job of fulfilling most of the tasks prescribed in it… a version of them, anyway.

Anyway, it is a letter I wrote to myself when I was still on my college campus, about to leave to study abroad in Germany and Austria.  As per standards of our school’s study abroad program, we all had to write our future selves a letter, which would be mailed to us upon our return from our study abroad programs.  I fully acknowledge that mine is full of grammatical errors, but that was part of why I was going abroad anyway – to improve my language skills.  Also, the whole letter is written in cursive, because I do that.  The third sentence actually caused me to tear up, and the fourth had me crying.  It’s amazing how right I was, and I really didn’t know that I ever would be in the current situation in which I find myself.


10. April 2012

Hannah Leigh, chèrie,

Ich weiss nicht, was muss ich dir sagen.  Ich kenne dich nicht, weil du so viel gechanged hast.  Welcome home – may it still feel that way to you.  You are forever welcome here, so remember that – you might need it some day.  Okay, here’s what I want you to do:

1) Go record it.  Get on your computer, write up any questions
you would love for others to ask, & then record yourself
answering them.  Then you can do what you want with
it all, but you will have that satisfaction, that completeness,
wholeness of having shared what you needed, desired, wanted
to share.

2) Talk to people.  Make a quick list of what specifically you already
have wanted to share with whom.  Call each person & set up when
& where you will share what you have to share.  Share with them.

3) Talk to Opa.  No matter where he is, go visit him & talk with
him completely in German.

4) Find someone local with whom you can be open, close, & frank, & speak
only German (or completely German) together with ease.

5) Remember that it’s all right not to “know” who you are.  Knowing
makes no difference, anyway, so no good reason to bother with it.
Look yourself in the mirror & see all that has passed, & be open to
all that will come.

6) You are woman & you create the universe with your being.  Your
power is endless, & it is selfless love that feels it.  Love your
mother & your Mother.  Love your self wholly, & your next
step will become available and visible to you.

7) Be at peace.  Even if it was &/or is hard, it is all relative.
Take it for the beneficial experience that it is, & enjoy every
bit you have gotten & will get from it all.

8) Now & every time you see that it just might possibly help,
take a deep breath & close your eyes, letting your thoughts
run around & then calm naturally as you breathe deeply.

I love you & I wish you all the best.  I am here with you always, though I will now be transformed from the time I wrote this letter.  My understanding & my love have only increased & expanded, I promise.  You are wonderful.  You are beautiful.  You are mine.

I love you.  Love me, too.
❤ Peace       Hannah Leigh


P.S. Pretend I pressed a flower in here to give you a wholesome smile & kiss.  🙂 oxox


Post-a-day 2018


It wasn’t until I had lived in France for a few months that I found out about the secret bags of pastries.

You see, normally, I would have one to three pastries a week.  That was all that I could afford reasonably, really.  And fresh pastries in France are kind of the bomb dot com.  Period.  Sometimes, during the morning break in class, my classmates and I would walk to the bakery the next street over, and all have a pastry and coffee together.  It was fun and always delicious.  And, compared to the US, the prices were fabulous.  However, there was still a limit – we couldn’t really do it every day on our college student budgets.

But, my life was somewhat transformed when one of the girls in my program told me how she always got her pastries.  D- found a way to try them all on a budget.  She said, ‘Yeah, you just look for these bags up on top of the counter, in a basket, and they’re filled with whatever didn’t sell yesterday.  So, it’s different every day.’

After several days, if not even a couple weeks, of psyching myself up, I finally went to the bakery she’d mentioned, to find these secret bags.  And there they were, crammed full of various pastries, and they were only a few euros.  I think it was that very first time that, even though I totally knew what the bag up on top of the pastry case was, I asked casually to the pastry chef what it was.  He explained it all to me, and how they didn’t want to waste anything, so they bagged it up and sold it cheap the next morning.  I semi-feigned surprise at what he told me, but I was also genuinely surprised that D- had been right and it really wasreal thing.  For the price of one or two fresh pastries, I could get a whole bag of ones made only yesterday, and of all different types.  No, if you grow up on fresh French pastries, they aren’t nearly too delicious.  However, we didn’t grow up on fresh French pastries – we delighted in even the day-old pastries like it was some of the best stuff we’d ever eaten.  (And it totally was.)

Plus, if someone had given me a bag of pastries anyway, I probably wouldn’t have eaten them all at once.  It would have taken me most of the day to get through them comfortably, and I’d probably even save something for breakfast the next day.  So, for a huge fraction of the price, we got to do just that.

Usually, I’d share a bag with others, so we all got to try the different pastries.  But I got my own a few times, for sure.

So anyway, if you go to France for vacation or whatever, ask the bakeries in the morning if they have bags of yesterday’s leftovers.  I think there’s even a specific term for it, but my brain is not producing it right now, if there is one… I totally used it, whatever it was, though, word or phrase or whatever… I loved trying out all the different pastries.  However, despite trying so many different pastries, I still almost exclusively get a chocolatine (pain au chocolat everywhere but the southwest), a croissant, and/or a baguette (though those guys aren’t pastries, they are still one of my favorite foods ever).  But whatever.  I got to test out all the stuff and see that I enjoyed it all, as well as discover that I really just love the simple stuff best.  (It’s like a cliché about life or something, but it’s just how I feel about French pastries.)

Post-a-day 2018



Singing, Showering, and liking you better…

Today, I sent a message to my best friend that read, “For some reason, I regularly think about messaging you when I go to the bathroom”

Her response was prompt and simple.  “Lol,” followed by, “You like me so much better when youre naked”

“Duh,” was my casual response.

You see, the whole thing started back in college.  Freshman year, I was Skype-ing with Christine one day, probably early morning.  I had gone into the common room to chat with her, but, since we were in an all-girls dormitory, and it was too early for visitors to be around, I wasn’t fully dressed (probably just a t-shirt and underwear).  When we started the call, she let me know that a friend of hers was with her, and that it was a guy (because it was already afternoon in Cambridge, England, so it was normal to be hanging out with people already there). So, I had to go put on some more clothing before we turned on the camera.  (At least, I think that was the case… she might have just checked to make sure I was properly clothed, because I regularly would be not fully clothed.  Either way, the next part did happen.)  When I commented about this, the guy friend of hers made a comment about liking someone so much better naked (I forget if it was about Christine liking me, or what, but it was totally silly, and seemed such an odd comment.)  We both were lacking in understanding at first, but he explained that there was an actual song (by Ida Maria), and that that was the line the girl used in it.  (See, it made sense and wasn’t actually weird at all.)

The chorus goes like this:

But I won’t mind
If you take me home
Come on, take me home
I won’t mind
if you take off all your clothes
Come on, take them off
‘Cause I like you so much better when you’re naked
I like me so much better when you’re naked
I like you so much better when you’re naked
I like me so much better when you’re naked

We found it hilarious.  We found the actual song and music video, and fell in a sort of this is silly and utterly ridiculous, but I still love it kind of love with the song.

I shared it with my hallway neighbor, who played guitar, and we tried playing it a bit on the guitar.  I eventually played it for Christine one day on Skype.  My greatest, proudest achievement with the song, however, was the time I snuck into the bathrooms (they were shared, and had loads of stalls and multiple showers) one day, just after Jessie, the neighbor, had gone in to shower.  Once I knew she was actually in the shower, showering, I walked into the showering area (mind you, not into her stall, just in the showering section of the bathroom), and began playing the song on guitar, and singing it to her.  I could hear her snorting, gurgling, guffawing laugher emitting from the shower stall as I sang and played.  It was spectacular for the both of us.  I shared the story with my best friend, too, and she loved it.*

So, the song has always held a special little place in our hearts, minds, and lives, all three of us.  Everyone else probably just thinks we’re crazy, whenever they overhear us mentioning or quoting or singing it.  😛

Here’s a link to the music video.


*This reminds me… I sang to a friend of mine in Japan while she showered one night.  We were chatting on the phone, just hanging out one night, after we’d both gotten internet, and so didn’t have to hang up after every five minutes anymore, and she really needed to shower, but we weren’t ready to end our conversation/hanging out.  So, she set the phone to the side on speakerphone, and I sang to her while she showered.  I had been humming and singing quietly already anyway, so what was the difference if I just did it a little louder, right?  It was spectacular, of course.  Then a night or few later, when I mentioned to another friend that this had happened, he complained that I didn’t sing for him and that that certainly wasn’t fair.  And so I sang to him over the phone… and he fell asleep.  😛  Spectacular in a different sort of way, I guess, but still spectacular.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017



Writing, math in life…

I’ve been on the phone with my college flatmate tonight, talking about writing.  Apparently, I actually do have some fun and crazy ideas that would be really interesting for people to read – she didn’t even understand how I got to the sorts of ideas that regularly come to mind, simply as the normal order of thinking in my head.  So, I guess that’s not so normal as I’d thought it to be, having such ideas so casually and regularly.

The thing is, I haven’t set up sitting down to do it.  Not yet, anyway, and not for long enough.  I’ve noticed that writing at night is not the way to go for me.  For other things, sure – I can do loads of physical movement at night.  For writing, however, I’m next to hopeless, it feels.  I don’t feel much like writing anything in the first place at night, and so I struggle to find something to write, and then I make loads of errors in what I do finally write.  It just isn’t a good combination.

Speaking of combinations, I was talking with students in my geometry class today about how math can be useful in life in cool ways.  One example was from a show my stepdad watches about the TV show “The Walking Dead”.  It’s sort of a behind-the-scenes sort of show, and this particular bit that I saw was talking about everything they had to do in order to set up a car crash.  It was really cool, seeing everything broken down, all of the things they had to organize to make it work.  The best part, perhaps, was seeing how it was pure geometry and physics that made the crash work flawlessly.

The other example was in a little photo shoot I was witnessing (and had to abandon for distress), in which the photographer said that they were supposed to be sitting in a Christmas tree formation.  But she didn’t do anything to make this happen.  She didn’t even seem to know what needed to be done for this shape to happen.  (The people in charge definitely seemed to be lacking in general crowd control and effective instructions arenas, too.)  It occurred to me that she never considered just getting the number of people – I’d have done it ahead of time, but on the sport would have worked just finely, too – expected in the photo, and dividing them up into the necessary number of people per row, based on the exact shape desired and the number of rows available.  I was about to begin the calculations as I watched, but then realized that no one was going to listen to me anyway, so it was better if I just left the stressful situation, since that was the only thing I actually could do in the situation.  So, I left.  But it proved to be a good example to the kids in class at how math is present in life in ways that people don’t even consider.  Had the photographer thought about math, – and it is likely that she didn’t, because she wasn’t very confident in or in love with math while in school – the whole photo shoot could have gone loads better than it did.  And they could have had the Christmas tree, and even decorated with “lights” or an outline, using the different shirt and jacket colors present and available.  But she didn’t, so none of that happened.


Post-a-day 2017


Just keep swimming…

I swam today!  And I don’t mean just playing around in a pool.  I swam laps.  Half a mile did I swim, and, though this is nothing to what I once could accomplish in the same amount of time (a mile or more), I am incredibly proud of this half mile, because I have not swum a lap in at least four years.  Not bad for starting out, I say!

In college, I discovered a love for swimming.  Laps, that is.  I spent about ten years on swim team as a kid, and I kind of hated most of it.  I absolutely loved the social aspect and the fun of the meets on Monday nights, and even getting ribbons for my race efforts.  But practice was something else entirely.  

You see, I was never very good at swimming.  I certainly was not bad by any means.  However, put me against the kids on the team who were considered “good”, and I paled in comparison.  I was better than the couple tubby kids, and I had decent speed, but my endurance just wasn’t there.  Because of that, I was never at the front of the line in practice, and near the back was not where I wanted to be.  I was also utterly exhausted before practice was ever even over.  So, I didn’t much like swim practice, and even disliked it a bit…, which meant that I went less and less often as Ingrew older.  This also meant that I get worse and worse, when compared to all the kids who actually attended every practice (and most kids had been on the team as long as I had).

All of that being said, I was truly surprised when I fell in love with swimming in college.  I always respected and almost revered swimmers as glorious doers of beautiful sport.  I always rather envied them (minus the really broad shoulders).  But I also always disliked practice.  It’s almost surprising that I did swim team longer than any other sport, but for the fact that my mom required us to do swim team.  To this day, I do not know how I got out of swimming in Open (ages 15-18), but I was beyond delighted that my swim team days were finished before I had to be slower than everyone in my age group.  13/14’s were tough enough for my morale.

I wasn’t on the team in college or anything, but I did attend the meets that happened on campus, and I loved them.  It wasn’t until my third (and final) year that I started swimming myself, though.  I joined a water sports class and tennis class in order to fulfill my sport credits for school, and somehow also ended up going swimming in the pool during the nighttime opening hours.  Perhaps my inspiring friend Genevieve got me to go with her one night to start, and then I kept going on my own after that.

In the water sports class, there were mostly non-athletic people in it, and so we often just had inner tube water polo on the schedule.  I disagreed with the inner tubes on principal for the game, but the level of competitiveness actually got me quite irritated in class.  This is not mean to be harsh, merely matter-of-fact: If you aren’t good at something, you aren’t allowed to be fiercely competitive in it.  Some of these people were yelling and going crazy over this game that Inhad already passed as casual and fun, since almost no one was any good at it.  

So, I eventually asked the coach if I could swim laps instead for class.  He might have denied me at first, but then realized how desperately I wanted to do it instead of water polo, and so allowed me for any time we played that particular game (which was often).  The first time he agreed to it, he told me that it was ‘okay, but only if you swim a mile.’  I honestly told him that I likely was incapable, but he chuckled and I realized that he was joking.

I trained at nights on the days we didn’t have class, and worked hard in my swimming.  I still remember the excitement I had on the day I climbed out of the water near the end of class and told him, “Okay, done.”  I had swum a mile during class, which was only a 45-minute class.  I had barely done it in time, but I had done it.  The coach was nearly baffled.  He expressed that he had been merely joking about the mile.  I told him how I knew that, but figured I’d go for it, anyway.  He was impressed.  He didn’t think he was capable of swimming a mile in any length of time.  I had earned the recognition I had hoped in my silly endeavor, which only added to my joy of accomplishing the task itself.  I was not a swimmer, but here I was, quickly swimming a mile, and able to rush off to tennis class immediately afterward.

One thing to add about that time swimming: My body was incredibly happy, and it looked great, too.  Ever since then, I have been convinced that swimming is one of (if not the) the best full-body workouts around, with amazing results.

Here I am, years later, finally in a pool again.  I have more to my body than I would like for there to be in certain areas, and not enough to satisfy my muscle goals for my body, so I truly hope I find a way to get this swimming to be a regular and often thing again, and that I do it.  Because I really do love swimming.

Post-a-day 2017
P.S. A fellow ALT (assistant language teacher) recently mentioned how she had a student who was attempting to express that he was a swimmer, and so he wrote, “I am a breast stroker.”  Gotta love things getting lost in translation.  😛


Love Notes for the World

My mom sent me an e-mail today that reminded me of one of my fun activities in college: my (love) sign.

You see, when I was in high school, I was doing partner dancing.  A guy in the dance community in Houston died at some point, and it caused people to reminisce often.  I’m not sure if I ever met the guy, because he died shortly after I began going out dancing (as opposed to just dancing at the studio and in classes), but there’s a chance our paths crossed a handful of times.  Nonetheless, I have always remembered this guy.  My friend’s dad was talking about this guy, and talked about “his signs”.  I inquired, and discovered that this guy would carry around signs – I think they were poster boards, actually – with various messages, and would use them when at the club for dance socials.  The specific example I remember was how, if two people were really flirting or kissing, he might hold up a sign that read, “Get a room.”  As this is by no means a social norm, the idea always stuck with me.

In college, for some reason, this memory arose right at the time my flatmate was in an art class and had extra art paper at home one night.  It’s the really thick, soft paper that is similar to poster board, but is used specifically for drawing or painting (or possibly both).  So, that night, I had a torn-off section of this art paper, and I decided to make my own sign.  On one side, it read, “you should, too”.  The other read, “I love you”.

I carried this poster around with me almost everywhere for the remainder of that semester.  I think I even had it while I rode my bike (actually, yes, I do remember riding my bike as I held on to it).  It was incredibly odd, but completely accepted by my college.  I was really nervous about it at first, but very quickly became comfortable with carrying around the sign.  I mean, come on… kids do all sorts of odd things in college, so this was just one more in a million odd things we would cross.


Anyway, I loved it.  I miss it at times, even.  I don’t exactly live the same sort of lifestyle now as I did in college, however, I think I could work out something.  The thing my mom sent me was about business cards that read simply “YOU MATTER”.  And I think I want to make some more of my own things, but following this fashion of a small card that can be given to others.

When I lived in Vienna, a friend found a stash of the ‘Our Daily Bread’ cards, which is a sort of deck of little cards, where each is shaped like a bread basket and has a bible verse on it (these had German on one side and French on the other).  We handed them out to people at the train station late at night, while another friend would do his regular harp serenading for the late-night folks waiting at the station. (Yes, that is a whole other story.)


So, I guess, my point is that I am now planning to combine these three ideas.  I don’t know exactly what I’ll put on my cards yet, but I know that I want to do them.  I can start this week, and see what comes up, see how I like them, and see what to change for the better.



What I wrote with this one on Facebook, back when I originally posted it:

A girl in the WG found a bunch of little cards with Bible verses on them. One side was in German and the other side was French. I think they were made in Belgium. No one really knows whence they came, but the girl decided to start giving them out to people, specifically in the subway station when David, the harpist, would play late at nights. I am now hooked, and want always to have some on hand, that I can give out to people as food for thought – you never know what people have going on, and thus never know what might make a difference in someone’s life. So don’t let anything stop you from sharing your love and care for others. Rather, find a way to have those things that are holding you back actually Help you to accomplish that which you wish


Post-a-day 2017

The article my mom sent to me today