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Don’t quit before you try.

October 10, 2012 1 comment

When we try new things and set goals for ourselves, we get the chance to learn and grow. My friend, Kenya, is trying a new thing and setting a goal for herself, but she is worried that she won’t have the skills or resources to meet her challenge. I disagree:

 

Kenya is no chump.

She can do anything, like

teach Zumba class.

This is Future Kenya, soaring high as a certified Zumba instructor with a class full of students.

Coffee and best friends.

October 8, 2012 4 comments

Before my best friend, Stephanie, and I left for college, she gave me a present. It was a heavy ceramic mug, painted chocolate brown, deep red, and cream. It came with a lid, which I’d never seen before with a regular mug. Stephanie said she got me it so I could have tea in my dorm room. It was a simple, practical gift, and I loved it so much. When Stephanie and I were leaving for college, I was a mess. My brother died less than a year before, and since I was only 17, everything felt weird and out of control. Stephanie had been my quiet, unwavering foundation of support during that time. I knew that now things would start to change as we both went to separate schools to go on our separate adventures. At the time, I thought of Stephanie’s present as a good-bye gift.

That mug has traveled with me from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts, from Massachusetts to Louisiana, back to Massachusetts, down to Georgia, and then back to Pennsylvania. Through all its traveling, I still can’t believe it didn’t break. It has held a cup of tea for me from now and then, but mostly the mug has served as host for my weekend coffee drinking.  After sitting in my shelves for 13 years, I still think of Stephanie each time I pour my coffee into that mug, and how young we were when we became friends, and how much I admired and valued her shy, subtle strength.

Last year for my birthday, I received a package in the mail from Stephanie. It was a travel mug, which she said in her card was for my essential coffee drinking during my last year of grad school. Unlike my dark, earthy ceramic mug, this travel mug is poppin’. There seems to be a fairy princess woodsy picnic going on, complete with bunnies, baby deer, and birdies. Its colors are bright green, yellow, and pink. I’m under the impression that Stephanie’s four year-old daughter picked it out.

I love taking that mug to work in the morning. The ridiculousness of the fairy princess scene itself is enough to make me laugh, but more than that, it makes me think of Stephanie and her new family, and how I love being apart of their lives. I don’t have my own little family yet, but over the last few years the times I’ve felt most content are when I’m visiting Stephanie and her boyfriend along with their two little girls. There was a time when Stephanie and I are were in our early twenties and while I wanted to think we would remain close, I wasn’t quite sure if we could pull it off. But here we are, still in each other’s lives. Even though we still live in different states, I think we’re closer now than we’ve ever been.

Today, I have off from work. I’m sitting at my kitchen table, looking out my window to the grey Philadelphia that I love so much, and drinking coffee from my ceramic mug. It’s 100% sentimental, but although I’ve never drank out of this mug with Stephanie, I feel like I get to sit down with my best friend today.

Categories: Friends Tags: , , , ,

Haikuesday 01.31.12

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

This morning’s anger

Required a friend tonight.

Things aren’t so bad.

Categories: Friends, poetry

Three little ducks.

January 8, 2012 1 comment

We laugh and tease

 like little kids,

but we know when it’s time to listen.

Less reflecting, more living.

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Since I’ve been maintaining this blog for several months, I don’t feel compelled to write a grand reflection on my thoughts about 2011. All I know is that I’m ending the year with people I like a lot and I’m starting 2012 with judo and BJJ, also with people I like a lot.

Each year, we’ll find ourselves going through periods that seem impossible. I think that as long as we take risks, let the people we care about help us in the hard times, and always return the support, we’ll never walk away from a year’s end with regrets.

You need both sides of the coin.

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Yesterday was an amazing day for me.  I had lunch with a family friend, Amy, who’s known my parents since before I was born and my very close with my mom. We had some really interesting conversations about family, communities, motivation, and just life in general. Talking with Amy had this unique feel of spending some quiet time with family, but also that little bit of excitement that comes with good conversation. While Amy sometimes does act like my mama sometimes (giving me a little bag of Hanukkah gelt, asking me if I’m cold as I walk around in a spring jacket in 34 degree weather), it’s in a reassuring way. During yesterday’s conversation, I saw that even though Amy has strong memories of me a little kid, she’s able to see me as an adult, probably more so than I’m able to see myself that way.

Later on in the day, I met up with my friends, Dennis and Jenny, who recently got married. Now, I’ve known Dennis since I was about 10 years old and I met Jenny when I was 15 or 16. We all went to the same high school. Last night at dinner, it could have been two hours of “Remember when that gym teacher, Mr. Blah Blah Blah, got mad because of that thing? That was so funny!” Instead, it was about four hours of intense conversation about our careers (Jenny is in nursing school and Dennis, who served in both the military and law enforcement, is now a teacher) and the difficulties and rewards of being a “helping professional.” We talked about some of the things we’ve struggled with recently and what we hope for in the future. We didn’t skip over the dumb jokes though, nor did Dennis forget to tell us some hilarious stories about my brother. I felt like I was with my true family. Those four hours felt perfect.

While I was having this wonderful day, my great aunt and her family were in a hospice in New England with her son, my cousin, Steven. Steven was sick for a very long time, but things began to deteriorate for him quickly in the last few weeks. Last night, Steven was surrounded by people who loved him, but he didn’t make it through the night. Truthfully, I didn’t know Steven well. My dad’s side of the family is pretty big and I haven’t seen most of my relatives on his side since I was in elementary school. Steven and I had reconnected through Facebook in the last year or so, but still our interactions were very limited. What I remember about Steven is that he was remarkably smart and that he had a fantastic dry wit. Also, I knew I like Steven the first time I met him. My family when to visit my great aunt when I was about five years old and my brother was about seven.  Steven was there, too. He was in his twenties then, lounging on the couch, reading a book. My brother and I were bored. I had a twenty pack of plastic barrettes with little bunnies and duckies and kitty cats on them.  My brother and I asked Steven if we could put all the barrettes in his hair. He said yes. We spent a long time methodically fastening the barrettes into Steven’s hair while he read his book. He was nice enough to leave them in for a while after we were done.

It’s strange for me to think that Steven and his family were going through something so painful while I was I was having such a good time. I don’t feel guilty about or anything quite like that. It’s more like, thinking about Steven being gone makes me feel very appreciate for all the people in my life and the impact they’ve had on me, no matter how great or small. I have lifelong friends like Amy, Dennis, and Jenny who have evolved into my family, giving me such support and inspiration. In the last two years, I’ve made friends through school and judo who I know have made me stronger.

Life is full of loss, but I think it also comes with some pretty incredible gains.

By request.

December 29, 2011 Leave a comment

My friend, Suzanne, wanted me to write a poem about how giant Christmas lawn ornaments can make us feel sad:

The snowman deflates.

On ice, the polar bear drifts.

Next: Easter bunnies!

Categories: Friends, holidays, poetry