Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Paul Javid. I love Paul Javid.

Paul Javid is a good man. He is my friend, and after this post, you are going to wish he was yours too.

Paul Javid

relationship status: single? (you should hope so)
eye color: brown
hair color: brown
height: 5'9"
weight: 180 lbs (he's fit y'all)
hobbies/interests: laughing, rock climbing, travel, working hard towards the betterment of humanity, Berkeley, eating bananas, making children smile, rugby, being a swell guy, doing the impossible, creating special awwwww moments.

Baldy and I both know Paul from Seattle. In some twisted way, he is in fact responsible for Anna working here in Lucknow with DSH - and in turn me being here as well. However, Paul is no longer in Lucknow. He is at home working hard, getting his masters, sleeping on white sheets, eating cesar salads, and becoming an even greater dude.

Even though Paul doesn't live here anymore, he still knows 'here'. he understands it. he gets it. and there are only three people i can count who could possibly get this: baldy, this bag of bones, and mr. amazing himself.

As i said before, Anna and i have been not well. Paul, being the good man he is, thought we ought to have a proper mini vacation. A clean bed to go home to. A climate controlled environment. A pool to lounge by and room service to spoil us. That's right ladies. Paul Javid made it so. He did the unthinkable. He booked us a relaxing weekend at the Taj.

Paul Javid is my hero, and he should be yours too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

... Never in all my life, would i have thought to utter these words.....

My Indian Maid Has Lost Her Friggn' Mind

I have been blessed to experience the indian novela which is Deepmala.

If you remember, last episode of Deepmala in Da House we heard the story told of The Stone and the Roti.

The Protagonist (Deepmala): A very sweet young indian woman with kidney stones, hums love songs as she diligently cooks and cleans. The geckos sing back up.

The Bad Guy (mio): The spoiled and privileged american girl embarrassed to have help - but still manages to gchat and sip guava juice as the maid scrubs her floor.

Over time, Deepmala's story has strangely morphed from a tear jerker - to a made for tv mystery of Emmy winning proportions.

Deepmala is a lovely lady. However, out of my life's quirky characters she is one of the strangest anomalies i have ever come across. she is not the best maid, nor the best cook. She has difficulty remembering, always has an excuse why she can't come to work- but still asks for a raise, misplaces things constantly [i.e. lost her salary (like all of it)], and has a history of playing the sympathy card of to collect donations. For me, trying to rationalize her thought process evokes the feeling of the first time I attempted to sit in one of those chairs. the kind where you aren't really sure where the arse goes. its confusing. its awkward. its frustrating. its a bunch of little 'Now how the hell is this a good idea?' moments all strung together. She is just flaky as all hell. But- eh- what can i say, 4:30 - 7:30 m-s we are hooked.

Lately, we have been lucky. This season, episodes of Deepmala have in no way disappointed its fans. Her character has progressed from a one dimensional young lady - to a woman filled with attitude, bossiness, sass, and secrecy. Maybe because i am paying closer attention, maybe she is just getting comfortable with us - and this is the REAL deal (OOOOOOHHHH GOOD plot twist!) Either way, I am happy to report, she has now began yelling when she is displeased. It 1st happened the other day. After arriving 2 hours late, she became angry at the site of the mango peel i left in the sink. She was pissed because i was an idiot and cut off too much of the meat of the fruit along with the i got a scolding. anna got chastised when the bread and eggs went bad while we were out of town for a couple she got an ear full as well. i understand this is a bit wasteful - but the reality is - things go bad. specialy when they don't have preservatives in them. lately she will randomly start going off in hindi - yelling about a bucket - or there is no water - or its hot outside. aren't these normal idocyncracies of india? isn't it no big secret it is a zillion degrees out, and the power has gone off for the 5th time today? its quite the treat to witness! I will quickly continue so that you may see for yourself what kind of craziness we got a brewin' in lucknow.....

Bluntly put, Deepmala is weird and does a lot of weird shit. you can quote me on that. i feel the most enjoyable part is she believes no one knows how weird she is - like she has created some alternate universe of 'normal' where she keeps her quarkiness a secret. she is the worst closet weirdo on record. one of the oddities that is Deepmala, which i have grown to accept, is watching her do the dishes. She randomly THROWS cans and bottles up into a little shelf in the kitchen wall - hinding them from plain view. It goes a little somethin' like this:

wash wash wash hummmmingtomyself hummm hummmmmmmingggggggg CHUCK with the left hand!!!!hummmmminggggggsomehindilovesonnnnng hmmmmwashhhh hmmm THROW THROW right hand! twitter twitter rinse rinse chiiiiirrrrp chirrrrp hmmmmmmm wash wash wash hummmmhmhmmmm TOSS!!

the first time i saw her do it, we thought we were watching some sketch from snl. its incredible. instead of taking these things out with the trash, she has taken to chucking them up to the shelf - making a little garbage collection. ?????????? ok. i thought to myself , that is kind of strange. yeah, but this is part Deepmala's appeal. its why we watch.

*why are there bags of snuff poorly hidden in my windowsill? ok. that's just Deepmala.
*why am i missing shampoo? Deepmala is secretly using it.
*how did watermelon rinds and seeds suddenly appear all over my bathroom? was it the watermelon fairy? No, Deepmala just decided to eat watermelon in the bathroom. thats all.

Our little made for tv mystery has all the all the necessary makings for prime time success. You would request it on InDemand. You would put it up on youtube.

All of this was in good indian fun. i could deal. i love a good laugh. Until, last night. OHHHH last night pushed me to the edge.

Please let me repeat:

... never in all my life would i have thought to utter these words....

My Indian Maid Has Lost Her Friggn' Mind

Athena was cleaning up the kitchen, and decided to collect the pizza box from the top of the kitchen shelf.....and this is what she found.....

And naturally, as i FUMED in disgust, anna and athena had a laugh throwing it all away.

its official. this whole country - even the maid - is trying to kill me.

One this is for sure, you are going to want this shit to be syndicated.

Tune in next week as the saga continues!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

baldy and a bag of bones go to the hosptial.

I'm not going to lie. Anna and I have been sick. Not the kind of - oh i have a cold and feel sheepish. The kind where you think "OK, It's been a month of health issues. Im getting worse. Maybe I should go to a doctor? Hmm, I can feel my coccyx jut out when i sit on the floor. My arm just fell off. I just blacked out sitting still in my chair. Yeah, i should go to a doctor."

So last week we caved and went to the nearby hospital, Saint Joseph's. It is a private hospital with nuns dressed in white, and Jesus statues, and a close rickshaw ride away. Of course we were idiots to think we could go and get all of our health concerns 'sorted out' in a day. in one of the most populated states in india. in one of the most populated countries of the world. The hospital reminded me of the train station. Lots of families, lots of lines, lots of milling about. No one is really going anywhere.

(thrilled as usual)

Basically this is the lowdown: You first travel downstairs to get a number to see a doctor. If you are a first time patient at St. Joseph's you need to be issued a 'book'. It is your responsibility to keep this book with you at all times (FOREVER apparently). You bring it with each visit, and each time the doctor writes his notes down - medication prescriptions - further tests to be taken- etc. In a nutshell, it's a complete record of your medical history, so the hospital doesn't have to keep the records of everyone they treat (i am sure that would be nearly impossible). You also must provide your name, religion, phone number, and address. Anna filled her religion section: Baha'i. I left mine answerless. By 9:00am, she was Hindu, and I was Christian. great start to our day.

(this is anna excited about our day)

We were number 10 in in line, for room #10, so we patiently sat on the benches in the main room, in front of Jesus, in 110 degree heat, for 2 hours...waiting to be called. There were about 15 rooms along the parameter of the main room - all taking patients. Some treating #4, some #45, some #62. I was grateful to get number 10.

Our doctor we were randomly assigned was actually helpful (i know that sounds strange). He listened to our concerns, asked questions, took our privacy seriously as men randomly barged in to sell stuff. He wanted to be thorough. i was relieved. things were going well at first. however we did hit a slight hiccup in my evaluation when he took my bloodpressure.

1st time.....pause. look of concern.
2nd time....pause....confusion.
third time.

"Madam, are you OK?"
"Yes, Im fine, is everything OK?"
"Your bp is 80/60."
"Is that normal?"
"The lowest you should have is 100. You are at 80. Would you like to be admitted to the hospital for a couple days to rest?"
" (enter thought: me lying in hospital bed in room with 10 indian women staring at me. no bra. iv drip in my arm.), im fine. i have to work. (thankfullsoutherngirlsmile)."
"Okay (youwesternwomenaregoingtodieinthisheat head bob)."

He prescribed a plethora of meds, and a lot more tests for the both of us to have done: chest xrays, blood work up, urine/stool, testing the thyroid, making sure anna didn't have diabetes, abdomen ultrasounds...LOTS of fun stuff. It took us all week to get it all done. All the tests, the xrays, the reports. After fighting to hold my place in line for 3 days, glaring at and pushing old women trying to cut in front of me, children asking me for money to for medicine they can't afford (some lying - some telling the truth)... i had had enough. i will never go to a hospital again. i will just die at home. it was too exhausting. and after all that, my time, energy, missing work - all i thought was- i better had had some condition worth an all paid inclusive vacation for 2 to the carribean lodged between my spleen and whatever is next to the spleen. or a ceasar salad.

the doctor looked at my results and reported everything was 'normal', except for some mild hepatomegaly in my uterus/liver which came up in the abdomen ultrasound. he say not to worry, but prompted me to go see a 'lady doctor' just to make sure. this frustrated me. i know 'normal' is relative. different places. different cultures. but apparently, in india, even though i didn't feel normal, i was normal. if my bp got any lower i could slip into a coma, don't worry - everything is fine. anna has lost a third of her hair - don't worry - everything is under control. we were two perfectly unhealthy girls, given 'healthy' thumbs up. lucky lucky ladies.

we made an appointment for us to see the gynecologist (aka: the lady doctor).

Note: i had thought retelling experiences of getting over my inner fears or crapping my pants in varanasi would be on the top of my 'difficult subjects to write about' list.

i am overjoyed to report that i was wrong.

may i please start by saying i don't know of anyone who actually LOVES to go to the gynecologist (if you do, please inform me). Its not like its as bad as getting a skin graph, or going to get your hemorrhoids looked at. it is after all, a mostly painless and informative examination. but for me, there are better places to be - more fun to be had elsewhere - than having someone poke around downtown.

just so you know, i did go to the p. poker before i left for india, and got a clean bill of health. Unfortunately the abdominal ultrasound at the hospital detected something different. So, i obliged.

For those who aren't aware, when you go to the 'lady doctor' in the states, the doctor is very aware of you as the patient...there is consultation, feelings and emotions are discussed, she lets you know the order things, what she is going to examine when, what she is doing before she does it. there are no surprises. your comfort is top priority. Its easy to relax. Now, I have heard the bedside manner of indian doctors is a bit different, so i was trying to prepare myself mentally. Doctors and medical staff are rougher, quick to get things done. There isn't any tiptoeing around nerves or potential hurt feelings. But if you think about it, there isn't a lot of time for that sort of thing when there are huge amounts of people to fix, and not so much time to fix them in.

My boss Urvashi found out we had to go see the lady doctor and immediately made the arrangements to take us herself (with the driver of course). We went to her personal gal- the best in Lucknow - a Dr. Chandrawati. Its incredible. Urvashi and Anna both know how to get things done, but on two completely opposite planes. Anna is the one to know if you need to get a rickshaw, bribe a train conductor, or get down and dirty with the chaiwala on the corner. Urvashi (a woman who knows everyone who is anyone) is the force who calls meetings with government officials in order to persuade them do what she needs them to do, barges in and demands prompt service to be delivered, and gets you into the lady dr without an appointment when there are 45 women waiting in front of you. There is no number taking with her. She is a godsend.

So in we went. two western women and queen Urvashi herself. we waited around for about 40 minutes, finally Dr. Chandrawati came out of 'surgery', walked through the room and spotted us (which is kind of like identifying a 3 tall giraffes in Antarctica). Urvashi inquired about her daughter, introduced us, and said we needed to be seen immediately. The doctor kindly asked us to wait in the AIR CONDITIONED office across the room. she would send someone for us when she was ready. Urvashi of course had to run off, and left us to relax in our private waiting room. Done and done, as anna would say.

30 minutes later we were taken into her office. They didn't seat us in the regular room with the other indian women- but put us in the examination room itself. A small room with two examination tables and a 'privacy' wall about 4 feet high between them. Anna and I sat there, awaiting our fate looking around for an escape hole. Underneath each table was a bucket containing clear solution and used gloves (some bloody and some not so bloody). All i remember is anna saying "i wanna know why some of those have blood all the way up to the wrist. elizabeth?? do you see what im talking about???". i heard her, but couldn't respond. i was fixated on the woman lying down on the table in front of us. we were facing the bottoms of her feet...and they were ....getting ready to...... "um, anna...are they going to...?" we began fidgeting, adverting our heads, situating ourselves in nervousness. when i thought of coming to india for a personal experience, this wasn't what i had in mind......awwwwwwkward........ and then just before things got too personal, someone finally moved us. we ended up sitting on the next bed with our backs to her. thank god. i thought we were safe. i obviously thought too soon.

2 seconds later the doctor herself walked in. we both reviewed our health problems. i showed her my ultrasound report, let her know ive lost a lot of weight and have been sick, blah blah blah. anna briefed her on her hair loss, weakness, and other health issues. She took note of our problems, smiled and said "OK, lie down." I looked to Anna, quipped 'good luck, you go 1st!' with a smirk, and attempted to leave the room. "Nonono elizabeth, you too - you lie down." suddenly the scooby in me spoke, "HOOOOUUUUUHHH?" i stopped in dread, turned around, and saw the other bed was free now as well. great. I walked to the other side. The assistant held a sheet up, told me to take of my stuff and lie down. Apparently anna and i do everything together here. e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

Lets just say the next 5 minutes i spent on that table will forever be burnt in my memory. This marks the point when india had taken enough of my sass, bitch slapped me across the face, served myself back to myself on a platter, lit a cig and sauntered off to get some chai. have i not LEARNED to expect the unexpected? All the things i felt, saw, and heard: blood, forceps, removing objects, white knuckles screaming in silence, five sets of hands poking my stomach. Never again will the phrases "very very very very bad fungal infection." and "Oh yes, its a rather LARGE tumor." have such weight in my heart and stomach.

After the terrorist attack of the entire southern hemisphere, i quickly got dressed. My insides screamed "WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED TO US?!?!?!", but i was silent. Anna and i sat at dr's desk in the middle of 30 indian women, as she let us know what we needed to do. We nodded. Anna held back tears. We held hands. She got a list of meds. I got a list of meds and a referral for ANOTHER ultrasound. I was to get it asap and come back to see her the next day at 11:00. "Don't worry" she said, " sure everything is fine."

We stumbled out of guantanamo, traumatized beyond our wildest nightmares. i rhetorically asked..."Anna? What the hell just happened?" "Don't worry honey..." anna held it together, went in to give me an eskimo kiss, and in her best Arnold impression stated, "You don't have a TUMA."

So in our fragile state, we did what any other smart american girls would do: we walked to the nearest 5 star hotel, called a car service to take us home, and ate a big plate french fries as we contemplated how we were going to break the news to our mothers. walking with our arms intertwined, we made sure to curse everything and everyone we saw. the men. the trash. the dogs rummaging. the birds mocking us. the holy cows. the noise. the indianess of it all.

We made an appointment for my second ultrasound (internal kind this time - woo friggn hoo) the next day. I was supposed to see a woman, but her schedule didn't work with ours - so i opted for the man doctor option. The receptionist making the appointment was reluctant to let me have it (the doctor available was a man after all, and i was....well...a woman), but it turned out that since i was married - it was OK that a man examine me. lucky lucky girl.

so the next day, i woke up early, and went to see about this alleged TUMA. The MAN doctor started off by talking to me about how his cousin lives in Seattle- which i tried to block out - and then moved on to feeling my stomach. He asked me if i needed to urinate. i said no. he said to go try. so i went and peed. i returned to the table and we began with the procedure. He then told me again, "I thought I told you to go urinate?" I was confused. "I did. I can't go anymore." silence "Hmmmmm. Well you have quite a lot of urine." Stupefied.

So here is the deal, this whole time i just assumed that my inability to pee was because i didn't have to. I thought i was sweating out all the water I drank. THUS no pee. I mean, its HOT here. I had NO IDEA my broken body was retaining 250ccs of urine! YEAH, there is your TUMA bitchesssss.

Back at dr. lemme indianize you, i ran some more urine and blood tests. i showed her allll my results and she of course informed me everything was normal- besides a liver infection/inflammation, and my 80 year old inability to fill a urine test cup. She dismissed me with medications to take. i will be taking them.

So, in short, anna and myself are slowly on the mend. we are still a weak pair, all full of talk and no walk. Even though we may be a little slower physically, we are quick to remember the positives of this situation.

Let's just review the scary symptoms and their positive counterpart outcomes shall we?

Serious hair loss: real human hair wigs in various drag queen colors.
Serious infection of the delicates: i will never return to lucknow ever again.
Serious weight loss/weakness/blackouts: we can get a leg wax for 5$.
Serious 'i am starting to look like a sewar rat' disease: n/a.
Serious inability to release urine: elastic waste bands and Ol' Country Buffet.

But through it all, being sick has provided me with time to unwind, relax, medicate myself (lucknow is better on medication), and most importantly -thanks to an aquaintence in Haifa- i am currently spending my time surfing one of the most excellent websites i have ever come across.

You are so welcome.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

El Miedo

Lately I have been reviewing life experiences, focusing on different parts of my character - and looking at how each part is a direct result from personal tests and adventures.

For example:

Experience: Being the sister of a younger brother and daughter of a single mother.
I Learned: I am the goddess of multitasking. i am stupidly funny. I know what you need, even before you do. Also, i have an unhealthy (but happy) relationship with this stuff.

Experience: Going to college.
I Learned: I am a lot smarter than I give myself credit for, and actually enjoy learning. I am stupidly funny. Don't trust people (young and old) who appear to have it all perfectly together. 9 times out of 10 they have no idea what the hell they are doing - just like you. I am a great bullshitter. I should have been an art major.

: Getting Married.
So far I have Learned: I am better at giving than receiving love. I am a chronic worrier. Boundaries are healthy. Listening is much more effective than talking at times. I am my mother. i am homebody. mom did a good job raising me. I am a hard worker. i am stupidly funny.

So, throughout this short experiment God likes to call my life, I have recognized some basic things about elizabeth. At the ripe old age of 27.75 I can actually list some of the things which make me tick- what i need from you- what i don't need from you. This list will probably change as early as next month, but please know this is quite a feat, since I remember not so long ago being completely clueless when it came to knowing myself. embarrassingly clueless. This is not to say i am any less clueless now, and its also not to say I have it all 'figured out'...oh we are definitely not saying that. no ma'am. Like, i am not completely sure what i want to do with with my life - but i definitely am closer to knowing what i DON'T want to do. and that is a great feeling. It just feels good being able to know yourself, even if its just a little bit.

One thing on my list, I am a firm believer that all things (good and bad) happen for a reason. All life's trials and messes are there just to make me a more colorful person. A more complete, capable, and 'with it' human. well, maybe not 'with it' and capable - but definitely colorful.

Im not saying i don't loathe these experiences. Stupid obstacles and detours roughing up my little path. Some annoying pebbles in my shoe, some boulders I dodge, and some are effin landmines i unfortunately can't escape. Some obstacles I can see from a mile away, but then there are others that sneak up, and knock the wind out of me. Everyone has their own personal landmines and pebbles. Everyone loves a : A what the hell was that moment, or some i have just been shot in the face experience. On one level, how you handle them reminds you of your growth and progression as a person. And on other levels, it just plain sucks ass. For me, its difficult to not dwell too much on the sucking ass part.

So yeah, the reason behind this post.

I am currently in the process of working through an annoying pebble that has been a constant companion for me, and has been since i can remember. Fortunately (or unfortunately) this trip to India has brought it up to the surface. Maybe its the fact that i don't have a television, maybe its the fact im going to be 28, or maybe im just getting tired of me.

its Fear. So much fear i fear.

I know people have different quantities of fear. But for me, i somehow must have gotten a really good dose of it along the way and i haven't been able to shake it, dilute it, unload it, or whatever it.

I am not referring to the basic normal fear stuff (which i have in abundance as well):

* i want to put a permanent helmet on my 3 year old nephew
* driving on the freeway in general is scary as all hell
* the fear of drying a bread knife and cutting off all your fingers
* fear that my loved ones won't make the right choices for themselves
* fearing people who come over will look behind the shower curtain

Im talking about the self sabotage fear. the type that prevents you from living your full potential - that halts your growth by not allowing the development of your given talents. the type that has the ability to alter your future peace. the real fear we should be fearful of.

Bluntly put, i fear expressing myself....shocking i know. but understand I don't mean VERBAL forms of self expression. i think i have the verbal part covered thanks, we are currently working on pulling that back a little. or a lot. Im talking about not talking. Writing, painting, tweezing, singing, photography, interpretive dance, whistling. whatever. Oh my God how i love these things, how they inspire.....But one would think, if i loved them, if they feed my soul, if they were a part of my identity - then WHY am i so PAINFULLY shy and incapable when it comes to doing them!? Sing a solo- diarrheaville . Write something to read out loud -no way jose. Paint me a picture - i have to file my paper piles. I feel judged before i start. All my ideas are moronic. I am suddenly 4 years old. Self criticism becomes my best friend. defeated.

The sick justification is the fear. Do it well, or don't do it at all. The sense that for it to be worth doing, it must be of a certain quality, and im not capable of delivering such quality. Thus, nothing happens. Maybe this comes from growing up in such a creative hot spring filled with brilliant artists. The critical nature of my family? The brilliant could afford to be critical...they were....well, brilliant. Maybe its my self esteem. Maybe i haven't learned to get over myself and other people. Anyway. I can finally say, I am slowly getting over the fear. Like i said before, all things happen for a reason. Thanks to my bff mother india. (here's a good video to explain what bffs do together).

I experience a lot of 'normal fear' here. A language I don't understand. A culture that seems a bit wacky at times. A lot of men staring at you, taking pictures of you, laughing at you (unfortunately its all about male frustration. im not even going to lie). Doing wrong more than doing right. Getting yourself in potentially unsafe situations (translation: it was unsafe. i admit it). You look like an idiot, you feel like an idiot. I fear the known, the unknown, the possibility of god knows what. So to deal, I have developed a tough exterior. i know i have always been snarky and sassy, but I do things in india i would never do back at home. I yell at random strangers, i am off putting on purpose just to intimidate. Sometimes i feel i have to be mean - to be forceful. Let people know I am not to be taken advantage of, let people know even though i am a foreign woman - i demand respect. or at least, some personal space ("I'm sorry, i can SMELL yall looking at me, can you please BACK THE FUCK OFF!" is what screams through my head. in case you were wondering). I have learned that if i allow the fear to consume me, i don't get a lot accomplished, so i will be 'assertive' - its a fair trade. its a good lesson.

The action of forcing myself to act fearless in my daily routine, has managed to spill over into my personal life. I began asking myself: if i can stare down a man - a complete stranger - and make him leave anna alone, if i can take an overnight train by myself - if i can attempt to learn hindi and have my coworkers laugh in my face, if i can yell and scream in broad daylight at the guys who pull over on the side of the road in their car to harass us....well then i should be able to write down my random thoughts and actually invite people to read them. i should be courageous enough to paint. and i should take pictures of whatever the hell i want. i should be able to lighten up .

And is going pretty well.

This blog has actually been a big part of that. consider it an exercise in getting over myself. i enjoy writing it, i am arguably consistent, i get what i need out of the process, and even though it freaks me out - i can send it 'out there' as i close my eyes and hit the 'publish post' button. done. it does a good job of informing the family what is going on- as well as reminding me of why i am here. Painting is also going well for many of the same reasons. Its easy to be inspired in india. The more i do it, the less frustrated i become - not just with painting- but with the other messes i deal with. The only problem i have had is I am attempting to do a cow series, but lately everytime i go to take a picture of a cow - it charges me. i figure if i get gored it will make for an even better story. I have come to terms with the fact that the action of doing is the important thing - not necessarily the end result. I consider it my new meditation, which really works out because i don't fall asleep as often. im taking it as a good sign. moments of calm, quiet, and contemplation are a good thing. alliteration is also quite nice.

Monday, June 8, 2009

either way, you better watch out.

Exhibit A:

Our guard bull. Mind the horns please.

Exhibit B:

The morning view from my bedroom window.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

a couple things i noticed

Sunday morning we had a really bad storm. i would have called it a monsoon, but have been told those haven't really hit yet. Whatever it was, there was enough water to fill up our balcony and pour into our living room. soaking the rugs.

anna and i woke up around 10am to the sound of the wind whirling and twirling. the sky opening to shoot needles of rain down upon us. the windows smacking the walls as they opened and closed. the power going out. it was all so exciting.

The streets were flooded, and so was our house. so instead of cleaning, Anna and I danced outside in our pjs (forgoing our modesty cloaks) to take pictures. A slight drizzle and crisp cold breeze (not 'cool', but actually 'cold') nudged us to run back inside to get some sweaters. a sweater on a cold april morning is a great idea.

For about 3 minutes, if i had closed my eyes and started hallucinating, i could have believed myself back to seattle...i think i hear the 73 pulling up...ahhhh.

Now, please stay with me here...

In elementary school you learn about our solar system. We studied about the planets and their personalities, the sun, and lies like how i could expect to be living on the moon by the year 2020. Thanks Mrs. Whitsel, maybe i can retire there. How nouveau of me.

As far as the planets go, i remember the basics. For example: Mars talks a lot of smack and gets noticed for it even though it still hasn't proven it has water. It does however house Mt. Olympus and some polar ice caps. Jupiter is large and in charge and is always in a bad mood, which it rightfully should be. If i had a massive gravitational pull, electrical discharges, a permanent Red Spot - and was known for being the gassiest planet- i would be a sourpuss as well. Pluto is unfortunately having an identity crisis. Yes it's in a funk, but there is a lot of moxie left in that little lump of a planet. It would suck to stand at the back of the line for that long - only to be denied entry. I am not giving up on Pluto, and it will always be a planet in my eyes- i am expecting big things.

The sun was definitely a topic of disappointment. Turns out the sun isn't a big deal after all, its just a plain old star. A plain old star with a life span in fact. A LIFE SPAN, like a beginning-middle-and end. And in the end, like all ends, they burn out and die. The eventual dying part stuck with me of course. What child plans for the sun to DIE? So, uh Mrs. Whitsel, what happens when there is no sun? Doesn't that mean there will be no light? Um, yes elizabeth, that is correct. No light? So, the plants will all die then right?! Well yes, elizabeth. So, if there is no sun and no light, then there can be no photosynthesis - and no oxygen - and no life on earth...RIGHT!??! Um, yes elizabeth...but that of course won't happen for billions of years....ok?

[Obviously my personal anxiety issues slash serious worry for the minute wasn't just the unflattering phase of my 20s. Thank God. I had it when I was 8. What a relief.]

Well no Mrs. Whitsel that wasn't ok. Since I realized i couldn't rely on the solar system to ensure my existence, I would have to take matters into my own hands. I remember going home that day collecting all of mom's empty jars, retrieving the shovel from the garage, digging a hole in the flower bed, filling each jar to the brim with air -sealing the lids tightly- and burying all 6 of them. There you go stupid sun...i made sure we will have enough air even after your demise. The sun can suck it.

Never before has that last statement been so true. And oh how i feel its truth. There is a reason they tell foreigners to not come here in the summer. There is a reason people. Never before had i fully understood its immense power. its heat. our reliance. its unapologetic domination of my daily routine. incredible. whether i like it or not. the sun - and its abilities- aren't going anywhere.

but enough of stupid sun, back to the glorious rain.
ahhhhh the i miss you....

thank God for the storm. the rain cooled off the scorching dusty earth (got up to 117 the other day), healed the dry and cracked ground, the grit being blown about was kept at bay, silenced the painful croaking of the heat exhausted animals, and efficiently pressure washed every surface, every angle, every dusty pile.

i stood outside watching children play in the flooded streets, the animals contently lounging in their newly found cleanliness. the plants a bit greener. the homes a bit whiter. the trash swept away by the rush of water. a blanket salve had been applied in cracks and crevices, all that wicked dust and grit contained, the water muffling sounds that were much quicker to escape before. everything had been put back together. colors a bit more vivid, a little healthier, a smidge more manageable. a soothing pause punctuated this magnificent moment.

For the first time, i felt like lounging. the possibility of having a 'rainy sunday' in real sweatpants, a cup of peppermint tea, my water colors, and some Grey's Anatomy..... i welcomed it back like an old friend. the type that no matter how long they were gone, you pick up right where you left off without missing a step.

each day i find these moments for myself. these little treasures scattered throughout this landscape. some more peaceful than others. some more telling than others. whether its watching shy village children turn bold...coming to grips with the cold truth that anna is a fan of Star Treck...realizing how long a cow's tongue is, as you watch it struggle to snatch the last leaf off some poor excuse for a tree...seeing happy street dogs excited to see you...figuring out that Deepmala is using my shampoo...catching the rickshaw driver crack a smile at the site of 3 american girls laughing at each other in the back pronouncing my name 'elijabit' so that it sounds like 'illegitimate'... a thick mess of sweat forming on my upper lip, pre and post 11pm bucket bath...the smell of the next storm which can't come soon enough...the joy which is 1 kilo of lychee...hearing the neighborhood children call you didi.

these are things i have found so far. i can't wait to find more.

lychee + mini sugar sweet plums = my l.o.v.e.s.

i don't care how sick i get.
i don't care if i get 'worms in the brain' like Addison's brother (thanks anna) on Grey's.
i don't care if i turn into one like Violet.

we bought 1 kilo of both -

and i am going to eat every last one.
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