Posts Tagged 'experiences'

not count down, rise up (part II)

the earth was quiet enough this first morning of two thousand nine that i could almost hear the planet rotating on its axis. endlessly rotating on its axis towards the dawn. the dawn that happens to be marked the first of a brand new year, but i know the secret. the secret is that each day is a new life and each dusk a new peace. peace that incubates the coming morning as the earth continues on its amaranthine path.
this year will be a good year.


the location part of a datebook chelsi gave mom. we’re each marked in hearts…i’m the sticky note.



with an hour to spare this evening, i decided to spend it in the pines of my papa’s farm in south georgia. as i followed the path that leads to the tall trees i started pondering all the memories i’ve gathered there. as a child i would get dropped off by bus 16AA and run down the half-mile dirt path to home. i’d throw my bookbag in the house and fetch my horse, sox…lead her to the ceramic tub that was her water trough and sling onto her bareback before trotting off to this very same area of the farm that i walked now. i loved those afternoons.

my first horse, sassy, had thrown me head-first over her ears and onto a log after getting her belly tickled by the long grass that grows between the trees. i’d picked corn back there and pretended it was gold. i’d brought my grade-school crush back to see the okapilco creek only to get nervous and punch him in the gut. i’ve spent hours and hours back there – it definitely has legendary status in my mind. another world altogether.

walking through the rows of 50foot trees i pondered their power over me. they feel so alive, standing there watching me walk through their midst. like columns of soldiers, standing at attention ready to protect or attack – waiting on my intentions to decide which.

as i walk and think to the rhythm of my steps and the pace of the trees i finally actually used my eyes – and realized they were staring straight at another thing that truly was alive. a bobcat – staring right back at me. i stopped and stared for a few moments before side-stepping to a big stick to my left. i stared for a few more moments before picking up the exact same pace…but this time not focused on the trees. my eyes were locked to the bobcat’s the rest of the time, until we could no longer see one another. it was so strange – we were both just watching to see what the other would do. a mutual understanding that we were both being protected by those very same bark-covered soldiers.

as i came out of the woods i met my uncle joey on the tractor and told him what i’d seen. he shook his head and informed me that he never goes back there without a gun and that i should be more careful. this is all probably true, but i’m glad i got away with it this once – just trusting that i’d be fine with the tall tall georgia pines at my rescue.

worlds collide

after two days traveling, caylin and i have finally arrived in moultrie, georgia for christmas. we should have left iowa on saturday, but were unable to make it out because of blizzard weather saturday and sunday, so we arrived in nashville monday night after a long day on the road filled with This American Life.

yesterday we started our second leg of the trip – nashville to moultrie – only to be held up in stop-and-go traffic before entering chattenooga. we debated, but pulled off at a rest stop to pick up a map and find an alternate route. as we were pulling out i glanced over and noticed a couple men to the side. one looked unnervingly similar to a friend of mine from nashville…
…and his brother
…and his dog.
ok, we’re stopping.

i guess jamie and his brother, brian, were making their way home for christmas on the same route same day. and the funniest part? not one, but both cars (urged on in each case by the younger sibling) had been spending the day listening to This American Life.

as we came into atlanta we were undecided about staying on 75 or taking the 285 bypass. jamie and brian took the bypass, so caylin and i decided to do an experiment and stay on 75.

sitting in absolute stand-still traffic at the bottleneck in atlanta, brooding over our poor decision, we got a call from my older sister and her husband. their news?

they were stuck in a traffic jam in atlanta.

we all knew we were meeting in georgia for christmas, but didn’t know one another’s travel dates. and now here we were… about 20 car-lengths (we did the math after comparing what we could each see) behind them.

oh i do love smallworld experiences


list night annie, andy and i went to the gym at andy’s apartment complex. i had been in the car all day from iowa to nashville, and needed to let off some steam. we finished our workout, let andy speed-change (why did we let the boy look and smell better than us?) and took off to meet caylin and jonathan at jackson’s. turning the corner from 12th onto belmont we saw two cops sitting at the crossing light. i was a bit nervous just having quickly (though WITH turn signals) swirved across two lanes to make my turn, but they turned left away from me and i relaxed.

unfortunately it was short-lived. a few seconds after i turned right annie piped up, “umm…not to make you nervous, but i thought you should know one of the cops did a Uturn and is behind us”. Dangit. Sure enough, the lights started blazing and i pulled the car to the side whist realizing that dad and i had searched for the registration just the other day at the shop. unsuccessfully. i did manage to find the insurance card – two in fact. buuuut that had expired two months ago. brilliant. well at least i actually had my drivers’ license with me. i handed it to the cop as he informed me that my headlights were out (internally: yes, officer, i know. it’s a long story…) and that my tags were expired. i sheepishly explained that it’s my father’s car and i can’t find where he’s put the registration. could it get any worse? a glance in my rearview proved it certainly could. the second policeman had decided to join his buddy.

the two, together, came to the window to let me know that on top of it all my driver’s license had expired as well. guh! how could i have forgotten to renew my license on my birthday last weekend?? unbelievable… as they walked back to their cars to deliberate i started tallying up the possible fines…lights, registration, expired tags, expired license, no proof of insurance. well, at least i hadn’t been drinking!

the younger of the two policemen returned to the window with my license and started a schpeel about how horribly illegal it was to drive as i had been. i apologized profusely and swore to go renew my lisense the following day before we left town. as he handed me my lisense, he searched for his words. “well…i can’t say what others might do if they stop you…but all i can say is merry christmas. get it fixed.”

thankgoodness for kind-hearted cops.

incredible how fast a week can pass

Ciao tutti!

It’s been about a week and I think I’m pretty close to “settled in” here. I spent 2 hours yesterday in the Florence Hospital, so if any emergencies come up, I’m ready!! I’m fine, but I went as a sort-of translator for a friend who thought she broke her ankle. We have some great pictures of her on a radiology table (when I can figure out what’s going wrong with my picture site, I’ll post them), and we were informed (entirely in Italian, mind you!) on the full history of California and its spanish-speaking citizens. The doctor was really nice, really funny, and talked incessantly. It was a good lesson in our Italian!

But anyways, Firenze is absolutely wonderful, and it’s a shame I’m not a writer so I could bring you here with me. The language is intoxicating and the food is unbelievable. It’s amazing what a difference it makes when things are fresh and not full of preservatives. It’s sad, but I think I’m on my way to becoming what I used to call a “food snob.”

I’m getting used to my apartment. It certainly isn’t getting any prettier, but at least we now have water and heat (for those of you who didn’t hear…we were without both for the first 3 days). I have one roommate, Melissa, who one of the sweetest girls I know. It’s a little dissapointing not having more people to cook for/with, but if I had to pick just one, she’s fantastic. We live just off a beautiful piazza (like a square) for a church called Santa Croce (it happens to be where Michelangelo, Machiavelli, Ghiberti, and Galileo are all buried…it’s mind-blowing to me!)

Right at the corner of the piazza there’s a wonderful cafe, Cafe Mario, where I stop most every morning for caffelatte on my way to class. I pass through Piazza della Signoria (which seems to be nearly an outdoor scuplture gallery displaying, among others, a replica of Michelangelo’s David and The Rape of the Sabine Women). Then I walk north through Piazza di San Giovanni (by the Duomo and Baptistry with Ghiberti’s North doors – often called the “Gate of Paradise”). What a walk to school! It’s a wonder I ever even make it. I’ve only been to two classes thus far, but I’ve really enjoyed them. I had to take placement exams for painting and drawing, so hopefully I’ll remain in the levels I’m registered for!

I’ve met several very nice italian friends. It’s very interesting getting used to the culture here. I’ve had to learn how to walk down a street NOT smiling and making eye contact with everyone I see. You can’t imagine how much trouble you can get yourself into by being what we consider “friendly”! I think I’ve finally got the hang of it, though.

I’ve found a group of young missionaries who have a weekly gathering in their apartment (they don’t call it a church yet because it’s kinda still the trial period). I met some really cool students and families.

Well, this weekend I’m taking a train to Pisa and then flying to Frankfurt, Germany. I’ll be meeting a friend from Belmont who’s road managing for a band touring in Europe. I’m excited for a familiar face and another new place. It’s almost overwhelming how new every day is here. Everything is so fresh and full of life. I could stay in Italy for a lifetime.

Ci vediamo,

Some did and some didn’t recieve Giacomo’s correction that the prefix for my number, 3481510027, is 01139, NOT 01136. Sorry about that!



Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.
-Kahlil Gibran

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