Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I live in Texas now

I cannot believe it's been eleven months since the last time I posted here. I know blogging has largely died, but I still love the outlet this little blog gives me.

I went through many a movie phase as a young child, watching them over and over and over again. In my case, I think they were all musicals. There were the trills of Snow White in kindergarten, the self-discovery of Anastasia, and somewhere around age 7 or 8, the hard knock life of Annie. I watched that thing (and listened to the soundtrack) enough times, that I'm sure my whole family knew the words. The sun was always going to come up tomorrow.

In that movie, there's a throwaway line when Annie and Daddy Warbucks go exploring the big apple and see a show. An actress on the big stage sings "NYC, just got here this morning. Three bucks, two bags, one me."

I've always loved that idea. Not necessarily New York (I am very intimidated by New York which doesn't make sense because I navigate major cities by myself for work all the time), but the idea of moving to a new place, making a fresh start.

It feels very adult. Angel and I moved to Austin about 6 months ago. I kept my same job, Angel started looking for a new one once we got here, and neither of us has any family here in Austin. We kind of just wanted to. We toyed with the idea - Austin is affordable for this Californian, it has a thriving tech scene, and a growing economy. We visited in October, and fell in love. And in April, we pulled the trigger, and made the move.

I love the city of Austin, for many reasons. But I love living here mostly because it was a decision I got to make, as opposed to a decision I had to make. We got to make our own adventure. Be the authors of our own lives. We got to do our own research on apartments and neighborhoods and moving methods and internet providers and all the things. It sounds awfully mundane, and it might be, but it's also incredibly exciting for me.

When people ask what we like to do for fun, we usually just say that we explore. Trying a new park or a new place to swim or a new restaurant is really fun for us both.

So I live here now. And crazily enough, it even feels like home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Feeding the Creator in Yourself

For me, blogging fills the inherent need to create. To contribute what only I can contribute. To let myself be the version of myself that is energized, that feels, that is whole.

It's a beautiful thing, but at the same time, it's intensely dissatisfying when I am unable to produce words, to unlock that version of myself. It's a muscle that lately I seem to be neglecting during the workout of life.

But with the holidays right around the corner, I want to be that person, feel those feelings, fill my corner of the world with the things no other person has. The words crafted together that no one else would have strung together (for better or worse). I know that seems arbitrary but I think something about this season encourages me to be that person, to seize the songs and the decor and the nostalgia that flood this time of year.

I believe everyone has something that takes them to that place in themselves. For my husband, it is fishing. He feeds his Creator by throwing a piece of plastic and a hook into a body of water, with a line of string connected to it. (In case you couldn't tell, fishing, and the idea of fishing filling this need, is entirely foreign to me.) And though I find myself easily frustrated out on the water, for Angel, each cast is the hope of catching the elusive. Each change of lure is a learning moment, the gaining of expertise, the improvement of skill. And each catch is progress, excitement, success. Spending time at a lake is spending time with his best self, the version that is both calm and engaged, hopeful and determined, looking to improve and still undeterred.

Although I doubt I will ever fall in love with the act of fishing, very quickly do I fall in love with the man that fishing produces in him.

But who wouldn't fall in love with someone who feeds their inner creator.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

On Pain and Politics

Tonight I lay in bed, my husband sleeping beside me, unable to comprehend sleep. My whole body is haunted by the pain I see reflected in my country. On both and every side of the political spectrum, I read posts that are seeping with tangible pain and fear.

To my friends on the right:
Please be patient with those of us who are disappointed by the results of the election. To us, each vote for Trump was personal, a voice saying, "I am okay with what Trump says about you as a person of color, a woman, a religious person, an immigrant, etc.". There was and is real fear that having a president with these beliefs will lead to wider acceptance and policy manifestations of these beliefs in a way that will directly threaten our safety. In that way each vote for Trump was a de-prioritization of our value as human beings.

To my friends on the left:
Please be slow to demonize and quick to empathize. Many Who voted for Trump were expressing pain that we have been sheltered from even acknowledging. Pain of direct threat to their livelihoods, their families' welfare because economic growth outside of metropolitan areas has been painfully slow. They felt abandoned for so long and in so many ways that they were willing to support a deeply flawed candidate who was finally campaigning to them, and not to you and your circle of friends who have been so well represented in the media.

I do not attempt to speak for all. I do not pretend that pain will be quickly erased on either side. I do believe it is possible to look past differences. To empathize with underlying fear if you can put aside your own line of thought. And I do believe we as a nation can use this election as a point of unity, growth, and as cheesy as it sounds, love.

So on a night like tonight, where I can do so little to ease the pain that I see, I focus on love. I place my hand on the chest of my sleeping husband, feeling his heartbeat. Inhaling and exhaling to that rhythm and letting that love ease my own pain, if only for a night.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Taste of the Mish: Mar Del Plata

One of the reasons I wanted to blog was to share some of my experiences from being a missionary in both Ogden and Argentina. So I think I'll do a series called "Taste of the Mish" where I'll share either something I wrote or a memory from those precious 18 months. Here's one I wrote from my time in the biggest city of my mission, "Mar Del Plata."

Four sister missionaries walk out of a cyber cafe. Three of us have another country, another world swimming in our heads - a world of carpeted floors, snapchat, drive-thru restaurants, and maybe most of all, people we've known for years instead of a few months. We walk out into the Argentine city, a foreign place, really. We make our way along the familiar path, but after communicating with this other world, it seems surreal to be walking these streets. 

I start to wonder about it all: How did I get here? Where do I fit in in all of this? What does God want me to do with it all - with this culture that I work so hard to understand and to love?

My mind is so ver far away from me, and I am not the only one. In an attempt to reconcile the two worlds, we gab away about sisters who might get married, ex's who send rude emails, friends who are struggling their way through college. Yet, the very way we discuss it all in Spanish only exaggerates how unnatural it all is. 

Just then a group of boys playing soccer comes thrashing towards us. The ball gets away from them and heads straight towards one of us. All of the confusion comes to a head for me. This is it, the clashing of cultures. This is where all the surrounding Argentines will realize just how out of place we are. Where they'll reject us like a kidney transplant. I can feel the shame of it already. And this certain sister missionary, maybe the bravest of all of us, the most unafraid to be herself, standing there in a skirt and ballet flats, kicks the ball back at them. 

But the ball doesn't go straight back at them. It goes up, over their heads even, in a motion so surprising that I hear myself gasp without realizing.  At the instant of impact it is worse than I imagined. The ball climbs higher still, it passes the heads of the entire group of boys. And in turn the boys simply turn around, unfazed, and continue thrashing along in the other direction. As surprised as I was by the ball's upward leap, I was likely just as surprised at how unchanged everyone else seems to be. 

Maybe it was there the whole time. People on the street don't see me as a fish-out-of-water. Well, maybe the skirt and the scriptures in my hand set me apart. But it's like picturing New York City without the crazies - it would be crazier still. I am part of this city, of this culture. I might be a kidney transplant, but I won't be rejected. I just have to do what I do and trust that people are people and God is God. Even in Argentina.