MuddyFingersMeg

Eat, drink, (garden, knit, quilt, think, fix, read) & be merry

Nostalgia

I was looking for a photo on my old travel blog and came across an entry I wrote as I sorted through the documents of my 4 month round-the-world-on-a-shoestring trip.  It brought back so many sweet memories I had to post it here.

In preparation for India I finally dug out my red travelling pack, slightly damp and musty, each buckle so familiar to me, each worn and torn spot a story. As I pulled out the remnants of my last trip I found piles of paper, edges ratty. As I peaked through the pages, the memories found me. There are stacks of health papers with vaccination records, the negative HIV test results that are entry requirements for a few countries, the impromptu written Korean lessons given to me by a 10 year old girl, there are dozens of scribbled email addresses, newspaper clippings, my SCUBA certification card and dive log, city maps, train tickets, photocopied receipts for my iPod and camera to avoid import/export duties, malaria tablet instructions, a handwritten list of common travel ailments and treatments, my Angkor Wat pass, traveller’s insurance information, contact numbers, lists, visa requirements, my teaching schedule from Korea, passport photocopies, sound cues for words in a half dozen languages, long poems from Ogden Nash and Maya Angelou that I memorized on long bus rides when car sickness prevented me from reading. Perhaps most importantly I found unfinished journal entries scrawled on any available paper-like materials full of poignant moments, half written poems, and quotes from books and fellow travellers. I thought I’d post a few here. (It is my writting if no other credit is given).

Morning on a bus
driver’s feet still stiff and
sleepy.
Traffic thick, street clogged,
a protest.
driver stalls, bus sputters,
stops.
grandfather, granddaughter
beside me, laughing.
She, crossing a border I cannot know,
finds the quick hand of her grandfather
sharp on her cheek, flesh on flesh,
I startle, afraid to look, my fears
confirmed by her quick tears.

Things I miss most from home
– Jeans
– Hoodies
– Peanut Butter!

Quote from “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, p. 329

“…I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”

Dec. 28, 2005
Camellia Line Ferry – Busan to Fukuoka

A whisper of a girl
hand fluttering behind her,
fingers like feathers,
feet barely touching the
floor of the
boat, rocking steadily beneath us.
Her slight eyes sweep back to me,
urgently.
I, lacking her stealth,
shuttle on behind her,
feet rustling the carpet

Sweet the night air,
icy the wind,
she stops at the railing,
tosses her arm in a long, lazy arch,
feathery fingers revealing
a sprinkling of lights reflected
on rippled water.
There are no words
as there is no language
between us.
Only the
boat, the
night, the
slight breathing of the
whisper girl.

“It is better to be happy in too many places than to be happy no where at all.” – Sarah Bartz

I’ve learned a lot about myself, here on the road. I’m picky, particular, rather prickly at times… I’m not as flexible as I once thought and now wish.

“You’ve raged,
you’ve raged,
far more than I
thought possible.
Keep raging,
keep raging,
until I see you once more.

Married couples bickering sound the same the world over.

“There are two kinds of truths. There are the superficial truths, the opposite of which are obviously false, wrong. But there are also the profound truths, whose opposites are equally right.” – Vinje, norwegian poet

For the bulk of this vast trip, I have not, as I expected, been alone.

Phan

His eyes glaze
(nearly nostalgically)
with the mention
of ice
(and snow)

He’s a tropical
boy,
gots the dark skin
to prove it

He’s a poor boy,
has the
nothing
to prove it.

He’d like to walk on
(frozen)
water
but can’t afford a
coat big
enough to keep him
warm.

The water’s dark
and warm
and slung in the sky
is a sliver crescent of a
moon

“You’re a rare breed, you travelling Americans.” – a travelling Australian

Here in Dublin there are old ladies wandering the streets, pushing prams heaped with bananas. I hear their song on nearly every street, almost as if it is in bored, monotone stereo, “Bananas. 8 for 2 euro, 2 euro for 8 bananas.”

Tonight Jen, Sam and myself were watching the European version of, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire!” It was in German and the only thing I gleaned from the experience was a multiple choice question and the answer options were: Dan, Jan, Han, or the Pan. We laughed about that all night.  (they rhyme in German “Dahn Jahn Hahn or da Pahn”  Maybe you had to be there.)

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On my mind

India

Something about spring reminds me of India. The air smells lively and interesting – a combination of sweet blossoms, warming tar, and a proliferation of people. It’s a far cry from the crisp, but plain, smell of winter. The mornings are cool enough for layers of wool but the afternoons bloom into a tan-giving heat. There are people e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e.  And bikes.  And animals.  Where were they all living?  The dogs, the birds, the rabbits and squirrels and cats.  And roadkill.  All that fresh roadkill.  I keep looking out for monkeys, but haven’t spotted any yet.

I think often of that enchanting and maddening place. I miss it and yet I’m so grateful to be where I am.

(unrelated, but compelled to mention, the lilacs have leapt into action.  I first spied them at the farmer’s market this morning and their unmistakable purple spires caught me unaware and took my breath away and brought hot tears to my eyes in a train shed surrounded by people.  Oh, the lilacs, so sweet and so complicated.  They’ve erupted over fences and gates all over the city – their ungainly and jubilant chaos truly heralds the arrival of spring and the next stage of grief.  It really is the little milestones that are so. incredibly. painful.)

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