Tuesday, January 26, 2010

piano man

He looked down at it, eyes sparkling, moving toward it eagerly. As he sat down he said excitedly, not even seeming to direct his words to me but to the atmosphere around us..."I'm going to rock this piano, I promise you."


It had been a good night already, on the way to this moment. We sat in oversized velvet red armchairs and shared delicious Middle Eastern food... grilled halloumi, lamb, hummus... I watched amusedly as he peppered the waitress with questions, his inherent curiosity not allowing him to simply order whatever struck his fancy. He had to know; what was the best local red wine they had? Would she recommend the syrah or the pinot noir? What do the kibbeh wheat balls taste like? I would have been slightly embarrassed, assuming that she would be getting a little annoyed, if it wasn't so apparent that she was a bit charmed by his accent and honest wondering eyes.

We'd been talking about music and how he was in a band and how I played the flute and handbells, and sometimes sang... "I would love to get to a piano right now! I could play... and you could sing." he said. I decided I'd do what I'd been contemplating doing since he'd arrived. "I'm going to take you to a place where you can do that," I replied. "It's deep in Montecito... I'll drive."

As I drove in past the Westmont College sign and parked by Clark Halls, he looked around with his characteristic deep curiosity. We traipsed around for awhile, making our way through Kerrwood Hall and then over to the library rock. Scrambling to the top in our fancy shoes and jackets got us laughing, and at the top he closed his arms around me and stood still for a few moments, oblivious to the perpetually smiling nineteen year olds in their school sweatshirts passing by the rock to study in the library.

I pulled him through the formal gardens and we arrived at the prayer chapel. There is a piano in there for anyone to play, although in all the times I'd been in there I'd never touched it. At that moment, there happened to be a student at the keys, having a moment, singing his heart out. While we waited we ducked into the observatory classroom and pretended to give each other lectures. We scribbled our names on the board, drew pictures, sat in the desks, and giggled like kids. When we walked back to the chapel, the guy was still on the piano. I made a lucky guess, and took us to where I thought the music practice rooms were nearby in another building, and happened to open the right door. There was a practice room, quiet, private, with a lovely baby grand just waiting.

He approached it, and put his fingers to the keys, and played like crazy. Blues, classical, rock, soul... his hands flew up and down the black and white. I couldn't remember when I'd ever seen someone play like that in person. He'd said he was in a band a decade ago, but it seemed he truly did play often at home like he said. He didn't have to think about the notes, and he sang along, and when he didn't know the words he hummed. So supremely comfortable with himself, no hint of shyness, as in anything he did. I sat down next to him and watched as he went from Guns N Roses to ABBA to Journey. I wanted to sing along but I only knew a couple lines to each song. "These songs are a little old for me...maybe could you try something post-1995?" I asked with a laugh. He laughed with me, then tried another idea. Lennon's "Imagine". I could sing that. So we did.

Then he moved on to something else, something beautiful, it seemed somehow familiar but I wasn't convinced I'd heard it before. He didn't sing, he just played. "Do you know what that was?" he asked.

"No... it was lovely though!" I answered. "I wrote it," he replied. I was impressed. "Really? It was beautiful. Beautiful and melancholy and complex," I observed.

He looked up, not at me, and smiled. Then he looked down. Then he nudged my shoulder with his and finally looked in my eyes. "Thank you... yes. Yes. Thank you," he said sweetly and genuinely. It seemed as if he'd wanted it described exactly like that.

Last time he was here we sat with some wine by the beach at night, and I said that I hoped he'd remember that moment when he was back home, so far away. He laughed incredulously, and assured me that it wasn't a moment anyone could easily forget. He's gone again, and that's okay, but now I have this piano session, in my head, not willing to leave anytime soon. It's not a moment easily forgotten.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Here's to the next ten...

I didn't think about the fact that 2010 was a new decade until December. A new decade...and the end of the previous one.

In 2000 I graduate high school and moved away for college and turned 18 and first fell in love.
In 2001 I chose to major in Communications and September 11th happened and I grasped life more firmly as a college student.
In 2002 I grew exponentially as a leader and in my sureness of who I am, lived in Thailand for six weeks, and had my life changed forever by being a Resident Assistant in Clark Halls at Westmont.
In 2003 I met a love of my life, soaked up Santa Barbara for the summer as I would for the rest of the decade, and went on the trip that shapes a lifetime through twelve countries in Europe for three and a half months.
In 2004 I excitedly and fearfully graduated, left Westmont, studied Spanish and life and dancing and body boarding in Costa Rica with my mom for a month, and landed a dream job, lived in a house with friends for the first time, and experienced a completely broken heart.
In 2005 I lost my grandfather, car, house and job within a couple months, and built life back up with the support of my growing Santa Barbara friend group to create the dream that we affectionately called "the mid-twenties", and the theme parties with the roommates began.
In 2006 I reunited with love, watched my sister graduate and biked through fields and past waving grass beaches in Nantucket with my family, deepened relationships with friends post-Westmont in ways that assured we would be friends forever, and had a golden party for my golden 24th birthday on the 24th.
In 2007 I dyed my hair dark, we watched our house burn, we found a dream come true as a replacement and threw the party of the year to celebrate it, and I grew to love LA as I spent every other weekend there with my boyfriend.
In 2008 I had to part with love again, the roommates and I threw our Last Dance, I moved to my own place for the first time, I worked hard, I thrived.
In 2009, well, you know.

In 2010... I will:

* as life evolves for me, be honest with those close to me so that I stay close to who I am and what I believe
* seize the moment but use wisdom within it
* wear my hair curly more often for things that matter
* cook more often. i always say this, but I promise. i'm getting better.
* be more fit than I've ever been
* start a graduate program in the Fall
* travel to Sweden, or possibly study there
* hopefully visit my aunt in Africa
* make sure my friends know I adore them, especially if I might be leaving Santa Barbara
* live an adventure. I swear it. You can only take your memories with you... So I will learn a new language, teach students to succeed, study what I love, spend time with people who are living life to the fullest, and see places I've been dying to see.

Mark my word. Hold me accountable. Here we go...

One Story Alone

"No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath... We get one story, you and I, and one story alone."
— Donald Miller

2009 was an incredible story. Here is where I tell you about it, but here is where you can see it...

2009 In Review


Moving to the Lindblad's cottage. Best decision ever. A housewarming party full of friends old and new in a home to be proud of.

Body boarding at Raglan Beach in New Zealand. One of the first days of my epic trip, and I knew that the months of saving and years of hoping were redeemed as I took wave after wave during summertime in this paradise in the Southern Hemisphere.

Partying in Queenstown with our new travel friends after days of hiking and exploring the town. This is what traveling is about for me these days... the carefree, spontaneous, shared experiences with new friends in foreign settings that I can do now in my free-as-a-bird days.

Went to Mexico with some of my favorite girls on a cruise ship listening to John Mayer live all the way.

Dancing at Indochine with my Santa Barbara friends and Swedish friends after pre-parties full of wine, singing, youtube videos, and dancing.

Swedish DJ concerts in Hollywood... swaying to the beat all night, it didn't get old.

Watching Carly start to crawl, start to talk, start to walk, start to run, and become the brightest, blondest, happiest, most determined baby I've ever been around.

Fourth of July weekend where I hiked and ate and watched fireworks with my parents and went out dancing with my friends.

A July where I transformed my perspective and had some of the most amazing days I've ever spent in this town, posting a picture here for every day.

Concerts in Hollywood with the Stichters and Quinlans... Phoenix and Ray LaMontagne. Music and southern California and wine and summertime go perfectly together.

August and September spent in research, studying, emailing, planning, and intense personal growth... the reason why will be explained.

Meeting Sabina and Emilia, creating an Autumn unexpectedly laced with Swedishness, like my Spring had been.

Lovefest in San Francisco.

Vegas with my best girls for my birthday.

A Thanksgiving in Napa with my foreign friends and awesome family, where we jumped on the trampoline in the colorful fall forest for hours and hours.

Winning tickets to see John Mayer in Hollywood right after his new album came out.

Christmas Eve breakfast bonfire in the cold Oregon forest in my dad's treehouse.

New Year's Eve with Emily and Zac in Hollywood. Nothing like old friends and an insane club to ring in the New Year.

Challenges of the Year

Being in a new relationship... I learned just how direct I've come to be, gained confidence, learned more patience, and grew from the significant interaction with someone so different yet so similar to me. It gave me a thirst for more new experiences, places, knowledge and people.

As summer began I learned from the Swedes to soak up the sun, they practically worship it, and once they left I took that and ran with it to a place where every day I woke up more in love with Santa Barbara and summer life than the day before. I've always been a somewhat grateful person, but this summer my gratefulness and

I moved from real estate into educational consulting and tutoring, and grew exponentially as a person from it every month. I've improved and gained skills in communication, managing, being assertive and direct and persuasive, analytical problem solving, and speaking honestly to inspire others. I'm happy in what I do and am better at it than I've been at anything before... and it continues to spur me on to want and reach for more...

And in my aim to reach for more professionally and personally, one of my biggest challenges of the year has been the process to get there. I made a decision this summer that required so much from me over the fall in regards to work, self-examination, follow-through, writing, and faith. The journey continues, and I'm am infinitely the better for it. More in the New Year.

Songs of the Year

*Face to Face on High Places by School of Seven Bells
*Burning in the Sun by Blue Merle
*Everything Leaves a Mark by Pictures & Sound
*So Here We Are by Bloc Party
*Praan by Gary Schyman
*1901 & Love Like A Sunset Pt. II by Phoenix
*Use Somebody & Notion by Kings of Leon
*All My Days by Alexi Murdoch
*Vid spilum endalaust by Sigur Ros
*Moths Wings by Passion Pit
*Feel It In My Bones by Tiesto
*Yes by LMFAO
*Fireflies by Owl City
*Pjanoo & Call on Me by Eric Prydz
*Leave the World Behind by Axwell & Ingrosso
*Leende Med Kniv & Stunder Som Den Har by Bo Kaspers Orkester