I came here to escape

Back when I was 23 during spring break of my last year at University, shortly after my older brother died, my mind was a mess.
I had had an eating disorder for the past 7 years. I flip flopped between trying to interact with people and hiding in my bedroom doing as many sit ups as I could and running in place.
When my brother died, it shocked me to the core, Granted, he was never that nice to me, in fact he was downright horrible most of the time. I was terrified of him. And when he was going through the motions of cancer, he started trying to make up for those years of torture. He died before I could say I love you.
But shortly after he died, I started living. I finally allowed myself to start drinking… I had my first boyfriend.. went to concerts.. etc.
Spring break was coming up. I knew I needed to do something spectacular.
I booked a trip to Ecuador. I paid money to volunteer at an animal refuge center in Ecuador right in the Amazon jungle.
I knew very little Spanish.. I had never left the country before (except when I lived in Canada).. I wasn’t too experienced in partying or making friends due to the ED.
But I went.. I had many struggles but also had the time of my life.. I got to feed a beautiful big-eyed Margay a chicken… I got to have monkeys play in my hair… I got to walk in the Peccary enclosure with mud up to my knees (GLORIOUS!!).. I hung out in hammocks with Australians and British and Spanish and Ecuadorian.. I nearly slept with a Hobbit-like British boy in the jungle as he took me to see the nocturnal Kinkajous-except everyone back at the camp sent out a search party for me… I helped to hike a tortoise out into the middle of the Amazon jungle for 3 nights to let him loose… My smiles were genuine.. My laugh was pure.. I was realizing what happy was
But
I happened upon this poem I wrote alone in my hammock under the Amazonian stars the night before I left the camp after a week and a half of learning to live and feel again..

I came here to escape
To leave my life behind
But now that I am here
I am beginning to find
You cannot fun from
What you wanted to
Those thoughts inside of you
No matter where you go
Where you sleep at night
The downward spiraling
thoughts-those you cannot fight
I thought I was so sad at home
Now its frustrating to see 
Escaping from the life I know
Cannot set me free
Now its time to head on home
To the place I left behind
Bring with me the tales of adventure 
That flow on through my mind
No matter where you go
Nor how hard you try 
There are that follow
That won’t pass you by
Your mind, your thoughts, 
Your body, your soul
I found out what it was 
I came here for
I tried to run away
To escape
Away from my cares
Away from these thoughts 
Away from my mind
Run far away from here
Leave it all behind
I learned the hard way
You cannot run
from all that you are

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Past Poems…

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The above is my very first poem

Jump forward to the poem I wrote in middle school
(I swear I was not a stalker… but I WAS a shy nerd who had crushes on the boys that never knew who I was and all the people I wanted to be)

 

 

Peeking through the jagged hole
My cheek against the prickly wood
My ragged breathing slowly calms
With the scent of you so near
I hope that you can’t see me

Out beyond the knobby wood
I squint my eyes to see
I hear so clearly your enchanting voice
My heart is pounding so
I wish that you knew me

I poke my finger in a hole
to expand my narrowed view
I utter a shriek as I prick my finger
as a drop of blood appears
I hope you didn’t hear me

I am caught off-guard by the blood,
surprised by its warmth
a single teardrop slips down my face
my world is now a blur
You don’t even care

The writings on the wall…

“Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.” ~Jean-Luc Godard

January 5, 2017

One thing I adored in my travels was wandering the streets of the big foreign cities. Meandering down the uneven cobblestone streets. The family run stores. The unique range of items in each. The attempts to speak their language and being met with smiles of encouragement as I tried to charm them anyway with my attempts, yet butchering of their language. The air was so much fresher without all the skyscrapers and bland buildings. The  smells of all the foods wafting in the air. The pureness of the coffee….
And the street art.
I LOVED the street art.
I was FASCINATED with finding the scrawling in English in all of the countries. Little words and quotes amongst the sometimes beautiful, sometimes hectic murals and foreign writings on the walls…

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Florence, Italy – One of my very favorite cities… such narrow streets.. such beautiful sunsets.. such hidden little treasures like these…Bubbles were blown on the streets.. I forgot my money but the man who heated up my pizza slice (one of the best pizza slices in THE WORLD) made me sit and eat my pizza before he allowed me to leave to go back to the place I was staying to get my money.. there was a certain romantic, haunting, old-timey beauty about this city…

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Rome, Italy – a city overflowing with history and culture and food and wine and vines and vespas… Unfortunately, I only got to spend 2 days there.. but I will most certainly be back.. But this little sight made me smile 🙂

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Venice, Italy – I have found the word “Love” in every single city that i explored. It was such a fun treasure hunt.. I loved finding it in the language of the countries I was at too.. but theres something fun about looking for “Love” in unexpected places ;))

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Naples, Italy – Both of the above were on the same door covering of a closed store… The words were quite hard to see in the dim streetlights and I was rather tipsy on wine but I was waiting for my friend to buy our 2nd bottle and stared at these words for a good 5 minutes.. taking it all in… running my hand over the metal door, taking in the energy behind the words… letting it speak to my soul.. and feeling the feels of “How Can An Angel Broke My Heart”.. the incorrect English.. it just filled me with an infinite sadness for whoever wrote it.. and the other, “Am I In Love With You Or Am I In Love With The Feeling” resonated in particular about various people and places and events on this trip…

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Naples, Italy – The moon is another one of my very favorite things in the world. I saw the word “Moon” hidden all throughout Naples, one of the dirtiest cities with very strange, unique people, cheap wine and walls covered in the most random and chaotic street art, scrawlings and scribbles.. So it was even more exciting to find treasures like these…

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Basel, Switzerland – My friend had just taken me on a swim down the Rhine river.. We each had little “fish” that were waterproof bags in the shape of fish and acted as a flotation device as well… Our group was one fish short, so instead of desperately clinging to a fish the entire time the water took us gently down the river in its current, I was free swimming.. and it was the most beautiful feeling.. and at the end we grabbed beer in this funky little nomadic, artistic area and I was filled with warm fuzzies and happy and sunshine… As we were walking back I happened upon this beauty 🙂

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Barcelona, Spain – I was wandering the city and decided to go to the beautiful Park Güell that was filled with all kinds of stone statues and covered in tiles… I quickly felll in love with Gaudi’s work and style.. the shimmery tiles.. the quirky architecture.. it was all so magical… Anyway, I found a tiny exit out of the bigger park (the free area of the park) that looked like it would provide the most gorgeous view of the city.. and it did.. but it did also have this (and many more of the same) message to tourists..

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Brasov, Romania – one of my favorites EVER. It says it all. “I miss you’re stupid face”

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Brasov, Romania – What’s meant to be will always find its way. Very true. Everything happens for a reason.

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Brasov, Romania – this one made me smile… and made me wish I had someone to send this to and mean it with all my heart…

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Bucharest, Romania – Not exactly sure what this one is about… but I was wandering a nearly empty park in late fall and found this little fountain.. it seemed as though it hadn’t had water in it for forever.. the tiles were broken on the inside.. there was a thick layer of dirt coating the broken tiles… the outside around it, where people would normally sit was nearly all taken apart… and “Madonna with coat was h” was all that was left of who knows what kind of message :)) I love it.

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Bucharest, Romania – #PeopleLikeUndMe.  I found these all over in Bucharest. They intrude me… #PeopleLikeUndMe apparently do all kinds of things… Dance in the rain… Hold Hands.. Don’t need Sleep.. Run free.. Dance together.. Are meant to be… Get lucky…
Finding them hidden around the city still make me smile 🙂

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Bucharest, Romania – “Stop the violence” scrawled on a building that was falling apart in thimble of a park…

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Bucharest, Romania – Ohhhhh Romania :)))..

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Naples, Italy – Across the street from this was “You Belong To Me”  I adored these little sweet declarations of love…

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Seattle, WA – My first full day back in the states, I found a sign of hope and acceptance and love from the Universe that made my heart smile 🙂

Home Sweet Home…

“I’m homesick all the time,” she said, still not looking at him “I just don’t know where home is. There’s this promise of happiness out there. I know it. I even feel it sometimes. But it’s like chasing the moon – just when I think I have it, it disappears into the horizon. I grieve and try to move on, but then the damn thing comes back the next night, giving me hope of catching it all over again.”
— Sarah Addison Allen (The Girl Who Chased the Moon)

January 4, 2017

I have been in the USA since the 20th of December… It is currently the 3rd of January… and I cannot quench the desire to go back to Romania… to go back to Europe…
I never really had a home here to begin with… hopping all over the country… from one seasonal job to another… making friends that I still keep in contact with, but they are spread all over the country…
I made connections in Romania.. I felt stable for one of the first times in a looming while… stable like I could remain there for quite an extended period of time.. I was comfortable there.. my job.. the gym.. my friends.. the occasional weekend outing to Transylvania..
And now I am here.. the first week and a half were rather rough… full frontal barrage of family visits.. old family friends.. one after the other… day after day.. being bombarded with questions of my life.. inquiring about whether I ever planned to settle down.. to have kids.. what was I doing with my life… “When I was your age…” etc etc.
And then to my parents house.. way out in the middle of eastern Washington.. a town full of Washingtonian rednecks complete with deer antlers in restaurants and cameo as the standard gear and plenty of Hunting and other “outdoor activity” magazines (though none of them included rock climbing or hiking or kayaking or any of the outdoor activities I take pleasure in..)
So I ran away.. first to my aunt and uncle in my birth town, Walla Walla, WA. A Beautiful little town.. their kids.. I used to babysit them many years back.. now they are all grown up and in high school or college.. they taught me about their 30+ chickens and guinea fowls and ducks and we went on a beautiful little hike around a dried up/iced over lake 🙂
Then to Portland… my favorite little town..
Visiting friends here and there… but I still feel so disconnected from everything.. everyone..
I thought I would have a blast visiting people.. my friends… visiting my heart homes.. the PNW…
But my heart and my head are distracted with Romania.
With a yearning to go back to to where I felt wanted..
I do not enjoy American coffee anymore…
IPAs, yes.
Tacos, yes.
Siracha, yes.
My car, yes.
Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier and Seattle and all the vast and varying nature this area provides… yes.
But many of the things I used to LOVE… kinda lost their luster after being in Europe… People seem so distant…
I hate this feeling because I feel like I am being a snob, talking about my adventures in Europe and the differences I encountered between this place and that place and USA..
Don’t get me wrong.. I still love my friends here.. love being here.. Portland.. All of Oregon and Washington and California…
Just something in my heart feels slightly off…
I even ran south to Northern California to visit an old friend who always used to give me comfort.. We spent an afternoon wandering the hills near the Klamath River and finding quite a spread of bones.. a place where coyotes go to feast and leave only the bones.. as well as lots of beautiful quarts and what seems to be opal…
It was a beautiful couple days.. but cut short due to a crazy snowstorm that was coming and I had to leave before I got stuck… Though now that I am here, the thought of building a snowman and having a snowball fight sounds like a winning situation 🙂
And yes, visiting did make me feel warm and happy ,… but at the same time even more restless and confused and lost.. they had their shit together… I am still floating..
I have yet to visit a few more friends here… constantly searching for that comfortable feeling I used to feel with them…
But I find more comfort in hiking in the woods or wandering the nature alone.
What is wrong with me.
I want to go back.
And I talk to these people… with houses… with some form of a “real job”.. with families.. deep friendships… stability.. trust in each other.. plans for the next week or the next month or the next year.. the way they look at each other… connected through laughter… connected through touch… and I feel slightly broken and quite alone.
I am not part of the lives of my friends here… and I am no longer a part of the lives of my friends in Romania…
I seem to be stuck with the infinite unknown
And that is terrifying
Will I ever be able to do that too? Will I constantly wander? Will my racing thoughts.. fear of the future.. the unknown ever slow down?
When I was in Romania… I thought I had things down pat. It was slow to come at first.. a day at a time.. a week.. a month.. by December I had things planned at least through September.. with possibility for longer..
Now that I am so far away… it is so far away.. it is so long until I can go back…  And the time difference and time between me being there and now makes communication difficult… And the mind can be a terrible place in those hours where theres nothing to distract it…
Will they all still remember me and like me when I come back?
Where should I go in February?  What should I do tomorrow?
Do I belong here or there?  Will I ever be able to learn Romanian so I can actually talk with people there in their own language? Will I ever be able to have kids… a family.like all these people back here?
Infinite Unknown.
Terrifying.

 

Romania, My Love

“I can’t think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can’t read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can’t even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.” – Bill Bryson

December 20, 2016

Long time, no write…
Soooo…
My life has taken an interesting turn since I last posted…
I ended up getting a job… making some good friends.. and getting invested and involved with some people and things dear to my heart…
What a beautiful life this is….
Romania..
Who would’ve ever thought that would be the place that I would find my people.. my job.. my heart.. Fall in love with such a foreign, quaint and quirky yet beautiful country…
I honestly went there on a whim… the hostel in Bucharest was one of the first ones that messaged me back saying they wanted me to help them for the month… and it was out of the Shengen area so that meant that I could stay in Europe beyond the 3 months I had in the Shengen… And I knew nothing much about Romania… why not check it out.. I tried asking people about it.. no one had anything good to say… not necessarily bad.. but lots of warnings.. of stray dogs and thieves and conniving gypsies and left over communist attitudes and cold people and ugliness..
But I found no stray dogs… not once was I stolen from, in fact, people went out of their way to help me on multiple occasions.. I stayed at a gypsy camp and was greeted with nothing but curiosity, interest and the need for them to share their ways so I could share with others,.. beautiful people.. beautiful souls.. sure the sides of the roads are littered with trash and cigarette butts and empty cans.. its got its charm… beautiful architecture… one of my favorite jobs, teaching little ones and playing with them in the woods.. love…
Romania is in the EU, but not the Shengen..
What a fascinating country… what fascinating people..
How different they grew up…
I love learning about the culture.. the food.. the music.. how they grew up.. their thoughts on USA and everything else…
And everyone I have met pretty much knows a good amount of English.. much mores than any other country that I have visited…
I could pour out my heart… all of the people that have helped me through and opened their arms and their hearts to a crazy American girl… one in particular.. and my job… at an International Forest School/Kindergarten.. the most beautiful 2 year old classroom I have ever encountered.. Playing in the woods.. the snow.. the leaves.. the water..
Just wow..
And visiting Transylvania.. hiking in the mountains..
Getting more and more involved in people and things in Bucharest and beyond…
So when December came.. I realized my 90 days were almost up (as an American citizen, with my passport, I have the same deal as with the Shengen area… 90 days in a 180 day period). I reached out to my job.. my friend(s)…  Everyone did what they could to try to help me stay there/come back sooner… but due to miscommunication and misunderstanding, when I came back to the USA for the holidays…. I have to wait out the rest of the 180 days before I can return. I emailed and called the Romanian embassies all throughout the USA and all of them said the same thing… there was nothing I could do. I could’ve easily dealt with it when I was in Romania.. If I would have known…
But I am not the best at details… I am pretty good at putting things off until the last minute (“hmmm… I came here in September… I should probably look into how long I am allowed to stay in Romania and what I should do to stay longer… maybe tomorrow…”) So I take full blame…
But, here are some pictures of some of my favorite times and favorite people and most beautiful places I have encountered during my 3+ months in Romania (yes, I did stay past the 3 months, but went in and paid the fine so that I could officially be a “legal illegal alien”)