Late-night shared delights

I remember the time I showed someone I love how to shift the gears in a manual car.  Actually, I remember all of the times I have done this.  However, one in particular came to mind tonight, and I smiled at the memory.

We had gotten secret donuts together on the way to drive her home.  She managed to do a good job shifting, as I drove and told her exactly what to do each time.  Afterward, the gear shifter was sticky.  I panicked at first, and then remembered the donuts.  Who’d have thunk that a sticky gear shifter could make me smile, as opposed to recoil in tears?  I cleaned it all off with little concern… something so rare for me.  It meant that I really loved her, as well as the experience.  I still treasure them both. 🙂

Post-a-day 2017

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Missing…

I miss my bed in Japan. My bedroom, especially, is one thing I miss most these days. It was a haven for me. No matter what kind of chaos or boredom lurked in my life, every night, my bedroom awaited me in calm, open, and empty space… in beauty. I shut my doors, and was safe in my retreat from everything else. Only love and blessings were ever allowed into my bedroom. I wasn’t even allowed to walk in it if I hadn’t recently showered. Clean clothes, my ukulele and ukulele music, my nighttime books, and water and tissues were just about all that ever went in there, aside from a clean me and my bed.

My bedroom now is slightly larger, but filled with boxes and stuff… a sentimentality to which I am not so sure I still want to cling. I think I am afraid that I will forget the memories, if I get rid of the objects. I do not, for the most part, want the objects, but the memories and the ways I felt. Without the objects, what will remind me?

Post-a-day 2017

La Traviata and the World Series

Tonight, I celebrated the Astros’ World Series win with a small group of people that included, but was not limited to, doctors, homosexuals, teachers, Romanians, and a temporary Houstonian, who is a godsend in the opera.  I didn’t really know any of them – we all just love music, and opera specifically.  At each intermission at the opera tonight, the screen typically reserved for the supertitles and announcements about Houston Grand Opera, displayed the score of the Astros-Dodgers game.  During the curtain call, one of the leads showed the latest score on his hands, to relieve us all the worry.  And, when a small group of us gathered for a ‘behind the music’ miniature interview with one of the performers, the game was discussed.  The performer has only been in Houston a couple months, but he was as excited about the game as anyone else.  And, when the official interview had ended, and we were all chatting, and the game ended, we all celebrated together like friends.  And, in Houston, that is normal enough.  And, I found the company to be so truly a representation of our town, that it made the win that much better.  In Houston, just about anyone can talk to just about anyone.  You look at groups of kids, and even people my age and up, and they’re often from all over the world, either directly so or by heritage.  In Houston, we are diverse and we are loving.  (This is person-to-person, not car-to-car, you see – people tend to forget that a car contains a person, so cars get treated way differently than people who are face-to-face.)

Anyway, I began to wonder if any of the players on the Astros team were actually from Houston.  I’m not so sure any of them are from Houston. And, while that is a bit odd, seeing as Houston is celebrating their victory, it also is rather fitting.  Houston is packed with people who are originally from it.  People regularly come to Texas, and find themselves never wanting to leave (though, I know that this is my always the case).  We are the most diverse city in the USA, and that can be observed not just walking the streets, but in looking at our baseball team.  Those guys are from all over, just like the population of our city.  I find it kind of cool, really.

Anyway, yay, Astros, and yay, for the fabulous operatic baritone that is George Petean!

Post-a-day 2017

What’s next’s what’s next

I have been worrying lately about my future.  Every time I aim to figure out how to steer my career for the long term, I end up somewhat sad and upset, and totally uninspired.  Thinking about this this weekend, I had the sudden obvious realization that I don’t have to know my long term – I don’t have to know what’s next after what’s next.  Just one what’s next is good enough.  It’s better than good enough – it’s actually great.  Ideal, possibly.  Yes, I have all sorts of ideas for my future, but they don’t need to be solid, set in stone now and forever.  Every year, my dad is ‘about to retire’, and that’s been for the past decade, I believe.  And yet, he’s still chugging along happily (mostly happy with it, anyway) at his job.  And he’s one of the most plan-y people I know when it comes to work, finances, and career choices.

So, if I go for this now, I can be looking for what’s next while doing it.  I certainly know that I end up becoming a new, different person after every phase of this or that, so how could I possibly know now what the future, new I will want most?  Though I have my amazing moments, I’m not God, so I don’t know all.

I guess it is kind of just a slightly altered perspective of “What About Bob”’s baby steps.  Worry about this room… then, when I’m in the hall, think about that hall…, and so on and so forth.

Yeah, I’m down with that.

Also, Brad Paisley was interviewed by Jeff Foxworthy on the radio this evening, and it was delightful in an unexpected way.  Find the recording, if you can.  They now plan to write a song together, as a result of the interview.  I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

Post-a-day 2017

Good morning… fancy an earthquake?

This morning, I woke up around five in an extreme panic.  My bed was shaking, and my subconscience was sure that the building soon would be tumbling down – this was a massive earthquake, and it was lasting… already almost a minute before I could get my bearings and turn on a light.

And then, as I discovered where exactly I was, – in the USA, and specifically Texas – it took me another moment to discover what was happening.  I knew that it was not an earthquake.  It was not the gymnasium over my head, either, as it was in a place where I briefly worked immediately after arriving to the US.  So, what was it?  ‘What is going on?!’ my insides demanded to know.

And then I heard it: a wind-filled noise, accompanied by a soft chugging sound of deep iron.  It was a train.  While the sounds of trains have never much bothered me, even when I lived beside tracks in the past, I’m not sure that I ever noticed a shaking tied to the passing of one.  Nonetheless, I experienced it in full force this morning.

After I realized that it was simply a passing train, – though, I was still surprised at how much it shook the house and its contents – and not an earthquake, I mentally noted that I didn’t even have to start panicking.  A few seconds after this noting, my body finally began to respond to the threat of the earthquake.  It had been as though I were in a fight or flight mode, and so hadn’t had the various responses tied to the fear in the perceived situation.  Once I was safe, they all kicked into action, and I began shaking all by my self.  I was physically panicking now.  My breathing tighted to a near non-existence, and my heart raced.  My skin prickled all over, and I had to force myself to swallow and then take slow, deep breaths.

I wonder if it will happen again this morning…

Post-a-day 2017

My real voice

In college, I spent a summer studying in Germany.  It was a language school setup, filled with foreigners, but in such a small town that everyone knew that we were studying German, and so everyone always spoke to us all in German.  I had already studied abroad a few times before this adventure, and I had learned firsthand about what works and what doesn’t work, in terms of language immersion.  I was dedicated to learning German, and so I made sure that I only spoke in German with others, even if they spoke to me in English.  This made friendships hard among the people in my program’s group, since they all used English together; I came across a bit snobby, but I was just really committed to learning German.

I made friends with other foreigners rather easily, though, and especially ones in higher levels of German, which was even better for me.  My German was improving immensely.  But this led to a unique situation one day.

One day, near the end of either my time at the school or my friend Paul’s time there (he’s British), I found myself faced with a desperate Paul, actually begging me to speak English.  Why?! was my repeated question to his pleas.

“Because I want to hear what you sound like!”

I don’t know if he was pleased or not by how I sound in English, but I spoke a little for him.  And it was way weird, using English with him, despite the fact that I’d heard him speak English loads, and that it’s our common native language.  I had just never used it with him.

And then this brought up a unique and interesting sentiment.  He wanted to hear me, and that meant speaking English.  I can guess that my native tongue was the one in which Paul believed my identity to lie.  I know that it felt like I was setting aside a sort of mask when I switched to English with him.  I even felt a little called-out… as though I had been hiding somehow, and it had been behind German.  The real me (I) lay in English, in the English part of me.

Yet, years later, here I am, missing the parts of me that belong to these different languages in which I have lived.  A part of me, true me (I), exists only on German, and others in French, in Spanish, and in Japanese. So much so that the real me (I) is this whole combination of languages – I feel a huge emptiness and feel not myself when I am using only English in my daily life.  I listen to Spanish-speaking radio when I’m in Houston, mostly because I don’t get to use Spanish often enough.  I read every night in French, and trade off an English book for a German one at times for my evening reading, too.  I regularly pull out a Spanish book to read, or my German audiobooks.  And I have noticed that I have been searching for a tolerably satisfying way to have Japanese in my near-daily life, too.  (For now, it has just been the occasional music, and a perpetual repeat of a certain song being stuck in my head.)  When I don’t have them all, it is as though a part of me is missing, and suddenly getting to speak with someone in them, almost reminds me of that mask I was setting aside in Germany with Paul… like I am again setting aside some mask I have been wearing.

Perhaps it is now a mask of monolingualism, pretending that I only speak English, while I long for the world to talk to me in several languages, all the time.

Anyway… I’m exhausted.  And I miss Paul.  He was studying opera, and was a really great guy.  I wonder if he’s been really successful with opera these past several years.  Maybe I can go see him perform one day.  That would be awesome.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017

Ouch!

I bruised my pinkie toe today, it seems.  It might actually be fractured, due to the style of pain, however, the impact didn’t seem to have enough force behind it to have caused a fracture, which is fortunate.  Sitting here on my bed at my mom’s house, thinking about how that happen today, has me recall the last time something similar happened while I was living here.

I was on my way to Worlds, as we call it in the community.  “Worlds” is short for United Country Western Dance Council World Championships.   (See? “Worlds” is easier.)  And it is relevant that I tell you the full name of the event.  I promise.  I had participated in and scored high enough in other events throughout the year in order to qualify for Worlds, and I was incredibly excited.  It isn’t every day that one competes for a world title, and it isn’t even in every life, either – this was an honor and a privilege, and I was ready for it.

Therefore, when I managed to hook my toe underneath me on a stair as I rushed back downstairs after having run upstairs one last time to grab something small that I’d forgotten, my mind was reeling with concern.  I was in extreme pain, and I curled up to the floor, crying, holding my foot, barely even able to make contact with the toe.  I almost couldn’t think straight, or even at all, such was the disturbance.  “If I just broke my toe, I can’t dance,” was about what I said to myself, asI was  curled up around my toe.  I prayed in a way that I didn’t know how to make selfless, and I also prayed that that would be okay for this occasion.

I realized, as my brain power began to return to me, that my fear and concern was compounding the intensity of my crying, and that the physical pain wasn’t quite so bad as I’d been thinking.  Yes, it absolutely hurt, but a large part of any impact’s pain is the initial set-in, going from comfort and ease to pain.  That is, it hurts really badly at first, but then calms after the initial shock, and then the pain begins to subside exponentially.

And such was the case.  The extreme pain was real, but was not the full cause of my tears – I was dreadfully worried that I wouldn’t be able to dance, and all for that pair of socks, or whatever it was I ran up the stairs to grab.  My toe continued to hurt for a while, – maybe even the rest of the day – but it was doing well by the time my day to compete came around.  I have been forever grateful that my toe was spared and my dancing was blessed.

If you win at Worlds, you get a specific jacket, and your name is embroidered on it.  I still have mine.  🙂

Post-a-day 2017