Tag Archives: change

(An Introduction to) Life in Texas

On my drive to Texas...

On my drive to Texas…

New Starts. I love them. In my life, for better or worse, I have had many (more than I can even think of counting). I had seven high schools appear on my college application (I was only physically at five…) and attended three different colleges fulltime (not counting the other three or so where I have taken courses…). I have also traveled extensively, where every day essentially becomes a new beginning. And now I have started the next phase… Oh how I have loved the tabula rasa!

Cottage

(Hopefully) my little cottage!

I’ve been here, in San Antonio, for almost three and a half weeks. My time here has been busy, filled with my master’s courses, nearly completing my biochemistry prerequisite, working on SHELTER International’s Sanitary Napkin project, and an attempt to explore my new city. I also spent my first few weeks here scrambling to find housing, which I finally (hopefully) have. After visiting several over priced and mostly mediocre rental properties, I decided to buy an adorable little house in a historic district, mid-way between campus, Whole Foods, and my new hangouts. The house closes just a few days before classes start and I cannot wait to move in! I have been essentially living out of a suitcase since April and am anxious to settle. After a transitional few years (but isn’t all of life traditional?), I know I will have the motivation (of both relaxation and resale) to make the space beautifully my own. The decision to buy essentially happened overnight and I joke that I went from twenty-five (or whatever I am, some claim ninety…) to thirty in a period of just hours, as my free time suddenly became filled with thoughts of interior wall colors, countertops, how to tastefully match exterior paint with the new (green) roof which I will not replace, what to do with my front lawn, and my planting calendar…

A real first…

Other than buying a house and living around my homework schedule, I have had the chance to explore the city and meet a few people. The classmates that I have met so far are wonderful and I am excited to be around similarly motivated individuals. Also, actually very surprising to me, I actually really like San Antonio! Yes I have had “conversations” with conservatives who corner me with monologues of disbelief that I actually want to go into medicine in this day and age (can you believe it?!) and I will be driving past pro-lifers protesting Planned Parenthood (an organization to which I have proudly donated the last several years) on my daily commute. But I like it here. If anything, these oppositions will remind me why I have chosen the path that I have and will only serve to make life more interesting…

The road

The road

Other positives about San Antonio: I love the heat. I doubt that I will have to use my “happy lamp” often and will not need to make daily or even weekly trips to the sauna. I’ve found little corners of the city where I feel at home and have even found a few restaurants where I can eat!  More positives. I was asked out more times in my first two weeks here than I was in my six years in Oregon. Very few men here wear skinny jeans (they traded them in for cowboy hats and boots, a different story entirely…). It is a diverse city with a lot of culture to explore. Hill country is lovely. Most importantly, people are nice and I have encountered very little pretension. In short, Texas has welcomed me and I am doing my best to embrace a culture very different from my own. I am really looking forward to the next four years here and think that I am going to love it.

So, far away friends… come visit me once I partially reemerge from the stressful first semester of medical school!

A great fresh start!

A great fresh start!

Movement.

Path.jpgEarly this morning, I looked at my calendar after awaking from a restless sleep. After months of living at or near limbo, I am ready to make as much of a decision as I am able to make in my current situation.

The decision that I have become fixated upon involves taking a leap that I have dreamed of making for years but haven’t dared take—leaving Portland.

20140123-215031.jpgI have fallen for this city. In these past five years in Portland and the surrounding areas, I have explored my mind, body, heart, and soul. I have made friends with waterfalls, blown kisses to the ocean as the water gently caresses the shore, watched the appearance and progression of wildflowers signifying the arrival of Spring, chased rainbows and the rare thunderstorm, spent months buried in books, and fell in love for the first and second times.

Life in Portland has been good to me. Though I often complain mostly about rain, bearded men, and cigarettes, I enjoy what the city has to offer and the minimal amount of effort it takes to live here. I love that I live equidistant from a specialty market and my favorite yoga studio, and only a mile from a(n inactive?) volcano. I enjoy that I can get away with never changing out of yoga pants, and that I rarely have to explain my eating habits when I share a meal. Life in Portland is easy. It’s been great and has stolen more than a piece of me.

Wildflowers_Mt. Hood.jpgI am a creature that loves beauty and exploration. I thrive on change and often find myself craving movement. I haven’t yet left Portland because of its comforts and its ability to make time evaporate. I also can’t get away from the city’s proximity to the easily-accessible and jaw-dropping beauty of the Pacific Northwest. I willingly (with some moments of hesitation) gave my early twenties to Portland, but, as I progress into another phase, I now feel that I am ready for change.

As I looked at my calendar this morning, I counted how much time I likely have left here in Portland, and I picked a date.

March 31. 66 days.

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I then thought longingly about the lonely drive from Portland, Oregon to Sedona, Arizona—It will be pretty come Spring…

And I then started looking at plane tickets, made some calculations, and explored the fine lines between dreams and my early morning consciousness…

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2013: Reflections

Two-Thousand-Fourteen.

Twenty-Thirteen has come and gone in what feels like less than a moment. This time last year, I was lonely in Coimbatore but living passionately. It was perfect. I was shadowing at the wonderful Womens Center and running almost daily (in an attempt to ease heartache and train for my first and so-far-only race—the Coimbatore Rock n’ Run Marathon—where I ran a rocky and dusty 10 km and got fairly drunk for breakfast immediately following its completion).

What a life I have lived.

Dancing in a Cambodian Wedding Train

Dancing in a Cambodian Wedding Train

Asia was just fantastic and I have been recovering from the high since my April return (really in recovery since May, as the high lasted for at least couple of weeks). Travel really is a drug—I find myself reaching and plateauing at these sensational peaks—constantly in love with everything, everyone, and my own serendipitous and glorious existence. And the come down, the come down…It has lasted much longer than any hangover and leaves me longing for the constant engagement and stimulation that travel provides…

My return was difficult. It has been difficult. I moved into a transitional state (where I still linger) and I am someone who dislikes states of prolonged uncertainty (yet somehow, I am still in love with life and all its complexities just the same). My six months of unemployment were a lesson in humility, as my hopes and ego were shattered on a daily basis with silent rejections (I have since found a wonderful job that has proven to be a near-perfect fit for my brief stint in limbo). And then there was the reemergence of more-than-one heartache that I thought that I had left behind, somewhere in the bowels of Asia…

looking up

On top of a mountain, looking up…

To the hum of this ambient whine, and most important to me as a person, was the task of applying, interviewing, wait-listing, and then finally being accepted into medical school. This endeavor has been with me constantly for at least the past year—even entering my mind while spacing out in the produce section of New Seasons Market—and has been the topic of hours upon hours of conversation. It has been a source of great stress and has tested my patience. Now that I have finally been accepted into a school where I feel that I will be quite happy, I breath. I have worked so hard for these things that matter most and everything is finally falling into place, like they often seem to do…

Twenty-thirteen has been a year of lessons. I was reminded that life is full of peaks and valleys, gives and takes, moments of delightful ease followed by months of challenge, that I will get through whatever is thrust before me, and still come out grateful for both sides of the experience.

[Change is inevitable and, as wonderful as it would be, life has no pause option (and I am thankful that just this past year has given me a plethora of pause-worthy experiences, so many that I couldn’t even begin to choose where to bask in the sun—or snow—for eternity)]

But I am ready for change and have been asking and working hard for more movement, wherever it takes me. Once again, I am incredibly thankful for the experiences that have allowed me to learn, love, and grow. I will continue to use these valuable tools to fine-tune my life.

May twenty-fourteen be stimulating, engaging, and full. May twenty-fourteen be exactly what we need.

pools

My disappearance (from the virtual realm)

20130606-100644.jpgWell, I have finally returned to Portland after a seven-month hiatus. It has been an interesting time of transitions and perhaps why I have not updated my blog in over a month. (I’ve been figuring out some health issues, applying to medical school, applying for jobs, working on writing up a report for my research on Indian widows, catching up with old friends…)

I’ve been settling back into life in Portland. I’ve moved back into the same little cottage with the same furniture and flatware and I sleep in the same bed where I slept a year ago. Back in this reality, I’ve had several moments where I began to question if anything had actually changed in my months away. Everything looked the same. Habits that I didn’t even know I had resumed. Even my kale tasted the same. Had life just paused? Reality—Check?

Of course I had changed. My face even looks older and I am now rarely carded when I buy wine. Being back in a similar situation as before has really forced me to look at the lasting effect of my travels (or the effects of time on self-development). I’ve had to put myself into the context of this new here-and-now.

The still unfinished "self" portrait ( I assure you that I am at least 50 billion times happier than I appear in this portrait)

The still unfinished “self” portrait ( I assure you that I am at least 50 billion times happier than I appear in this portrait)

A few weeks ago I felt like painting. Intimidated by the task of starting something new, I picked up an old unfinished self-portrait from over a year ago. I set up my drop cloth where it had been and carefully placed my mirror. I sat in the exact location as before as to capture the same shadowy contours of my face. As I sat there looking at myself, I was overwhelmed with where the last year had taken me. Physically, all over (well, almost). Emotionally, I have traversed a great deal as well. Looking into my eyes—both my actual reflection and the old portrait—I saw my growth. Perhaps it took this disorienting juxtaposition to remind myself that the last (now eight plus) months actually happened and I had grown from them.

While reintegration has been a bit disorienting, I am grateful to have been granted such a unique opportunity to reflect on myself.

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