Category Archives: Interesting Things

Articles, thoughts, things that I find interesting.

Where Y’At?

Over Christmas, I went on a cruise to the Bahamas.  The trip had been a plan in the making for the past two years.  My grandfather’s girlfriend, Pat, had organized the itinerary and invited all 28 family members to join.  Amazingly, this was kept a secret, and for my grandfather’s 90th birthday, we all showed up in Miami where we definitely surprised him.

Not only was it a great way to celebrate my Papa, but it was also a really wonderful thing to spend time with this side of my family.  There were cousins there who the last I saw had been a foot shorter than me, whereas now, they are at least a foot taller than me.  The best part was rediscovering everyone’s new passions, plans, interests, and personalities.  Family is family, and all I can say is that I’m so grateful to have them!

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So yes, it’s been a long time since I have written here.  That does not mean that nothing has been happening, or that my life has been lacking of adventures.  In complete honesty, I’m lazy, and have been turning all my focus and attention on saving money for the next….the next….well, who knows what?

This time in New Orleans has been as per usual, a type of emotional roller coaster.  However, I’m sure that it is not only New Orleans causing this life evaluation, but even more so the fact that I will be 29 in a couple of weeks….ya think??!!

September and October (and some of November) gave me a lot of time for personal insight.  Especially with the aid of my dear friend, Erin, who seems to always be there to aid in hashing out the typical ‘what are we doing with life/love/happiness/potential’ questions.  This inner work made for an interesting and somewhat reclusive Autumn.  New Orleans can only allow for a little of this exclusivity before it has to impose on your daily life….

For example:

I had some rowdy Cubans neighbors (sadly, they moved away this week) who were never too shy to chat.  Especially when they discovered that we would speak with them in Spanish.  Almost once a week, I find a magazine on my front porch that is titled, “Latina.”  This magazine includes all the new and hot make up tips, fashion, and dating advice in the Latina world….very interesting stuff.

One of the regular friends, who came to the Cubans house several days a week, drove a scooter.  Granted, it wasn’t his scooter that made his presence known from within our walls, but his booming and raspy voice.  I would wake up to hear him yelling about some debate with the neighbors on their porch.

“La bandera! La bandera!!!!”

There was always something he was passionately arguing about with his buddies.

It has only been a week since they moved out, but I miss them dearly.  Especially now that I am left with our other neighbor whose house was in between the Cubans and mine.

Now, the other neighbor, he is a very kind man.  We exchange pleasantries every time we see each other but then, in the night, maybe once or twice a week, I will hear a sound coming from the house that I have only been able to convince myself has to be someone having some sort of night terrors.

At the moment, my friend, Ali, has been living with me, after Erin left for Key West.  Ali and I will be in the living room talking, and all the sudden, this horrific noise will come from the house next door.  Like someone is having trouble breathing….it is BIZARRE.

Other ways New Orleans has been forcing its company into my life in ways I cannot ignore:

  1. Floras- Floras Café has been a safe haven for me for many years.  I always seem to find some sort of inspiration there.  Whether it be from an intellectual conversation with the owner, Ali, that always ends in an invite to dinner or escape from the cold or a great place to write, Floras always seems to provide me with some sort of inspiring experience.
  1. Little Maker- Little Maker is a band that I discovered because my dear friend Becca is the violin player in the group.  They play every Thursday and Sunday.  OK, truly, truly, I love them.  After so long in New Orleans, and trust me, LOVING New Orleans music, especially brass bands, Little Maker is something different.  No matter if it is a new song I’ve never heard, the sound and style always give me a sense of nostalgia of…of….I’m not sure what?  Summer days?  Sitting by the bayou or Lake Pontchartrain?  Sailing on boat?  Haha, all I can say is that seeing and listening to Little Maker makes me feel SO DAMN GOOD.

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  1. Sobou- My job.  I’ve been working at Sobou (a restaurant in the French Quarter) since September.  It has been really awesome.  Incredibly supportive, amazing food, awesome co-workers.  What else to say?  It makes me happy working there when I think of all the experiences that have stayed in my mind from past visits to New Orleans, where we would go to a restaurant and have…AN EXPERIENCE!  Haha, I mean, where else do you go to eat, and have AN EXPERIENCE.  Not only because the food is awesome, but because the staff is real, the ambience is made for it, and when all of those things come together, it is…well….an experience you don’t forget.  One of the most beautiful and important parts of NEW ORLEANS! Right?

Just a couple of pics of some awesome co-workers…

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So, New Orleans.  I guess all of life is a roller coaster of growth, emotion, and so on.  My time here has been very beneficial.  I do have plans to travel soon, but for now, I am soaking up the little time I have left in this beautiful and strange place.

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Winter’s Funeral

When you first arrived I thought of you as a breath of fresh air.  Your cool breezes were a heavenly escape from weeks of an unforgiving heat wave.  This beautiful transition was incredibly short-lived.

Without any warning, you dried my skin and bit my bones.  No matter my foresight and previous experience I was never fully prepared for this vengeful turn.  I attempted to retreat from your malice but you found me and it makes me bitter.  To me, you are only beautiful in white and still then for only a few days.  I look at you with disgust from windows, praying that you will melt away.

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I dream that I am naked.  I dream of freedom.  I dream of warm air wrapping around my body.  I smile with my eyes closed but when I wake, you take all the energy I have to leave the hearth of my bed.

I will not make this mistake again.  I will not allow you to force me to cover myself.  I will not fall into line with your fashion trends, hot chocolates, and lattes.  Go ahead, you will not win me over with your lights, presents, and fireplaces!

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Goodbye winter.  I know part of you is still holding on, but I am here to tell you that it is time to let go.  I would suggest not slamming the door on the way out.

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NolaVie

Check out my article in NolaVie-a section from NOLA.com-about traveling the world while keeping the New Orleans soul.

http://nolavie.com/finding-the-new-orleans-love-on-a-global-trek-19881/

 

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Filed under In Between Traveling, Interesting Things, New Orleans

Ditmas

At the moment, and for the next two weeks, I am visiting with my family in New York City.  So far we’ve eaten some amazing food, cuddled with the affectionate Van Gogh (Charlotte’s one-eared dachshund), and lazed around talking about life, books, and other interesting things.  When I am able to spend time with my cousins, and family in general, I feel it helps me achieve a clear perspective of my full potential.

And I mean look at this guy!

How could they not provide important incite on my life choices after everything we’ve been through together?  I mean we were once The Beatles!  I was Paul and we even had a secret place that we deemed John’s grave.  To fully describe the extent of our imaginations I have to explain that we were not only JUST The Beatles, but we were Beatles who had the ultimate power of transforming into raptors!  So, obvious references to our childhood obsessions with The Beatles and Jurassic Park.  I guess those two interests surfaced around the same time and what else could we do but combine them.

So yeah, I love my family and that is what this time in New York is about.  Right now Charlotte is working on her computer in the next room and I am on mine.  Van Gogh is nestled on the couch in the room between us bridging the gap.  Many people are always curious about this interaction between us all.  We never have to be ‘doing’ anything but enjoying the presence of each other.  With every once and a while commenting on a joke or something that we heard about a mutual friend or something we want to cook or eat or a movie we want to watch or maybe start a sing-a-long of some kind.  That’s it.  That is all we need to make us happy.

We have ruled and conquered many worlds.  We have defeated the most menacing of all evil characters (one being the guy with the black eyes in The X-files), made blockbuster movies, traveled through various foreign countries some real and some imaginary, roamed endless cobble streets in search of the best chocolate shop in all of southern France, drunk wine on the steps of the Duomo, played music on the streets, slept in the brig of a Thai ship, AND SO MUCH MORE!

We were taught to take pleasure in the small things and therefore are generally happy people…even though Little Mack looks like he wants to die in the majority of this video, he smiles in the end 🙂

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The possibilities are endless…If you want them to be

Where are you going?  What are your plans?  What are you going to do next?

These questions have been directed at me on a daily basis since I came back to Dallas in May.  In the beginning I didn’t worry too much about it.  I had a simple answer; I was completely broke and needed to make money.  After a couple of months working two jobs and my bank account looking less dismal, I started thinking about what I wanted to do next and what were my goals.  I began responding to these questions by going over all the possibilities and options I had.

Well, I found this job in Myanmar and I want to get my Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate and I want to go back to South East Asia but my friend is trying to get me to go to South America although I would love to go back to Morocco and Italy or I could go to Australia on the way to South East Asia on the way to India and then swing by Europe when I run out of money again…..

These rants and uncertainties did not seem well received.  So I took a breath and spoke the simple truth.

I don’t know.

Phew!  That felt good!

I’ve had to remind myself yet again, to allow the unknown and unexpected to present what it will.  It really is very simple.  I’m working hard, doing what I have to do, to be able to have the freedom to do whatever I want to do!  Even though there are a million things I want to do, I feel confident that whatever is supposed to happen will happen.

I have to remind myself all the time, that when I decided to go on the Trans-Siberian I had absolutely no clue the other adventures that would come from it.  Nothing was ever planned more than a few days in advance.

This is my acceptance speech of my choice to live an extraordinary life.  Where I allow myself to do what I want.  I want to travel.  I want to live in optimistic uncertainty about the future.  I want to be of service to the world.  Thank God for this clarity of some things I actually want!  That alone is a blessing.

Can I achieve all these desires without putting in some hard work?  Hell no!  My time here in Dallas has been extended almost two months compared to the original 3 month plan (original PLAN…Ha!)  Now that I have finally accepted my life choices and these aspirations, I can relax and be more present.  I can enjoy my time here with the people I love and make the most out of Dallas because I know I will be leaving at some point in time.

Nope, I don’t know where…yet.  Nope, I don’t know with who….yet.  I sort of know when but there is no exact date.  Aren’t you excited to find out?  I am!

If there are still any questions, please refer to the quote at the top of this page on the right.  That pretty much sums it all up for me.

Opportunities are already popping up.  For example,  I received a response from the International Buddhist Education Center in Sagaing, Myanmar (Burma) in regards to a teaching job.  This is one of those chances I feel cannot be missed.  The affirmations of this place seem to be endless.  Beginning with the coincidence that the teacher who contacted me is named Kyaw Min, the same name of my dear friend on Koh Tao.  Yes, yes maybe it’s a common name but of course I’m going to believe it’s a sign.  Also, this picture gets me all excited inside….

Absolutely stunning.

 

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Some People Get It

Two amazing articles I felt I had to share…

The Pursuit of Happiness

Obsessed with Happiness

Bhutanese king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck voluntarily ceded much of his power in order to transition the country to democracy [GALLO/GETTY]

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БЫТЬ В РУКАХ чьих-то

БЫТЬ В РУКАХ чьих-то” is a Russian idiom that literally translates, “be in the hands of someone.”  I’ve been having some recent anxiety because in a way I feel in the hands of someone else.  The Trans-Siberian adventure was not my idea.  I am following the lead of another and that is something I am not used to.  Throughout most of my travels I would be planning and going with my own spontaneity.

In working through this inexperienced situation of relying on someone else I have realized a few important facts of life.  Well, at least in my life.

Trust.  Not only trust in the people you surround yourself with whether on an adventure or in your daily life but trust in The Universe.  Haha.  Yes.  I believe in that kind of thing.  There is no way after all the incredible people, places, and things that have come into my life I could possibly ignore the idea of there being something out there that is watching out for me.

Let go.  This takes constant practice!  Having grown up in an Alcoholic Anonymous environment and visiting several meetings as a child the saying, “Let go, let God” has crept into my subconscious and has driven a lot of my adventurous spirit.  As well as being a reminder during hard times that I do not have control over everything.

The Fun of the Unknown.  Have you ever been afraid of not knowing what you were going to do or where you were going to go? Have you ever worried about where you would live or if you would like your new home?  Have you been nervous before knowing if you would get that job you wanted or get into the school you had planned?  Have you ever worried about the future?  What if you could plan everything?  What if you knew everything that was going to happen?  Do you think life would be better?  Sometimes the fear of the unknown surfaces and to feel better I ask myself, would I WANT to know?  Would I want to know every outcome that results from my choices?  Hell no!

Life is so fascinating because everyday we are presented with opportunities that show the numerous choices, decisions, and/or paths we must make.  The outcome of these choices that we think we control is indeterminable.

Curiosity sparks the imagination and if I knew the result of every decision I made throughout my life I would feel unfulfilled.  Serendipity, fate, spontaneity, these are all words and scenarios that exist in life.  How much more powerful are they when they occur at unexpected times!

So today I’m going to think of these three things and remind myself that it is okay to be a little out of control.

Isn’t that part of the adventure?

“I hope for nothing.  I fear for nothing.  I am free.”
-Nikos Kazanzakis (Zorba The Greek)

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You Gotta Work

Today I am going on my 8th day in a row working at The Libertine.  I cannot express how grateful I am to be working there.  What?!

Yes I am tired and yes I am looking forward to my day off tomorrow (WOO!) but I’ve found something in Dallas…

The Libertine is a special place.  When I think about it, I haven’t had a job with co-workers since the first Morocco trip in 2010.  Even then it was sort of a special circumstance because there were only three of us and we all lived together.

I had forgotten about the rapport you have with the people you work with/for.  Only they understand things like how much I hate ‘doing ketchups’ or rolling silverware or when people leave quarters as part of the tip (that’s the worst!).  Only they understand the importance of our wit and banter and how these key elements make the night bearable.

That is an interesting part of the work force.  Everybody jokes around and is in a playful mood.  Resulting in the tedious things (rude customers, busing tables, bad tips, etc) loosing their power over the experience and attitude of the staff.

I feel a part of a new family.  I did not expect to find this in Dallas.  I had made many new families from my year working abroad but I never thought Dallas would yield anything comparable to my Italian, Greek, and Moroccan families.  I have been proven wrong.

Thank you Libertine for giving me the opportunity to work towards my goal and for being something special in a town I was beginning to resent.  Thank you to all the people who work there who make it a pleasure when I walk in the door.

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.”
— Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)

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