Thursday, August 22, 2013

a map of these last three months

alternatively titled, things I forgot to say when they were still relevant

I never told you about the boy who gave me flowers, did I? Well, I didn't tell you because it didn't really mean anything. Because it's not like that, because my life is not like that. My life is him turning around on the bus, holding some yellow flowers in his fist, saying, "Here, want these?" I braided them into my hair. They fell out sometime when I was running to the showers. Flowers without water die pretty quickly, anyway. I never saw those people again.

over the atlantic
Everything seemed like a dream, then. It was all so fast, disappearing in the rear view mirror before I fully had time to process what had happened. It was like there was some sort of fog over me. I thought I must have left the last of whatever sense of reality I had left in Charles de Gaulle, or maybe it was on a rest stop on the way to Colorado, or maybe it was still in the trunk of your car from all those weeks ago. Blame it on the jet lag, or too many hours on a bus, but I didn't know where I was and not just physically.

I had never felt the pull of two places at the same time so strongly. "It's not that I'm homesick, it's just that when I see two friends laughing it makes me miss my friends," I wrote. And so on. I think sometimes we lie to ourselves and don't realize until later that it wasn't the truth. But at dinner in a French restaurant upstairs, with the window open looking out onto the Parisian street, eating pumpkin soup and the best bread, the sun not even close to setting... Why would I need anything else?

I found a dollar on the ground at Pike's Place, right by where all the men were throwing fish to each other. I thought about giving it to the homeless man I saw on the street, but at the end of the day I remembered it was still in the pocket of my pants, which I had already carefully folded back into my suitcase because I was leaving again early in the morning. Always leaving, I sighed to myself then. I think the dollar might still be in my jeans.

I ate the best ice cream of the summer here. It was new but it almost felt familiar. Because it was hot and I was with just my family and we were walking through city streets -- how many times had I done that before? I could breathe easy because I knew the next place I would be was home.

My home and, in the summer, my interim. Where I long to be when I am gone and where I am happy to leave. Someday, before I leave you for longer than just a week long vacation, I'll write you a whole letter, a whole post about how I love you, but that day is not today.

I think it rained in every place I went this summer, but none of it even comes close to how I feel when it rains at home. It stormed last week, when I was running down by the lake. I hadn't checked the forecast but I started seeing lightning before I got to the pedestrian bridge, and by the time I got to the other side, it was pouring. Did I mention it was completely dark, too? And I was by myself? I think this is a recipe for happiness. No, not happiness, something we confuse for happiness: exhilaration, freedom, just feeling alive. Getting caught in a storm, truly caught, with nowhere to go inside, is something I recommend you experience at least once. A kind woman asked me if I needed a ride anywhere, but I kept walking until I found the car. And completely soaked the seat so that it was wet for the next few days. Worth it.

I don't know what else to say. Except that there's no place like home. Even when it changes. Even when certain people aren't there. Even, maybe especially, when you plan on leaving it. There's just no place like home.

right here, right now
Writing this, or parts of it, made me a little sad. I don't know why, because it was not exactly a sad summer. I mean, I think I spent a lot of it longing for something else & missing people/places but I did my best to enjoy where I was, too. It was a very full summer, though it might still be too soon to offer any sort of summary. Like I've said before, all I have are these moments, now memories. I'm not going to bother trying to fit them into something bigger. Anyway, that was then. And now, at the end? I am almost exactly where I want to be.

School starts in four days and for the first time, I'm not completely dreading it. I'm actually kind of pumped. This is my last year of high school and although that's slightly terrifying, it's also wonderfully exciting. I don't want to say I can't wait, because there are still a few more days of summer I don't want to discount. I am excited, but before that, I am going to fill the last few days of summer with nice things. It is August 22nd, and this is a good place to be.

Monday, August 19, 2013

oregon coast

We went to the Oregon coast one day. It was foggy (as you can tell) and freezing (which you can't). I climbed the biggest sand dune and stuck my feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in over two years.

I still have a bunch of pictures from this vacation and summer in general, so I might post those later, but for now I want to take a break from long photo-filled posts and return to your regularly scheduled posts. Summer is coming to a close and I want to be able to talk about that while it's still relevant, too. Hope you're all doing well!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

roche harbor, san juan island

San Juan Island. It felt like Hannah's Woodland meets the island from Moonrise Kingdom, with a hint of Abbey's lake. When we got off the boat from Seattle in Friday Harbor, one of my first thoughts was how Canadian it looked. I mean, I have never been to Canada, but I think that this was very close. Friday Harbor was like a Canadian version of Richard Scarry's Busytown. It was small and cute but we spent most of our time on the other side of the island at Roche Harbor. We stayed in these cabins which also made it feel like camp. It reminded me of a lot of different places, clearly. 

It was really beautiful. These pictures don't even come close to showing that, but that's just one of those things you have to live with as someone who takes pictures.

We saw deer and dogs and horses and bald eagles (#merica). We roasted s'mores (favorite summer tradition). We walked into the little town (that's probably a little generous) and all the way to the end of the dock, past $7 million boats and the terrible smell of fish. We (some of us) biked 22 miles one day to go whale-watching. It was all beautiful.

But the most beautiful thing I didn't get any pictures of at all. It was the last night. We ate dinner at this restaurant, that white building with lights around the roof. It was a nice restaurant and I had a delicious meal of vegetables and mashed potatoes and lots and lots of bread. Since we were a large party, I guess, we had a whole room upstairs and a balcony all to ourselves. Every night, down on the docks they had a flag-lowering ceremony (another reason it felt like camp) where they played the national anthems of Canada, America and maybe England as they took down the respective flags and shot off a canon and at the end all the boats in the harbor would sound their horns at the same time. We watched this on the balcony before our dinner came and then watched the next display: the sunset. It was one of the Top 10 sunsets I've seen in my life, probably. It was so pretty that the next morning, our taxi driver asked, "Did you see the sunset last night?" The sky was streaked with the most outrageous shades of pink until at the last moment it got dark. And when it was dark, walking back to the cabins in the cold, we could hear the music from a wedding reception across the street, drifting over. It was a good last night.

Monday, August 12, 2013

how to miss someone

step 1. care about them. a note before you proceed any further: this is dangerous. crucial, but dangerous. and like many dangerous things, it is just going to happen whether you like it or not, screw all your precautions. you don't have to know someone very long for this to happen -- I don't think you even have to have met them. you've just got to kind of see some light in them. so, yes, care about them. spend time with them. laugh with them, work with them, go places with them. and oh, God, let them do nice things for you. this is killer. cultivate an image of them in your mind. imagine they fill some sort of secret space inside of you. care.

step 2a. and then: say goodbye. cry.

step 2b. or: don't say goodbye. slip away. cry harder.

step 3. leave. or wait for them to leave. for how long is irrelevant because time is irrelevant when you miss someone. so is how far away they are. they could be across the street but you can still miss them because they're not with you. that's what this is about. there are no other rules. step three: imagine, in their absence, that some part of you is empty.

step 4. run over all your memories of them, one by one, like a montage in a movie only you can see. the happier they made you, the more you will miss them. guaranteed.

step 5. listen to pink floyd's "wish you were here" when it comes on the radio on the way to the airport. feel like a giant cliche; cry some more. don't sleep at night -- or rather, don't come home until 1 a.m. because it's so much easier to fall asleep that way. drive down streets past places you've been with them and note how they've altered your whole sense of geography.

step 6. wonder what they are doing right now and know that it's probably something wonderful and life-changing that they deserve. selfishly allow yourself to wish they were here doing nothing -- doing anything -- with you instead. concede your loneliness. concede that sometimes, when one person is missing, the whole world seems depopulated. concede you'd rather go grocery shopping with them than go to Paris or meet your favorite celebrity or win a million dollars.

step 7. by now you miss them, huh? I told you caring was dangerous. like love. and I don't think it's altogether wrong to say I miss you is another form of I love you. maybe that's why those words were always hard to say. like love and maybe some regret, some sadness. I love you, come back to me.

I miss you.

(something I wrote the other night in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn't sleep. I get really melodramatic at night. but still. I don't know how many more goodbyes I can handle, even the ones that aren't my own. I'm ready for reunions.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013


I'm baaack! I've been home a few days now, but I was waiting to get my film developed before I posted anything because I have this thing about posting chronologically. But now we can proceed.

I brought my digital with me, but I only took out my film camera in Seattle. I like film because it's an exercise in self-control and patience, and it requires you to have a certain amount of faith. I don't like it because it's expensive and scanning all the pictures myself is a hassle but it's the only option when I don't want to pay any more.

Mount Rainier, probably

Our hotel was right by the Space Needle

Inside the EMP (music) museum

By the water (lake, not ocean, though my cousin said it tasted salty)

Cousins frolicking ft. Space Needle

Shaded streets

So apparently One Direction was in town the same time we were. Like, I was in the same city as One Direction. I was breathing the same air as Harry Styles. I think that's pretty major, idk. We learned this when we happened walk by the arena where they were playing and saw a million girls lined up outside carrying signs that said things like "I ♥ 1D!" There were so many scalpers on the streets trying to sell tickets and I was kind of like WHAT IF but yeah, obviously that did not happen and I'm not terribly heartbroken. It was mostly just funny. (I took this picture that same night so that's what it has to do with that.)

Chihuly glass thing

 Pike's Place so perfect

Gum wall

 Pretty pretty Pioneer Square (or somewhere around there)

We went to the aquarium and I saw the otters including this most adorable sLEEPING OTTER OH MY GOODNESS I could literally not stop myself from using caps lock because tell me that isn't adorable.

Blue trees! Another one of those things I'd seen before but just happened to wander across on our travels across the city.


Public Library staircase ~iconic~

So that was Seattle! We were there for a day, went to San Juan Island for a few days (which I'll post about later), and then came back to the city for another day or two, so we weren't actually there too long. But I still felt like I got to see a lot, and I liked a lot of what I saw! It was cold, though. Seattle reminded me a lot of San Francisco in that regard, and in others. It's nice.