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Cambodia December 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittneydezirae @ 11:25 am

Compare & Contrast

  

Assurance, Advantage, America

Seventeen. I moved into my own apartment. Took a full time job at Barnes & Noble. Started my pit of debt, obtained some student loans, and began my first year of college. *Blessed*. My worries included lack of money, often lack of transportation, papers, exams, grades, relationships, and my dog. *Lucky*. Dad was long gone, and I fought with or often wasn’t on speaking terms with my mother. I felt sorry for myself way too often. I didn’t have time or money to go anywhere or do anything. I thought I had it rough. *Fortunate*. Like every (normal) teenager, I was a flibberty-jibbet. My life plans changed as often as my mood. Monday I wanted to be in music, Tuesday a veterinarian, Wednesday an ecologist, Thursday a doctor or nurse, and by Friday I had usually made up my mind to be a free spirited world traveler.  *Golden*.  What amazing oppportunities I’ve had. To even have the right to hope that I could be any one of those things in my life… In the end, I went with Thursday. I became a nurse. I wanted a career that would help me help people. I wanted to be the Friday that didn’t just travel the world to sit back and stare in awe or lazy empathy. I wanted to be the Friday that got my hands dirty with purpose….So I’m trying that out. First stop, Cambodia.

 

Contradiction, Courage, Cambodia

Beauty and tragedy walk side by side in this amazing country. I titled this post “Compare & Contrast” not realizing what a daunting task that would be. At this point in history, comparing Cambodia to America would be like comparing bananas to toucans. Sure we all dwell in the same tree, but toucans have the freedom to fly….As long as I’m alive, I have opportunity. I have an actual chance at doing and succeeding in almost anything I sincerely set my sights on. I take that fact for granted way too often. I live a life of excess and luxury compared to my Cambodian counterparts. 

For those of you who may not know of Cambodia’s devastatingly dark history, don’t feel bad. Until a few months ago, I too had no idea of the heartbreaking mass holocaust that occurred in this country only 30 years ago (1975-1979), and the disasterous effects it has put on its people. Somehow the details of these important historical events managed to slip right by all of the history and social studies courses I endured during the past 17 years of my formal education. hmmm…But because my blog is meant for reflection and not for history lessons, I recommend to you the following site http://www.mekong.net/cambodia/index.htm . It is an excellent source for information, photographs, biographies, and personal accounts of the Khmer Rouge rule, devasation, and recent history of Cambodia.  

 

 

What I can say now…

I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how I would feel, what I would be doing, who I would meet, and how, if at all, I would be changed because of  it. I prepared the best I knew how. I read of the tragic history, watched documentaries, read a few books, and talked briefly with other members of the team I would be traveling with. I acted as I would for any other extended travel with my list making, itinerary reading, troubleshooting, and packing dilemmas. I even rememered to pack plenty of in-flight entertainment for my delightful 28 hour, one way travel experience….And with confidence I can now say that none of this obsessive compulsive planning really prepared me, at all, for the experiences I encountered and the change I would see in myself.

It’s been over a month since I returned from Cambodia and I’m still somewhat speechless. I try to tell my friends and family about  my experience in a way that will bring it to life, but I have failed miserably. I’ve also made numerous attempts to write about it in my blog and have yet to produce anything remarkable. I probably open up this Post Edit at least 3-4 times a day, hoping that I will finally be able to successfully put it all into words. No dice. I think the problem is that so much happened every single day of my trip that there’s no possible way to recall it all. And when I try, the picture my words paint just seems incomplete and devoid. Furthermore, attempting to recall my feelings on each and every event in a productive and comprehendable manner is an overwhelming task. 

Though I may not be able to put it all into words, there are particular days that still weigh on my mind and heart on a near daily basis. Our second day in Cambodia we visited the S-21 Prison and Killing Fields. That entire day felt like a funeral. Walking through the rooms of a school building where thousands of innocent people were torn from their families, imprisoned, and tortured was painfully sobering. Seeing their pictures hanging on the walls with looks of confusion and desperation made my heart sink. Walking through the fields where these people were taken and murdered or left for dead was shocking and appalling. As we walked through the killing fields, we could still see bones, teeth, and clothing on the ground from the so recent mass genocide of these faultless people. Leaving gave me that feeling as if I were departing the funeral of friend’s untimely death…of an awful and senseless tragedy.  It’s that miserable realization that if you leave and go on with life, you accept what has happened and are somehow OK with it. I left that day with so much anger and sadness over people I had never even met. I can’t begin to imagine the sorrow the people of Cambodia must feel everyday.

 

Though the sad reality of this country’s history was difficult to swallow, the incredible spirit of these people kept me kicking. Visiting the villages and setting up medical clinics were definitely my fondest memories of the trip. The people are so overwhelmingly gracious and kind. They have nothing and yet are so quick to give it up. Some women offered me bird eggs as a token of their appreciation for seeing them and their children (My translator, Vatha, was happy to accept all of my yummy foreign treats on my behalf). Our medical team consisted of myself, 3 other nurses, a pharmacist, and our incredible translators from Phnom Phen. It was anticipated (and greatly underestimated) that we would see around 30-40 patients at each village. As this was a pioneering trip, we had no real idea of what we should expect. Amazingly, after a few days and only five different villages, our tiny team treated over 700 patients! We saw everything from heart disease, epilepsy, and stroke to malaria and typhoid. Treating people in school yards, under canopies of trees, in huts, and during torrential down pours just enriched the already awesome experience. The basic yet tremendously needed care we provided during those days is something I think about and often use to humble myself when silly frustrations at work arise.

 

More to come….

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Home, Again today November 11, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittneydezirae @ 10:27 pm

This blog is titled after 2 songs that, when I listened to them this summer, spoke to me so loudly I almost hated hearing them. Like when your mom gives you unsolicited advice and you try to pretend like you’re not listening because you know she’s right. 

So it’s been four long, exhausting (yet exciting), whirlwind months since I last wrote of my many mini life adventures. Though I have countless stories of what I’ve done, where I’ve been, and the amazing people I’ve met along the way, so much has happened and changed that it honestly all feels like a blur. All of the ups and downs (and near quarter life crises) in such a short time period makes me hardly able to recall it all or differentiate one place or experience from the next…For that reason I’m quite disappointed in myself for not keeping up with it all via this little blog. It was intended, afterall, to help me stay in touch with myself. Even if no one reads it, it’s good for my soul and my sanity to put it out there. So I suppose I should recap and update for those of you who I have yet to catch up with since settling back down into a stationary existence.

Mid August: Camp Wicoshootme (along with my daily torture) had finally come to an end. If ever in my life was I close to losing my mind, it was at this quaint little New Hampshire Hell. Though relieved to have regained my personal freedom, the imminent obligations of major life decisions were stalking the back of my mind quite consistently. Leaving the Northeast meant I was going back into real life where I had no job, no home, and  no strings attaching me to anyone or any place.  So like most young twenty somethings I decided it would be a great idea to go to New York City for a bit to help clear my mind.
 Shockingly enough, smelly summer subway stations are actually pretty great places to clear one’s mind…and appetite…but that’s beside the point. Being in such an outrageously  populated place made me feel so incredibly insignificant…which oddly enough brought me much needed peace. This feeling combined with my recent paradoxical summer experiences of freedom vs. camp imprisonment, uncertainty vs. love, excitement vs. disappointment, newness vs. annoying familiarity, etc, set off a variety of  emotions and epiphanies inside me.
Epiphanies: First I realized that I have the ability to survive and be perfectly content on my own. For 3 months I was pretty much my own support system, my own best friend, the only person I knew at most places I went. Secondly, good people are everywhere and I have the awesome ability of turning those good people into my dear friends. I now have amazing friends I can visit in some pretty rad places like Boston, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, Baltimore, DC, and even Canada!  Finally though, and most importantly, I admitted to myself that I was tired. Tired of being alone, tired of wandering about in an unstable state of being, and tired of having only my car to call home. Was it worth it? Without a doubt. I found myself.

Nashville: This is my home. I don’t know how it happened, but it sucked me in and man did I miss it while I was gone. I left Nashville in late May as if it was just another meaningless stop along my way in life. Not in the slightest way expecting to miss the city or all of the wonderful people in it. I was deeply mistaken. The moment I arrived back in Nashville, I felt like I had never left. It felt like home. Even if I was still living in my car, at least it was parked in the city I wanted to be in….

So with help from wonderful friends and their cozy couches, I worked my way back to being a normal human being.  With my dear friend and now roommate, Leland Grant, I found an adorable place to live (that doesn’t have 4 wheels) in an awesome little neighborhood called Germantown. And though I was certain I would never find a job in this economy, I quickly landed one in the Pediatric Emergency Dept. at Vanderbilt, the job I’ve wanted since I graduated college. Most importantly, I was reunited with the love of my life and sweet fur child, Pepsi. She had a conniption fit of happy when she saw me for the first time…ok maybe we both did.

Cambodia: I went in October. It was amazing. I’ll write about it very soon. With pictures that will warm your soul.

 

 

Below are a few simple things that have gone on since I’ve been home. Doubling as photographic reminders of why I love Nashville….also Pepsi in her ridiculous bee costume….naturally.

 

Camp Wicoshootme July 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittneydezirae @ 6:46 am

I want to start by apologizing for my severe lack on blogginess in the past month. I’ve had so much to say and so little time in which to share it. In addition to not having time, I’ve also been at a loss in regards to how exactly I could put my experiences into words. It’s been everything from a magical adventure to a hellacious nightmare. I realize this sounds extreme and slightly dramatic, so please allow me to explain.

For those of you who may not know, I’m currently working at an all girls summer camp on Newfound Lake in midstate New Hampshire. The setting is beautiful and the idea of my current position and locale is dream worthy. A vast lake surrounded by summer homes and picturesque evergreens. Winding roads that trail from the camp lead to cozy little towns filled with lamp posts in the place of street lights and family owned general stores instead of shopping malls. No city skylines in sight, just the pitch black with at least a thousand stars visible in every direction. Experiencing wildlife, rivers, mountains, or lakes is as simple as a quick bike ride down the way. It’s the type of place I imagine myself vacationing with my husband, 2 and 1/2 children, and perfectly behaved golden retriever. All dressed in white linen shorts and pastel tops with J.Crew cardigans (yes, even the dog). We’d have cookouts everyday, a toast at every meal, and fireworks just because. I promise this majestic imagery is not exaggerated in any way (excluding my outlandish family vacation fantasy of course). It’s all right here at my grasp, in all of it’s eternal summertime glory.  

 

SNB14505SNB14508sculptured rocksSNB14490

 

Now for the rest of the story….

Let’s rewind a tic and allow me to remind you that I’m working in this incredibly described little bubble of the world at an all girls summer camp. Myself, 3 other nurses, and a student nurse are responsible for the healthcare and wellness of around 300 campers and counselors. But hey, it’s summer camp! What could go wrong?! All we do is sings songs and hug and eat marshmallows, right? Wrong. Let me also refresh your memory and bring you back a few months to a recent media health scare known as H1N1, aka “swine flu”….Now…let’s do some math: Summer camp+1 person with H1N1=Camp wide swine flu pandemic.Yes, you read right. And yes, it totally happened.

I can’t even begin to describe the incredible annoyance and mental/physical anguish that this pesky little virus has caused me and my fellow nurses. I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked, sometimes for literally 24hrs at a (uncompensated) time. I’ve dealt with more needy people, confused doctors, and nervous parents than I’ve ever thought possible in one month’s time. I’ve been at my wit’s end and on the verge of a conniption on a near daily basis. All the while plastering on a happy face and going along as if everything’s totally cool. Keeping my voice chipper while talking to frustrated parents, and my demeanor relaxed when trying to manage sick call with 40 demanding  and inpatient preteen girls. It’s truly been one of the most difficult and exhausting jobs I’ve ever had. Perhaps because I expected one thing and got something completely different. Sometimes, on the rare occasion that I’m not stuck in the health center, I’ll catch glimpses of the dream world camp that I imagined when I took this job. It amazes me that outside of our medical hell, games, campfires, talent shows, and happiness are still actually occurring at a steady pace all around camp. On the positive side, I’m glad that all of this is able to happen in large part because of my and my colleagues diligent and hard work (<—-understatement of the year).  If even one of us would’ve hit our wall and left, this place would’ve fallen apart. So, am I a hero? I can’t really say….but yes.

Moving along….so in between the outrageous days and nights of summer camp nursing, I’ve been able to visit a few more amazing northeastern destinations. If you’re my friend, you know that I’m a pretty happy and optimistic person and therefore writing this fairly negative blog is not in my nature. But have no fear. I’ll soon redeem my optimistic ways with fantastic updates on my little getaways that include wonderful things like reuniting with good friends, Red Sox games, Hampton Beach, Champlaine Lake, and the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory.

PS: Thank you ahead of time for not saying things like “I told you so” or “see what happens when you go to New Hampshire”. With a state motto like “Live free or die”, I was obviously meant to end up here at some point in life.SNB14500

 

Speaking of Lobsters… June 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittneydezirae @ 3:30 am
maine
 
 
This week I visited Portland, Maine. I have never been that far north or east, and I must say I absolutely loved it. The people were kind, the accents were adorable, and the city was bustling but quaint. All the buildings looked like historical monuments set against the cozy cobble stone streets.  It was much more touristy than I expected, and as you’ll see in most of my pictures, I totally fell into it’s sneaky little trap of shops filled with moose and lobster pride, beach garb, and local foods.
 
Nichole window shopping in the Old Portportlands portNichole Moosin aroundtrying to fit in 
 
 
I was guided around Portland by my friend Nichole who I met about this time last year while visiting family in Florida. We hadn’t seen each other since then, but have the kind of friendship that makes that ok.  She introduced me to a couple of her friends, who were equally as cool. One of them even let me sleep on his couch during my stay (thanks Justin).
 
My sweet friend Nichole and I on the beachNichole taking a picture of me taking a picture of her
 
I’m not gonna say that I didn’t take the whole “Moosin’ around” thing a little too far…cause I maybe possibly might have…Portland made it too easy for me though…It’s all Portland’s fault…
 
 

I started my day in Maine with a Giant Lobster HugMoose are pretty cool...not sure if I really measure up Wicked good coffeeDefinitely not as cool as moose anymore....sadnesss

 
 
 
 
Maine is called Vacationland and I can see why. As defined by Merriam Webster, a vacation is a time of respite from something, or a period during which activity is suspened. Maine probably embodies the true term “vacation” better than any place I’ve ever been. It is peaceful, relaxing, beautiful, and easy going. Not many distractions or man made amusements to turn your respite time into an exhausting venture. 
 colors of Maine
The beach in Maine was as I imagined it would be. Like the setting described in the beginning of a sappy romance novel. The sky, sea, and sand all meeting to form varying vertical lines of gray, with every person looking like a waving shadow through the fog and relentless ocean breeze. It was unlike other beaches I have been to, with no one really swimming in the water or playing volleyball or frisbee. A few brave children would dip in occasionally to shriek at the feel of freezing water every time a wave came in. Most though, including myself, just sat or walked along the sand enjoying the day and the view of the water. If I were a writer, I would come here every summer to clear my mind and gain inspiration.
 

Beach houseville

 I really enjoyed taking pictures here. Every shot seemed to capture something magical or mysterious. The feel of this place was so calm, almost eery at times. I’ve posted two of my favorites below.
  

Finch on a fence in the fog

 

 

The path

Reflecting now on my short visit, I honestly didn’t expect to feel so much for this tiny spot of the world…Once again I appreciate the fact that life never fails to surprise me with my own feelings.

 

Let’s get some Shoes… June 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittneydezirae @ 4:52 am

A few weeks ago while walking through the streets of Boston, I saw a suspiciously large line of people wrapped around at least 2 or 3 city blocks. They were all just sitting in yard chairs or on blankets, and some even had makeshift tents and beds. It reminded me of the craziness that occurs during the holidays when people foolishly wait outside shopping malls for hours, anticipating the latest toy or gadget. As I delved further, I realized they were all young guys, probably in their 20s and early 30s, all having that kind of “street” look to them. I followed the wrapping line to its end and saw nothing special. I looked all around for possible signs, and even tried eavesdropping on some conversations, but still couldn’t find the purpose for this peculiar mass of people. My growing curiosity quickly took over and I stepped in on a small group of guys and simply asked them what was going on. I was surprised and slightly disappointed by their answer….Shoes….They were waiting in line for a pair of Nikes called Blue Lobsters that were to be released in a few days. One guy I spoke with had already been waiting, enduring the rain and cold nights, for 5 days. People had come from everywhere to wait for these kicks. One person drove all the way from Wisconsin! I asked what was so special about the shoes, and again, I was disappointed…Nothing, other than the fact that only 350 pairs were being manufactured. And it just so happened that this tiny shoe store on some random street in the Harvard area of Boston would be releasing them. The same guy that had been waiting for 5 days explained to me that he didn’t even want the shoes for himself. He was going to “flip em”, aka sell them on Ebay to people in Asia for up to four times their value (about $700). I asked him if he felt it was a safe gamble. What if no one wanted the shoes and he wasted an entire week and $200 on a pair of shoes. He just laughed as if I was a naïve little girl. I assumed that meant he had full faith in his upcoming business venture. As I walked away he said it would be worth the wait. I was amazed at this. I can’t imagine a single material thing I want badly enough that I would put myself through that to own it, can you? I talked to a friend about this briefly and with his input I decided that I could feasibly see myself  waiting like this for a few different things: front row seats to an intimate show put on by my favorite band (Coldplay), or to see a family member or friend that I really miss, or to witness the Presidential Inauguration, or to have coffee with someone really awesome like Oprah, Jane Goodall, or Tina Fey…. Through this thought process I realized that I desire experiences and human interaction over money and possessions. I like that about myself.

It also made me wonder what everyone else thinks about this. Is there any “thing” that you would wait outside, night and day, rain or shine for? For a week? I don’t mean like a million dollar giveaway or something equally cool/outrageous. Let’s say something equivalent to $200, about the cost of these Nike shoes.

 

 

Head Over Feet and the Time of my Life all On the Wings of Love June 20, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittneydezirae @ 7:43 pm
 

 

Destination: Denver and Southpark, CO (9800 ft elevation)   June 9-14, 2009

 
[rockyou id=139222214&w=426&h=320]

 

 

The title of this blog is dedicated and inspired by my awesome friend Karie Falder, aka K.Fald. Karie and I worked together at Vanderbilt and over the past year have grown to be best friends due to our wonderfully similar  ridiculousness. When I started talking about and planning my Couchsurfing Campout trip a few months ago, K.Fald was brave enough to jump on board with my random and crazy idea. Words cannot even express how happy I am that she did, this experience would not have been nearly as magical or memorable without her amazing presence. I wish I could clearly explain this title to its fullest meaning so that you, too, could understand the importance and hilarity of it, but I’m afraid I would just sound weird (or weirder). Just know that outrageous ESP, happenstance, TJ Maxx, a car named Cassandra, and kismet were involved in its making.

K.Fald and I celebrating her 25th Bday in Denver

K.Fald and I celebrating her 25th Bday in Denver

 Our rental car was none other than a neon blue PT Cruiser. Initially we were a bit disappointed in our less than hardcore ride, but quickly warmed up to our little beauty and even gave her a name: Cassandra. After a not-so-friendly welcome, we felt that it was necessary to show our newfound appreciation and love for good Ol’ Cass. The manner in which to do this was obvious….we photographed ourselves in our most provocative of poses on Cassandra’s hood. As you can see below, K.Fald, myself, and Cass are all looking pretty fierce and, dare I say, intimidating in our saucy poses.  

 

our rental car, Cassandra and I looking vicious in downtown Denver

 

K.Fald and Cassandra showin the sauce in Red Rock
 
 
Moving along……

Our first night in Denver was pretty much spent celebrating the fact that K.Fald had reached her 25th fabulous year of life. We bounced around town, trying new things and meeting new people. It was just what you think a birthday celebration would be, nothing too unique or interesting really, so I won’t spend much time elaborating on it. The next day was when the actual exploring began. In my true traveling style, we hit the road with no real agenda or plan. Confusingly, we made our way around downtown, seeing some cool spots like the Art Museum and other miscellaneous oddities. It was definitely a good time and brought us some fairly ridiculous pictures, but I think Karie and I both had our wild hearts set on venturing into the great outdoors.

 

 afterk artme chair horseK bear

We heard quite a few people give props to this nature made giant amphitheater in Red Rocks, Co so that was obviously our next stop.  If you haven’t been to or heard of this place, please go. It’s absolutely bewildering. In addition to exploring the amphitheater, we also did a little hiking around the area. Every aspect was absolutely beautiful. As we drove trying to find our way to the campout, we came across incredible scenary and some adorable little towns. Morrison, CO was by far our favorite. It’s the kind of quaint and lazy place I could imagine myself growing old in with the man of my dreams. We met some interesting characters in Morrison including an old John Wayne-esque ranch owner we called Hank.

 the amphitheater that my camera doesnt even begin to captureThe sign said not to climb on the rocks...so I didBee hive in the rocks!!Poser in a cave

Morrisontunnel timeK fald and a giant Red Rockroadside photo timePike National Forest...Beautiful

 

 

The Drive there was filled with a million moments of awe. We probably pulled over at least 10 times to just take in the beauty of everything around us. None of the pictures I took did this area any justice.

Only I can prevent forest firesArkansas riverhorses at the ranch

 

This is just a teensy weensy taste of the majestic Colorado world that we experienced along our drive….OK! On the the campout!!!!

 So for those of you who don’t know, Couchsurfing is a worldwide organization that networks travelers from near and far with members of local communities. These “locals”  provide both helpful information for the visiting traveler and most of the time, even host them in their home during their stay.  This amazing idea allows you, the traveler, to go virtually anywhere in the world without paying for accomodations while simultaneously providing you with a built in tour guide, friend, and information station. I’ve been involved with it for about 7 months now and it has seriously changed my life. I have met, hosted, and been a “tour guide” in Nashville for people from places like San Francisco, Newfoundland, France, Philadelphia, Chicago, Germany, the list goes on and on. I also experienced the unexpected bonus of meeting some awesome people in my own Nashville CSer community whom I now consider my dear and wonderful friends. If you’re the strict, private, (stuffy), organized type of traveler, this randomness may not be your cup of tea. But even if the idea of staying on some stranger’s couch or spare bedroom doesn’t appeal to you, it still has some incredible benefits such as always having a friendly contact in whatever strange and foreign land you’re venturing off to. Anyway, enough free promotion for Couchsurfing. The “Tentsurf” campout was basically a huge Couchsurfing event for the North American branch celebrating 10 glorious years of good business. People from all over the country were there to share stories, experiences, and make more incredible memories. I was one of those lucky patrons.

Tentsurf 2009 in South Park, Co at the American Safari Ranch.....Ridiculous amazingness

 

Couchsurf in Colorado!!

 

 The campout was filled with everything you could hope and wish for in any normal camp experience. Mountain air, cowboys, bonfires, drum circles, roasted marshmallows, flame throwers (?), a DJ, a partial marching band, and a stranger filled spontaneous wedding….yep totally normal.

cowboysAmerican Safari RanchK.Fald and I arriving at the campout in our unplanned, yet matching outfits

 

Cowboy Kevin made me blushband bonfirethe bonfire was hottttt Andrew and his delicious mallows
 
Karie and I got a cabin since we couldn’t bring a tent on the plane. We shared it with some incredible people from all different places. Kiah was making her way across the country on her motorcyle. She was so much fun and is such a genuine person. Seth is an organic farmer from Montana and is traveling for the summer. He is seriously one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and to add to his kindness he brought some great perspectives to our conversations and shared his amazing Montana honey with me. 
K.fald and B.ritt by our cute little cabinKiah and I on her sexy motorcyleAll the girls from the cabinSeth, me, and Montana honey at brunch in our cabin 
 
Overall, the trip was fantastic. We did too many incredible things to even list including white water rafting in Class 4 and 5 rapids in the Royal Gorge, exploring the kind of beautiful mountainous terrain that I have never experienced, and meeting people and seeing perspectives from all over the country. If anyone wants to join me next year, the Campout will be in Mexico!!
 
 
 

Painter June 15, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — brittneydezirae @ 9:05 pm

The song “Painter” by Norah Jones has been in my head on and off for the past few weeks. Writing this now, it feels like the perfect title for this particular blog entry. The lyrics are simple, almost child like, but I feel that they very accurately express how I feel at this moment. While I’m excited and happy about going on my little adventures in the world, I wish that being near to the ones I love and miss was as easy as just painting them into real life in real time as I wish…wherever and whenever that may be.

So June 9, a week ago today, I said a temporary yet suprisingly difficult goodbye to Nashville, my sweet fur child Pepsi, and many dear friends. I spent the morning distracting myself with thoughts of cleaning, organizing, packing, and planning. As usual I procrastinated myself into a near panic and thought for sure I wouldn’t have time to complete everything (which I barely did).

 On top of having a million things to do, I had the added annoyance of sobbing my face off every other minute at the sight of little Pep. She was her usual clingy self that day, following me from room to room, laying her head on my feet when I was still for long enough. Knowing I was about to leave her for the summer was weighing much heavier on my heart than I ever imagined it would. I’ve left her in the past for a few weeks at a time, or even to live with my mom for a bit (though I saw her often).  I think what bothers me so much this time is that I’m realizing that I don’t have forever with her. At the ripe old age of 8, she’s already at least half way through her unfairly short life. That fact gives me this pulling feeling now that I should take advantage of the time that I do have left with her. Leaving for 3 or more months doesn’t really fit in with that feeling. I know to many people, maybe even you, a dog is just a dog and it sounds silly to invest so much emotion into an animal. To me, my sweet Pep is family. She has been the only constant thing in my life since I was 16 years old and just writing this makes me miss her comforting company that I have way too often taken for granted.  

Pepsi licking my tears...I don't know any human who would be that sweet.

Pepsi kissing my tears away…I don’t know any human who would be that sweet.

 After leaving Pepsi with my wonderful friend Chelsea, I turned on some sappy music (a tearful mix of Norah Jones and Coldplay) and unabashadly cried all the way back to Nashville.  It felt really, really good.

After both a physically and emotionally exhausting day, I wanted my last night in Nashville to be simple, relaxed, and positive. I can honestly say it was just that and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Dinner and conversation at my usual little cafe down the block, followed by more relaxed conversation from an unexpected yet wonderful view of the city from atop a downtown building. It left me with a feeling of complete content and peace. Looking down at Nashville from a perspective I had never seen with a person that I hold dear, but have known for only a short time, reminded that I don’t always have to go somewhere else to find wonderment and new experiences.

Currently listening to:

Loudon Wainwright III- Swimming Song

Brandi Carlile- Closer to You