Rocks with that?

I was reminded today of how I used to have a chunk of charcoal in my water bottle.  I haven’t thought much about that at all recently, (however, I might start doing it again) but apparently the lacrosse team I used to help coach thinks of it often.

First off, the charcoal in the water bottle is something I learned from Japan, though, via my brother before I moved there (and then it was emphasized while I lived there).  It has to do with cleaning up the water, essentially, from what I recall.  (Note: It is not drinking charcoal mixed with water.  It is a stick of this specific charcoal that sits in the water bottle, so that its pores can absorb unwanted stuff from the water.)

Anyway, so I had this stick of charcoal in my water bottle.  I carry my water bottle pretty much everywhere with me in life, so lacrosse practice was included back when I was coaching (and teaching).  Apparently, one of the girls has held on to the fact that I had ‘some kind of rocks’ in my water bottle, though I have doubts as to whether she recalls what the ‘rocks’ actually were (the stick had broken in half, so there were actually two pieces in the bottle, instead of one, but they didn’t really look like rocks).  In memory of my water bottle, in a sense, that particular girl regularly drops rocks into other people’s water bottles, telling them that it is healthy, and reminding them of how I did it.

Yes, my wonderful lifestyle rubs off in the best of ways.  😛  I guess it gives us a new meaning for ‘on the rocks’, now.

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


ukulele and hula

I started ukulele lessons today.  It also included a reunion and a brief lesson on Hawaiian, the language, which were both a fabulous bonus.

I’ve always had a sort of passive affinity for Hawaiian culture – that wonderful island life, about which I knew almost nothing.  I was almost afraid to go to Hawaiʻi, for fear of finding that the wonderful world I’d imagined was no longer in existence.  After living in Japan, even being in the countryside, I have learned the sort of balance that likely exists in the culture today.  It is like cowboys in Texas.  We have our big buildings and fancy cars and billboards, but you can still find, here and there, the true tradition.  Sometimes, it is only seen in ceremonies.  And sometimes it is part of someone’s everyday life.

My brother, though he rides and owns no horses, spends his days working on his land.  Physical labor in jeans and surrounded by grass, trees, and animals is his life most days.  And he grew up in the city.  There are plenty of others who grew up living his kind of life, and who still do the ranching on horseback.  Inside our city limits, no one would guess that that kind of life is just beyond our little area.  The average person wouldn’t even cross it knowingly, if he went driving outside the city, either.  You have to know how to find it.  And that’s just how Japan was… When I think of Hawaiʻi now, that’s how I imagine it must be to a certain degree.

Anyway, ukulele is fun.  I started it back in Japan, because I was lonely and didn’t have music in my life.  Plus, Hawaiian culture seemed to be prominent in Japan (the reasons for which I hadn’t understood at first), so ukulele seemed an appropriate way to bring music into my life while in Japan.  I even took a few hula lessons.  (Yes, they were awesome.)

Actually, what really spawned my desire to learn hula and ukulele – not just the casual interest with which I first bought the ukulele, but the real desire that got me into lessons for hula and then, finally, for ukulele now – was a film.  It was based in Hawaiʻi, and the caucasian daughter, maybe about 14 years old (I forget), did hula.  The way she moved her arms in the dance had me gazing, melting, it was just so beautiful to me.  Watching her dance, I had something happen within me.  I guess, because she was not Japanese or Hawaiian, but like me went through me head… I was able to see hula differently.  It was, at last, something that it was acceptable for me to do.

I had seen Japanese friends perform wonderfully, and plenty of other Japanese women I don’t even know, too.  But their close ties to Hawaiʻi made it okay for them to do it.  It was regular and standard for them to be doing hula.  But what – it isn’t “right”, but something like that, “reason” perhaps – reason does a German-heritage girl from Texas have for doing hula, without an extreme, intense love for it?

Maybe this is just my own brain that had me stuck in this thought process, but it just didn’t make enough sense to me to feel comfortable with pursuing hula.  It felt to me like visiting a religious building for a region to which one does not belong and about which one knows very little.  It isn’t that the person is not allowed.  Not at all.  It is just that the person can feel a little lost and uncertain when visiting, and so it can be difficult to visit in the first place, without having a sort of invitation.  That’s kind of how I felt about hula.

And that movie helped alter that for me.  I started attending hula classes whenever I could, and began somewhat seeking out a ukulele teacher.

Eventually, nude in a hot spring bath in the mountains, I found one.  And now, almost a year later, we finally are in the same country and with the same currency (that was the issue before), so we can do lessons.  We aren’t anywhere near one another, of course, because I’m in Texas and she’s in Hawaiʻi, but it’s going well so far.  Playing together is a bit weird, because of the lag, but I’ve worked with it for years with other things, so I’m somewhat accustomed to being slightly ahead of the beat and to hearing the clash of notes and timing, so that it sounds good on the other side.  All-in-all, it was fun, and I look forward to the next lesson next week.  😀

So, go listen to a ukulele song today, and think of me, yeah?  😉

P.S.  Icicles were crashing outside my window during our lesson today.  And this is Houston.  How cool is that?!  Or warming, I guess…


Post-a-day 2018


Unpacking & Unboxing

Three and a half thoughts:

1.  I spent my afternoon today opening and sorting boxes from Japan.  I finally have the much-needed winter clothing I’ve been wanting the past month and a half.  Good thing it was almost warm today.

2.  I was happily surprised that almost everything I brought back was totally practical and useful and something I really like.  I was worried that I wouldn’t like loads of it all.

3.  It’s interesting to me how Japan no longer feels like a sort of adventure.  It actually surprises me when people have big reactions to the fact that I was there, living there.  It feels the same as saying that I buy vegetables at the grocery store – it’s just something simple and everyday.  I lived in Japan… and so do millions of other people.  I know that it isn’t the regular deal for people around here; I’m clear on that.  I just mean that it feels so not special to me specifically.  It almost feels more unique that I floss my teeth every day (sometimes more than once a day), than that I lived in Japan.  I guess it’s just old news for me now. So does that mean I need some new news, then, if only for myself?

1/2.  Wait until you see the tubs of kimono that I have…!  (Doesn’t that sound like ice cream or something?)  😛

Post-a-day 2018


Cultural Pants with Mom

Have you ever gotten creative with your clothing?  I certainly have.  Tonight was just an average ‘work with what you’ve got’ kind of night with clothes.  For tomorrow, I’d chosen to wear an Indian tunic – I think the actual name might be kurta, but I’m not sure.  However, I don’t have any pants or leggings that really go with the colors of it, and black is totally not an option, because its bright colors are just too happy for black.

So, I asked my mom if she had any leggings or pants I could wear with the top.  At first, she brought me Vietnamese yellow pants, which almost look Indian, but the color combined with the style was just not passable.  The tunic is a sort of reddish pink, with orange and green embroidery and stitching.  Bright yellow, baggy pants just weren’t the look I was going for.  I wanted the focus to be the top, not the bottoms.  I will wear said pants, however, on a different occasion, you can be sure.

After checking greens and purples, all to no avail, my mom brings in a skirt that is the exact color of the green embroidery and stitching of the tunic.  The fabric is different, but the color is darn near exact.  “But it’s a skirt,” I declared and repeated, somewhat laughing.  I tried it on.  My mom said it looked all right, but it totally was not the look I’d wanted.  ‘This is what we call “cultural confusion”…  I was going for “cultural fusion.”‘

We both laughed and stared at the perfect match of color and utter clash of styles.

And then I saw it.  “Aha!”  I bent over and grabbed the center of the skirt, both the front and back of it, through my legs.  As I stood up, my mom knew exactly what I was doing.

Five minutes later, we had it.  I eventually had to take it off and turn it inside out to make it all balance properly, but we knew it would work after the second knot I made while still wearing it.  We tied the skirt in a few places in the center to give the illusion of one type of traditional Indian pants (think Indian yoga pants), and it worked marvelously.  No, they don’t look exactly like the real thing, but they do look like what I’d wanted: cultural fusion and fabulous.

I wonder how it will go off tomorrow, in a world of latino heritage.  I look forward to the opportunity to respond to something like, ‘Cool pants!’ with a, ‘Oh, thanks.  I’m not wearing any.’  Or something silly like that.  We’ll see.  Whatever the case, though, I’ll be in an outfit that I love and that has been created with love from me and my mom.  I think that’s the best part, as usual, of course.


P.S.  I’ll see if I can get a photo of it all tomorrow at some point.

P.P.S.  Okay, so it turned out that I wore the yellow pants to bed, because it was so cold, and they were soft and comfortable.  Not what I’d had in mind when I considered wearing them soon, but oh, well…  😛

Post-a-day 2017


A foreigner at home?

Have you ever felt out of place within your own culture?  As time passes, it happens to me more and more often.  Last night, I attended an event with coworkers.  The noise volume took me by slight surprise when I first arrived.  How can people be this loud? I thought.  And then I remembered almost before I finished asking the question: They’re americans (from the USA).

But I’m american from the US, too.  Wouldn’t I be used to this, then?

I quickly compared it to a drinking party at an izakaya (like a bar) with nomihodai (all-you-can-drink) in Japan.  Yes, the Japanese can get quite loud there.  It was never to the point of wanting to cover my ears, though, I hear myself thinking.  So, I am very much accustomed to a much quieter environment for parties, then.  I’m not just being a bit dramatic and overly sensitive to normal behavior and a normal situation.

Even still… I felt so oddly out of place, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself.  I ended up semi-hiding in the coatroom (it wasn’t a closet, but an actual room, I promise) to take a breather from all the people and the noise from time to time.  I also took extra-long any time I went to the bathroom, because it was cozy and quiet in there on my own. Yes, I could have just gone home.  However, I rarely spend time even around people who aren’t high schoolers right now, so I felt it was somewhat necessary – even if just for social practice – to spend time around adults, especially happy ones in a good, safe environment.

I definitely adjusted after a bit, but I still felt quite out of place for most of the event.  I guess I’m just not so USA american anymore… which doesn’t surprise me, really.  It’s just odd, not belonging in a place everyone calls my “home”.

Post-a-day 2017