Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love?

Have I been subconsciously impacted by Eat, pray, Love? I was making folders to organize my holiday plans in Istanbul and India when I noticed I had four holiday destination folders: Iowa, India, Istanbul, and Italy. If Elizabeth Gilbert went to Italy to eat, India to pray, and Indonesia to love - what have I got? Iowa for family, Italy to eat, India to mourn, and Istanbul to breathe? Have I got a book deal here somehow????

Monday, January 25, 2010

Mother India

I haven't enjoyed India very much on this trip. I was extremely reluctant to return for a number of reasons - some professional and some personal. It seemed like a cruel twist of fate that I should be back in India almost at the year anniversary of my father's death - again alone on holiday without anyone that I love nearby.

But some friends here have got me thinking - maybe India (or fate or karma) is trying to tell you something. Maybe I need to go away for a week alone to think about everything. I've been in such a bad place for the past year - not quite myself - alternating between manic and depressed, reckless and overly cautious, emotional and deadened.

So - if fate doesn't conspire against me, I'm going to try to go to Kerala for a few days -floating on the backwaters, getting ayurvedic massage, maybe taking a cooking course before I ead up to Manipur for a field visit. Let's see what happens. Maybe I just need to entrust myself to fate and let it all flow. Stop trying to be the master of my own destiny.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I'm in shitty dirty dusty Delhi in the same hotel as I was in a year ago when I came here to do a training. They are conducting all night construction outside my window. But somehow, I fell asleep at a reasonable hour despite the big wedding celebration going on below as well.

I was in the midst of a long and convuluted John Le Carre influenced dream about spies and red light districts and schoolyard friends. And then, like a boxer punching through a screen, a very clear and intense picture of my father. My father in his schoolyard in Iowa at the family reunion that we went to in July. I could see him exactly in his green plaid flannel shirt. Thin like he was in the last years of his life but smiling with his glasses on.

I'm now wide awake. Right before he died when I was in Udaipur alone, I awoke in the middle of the night -an odd event as I normally sleep like a log all night long. I awoke with aterrible retching feeling like i was going to vomit. I brought the bucket into my bedroom and put it next to my bed like my parents used to do for me. But then I went back to sleep. About 2 hours later, I woke up seconds before my phone rang with my sister on the other end to tell me my father had just died.

Now when I wake up like this, I"m afraid it means something else really bad is going to happen. I've been plagued with fear since the Haiti earthquake -afraid to hear more bad news. I am wishing to get there. My humanitarian emergency organization has no use for me. I want to help the people of Haiti rather than lying here in a lonely hotel room in India feeling helpless again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I'm over the winter weather already. I enjoyed the snow when Alyson and Calvin were here because it made staying home cozy and nice. It was the holiday season so we drank, ate cookies, cooked, watched movies nonstop, and it felt fun.

This weekend, I think I plunged into winter hibernation. After an adventuresome Friday night out (drinks, dinner, and 3D IMAX extravaganza followed by walk in the snow along the Amstel river), I think all my get up and go disappeared.

I've been watching hearty Dutch people strap on the skates and hit the canals. I've seen the snow come and go all day for two days. I've made turkey soup. I've read a book. I've watched old movies thanks to the BBC. I've played with the cat. I've napped. If I had an oven, I would have baked bread. I'm preparing myself to knit and practice my flute. I've reached the end of the internet.

It's time to make a move. I either have to take up winter weather sports, take up meditation, or hit a tropical area.