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my wings have grown

thumbnail_2hofu12.jpgGathering pictures 
to present on my time in Japan,
I found a photo of myself
in front of the floating torii
of Miyajima

I was there. Of course
I remember my awe
standing before
that gate (between
the profane and
the sacred); still,
seeing myself
there inspired
a rush

That all really
happened! I didn’t
just dream it!
Read more…

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At home in New Orleans

On Tuesday, I landed in New Orleans.

I was greeted there by a good friend I’d never yet met in person.

(That happens with blogging. When you’ve already met in heart and mind, the physical meeting isn’t really the first meeting.)

Lisha picked me up outside the airport. We chatted comfortably as she took me on a two-hour tour of her beloved city.

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Read more…

Weekend Coffee Share: Sayonara, San Antonio!

If we were having coffee, I’d pass on the coffee and have some minty tea instead.

I’d explain that I spent the last several days in San Antonio, Texas for work, and that I drank at least twice as much coffee as usual to rouse myself after awakening so early each morning. There’s still so much surplus caffeine coursing through my veins that I need to back away from it today for any chance of decent sleep tonight.

I had this funny idea as I departed for Texas that I’d have tons of quiet time to soak in the tidiness and space of my hotel room. I’d get the kind of I’m-an-introvert dream break that I’ve been craving since I learned firsthand–almost two years ago–that finding a little breathing room is about a million times harder with two young kids than one.

I’d shake my head with a rueful grin. I could not have been further off! For starters, being away from my kids was more physically and emotionally exhausting than I’d realized it would be. After the stress of flight, the working hours were longish and heavily interactive. Then, after each workday was over, more discussion ensued over long dinners. I experienced approximately none of the introvert wind-down I’d envisioned as I packed dreamily early in the week. Read more…

The sound of home

In the back seat of my sister’s car,
I lie
Next to my baby,
Snoring as he (finally) rests well
After a journey small to big people,
But enormous to the littlest ones

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When the air becomes warm,
So thick I feel I could choke on it,
I open the rear door
To let in some air

Still in the car,
But the world feels so much larger

Now,
The cool Oregon breeze
Sings songs that make trees dance
As far as I can hear.
I watch their revelry
(Beyond my big red sandals)
And cherish
The sound
Of home

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Categories: Family, Reflections, Travel Tags: , , ,

“The fun begins in 3 … 2 … 1!”

Folks, please allow me to perform an improvisational dance in the corridor!

For your added pleasure, I’ll throw in a game of dodge-the-flight-attendant! It’ll be merriment for your whole family, but you’ll only catch it if you kindly set aside your tablets and laptops and books, oh my!

The fun begins in 3 … 2 … 1!

In “My sweet, soaring vulnerability,” I wrote that “I only have panic attacks before takeoff.”

That’s true. When flying, I only have full blown panic attacks before takeoff.

It’s also true that I’ve felt panic’s fiery grip in flight. It’s much less common, and I’ve avoided the worst by reminding myself I was just fine up until four seconds ago. By counting in twos the moment my vision starts dimming. Counting backwards from 100. Breathing in and out in slow, even rhythm. Doing crossword puzzles. Telling the person next to me I’m about to have a full blown panic attack if they don’t share their thoughts on the weather and/or their favorite sports team pronto.

There was one time none of my usual in flight strategies worked.

I’m trapped. I’m trapped! I thought myself around in dizzying circles. I am stuck in a sky on the plane and the seatbelt light is on and the flight attendants said I have to stay in my seat so I am trappedtrappedtrapped!

On the verge of a full blown panic attack, I asked myself one question that changed everything: Read more…

Learning languages: The priceless promise of adventure to come

I returned from teaching English in Japan eight years ago.

hiroshima9I’ve dreamed of traveling there with my family. I dream most especially of returning to Hiroshima and watching my young sons place their own paper cranes at an angel’s feet.

My husband would like us to visit Australia, where he and other early castaways were sequestered while fellow Survivor competitors finished up their time on the island.

We’d also like to visit places we’ve never been. Time and money are sparse, so we’ve taken to dreaming now of travel later.

I’ll be traveling internationally again soon. My new job will assign me certain territories, and I’ll periodically visit customers within those territories as part of my job.

Which territories? Read more…

A trip to Hiroshima

“I wish I could show you all the places I lived and visited in Japan,” I told my fiancee last night. “I wish that we could hop in the car and be there in an hour. But of course, for you to see these places, we’ll have to plan and save for years.”

It’s worth it. We will save, and I will someday show him the places I called home, even if I’m unable to locate most of the people who made the places feel like home. I’ll take him to the schoolyard where I once danced goofy in the rain on a school’s webcam to make him smile. I’ll show him the little market to which I used to bike on my rusty, thirty-year-old bicycle, and–if it still exists–the tiny school up in the mountains that continues to make appearances in my dreams.

fogmountains

Last night’s conversation still in mind, I read this morning an article on the lessons of Gettysburg. One particular paragraph talked about the strange sensation of piling off a tour bus and wondering what you’re supposed to do for amusement in such a place. The words evoked my own memory of such a visit: to Hiroshima. Read more…

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