the longest day

if there is a heaven, i am sure that it involves a ride home from the airport, a shower in your own shower, clean pajamas, and a sleep in your own bed.

clothes that don't smell bad.
what a novel concept.

good night.



so this morning i woke up and i thought...yeah, i'd really like to hike for hours through hills overlooking the mediterranean today. so i did.

ciao from italia. i love love love it here; i am in the cinque terre at present. rome to florence to levanto. tomorrow is back to florence, saturday is back to rome, sunday is home. here it is something like 4pm on thursday and i can't remember the date and that is okay with me. i've barely checked email and my cell phone is off. la vita e bella.

it's so great to go hiking when it's hard. your whole life and attention focus down to small increments: just go 10 more steps, then rest. just get around the next switchback. always when you get there you find you can go just a little more, and a little more, and suddenly you're hundreds of meters above the biggest clearest sea you ever saw with little colorful towns perched up on hills around you, looking as if any second they'll start tumbling down into the water.

early in the cloudy damp morning, it was just me and the germans out on the trail. they all wear shorts with hiking boots and dark socks pulled up high. and sweaters, and most of them carry trekking poles. they are serious, resolved. they truck steadily up and up and up. they get the job done. i came up behind a pack of them and the lady in back turned around and said something to me in fast german. after 7 days or so out of the u.s. i've peeled away enough of my dependence on english to reply with little thought "ich nicht spreche deutsch. ich bin american." she seemed surprised and i flattered myself a little by thinking well well, i must look very worldly and capable! perhaps it is just that i look sturdy and teutonic.

i don't know whether germans make the american/northamerican distinction, and i really don't know any german aside from a handful of useful phrases which do not include 'i am from the u.s.', so i just settled for 'i am american'.

just as i reached riomaggiore it started to rain big fat drops but it wasn't too cold and i had my rain jacket balled up in my pack so i just zipped up and sat there for a bit. then wandered down to the train station and ran into my brother, and rode the train back up to levanto with him. i've just taken the longest hottest soapiest steamiest shower you can imagine and i'm sitting here in a bay window in the hotel lobby overlooking a town that makes me wonder why i do live in the u.s. anyway.

when i get home i'll be moving to a new home and planning for school and i'm sure i will tell you all about that, as it unfolds. for now, though, i will just be here for these last few days. soaking up the warmth of the sun and of the generous lovely people all around here. there has been a bit of anti-american sentiment of the "yankee go home" grafitti sort, but overall everyone has been gracious, kind, and accepting of my crimes against their language. i've learned to request a reservation, mostly ask for and understand directions, order a small cup of hazelnut gelato and a liter of red table wine, and communicate most of what i really need to, overall. a friendly smile seems to take care of the rest.

did i mention that i love it here?


caution, meet wind

so i'm sitting here and in another browser window is the online "Graduate Statement of Intent to Register". the web form consists of some personal information at the top, followed by the big question: "Do you intend to register at the University of California, Berkeley?" radio buttons for yes and no (the yes is currently selected) and a submit button which reads "Continue". and i feel a little funny looking at it. a little dizzy like.

click the button

am i ready to continue? into the white, into the unknowable and as hard as it was to get here, as stupidly competitive as it was to get accepted...it's many times harder to actually DO this thing, and finish it. and then even harder to actually get the kind of job i want to ultimately get. i'm not feeling sorry for myself and i'm not second guessing anything...i'm just pausing for a minute to acknowledge that my life really changes when i click the button.

click the button

it's been a hellish couple of months, i have to say. bouncing in and out of depression. yeah i let this become a really big deal but i think it should be a big deal. i didn't want to get to fourth year when it's really goddamn hard and wish i'd thought more about it, or have any reason to suspect that i didn't excavate down to the very depths in considering what i should do. but what i came out of it with was the understanding that no matter HOW much more i think about it, i will NEVER feel totally secure or at peace with it because...well, because it's not my nature. and now i think i know the kind of leap of faith that cohen talked about when he said you have to live your life as if you are real, and make your decisions even though you have no way of knowing what the consequences will be.

it's an investment.
it's a measured risk.
a managed risk.
it's being a grownup.

click the button!


i'm going to berkeley.


learn to unlearn

it always comes back to the same thing:

why do you have to be perfect? cj asked.
because if i am not then people will be disappointed.
and if they're disappointed?
then they won't love me anymore.
and if they don't love you anymore?
then i'll just...float away.

it's so stupid and infantile but so deeply rooted. it plays itself out over and over again in these stupid circles i turn in. and then this dream last night of failure, of disappointment, of doing everything wrong and unintentionally fucking up the most important thing. and then reaching out for love and help and finding it not there.

some deep part of me is certain that if i'm not better and better and perfect you won't love me anymore. and then i won't exist.

i am trying to learn to unlearn.


perfect day

what a perfect perfect day.

after the "why the hell is heather calling me at goddamn 8.30 am" that is.
(it was actually 9.30 and i think they really need to start a plan of emailing everyone in the world (time zone) before they go and do something like change the TIME on you. i mean, who do they think they are? and...like...who ARE they anyway?)

but then h&k&i had quality time brunching in the inner richmond and walking into the park to the conservatory of flowers where they have a butterfly exhibit and karen knows lots about orchids and i became interested in taxonomy and now i want to find what linnaeus wrote. and then we went to green apple and stayed there way too long and i got eight books by darwin barthes pinker chomsky whorf einstein etc. and a screamin' jay hawkins record. and this random guy introduced himself and asked for my email and that was nice. and then h&k&i left and had lunch and took k home and met a.s at the gym.

and then a.s and i went to the grocery store and i came home and ate eggplant parmesan and now it's late warm and nice here with okkervil river and pretty candles, books piled everywhere and daffodils that are just about to open.

maybe this is boring but it really was a perfect day.