Thursday, March 24, 2011

la playa.

Monday, March 21, 2011

get down.

amy & i fell in love with these kids during our trip to rajahmundry a couple weeks ago. that first little guy didn't stop winking at me for the rest of the night.

the kid's got style.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


a couple friends & i were discussing why we came to india

& what we've learned since we've been here

while we laid on surfboards waiting for a set yesterday.

and while we were talking

i realized how much i dislike the phrase

finding yourself.

i don't know why i wanted to come to india.

i didn't know much at all about the country before getting off the plane. one of the main reasons i ended up here is because traveling to india is relatively cheap. and i knew i wanted to go somewhere.

i moved from connecticut to salt lake city when i was fifteen. eight months later i moved to atlanta, and then to hawaii a year after that.

& i've loved it.

i love having best friends scattered across the country. i love feeling home in so many different places.

and i really love change.

i came to india because i wanted change.

i got it.

and it's been hard.

and i admit, i left hoping i would "find myself,"

that ambiguous, inevitable symptom of travel.

i've learned,

i'm never going to find myself.

because i'm not lost.

i have to create myself.

it takes work

but i'm the only one who can do it.

& it doesn't matter one bit where the construction takes place.

new places

aren't the secret to becoming the person who i want to be.

i can be a happy girl at home

or halfway across the world.

& sometimes it takes more courage to stay right where you are.

i still want to see the world. now more than ever.

because i want to eat macroons in paris

& hike denali

& play in the ecuadorian jungle

& surf in australia.

and india has been incredibly good to me.

she's given me wonderful friends.

she's let me sail in the ocean

& dance with the tribes

& make friends with fishermen.

india taught me to play cricket,

to haggle cab drivers,

to cook chapatti,

& to breathe like a yogi.

but i haven't found myself in india.

& it's exciting knowing,

i don't exist yet to be found.

india has simply helped me become a little bit closer

to the person who i want to be.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

just a few.

Monday, March 14, 2011


remember my lovely cat & mags?
here they are paired up with a few friends singing coal war by joshua james.

just listen.

Friday, March 11, 2011

200 & counting.

i love yoga.
er. class.

i really do like yoga. it's good exercise, it clears my mind, makes my back feel good.
but it's probably that character flaw of mine
- not being able to take serious things seriously -
that makes me keep enrolling in yoga classes.

it all started freshman year of high school, when me & my sis signed up for yoga at the community center. we were literally the only people under 50 in the room. and also the only people capable of holding our farts until class was over.
it was funny.
(i was 14.)

it continued when brennan & i started going to yoga class at the YMCA in atlanta.
i was doing fine controlling my laughter for several classes, until our teacher started advertising her teenage son to the two of us, saying things like,
"oh you should meet him! just this morning i walked into the kitchen, and there he was doing the tree pose! you'd love him."
(unfortunately we never met. bummer. he really sounded like a man's man.)

but still, i remained composed.
until the day when we learned the lion pose.
the lion pose is funny.
come on.
i busted up laughing during this one. but, to be fair, she totally primed me for it by exclaiming beforehand,
"now this should just feel DELICIOUS!"
really, lady? delicious?

anywho, i'm now taking yoga class in india.
our guru is a very sweet older man who's 390 times more flexible than i am.
and when i struggle touching my head to my knee caps, he comes around and tries to force my muscles into complying, until he realizes it really is impossible, like i've been insisting, and he turns back to his mat tsk tsking.

and in between his bouts of disappointment, he makes sure to enlighten us on becoming one with the universal consciousness, & praying to the goddesses, & on breathing well.

apparently our respiratory rate is WAY more important than i ever realized.
here's what i learned today:

the average dog breathes 30 times/minute, and his average life span is 12ish.
the average human breathes 18 times/minute. our average life span is 70ish.
elephants - 12 breaths/minute, lifespan 150.
tortoises - 3 times/minute, lifespan 200.
(please don't google any of these numbers. just believe.)

now the evidence is all there.
the number of breaths we take per minute determines our life span.
reduce your breaths, prolong your life.
it's a cut & dried math equation.

according to my guru, humans are intended to live at least 120 years. but we breathe much too superficially. several yogis have, however, lived to be upwards of 200 years, all because they reduced their respiratory rate.
(again. don't ask for names. no need to check these facts.)

i'm ashamed to admit i started laughing at this point. just for a second. i caught myself.
it was funny. to me.
and yet i keep finding myself consciously trying to hold my breath for a few seconds longer than usual before i let it out.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


today we celebrated seemantham for durga, one of our cooks.
it's a function for first time mothers in the last trimester of pregnancy, to bless the mother & her child. it's basically an indian baby shower.

my friend amy is researching pregnancy & infant care for her project, so she decided to plan the event. amy is super rad & she did wonderfully.
(the correct way to eat grapes. thanks, bhavana.)
durga looked so beautiful! she got a pretty new sari for the occasion, & her hair was done up all crazy.
we all took a pinch of rice & sprinkled it on durga's head.
we each took turns putting a couple bangles on her wrists.
durga was so smiley all morning.
it was really rad to be a part of it.
and our translators closed the function with an off the chain dance party.
some of the notions regarding pregnancy in india are... different.
kinda humorous from a western perspective.

expecting mothers are warned against eating papaya & pineapple, or spicy foods, because they are believed to cause abortions.

looking at photos of cute babies ensures your own baby will be cute.

& it's recommended that you sweep the house 3 times a day to stay fit while pregnant.

maybe these suggestions have some truth in them. i've certainly never birthed a child so i can't say much.

all i know is, wherever you are in the world, babies are babies & mommies are mommies.
and childbirth is a miracle.
i am so happy for durga.
and so happy for my two sweet, pregnant sisters.
babies are the greatest.

Monday, March 7, 2011

oh you fancy huh.

lakshmi pointed at my naked ears

as we were sharing an umbrella

and lectured,

"all fancy women must wear earrings."

i laughed

and tugged at my plain, sorry ears--

the same ears my sister used to fold in half

and scotch tape down,

snickering, "elf!"

when we were bored in church.

i wanted to tell lakshmi that i like my ears unadorned--

these tired ears that i stuck with a needle in the seventh grade

because ma wouldn't let me get my cartilage pierced;

for good reason,

it ended in infection

and i can still feel the lumps.

but lakshmi,

these days i'm learning

i like those simple things best.

i like my skin bare

and my words clear

and my friendships the same.

and though they might appear austere,

i swear,

these ears can still listen.

Friday, March 4, 2011

cross it out.

i am an obsessive list maker.

i have trouble going to sleep if i don't first pull out my little notebook and make a list of everything i want to get done for tomorrow. i make lists of homework i've gotta do, books i wanna read, emails i've gotta send, places i wanna go... i don't know why i do it. i just do.

i think a lot of it is the rewarding feeling when you strike a black line of ink through your day's demands. it just feels good.

but sometimes a day goes by and i didn't get anything done that i wanted to. things come up & plans change & yada yada you know this. and then disappointment hits when i go back to the day's list & i can't cross out a single thing.

so these past couple months, i started making a new kind of list. a better kind. before i go to bed each night, i make a list of the things that i already DID that day. a celebratory list of all the good things.

so here's to today. cheers.

-i woke up at 7 with my alarm, & i didn't push snooze once.

-i ran six miles.

-i went to class... all of it.

-i skyped my maggie eliza :)

-i typed up interview notes for 2 hours = death.

-i went on my first sailing excursion ever.

-i severely impressed a group of teenage indian boys by writing the telugu alphabet.

-i finished reading outliers & started pride & prejudice.

-i emailed my parents.

-i took some photos.

-oh, and i online shopped. (you see how this works? if you go about it the right way, you can even make yourself feel good about things you were feeling mildly guilty about. jen, be expecting a package at your door in about a week.)

i think everyone should try it. it helps you reflect on the day and recognize even the littlest things you accomplished.

it helps you remember that you are awesome.

and when you're trying to reinforce good habits, it makes you feel good on those days you succeed, and it lets you know when you need to try a little bit harder.

hope everyone's day was filled with goodness.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

i am on my way.

"i know there's california, oklahoma,
& all of the places i ain't ever been to, but
down in the valley with whiskey rivers
these are the places you will find me hidin',
these are the places i will always go..."

really lovely song.