Homeward Bound

March 19, 2010

I’m sittin’ at the railway station
Gotta ticket for my destination…

Home, where my thoughts escape me
Home, where my music’s playin’
Home, where my love lies waiting silently for me…

-Simon and Garfunkel

Yesterday, my brother John, my sister Brigitte, and myself went to the Inkong’s house for lunch. The Inkongs are Jack’s family, and Jack is my sister’s boyfriend. Jack’s mom cooked us a feast since it was my last day on Ko Tao. We had rice, tom yum, spicy shrimp, molded blood cubes (you read that right…), and iced cucumbers to cool everything down. The whole family was there: Jack, his sister Ray, Ray’s baby, and both of Jack’s parents. The Inkong’s care for Brigitte, John and I as if we were their own.

The last few weeks have been amazing. I have been blessed to have spent time with Brigitte and John. We’ve partied, suntanned, shared books, gone swimming, had long talks, laughed, hiked through the jungle, and spent time with friends from around the world. I know it is rare and lucky to be so close to your siblings, and to be able to spend time with them abroad, and for these last few weeks, I am infinitely grateful.

Yesterday, Brigitte and I were talking. I can’t believe your trip is already over! she said, eyes huge. It seems like yesterday that you got here! She shook her head in a fatalistic manner. Before we know it, we’re gonna be sixty! Brigitte is in a continual battle with time. It’s no use assuring her that it is a battle she cannot win, and that she may as well accept it. She insists on playing the game, trying to wrap her mind around something that minds are not able to wrap around: the passage of time. Brigitte, I said. You’ve gotta quit trippin’ about time! She shot me a look and then brooded for a moment. What she said next cracked me up. You like to blog, I like to trip out about time, okay?!

It’s true. While I can’t understand why Brigitte continually frustrates herself by trying to comprehend and compartmentalize time, she cannot understand why I blog. Brig, I say. Blogging is just a way of sharing your writing. It only sounds nerdy because of the name. But she’s not convinced. So we’ve decided to leave each other alone in regards to our individually strange habits.

But I do have to admit: This year has flown by. And I’ve been blogging the whole time😉 So on this last night of my trip, from steamy, hot, noisy Bangkok, I want to thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because of you, I had a stage to dance on, a place to practice the art of writing. Your comments, your thoughts, and your personal emails made all the difference in the world. You inspired me to keep writing, because I knew you were reading. And simply by reading, you supported me in doing something that I love, and helped me become better at it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It has been a joy writing for you.

In twenty-four hours, I will be on a plane bound for Seattle. In the past, going home was always a bummer. Leaving the world behind was like returning to school after summer vacation. Returning home after a month abroad with friends, we would pose for pictures looking sad, thumbs turned down. No one wanted to go home. Why would you?

This time, it’s different. Going home is the best part. A year ago, I said goodbye to Seattle, and to someone I loved very much. Drew has supported me one hundred percent during this year away, and also for the year leading up to this trip, as I planned, researched and saved. He’s never asked me to come home, but he’s always let me know that he will be there for me the moment I do. Stay away as long as you can, he says. Don’t come home just because you’re bored, or you miss me. Stay away as long as possible. He knows what’s good for me. And now, what’s good for me is coming home.

In the twelve years I’ve known Drew, he’s always had an uncanny ability to find me. I would get a strange tingling sensation, look up, and see Drew climbing in my window. I would deliberately disappear from a crowded scene or party, and minutes later, Drew would appear, looking concerned. He always seemed to know exactly where I was.

Years ago, a group of us went camping at the Gorge. Drew didn’t have a ticket to the show, so he was going to sneak in. By then, I knew it was useless to ask him how he’d find me in a crowd of forty thousand people- somehow, he always did. Later, dancing on the grassy hill to Tom Petty, I felt someone’s arms go around my waist, and Drew was there, kissing my ear.

Now it is my turn to find him. I know exactly where I’m going. Soon I will be in a sunny apartment in West Seattle, where books line the shelves, plants grow on windowsills, and my love is within comfortable reach. If India was a strange, curried stew with eyeballs floating in it, and Thailand was an ice cream sundae, then Drew is my cherry on top.

So on that mildly strange note, thank you again for being with me this year. You have supported me in ways you couldn’t have imagined. I feel like I’ve connected with many of you in new, surprising ways, and it makes me happy to have done so. I look forward to seeing every one of your smiling faces when I return.

Muchos besos, and follow your dreams!!!



Pearls of Wisdom

March 17, 2010

Life is pretty boring when you’re a dope dealer with no dope…

… said the ex-pat who dwells deep in the jungle…

A Tune For Her

March 17, 2010

Neil Young


Busy thoughts

Unconscious humming

Jingling bracelets

Wet hair

Small hands

Guarded, free








Buddha To Be

Thank Goodness For Daddies

March 17, 2010

Longtail boats are like big canoes powered by an engine. Colorful ribbons and flower garlands adorn the prow, appeasing angry water spirits. The interiors are painted bright, jaunty colors. Longtail boats are beautiful to behold, but noisy to ride in.

This morning there were three passengers in the boat besides myself- a father, a mother, and their three-year old daughter. When the boat driver dropped the engine into the water with a deafening roar, I watched the child go rigid with fear. Her eyes got huge and she started screaming and crying. Her fingers flexed and she waved her hands in terror. She looked like the world was ending. She was terrified of the noise.

When I was a child, my parents would take us on ferry boat rides to Vashon Island. We would stand outside as the ferry engine started and the water outside the boat began to swirl. Everything was exciting until the men lifted the heavy chains from the dock and dropped them in huge coils onto the metal prow of the ferry. The sound was like a million guns going off at once, an explosion that violated the air.

Luckily, Daddy was always there. Early on, I learned that just before the ferry men dropped the chains, I could press one ear against Daddy’s denim-clad thigh, and he would cover my other ear with his hand. I would wrap my arms around his leg as the chains dropped, and he would hold me against him reassuringly. I always felt safe against Daddy’s leg. I could watch the excitement in safety, my delicate ears protected.

Today, when the girl’s eyes got huge in terror and she was moments from a meltdown, her Dad lifted her into his lap and pressed one of her ears against his chest. With the other arm, he held her close and covered her exposed ear with his palm. She clung to him like a monkey on a palm tree in a hurricane. But by the end of the ride, I saw that her small body had relaxed, and, both ears still protected, she was dipping her little paw into a bag of chips her mom had handed her. Safe and sound, snug in a world of strong arms and potato chips.

Thank goodness for Daddies.

A La Bay

March 17, 2010

The Bay Bistro shines like a topaz against the black velvet jungle. It is nestled high in the hills, the sound of clinking glasses and relaxed laughter floating from its open dining room out across the water.

We arrived, hot and sweaty, and walked into a roomful of manicured, beautiful people. They threw back their heads in laughter and whispered in each others’ ears. The women had long, painted nails, and the men’s shirts were open at the collar. I didn’t feel like I was on a tiny beach in Thailand- I felt like I was in New York City.

I scanned the room for familiar faces and saw a few, but in this setting, everyone was too cool for hellos. Walking into the posh Bay Bistro, we had encountered an impenetrable wall of ego. The bartender was a sleek black woman wearing a silk halter top with a shockingly low neckline, and a pair of “shorts” that may have been underwear. Despite her extremely skimpy attire, or perhaps because of it, I instantly thought, This place is classy.

Cooks ran up from the kitchen to deliver steaming plates of food, their tanned chests bare. Guests rolled spliffs at the bar and puffed stylishly. The baby-faced hostess, an Australian girl with sleek blonde hair, looked like an ingenue off the cover of Vogue. My dining companion and I looked around, our conversation suddenly dried up. This place was a scene.

A little later, enjoying a glass of red wine, I heard the familiar strains of a song. Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a simple tune plucked out on the chords of Issac Kamakawiwo’ole’s guitar, is simply, breathtakingly beautiful. “I love this song,” I murmured. Several minutes later, I realized that the restaurant had gotten very quiet. We looked around.

The tables that had been previously engaged in gossiping, sizing one another up, and looking beautiful, had gone quiet. People gazed into space, the words of the song on their lips. Half-smiles lit up some faces, and dreamy expressions danced in other people’s eyes. I saw a couple take hands and kiss.

We looked in wonder at the breakdown of the rigid social structure. No one was trying to be cool anymore. Even the ebony bartender was waving a lighter in the air and singing. Soon everyone took up lighters or cell phones, and held them up as if we were at some grand outdoor concert. I met eyes with an uber-cool dreadlocked guy at the next table, and he flashed me a gorgeous smile. At another table, the entire group linked arms and was swaying back and forth, singing out loud.

By the end of the song, we were all singing, smiling, and laughing together. Egos abandoned, the entire place joined in, brought together by a simple song. Sometimes that’s all it takes.


March 15, 2010

Formless feeling inside of me


Famous smile

Mmmm arms

Quick thinker

Rule breaker

Mellow love of mine

Yellow sunshine

Melting kiss

Soul twin

Best friend

Yin yang


A Visit To My Past

March 15, 2010

The rain came. I rolled a joint, and kicked back in the hammock. Through the trees, the sky shifted and the clouds turn pink. I pulled my knees to my chest, and rocked back and forth. A memory came to me.

Two years ago. I was in a bistro near my house. I sat near the big front window and drank red wine. My eyes watched the sky, the passing people, the flowers blooming across the street. My chest was warm and my cheeks pink. Happy thoughts swirled through me, and I felt light. I was thinking about traveling.

I saw images of India, yoga, meditation. Creativity electrified my heart, and I was full, warm. Yellow was everywhere. Yellow sunlight, yellow love. Answers. Peace.

Two years later, swinging in my hammock, I remembered this with such clarity. The rain poured and the waves crashed, a surprise deluge in the hot season. I closed my eyes and returned to that bistro. I found my younger self sitting in the front window, drinking red wine. I merged into her body. “You did it,” I told her, this girl dreaming about her future. “And it was perfect. Perfect.”

I know that the girl I was then desperately wanted to travel. She stared out that window and willed her spirit into the future. She made it good. She saw visions and cultivated joyous feelings until she was smiling, slightly buzzed, and sure of her decision. Shortly thereafter, she left Seattle, her year-long journey underway.

Back in the hammock, eyes closed, I stayed with that girl for a moment. I reassured her from here, the future, and told her she made the right decision. I let her feel me, and me her. Then I returned.

The rain stopped. The cicadas chirped quietly in the trees. Waves crashed over the rocks, and the air was cool.

So many doors have opened. I am a summer house, sunlight streaming through my windows. Open and free. This year has been transformative and satisfying. Exactly what I wanted. Color and growth and laughter. Freedom and understanding and letting go. Falling in love and trusting life.

Follow your dreams. That is why we are here.