Friday, March 21, 2014

“Beautiful day, isn't it?” “Every day is a beautiful day.”

after watching a video blog from a man i truly admire, mr. John Green, i accepted a challenge that wasn't even spoken in his video, to think back to where i was twelve years ago.  his video is called 'perspective' and it really brought a big smile to my face and now that i am sitting on the shores of a vast new adventure i think it would be fun to do some free associative writing about where i was in 2002.

i'm told i was about twenty years old which must indicate i was somewhere in the honeymoon of my first apartment at the Belcrest in Detroit.  although 2002 slightly predated a collection of online photographs i do have one photo somewhere in my head that shows me the day i moved in and this photo sticks out in my memories of those days.  i was wearing baggy blue jeans with DVS skate shoes and a great t-shirt that read 'ARMY'.  i had on a winter hat (beanie?) even though i think it was late summer when i moved in, this is a style i rocked for a long time.

i was living with my friend Ryan.  only a few weeks after we moved in we had a sort of early twenties frustration that nearly severed our friendship although we were both quick to get over this.  somehow in that separation i began hanging outside at a plaza in the center of my university campus which we called the square which is where i met some of the greatest friends i've ever had.  back then we used to skip class and play hackysack for hours.  i never realized it at the time but these friendships would bloom into great things as some of my friends eventually got married to each other and had kids and others would embark on some very great paths.  now i'm sitting in my apartment here in istanbul having a nostalgic moment, as i often do before i travel, and i'm putting things into perspective that i've never really took time to sort out.

there was once a young man who wore baggy jeans and needed to gain a few pounds that walked the streets of midtown detroit rocking a beanie even in summer.  he came to the city with almost nothing and built his life into a great empire of imagination and creativity.  he used to wake up early and go for long explorations through the museum districts of the city dreaming of being something special.  i wonder what he would think of me these days if we somehow were able to meet.  i don't think he ever saw a destiny coming like the one which we have created together and i hope that somewhere out there there are other lost twenty year olds dreaming up destinies of their own.

maybe one day this thirty two year old version of myself with be the object of some reflection of a man in the distant future who wondered how he came to be where he is now.  i hope he will be proud because these days he is working very hard at something very special and he is trying to accomplish things that others couldn't imagine to be possible.

Monday, March 3, 2014

3 March, 2014 13:01

all this thought of going to africa soon has made me think back to my time in the peace corps.  i stayed for a while in a country called samoa and made a home for myself in a strange and faraway corner of this planet.  i looked back on it a bit this morning and remembered how i felt the first time i saw the beach there and how i never wanted to leave.  suddenly my practice of understanding transience had crumbled and i feared the future and worried about the day that would come when i would have to leave that place.  i'll never forget my first jump into the water, i didn't swim i just dove underwater and emerged on my back with my face to the sky with saltwater keeping me afloat.  moments like that in my life has etched themselves into lines on eyes and memories that i'll hang onto.  

i did end up leaving the islands however and even though it was mysterious how i left i still maintain that my reasons were personal.  my last night with a good buddy of mine brought his words that 'chris has the worst case of wanderlust i have ever seen'.  maybe that is true and maybe i just always assumed that everybody wonders what is on the other side of the mountains and the sea.  

i'm a teacher now, actually i have been for many years.  it's a job that found me and those who i know best have told me that it was something i was meant to become.  i'm really good at it.  sometimes i wish my family could fly out here and watch me but perhaps until then i'll have to make some videos.  i'd like to help anyone who has a wandering heart to learn how to travel and teach, it's really a great gig.  if you turn out to be good at it then your love will be reciprocated tenfold.  

i feel the ending of this current chapter approaching and my heart seems to flutter at the notion of a great journey being prepared for me.  i love the excitement in my students eyes when they encourage me to keep going and to deepen my love for this world.  these photos are of a few students in particular who i'm forever amused by.  they are merve and suleyman, two kids who are young and bright and i could only imagine what the universe has in store for them.

my birthday is next saturday and i'll have traveled around the sun thirty two times.  that's quite a long journey and should i have carried with me a thick piece of string i would have turned this planet into a ball of yarn with it's only star in the middle.  three months from now i'll be in madagascar, first thrown into a busy and intimidating city and secondly alone in the wilderness of a faraway island.  i never know what to tell people who ask me why i am going there but i do know deep in my soul that the same force that has pulled me to every place i have traveled is again pulling me on another adventure.  i know better than to ignore the voices in your heart.  

i'm thankful to the universe for every breath i've ever taken and every footstep i've ever created and every drop that has ever overflown from my cup.  happiness and positivity are practices and not many people are naturally talented in the area.  i suffered for a long time from a sadness that was virtually ignored by those closest to me and i had to learn to overcome it on my own and this has become my perspective on life, we are truly alone in the universe and nobody knows us better than ourselves.  we live in a very turbulent time on this planet.  the problems we face for the future are incredible and grossly overlooked.  i'm tired of wasting energy and i feel a deep need in my heart to explore this world and learn as much about it as i can, perhaps i can learn a thing or two to teach and give some hope to people who forget that there is a light outside of the darkness.