Every once in a while, I think about things that happened a long time ago.
Days like this are those once in a while.
I remember scavenger hunts at Coronado Heights. I remember proudly telling mom this was the last day I would be three. I remember cornbread, pot roast, fried chicken and chocolate cake. I remember treasure hunts all over the house. I remember an immaculate Sean in the midst of a mud-splattered group.
I think about where I might be in the future. I think about my cousin graduating from high school. I think about sitting in my boss's office and telling him I'm leaving. I think about going back to the States this summer. I think about who I used to be. I think about not knowing who I am going to be.
I got sung to, cheered at, got cake and cards. People may think it's weird that I don't tell people about my birthday, but the thing is, when you don't make a big deal about it, you know that the people that mention it, that take the time to find it out when I try to hide it, those are the people that really care.
I got e-mails from my family and friends back home. Thanks, folks. My Mom and Dad called me. That was really nice.
I am fine again. I'm glad for days like today. Even when they don't turn out like I planned, they make it seem like it's been forever since I've been gone.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Every once in a while, I think about things that happened a long time ago.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Yesterday, while I was sitting at the front desk, I got greeted in Dari and told I looked Afghan. I decided that it was time to shave.
Actually, since today is today, I decided it was time to shave. I'm going to be so fat at the end of the day today.
Happy Birthday to my sister, Jenna! She's pretty neat.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/29/2008 08:41:00 PM
I find myself...
... Wanting a hand to show me Home.
... Far away from where I lost myself, and far away from where my course should be. I guess I get along ok, but it seems like this shouldn't be the way that things have to be. If I wished I could go back home, that would be the one place that I could never find myself.
... Inside the cavern of my head, these things make sense for a while, but then it all starts to break down. I thought about the beginnings and the destination, but not the things that would be encountered along the roads. I've had it up to here with losing the map, yeah, I just realized that you can't lose what you never had in the first place. I feel like an idiot.
... Wishing that I hadn't had to do this, but if home isn't going to come around, home has to become a memory. And I feel useless, I feel like I'm just a little less than useless here in the world, when I have this list that never gets done or when I come back up to my room and don't interact with anyone for hours. Would that which I wanted to cling to gone away if I had been a little less me, and a little more normal?
... Not seeing the reasons for the paths, for the waiting, for the tiring nature of what has to be done. Will I make it through this without curling up and crying for a while? When the horizon is dark, and the wind swirls around me, do you still offer the things I need? When I stray, will you bring me Home?
... stuck here waiting.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/29/2008 01:33:00 PM
Monday, April 28, 2008
Fourscore and half a standard year ago, I walked through green fields covered in fresh dew. The quiet sounds of the farm awakening echoed across the meadow, but I paid them no mind. My eyes were fixed ahead, on the stream and on the darkened tree line. Inside the small grove lay a circle of mismatched stones surrounding a single large boulder. That boulder was my quiet hiding place, where I would go to depart from the world of the daily, and be in the world of the eternal.
I believe that this day is not to be agreed upon
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/28/2008 11:51:00 AM
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Well, since it's 11:45 and all the smart teachers are in bed (but since I can't sleep again,) I figured I could use glorious unshared internet bandwidth to share another Thailand picture with you.
And I just bought my tickets back to the States. June 10th, boys and girls.
Sounds like the KC Chiefs had a pretty good draft. Dorsey was a good pick, and Albert sounds like a good prospect too. I wonder at the Jamaal Charles and Cottam picks - RB and TE seemed like pretty solid positions, and I think they needed DE or O-Line a little more urgently. But who knows.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/27/2008 02:15:00 PM
Today was a holiday here, and we had the day off. It was nice in many ways. I got up and played games and did some planning until about 9:30, then we played basketball until about 11:45. Had lunch, did some work, played Volleyball from 1ish until about 4:00, came back, played games for a while, then went out with our art teachers, got some food supplies, came back, made pizza and then went and ate with the director in his apartment. After supper, we went up to his roof and looked around the city.
At night, you can see all of the lights on on the mountainside houses. I think I remember hearing almost half a million people live up there. It's amazing to think of the way these people live, and to wonder when or if it will be different.
I've been given a lot to think about over the last few days. In many different areas of life, in many different ways. And I'm rapidly drawing the conclusions that I'll never figure things out on my own. Someone else has to figure them out for me. I make decisions or say things that later I regret. I try to justify all of my actions, but there is nothing in them to hold fast to. I rather have one hope, one thing to hold to. Only one way that will keep me from feeling the emptiness no more.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/27/2008 12:46:00 PM
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Don't you hate it when you have to make a decision that you don't like and that is going to remind you of itself for a while? When you're sorry that you had to? When you're not sure that things will be better or even different either way? I don't like it at all.
Went out after school tonight to watch a soccer match on TV, only to discover they didn't have the match. So ended up having a couple good conversations and hang out time. I have no idea how I manage to make positive impressions on people. Lots to think about in the coming days, weeks and months. Questions that I would have not been able to ponder a year ago. Funny how life changes on us while we're watching, despite the fact we're watching.
I know not everyone here is the fan of the same kind of music as I am, but I am really impressed with what I've heard of Thrice's new album. Musically and lyrically. Moving Mountains has struck me of late with its imagery and allegory, especially as it relates to how I walk in this world. Broken Lungs also hits me where I don't want it to right now, especially in my interactions and relationships with those whom I live with and work with here.
One day, this will make sense. One day, I will be ready for the weight of going Home. Until that day.
My cousin graduates from high school today. Thanks to the power of the internet, I got to call and talk to her for a couple minutes today. Congratulations, Rach. You're my favorite high school senior.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/26/2008 10:57:00 AM
Friday, April 25, 2008
So, it's 11:45 on a Friday night, and I can't sleep, again. Yay, me.
It's been so long since I woke up and felt ready to go for the day. I don't know how much of it is me or the bed or just part of getting older. I do sit ups and push ups in the morning to get the blood flowing, I've been running lately.
I was pretty anti-social this weekend. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that I avoided being social. I worked more this weekend than I have for a while, I watched about eight movies (which is more that I've watched the whole rest of the semester, I think.) and I'd probably be watching another one right now if we had City Power. I guess it is a good thing we don't. I watched some bad movies, but one very good one I watched was Blood Diamond. It is somewhat violent and does contain profanity, but it really explores it's subject matter well, and paints a portrait of what people 'out here' can turn into.
I haven't shaved this month. Trying to decided if I like it or not.
I may be moving mountains, but what do I really know about what really matters?
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/25/2008 02:16:00 PM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I don't know what to talk about anymore. There are lots of things I need to be circumspect on, and lots more that I just don't know how to talk about.
When someone asks, "How are you doing?" I just want to give the a story that they'll buy, hook and sinker. That way, when I say things that I don't mean, I can not worry about them knowing that I'm just saying nice and pretty words so they won't bother me anymore.
The truth of the matter is that I just want to go Home. And I'm not ready to go there yet. The trials and tribulations in my life, minor as they are, are building me to the future that I have to experience. I can't see the reason for most of them, but I trust that there are plans that will take me where I couldn't have gone on my own. I'm equal parts fool and coward these days.
I don't get to sleep until after midnight and then I wake up when it gets light out at 5:15 or so. I try to work out, but my knees really are resisting recently. I try to moderate my food intake, but some days I just want to eat and eat and eat.
In the midst of this, I know I'm supposed to be here. I know it, I can give you some reasons but in the end it just comes down to I am supposed to be here. I long for the shore, but I swim in the ocean for now, focusing on the horizon.
Maybe this seems all to morose, that I should be happy and bouncy all the time. I would do that, but it would be a lie. I'd rather you understood that happiness isn't really as important as many people in the States make it out to be. I'd rather be profoundly unhappy and know I was where the Plan was for me to be than be happy and ignorant of the Plan.
And some day, I'll get to go Home.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/24/2008 10:52:00 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I don't know how to talk about anything again. I feel the cold rain, and the storm doesn't scare me. I don't sleep lots these days, and then when I wake up and go work out, I'm sore the rest of the day. When I don't work out, I'm morose. When I sleep, I dream and I don't want to dream any more. Sometimes, I try to just armor up and get through this all, but even my currently semi-muscular frame has its limits. Inside my head, things make sense and then when I expose them to the rest of the world they crystallize and shatter like another frozen glass.
All this would seem to be able to be better than it is, and at the same time, I know there's not a way that it can actually be better. Direction and fortitude seem to be overly linked in my mind, and I perhaps need to just stand rather than try to run in the current. When the ocean calls, I want to go and I want to stay on shore.
I feel like I never get ahead in my job, I feel like I'm starting to shut down and not want to interact with anyone. I need to fight it, but various and sundry situations make fighting it a lot harder than I wish it was. Some days, I dread being me. Some days, I know I can never be anyone else.
No wings, no halos, just the way Home.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/22/2008 11:54:00 AM
Monday, April 21, 2008
There's a lot going on around here that I can't talk about for reasons that would be obvious if you knew what I had to talk about. Needless to say, nothing is quite as it seems, and part of knowledge is knowing what you don't know. Scales, eyes, falling.
I've worked out a lot recently for strength, and am coming to the conclusion that I'm missing some key nutritional supplement for joint health, because my knees really ache after I do leg press. I need to do more cardio and endurance, but since I really can't run outside other than in circles, and all we really have is an elliptical because the treadmill doesn't have the go for me to run on (it catches all the time, and I about face plant into the console. Not fun.). So I don't do as much cardio as I should.
I bought 5 kilos of Ice Cream the other day. I've been sharing it with my friends, told people they could just go take some when they wanted. I feel like an egotist sometimes, and I try to do things for people as low-key as possible. But it makes me feel good to do things for other people, and for other people to appreciate me without making a big deal out of it.
There is lots of cool technology stuff that I want to do next year that I'm really hoping happens.
It gets light here around 5:20 right now. I don't always get to sleep before 11:30 or 12:00. I'm trying to drag myself out of bed early and go outside and run some and then go do some light workout stuff before the day starts. We'll see if/how it works over the next week or so.
My lungs are broken. I would die to breathe in again. My bones are dry. May flame come upon me.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/21/2008 11:35:00 AM
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Nothing left to protest, as a consequence, I don't have much left to do except wax and wane like I always have.
Not a day goes by that I don't feel this is just a life that I have to use for the purposes that I can't even see or understand. I want a place that I can lay my head down and sleep, but that seems to be more distant the more I pursue it. I don't know anymore if this pursuit is an adequate measure for me to take.
Sometimes, I feel like I could move mountains, give all that I have away, but I don't seem to know anything about these things that are more important, that will never fade away.
I got a letter from my grandma today, it made my day. Maybe I do know more about these things than I think I do. Thanks, Grandma.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/20/2008 10:13:00 AM
Friday, April 18, 2008
There are, at least, two different kinds of Trust. There's the trust that I often have, which was a passive thing. It said, "I trust that the things that are going to come my way are going to come, and so I'll wait for them to come." I don't think there's anything implicitly wrong with that kind of Trust. But there's also the Trust that says, "I'm going to go knock on many doors and trust that the right one is the one that will open." I don't think there is anything inherently better in this kind of trust. I think you must have both kinds of trust. But there's a balance to be found in this, that you can have too much of the passive Trust that you become lazy and never seek out the things that you are to Do, or you can have to much of the active Trust that you become dependent on yourself to make things happen.
I'm the passive kind of guy. I'm working on being more active. I already took one big step of active Trust in coming here. Then I took a somewhat passive turn when I chose to come back next year. Now, I have a thought that I need to be active in some other areas of my life. We'll see if it really is the right decision or not.
Home is a fluid concept. I don't know if anything will ever seem home quite as this place does, or if the way I felt home back in the States will be quite like it ever again. I know one way I want home to feel in the future. But I know there is one Home I long to be.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/18/2008 07:17:00 AM
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I'm not very good at my job. I'm not very good at my life.
And strangely, somehow, I know I'm supposed to be here. What does that make me?
It seems that for some reason, I have been given this journey to walk down. I know that my strength to make it through every day has to come from somewhere other than myself.
I played volleyball and basketball today. I can get my fingers over the rim. When I hustle and work hard, I'm actually decent.
I have good intentions, but no exit for them to come out right through. All that I want to give gets caught between every rib.
I used to live my life in a fashion so that I said I Trusted, but really I was just apathetic and waited for things to come to me. Now I see I need to live differently, to be more proactive. We'll see if I can adequately apply that lesson across my life, and not go overboard.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/17/2008 01:34:00 PM
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
I had a not great day today. My dealing-with-people module still is spitting compile errors back when I try to make sense of all that is going on. I had to sub for two different teachers on literally, "Can you go do so-and-so's class because they're going home sick" notice immediately before class started. We had staff meeting tonight and I heard more that I wanted to.
I signed my contract and turned it in yesterday. I know I'm supposed to be here. I feel like I'm suffocating. I'm overwhelmed with everything that I should be getting done, the only person I feel like I can actually talk to on here is on vacation, and I selfishly want him to come back so we can have one of our sit and talk sessions. My friends hurt, and I can't do anything about it. I can't do anything to take their struggles on myself, and I don't even know what to say.
I don't do well to be angry. I know there's some future in all of this, I know there will be changes. I know there is an Answer inside of this, inside of me. I would live my life as I should if only I knew how to actually do that. Instead, I just walk on as best I can, and Trust that giving and taking away are done in unequal measure.
Would I that all of this could change and that I would be perfected. I would die to breathe You in. I'll give the things that I can't afford to lose, because if I could afford to lose them, what would be the point of keeping them?
I would die to breathe You in.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/15/2008 01:37:00 PM
Monday, April 14, 2008
Did it seem, as a child, to anyone but me that we could have made the history books if only we would try? As a youth, you seem indestructible and unassailable. As age, time, and experience add their contributions to life, I realize more and more how improbable that dream is. And yet, I don't miss it at all.
Yesterday, I signed my contract and re-upped officially for next year. My life will never make a history book, my actions never have a direct, earth-shaking effect. Yet, I would not trade this life for any other, nor would I leave this life. I have not been called anywhere else, I have no sense of permanent direction. But were I to leave, where else could I go?
I'm no longer afraid of the Light setting me on fire.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/14/2008 08:34:00 PM
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Wanting things doesn't automatically make them right or wrong, it's what why we want it that can make it right or wrong. You can want right things for the wrong reasons.
Some days you can have a real breakthrough, and then the next day you see that it was just a little one.
I have way too much stuff to get done, and difficulty actually getting it done.
Second-guessing is not as good as it is often maligned to be.
What I've become is not the same as what I thought I would be. It's also not the same as what I thought I would never be.
I remember that I'll soon be dead.
When everything fades, will you still stand? Where will I be?
If you kept anything for yourself, would it really be worth keeping?
Is it bad that sometimes it feels like sacrifice of the things you're not sure about is harder than sacrifice of things that you are assured of?
Are you afraid of being alone with only your own thoughts?
If you only gave up the things you could afford to lose, would you really be giving up anything at all?
Take all of me.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/13/2008 01:20:00 PM
Friday, April 11, 2008
Hi, readers. You have hopefully not abandoned me in the last week and a halfish. I've been on vacation. We went to Bangkok for an education conference, and stayed in a very nice hotel that the conference was held at. I walked some around Bangkok, taxied some, rode a tuk-tuk, went to a night market, and oh yeah, really did learn some stuff there. Bangkok was fine, I'm glad to have gone, I had ice cream three times a day every day (three) that we were there for the conference.
Then afterwards, three friends of mine (incidentally, all female since none of the other male teachers wanted to go out.) and I headed out to Hua Hin, a nice little beach spot we had found about 200 kilometers out from Bangkok. We started out on the train (44 Baht [that's a dollar and a half]), but then when that was behind schedule and slow, we hopped off early and hired a covered pickup to take us the rest of the way. Dad, yes, we rode in the back of a pickup on the freeway in Thailand. Sorry, might have broken a few safety guidelines there. The guest house/bungalow that we stayed in was on the beach. Like, when the tide came in, it lapped at the bungalow foundation on the beach. It was amazing. Anyway, then, day one, we swam some in the ocean, went to town to get some cream for our friend that got stung by a small jellyfish, ate at a local restaurant, walked back on the beach, got soaked, sat our and watched the tide, then to bed.
The next day, I woke up before sunrise and awoke my fellow vacationers for the sight of an ocean sunrise. It was incredible.
I don't really need to say more than this picture already says, do I?
Then, one of the girls and I headed up the small mountain nearby to see some shrines and visit the monkey colony. That was pretty neat, the monkeys just run around the little tourist-y shop area. There were cute little baby monkeys.
We spent a good chunk of the rest of that day in the water, swimming, looking for animals in the ocean. Then we went into town, had a late lunch, went to a mall and got some ice cream, school supplies, and a movie. Next, we went to two night markets, and I held bags while the girls shopped. We went back to the bungalow, ordered pizza, and watched a movie. Just relaxed, no pressure to go do something on some schedule, fluidity. It was really amazing.
The next day, we woke up early and watched the sunrise again. I don't know if it was the fact of the ocean being a straight, defined line, or what, but I just sat and watched the sun rise. You could do that, see it move. As you watch the sun break through the clouds, hear the ocean lapping on the beach, you can feel the quiet power. For our guys' group, we're going to go through some Triple-A soothsayers, and the next one is the one with the vine. I read it the night before in the dark and then that morning with the tide. He makes everything, do we do well to be angry when things don't go our way? Lots of reasons make this a timely reading for me.
So after the sunrise, we went back up the monkey mountain with cameras this time.
One of the girls was sitting on a bench nearby this fountain with algae-infested water when a swimming monkey leapt out of the fountain into her lap. It was pretty funny, and I had unfortunately just turned my video camera off. :( After the monkeys, we lazed around the rest of the morning before taking a mini-bus back to Bangkok and flying back to Kabul. The flight experience was OK, we missed one flight but then made it to our next destination just fine. The downside is that our final flight over was overbooked and one of our teachers didn't make it back. Guess who's subbing tomorrow?
All in all, Bangkok was one of the most amazing vacations that I have ever taken. I hope some of these pictures help you see how neat it was. Back to school, six short weeks before the semester and the year is done. I'm so thankful that our Dad has made so much in this wonderful world that I can share with you.
P.S. - Ms. Creer, I was talking the same thing I always talk about. Being a hostage to my own humanity, and that I have been liberated by just one thing.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/11/2008 07:32:00 AM
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Hi. Quick note, I'm in Bangkok at a conference for a couple days, then going to the beach. That's why I've been silent. The plays went off fine, and I've been having a good time here. I'm headed to the beach with some friends after the conference, I'll probably post pictures.
It's warm, muggy, and wonderful here.
Instantiated by Russ at or around 4/05/2008 06:25:00 AM