Sunday, June 30, 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Spotted Mind

Last night I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, as the rain fell outside my window. I hadn't seen the movie in years, and the last time I had seen it, it didn't stick to me the same way. I found myself thinking about it after finishing last night and all day today. 

I realized that it made me remember all the things about love that I have been trying to forget. That I had pushed away to a far corner in the back of my mind.

Love is spontaneous, impulsive, thrilling, breathtaking, exhausting, addicting, heart stopping, energizing, chaotic, and it drives you crazy. 

A roller coaster of color.

A blur of the seasons.

A video tape alternating between fast forward and rewind, the footage moving at full speed in both directions. 

It's an explosion in your mind, in your heart, where nothing is ever the same again.

A dream you can't escape, a reoccurring memory.

A favorite song that just keeps playing while all the photographs taken are flipping through your mind.

The space where you can say what you want to another person, let the words come rushing from your mouth. 

It's the hole you fall into where you learn all the fucked up things about the other; what's been ruined, what's missing, what went wrong, their weaknesses and insecurities, and the knowledge of it all makes you love them even more. You realize in all their darkness, they are your sunshine.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Borrowed Literature

Everyday I questioned why I had left Thailand and given up a life that I was incredibly in love with. The time that I spent in Thailand was the happiest I had ever been, and I had spent more time exploring myself through art and writing than I had in years. The feeling of regret filled my soul each time the cold wind whipped my face and each time I stared at a bowl of rice for dinner and breakfast. The first two weeks I arrived in Japan were the loneliest I have ever been, and at night I would sit in the bathtub and try and lose myself in a moment that was not the present one. The time difference made it impossible to skype with family and friends back home, except for on the weekends, and so during the week I would come home and live in a world of silence.

But little by little, life started to change. I bought a bike and I started to get out and explore the gorgeous area that is my home. I was relentless in creating a social life, and in just the past month I have met a really cool group of people. The people around me are intelligent, passionate, fun loving and have a great sense of humor. Everyone is well traveled and most people are able to speak Japanese to some degree, which is inspiring and encouraging. I have become very active in hosting couch surfers, and have been able to meet travelers from all over the world, who are wonderful company when they pass through for the night or the weekend. Through many of my couch surfers I have been able to learn about Japan in ways that you only do through traveling. I have fallen head over heels in love with my job, and constantly question how did I get so lucky? I accepted this position days before leaving Thailand, when my original job fell through. Because I spend about nine hours of everyday at the school with my preschool class and my Japanese partner, my job is the biggest and most important part of my experience in Japan. In Thailand, this wasn't true. Work was second to the life, travels and friendships I had there, and so the effort I dedicated to it was lacking in many ways. I am completely obsessed with my class, Aurora, and I find myself thinking about them when work is over, as well as on the weekends. I look forward to spending each day with them, and always arrive in a good mood as well as leave in a good mood. I know how rare it is to love the job you have, and I am shocked at how quickly I came to feel this way.  A month ago I couldn't wait to leave Japan, dreading that the year would never pass, and already I'm feeling time speed up, and I know when my year contract expires I will find myself at a difficult crossroads. 

I isolated the one thing that was truly making me unhappy, which was my living situation, and I made an effort to change it as quickly as possible. This past weekend I moved into a studio flat in the heart of the city, surrounded by the most historical streets of Matsumoto. My neighborhood is shop after shop filled with Japanese antiques, crafts, jewelry, cafes and art. 

For the first time in my life, I am learning to live alone, and I am ok with it. I am finding ways to fill my time and to be comfortable in the silence that is being with myself. I am spending more time focusing on work, my hobbies, and writing. After spending the better part of my day in a room full of three year olds, it's actually almost comforting to come home and escape the constant noise of others. Plus, living alone means hanging out in my underwear, listening to whatever music I want, and leaving my art supplies all over the house, without having to constantly clean them up for another person. 

When I learned the word kaizen, it really stuck to me. It suggests that something can always be improved, you should always perform to the best of your ability, and it is possible to make great improvements, while depending on little from your environment. 

I honestly believe that this was the best move for me. The regret that I was drowning in has washed away, and I am finding myself standing in a beautiful place. Moving to Japan is an improvement for my life, and I am being challenged in ways that Thailand couldn't offer. I hope that as the year continues, kaizen is a word that I can apply to all stages of my time spent here. 

Colors in the Sky

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Allie Ryan

Why it's good to be me.....

I always get what I want

Why it's bad to be me... 

I will go after whatever I want

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Special Skills

Tonight I rode home in a miniskirt, in the rain, holding an umbrella, after drinking beers, on my gear-less bike, loaded with shopping bags. I successfully made it home. I will be adding this to my resume. 

"There is nothing special about me, I have no special skills."

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Power Lines and Traveling Clouds

Right now is the best moment you've ever known
You got to make it your own

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Hoarding Socks

looking up at the ceiling they
listened and there wasn’t time to catch
the feet kicked out from under me
then I caught your eyes, please can I
keep them with me for a future time
they’ll help me when I try to fly

can I keep spinning to your turns
can I just fall back in your open arms
tomorrow will come sooner than you think…

go to sleep, cause morning will come sooner than you think…

remembering a dream 

Tide, Pull Me Away

For over a decade I've had the same favorite band. While I've alternated between which of their songs I connect with the most, the constant has been "Syracuse."

Pinback has always been able to connect with any emotion or state of mind that I am experiencing. We all have that band that was made for us. And thats what they are for me. AND it just so happens they are from San Deigo. 

This particular song has been one of my favoirtes since I first heard them, and in the past five years or so, I have become completely obesssed with it.

i stepped out into sand
water carries us from here

Something about these lines reminds me that I am free. That I will always be. This is the way I was born, the way I was raised to think. That no matter what, I can step away from whatever is bothering me. I can leave anything behind. My life is mine to run with.  There will always be a force pulling me forward, and there is no need to dwell on what's happened and what has been. 

This song propels me into the future and reminds me that who we are is not who we've been, but who we will choose to be. 

i'm fighting this assignment
i'm wishing we fall into the world

My resistance to commit to anything, and my desire to find myself anywhere but home. Dear home, I love you so, but you come with too many responsibilities and anchors. I want to fall into the world and chase the dreams I've had since I was young. I have a head overflowing with passion and notebooks full of plans, dreams, and goals. I want to fall into adventure, passion and desire. I need more than what a normal life at home can ever give me.

i missed you far away

I'll miss your heart and soul, no matter how far away.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hey! Thats Where We're From!

"Hi, Hello, Konnichiwa, ah, can you please take picture with us?" Both excitedly miming the actions of taking a photo.

"Home, Home, that's our home," we say as we smile, two people who have been away from home long enough to be ecstatic over a t-shirt.

Brother- Part Three

This is a continuation of the story about my brother. This section is, by far, my favorite chunk of the writing. You can find the previous sections of the story by following the links below.

(Started writing a short story about my younger brother and his battle with addiction. This is a story about him, about me, and about our entire family. It is a short story that works to illuminate the beauty that can be found in any situation, and how humor can be a means of coping with life's hardships.)    

I duck under the garage door, which has been pulled down so that it’s half closed, or half open, for all those optimists out there. My eyes take a minute to adjust to the dim lighting and I am greeted with a light oily smell. Half the garage was given as a space to work on the old classic motorcycles my friend had, and the other half was his brand new tattoo shop, if you could call it that. He had bought the supplies you needed, as well as a tattoo reclining chair, and had started tattooing friends and relatives from his garage. I always told myself that I would never get a tattoo from a friend, or in a setting similar to this, but as I was getting ready to move abroad money was tight and you know how it goes. Often we find ourselves going back on the things we said we’d never do.

My friend is seated in the tattoo corner, and he is cleaning the supplies he will use on me. Sterilizing, they like to call it, but realistically it’s just dousing it in rubbing alcohol. Getting a tattoo requires a lot of trust in the other person. Not only must you trust them with the permanent artwork, you must also trust them to clean the art supplies properly, meaning that you’re the first one to dip your brush in the ink, and you get a new brush each time.

As I walk over to him, he looks up at me and gives me a grizzly, “Hello.”

“How you doin’ girl? Fuck, it’s been a long time huh? You never come around anymore.” He gets up and gives me a friendly hug, patting me on the back. He was once a close friend of someone I dated years ago, and it had been a long time since we had seen one another. I certainly never imagined I would be going to him for a tattoo.

From my purse I pull out two Blue Moons, but he refuses my offer, and so I open the one for myself. The next half hour or so is spent catching up on lost time, and exchanging stories of what we’ve been up to, and how we’ve been passing the time. Finally he cuts the chatter and gets down to business.

“Ok, lets get this ink into your arm. Whatta say?” He puts out his cigarette and walks over to the sink to wash off his hands. I watch him from behind and see the spider web tattoo he has between the back of his ear and his hairline, and it makes me think of the inverted cross I have in the same location. Tattoos are reflective of who we are in a particular moment, and what values and opinions we hold, as much as they are just pieces of body art.

As soon as his foot connects with the tattoo gun pedal the motor is kicked into life, and the familiar buzz of the gun fills the room. The first connection of the needle to the skin reminds me of the many hours I have spent in a tattoo chair, working on an unfinished rib piece, and the burning sensation that is necessary to endure in order to have a tattoo. I watch the needle shred its way through my flesh, as a trail of ink is left below the top layer of skin.

Some people will tell you they like the way getting tattooed feels, that it even feels good. Those people are called liars. It is far from what I would describe as “good,” but there is a certain charm to the sensation it triggers. For me, it’s the process and entire experience of getting one which I am attracted to. There is a distinct high that I undergo, each time I do this.

It begins coincidentally, at the beginning. When I first make the decision to add another piece of art to my skin. It’s the act of drawing what I want, finding a shop, making the appointment, driving to the parlor for the big day, walking in and being greeted by the music of some punk band I can’t name, sitting down and laying there like a willing victim, waiting to endure pain from the hand of another person.

The anticipation grows as I watch him unwrap the tools, wipe the cold wet cloth over my skin, press the paper sketch onto my skin, transferring the ink outline he will follow. He buzzes the needle and my nerves jump and my brain is flooded with a swell of endorphins, creating a state of euphoria within my body. He dips the needle in the ink and advances toward me. The florescent lights glow above my head and I am dizzy, fading into another place, waiting for the heat that will sear through my skin, comparable to a lighter being held inches away, as a friend moves it back and forth. The needle kisses my arm, and sparkling shocks are sent through my nerves, telling my brain that my body is feeling pain, but there is a whirlwind of glitter in my head.

The initial burst of the needle to skin is fading and I am returning to earth. The first connection is what pushes me far above the clouds, and now that I have hit my head on the ceiling of the sky, I am floating back down at a steady pace. Like a falling leaf, drifting from side to side, until I gentle settle on the ground. My five senses are heightened and are each battling for dominance in a way that blurs them into one. I watch the needle waltz across my skin with incredible elegance, leaving behind it a trail of ink, Vaseline and blood. In the low lighting I see his steady hand trace the outline, the capital C finished, as he moves on complete the word. I let my eyes lose focus and my mind drift back into another place. A different reality. The needle has worked its way into the center of the crook of my arm, the inside of where the elbow bends. It hums over my blue veins, which lay just below the surface of my porcelain skin. I can hear my own breathing, in a loud, echoed sort of way. Like when you’re in the ocean floating on your back, with your face to the sun, but your ears below the water. The entire world has been muted except for the sound of you. The inhale and exhale that reminds you that even in this silent world, you’re still alive. I am drifting out to sea, pulled from the tide of the warm wave gun.

Brother- Part Two

Continued from

(Started writing a short story about my younger brother and his battle with addiction. This is a story about him, about me, and about our entire family. It is a short story that works to illuminate the beauty that can be found in any situation, and how humor can be a means of coping with life's hardships.)    

The cookies made my teeth feel grimy and I wanted to brush them as well as wash my face before leaving for his meeting. The bathroom we share is connected to his bedroom, but has a second door, which leads to the hallway. Since we moved into the house, fourteen years ago, we have been sharing the same bathroom, although we have a four bedroom four bathroom house, with four people in our family. As a teenager, when I protested sharing a bathroom, demanding my own, my mother explained that we would have the pleasure of destroying only one bathroom in HER house. That’s how arguments about the house always went with my mother. It was always her house, not ours. End of story.

The instant I enter our bathroom I notice something different, as our eyes are trained to do when dealing with a familiar space. There is a post-it note pressed to the bathroom mirror, above what I consider to be my side of the counter. Actually, I know for a fact it’s my side; it’s always been my side. Every last piece of bathroom junk I own is on the right hand side of the counter, and he has the left, where he keeps his stuff in the medicine cabinet. This has never changed in all the time we’ve lived here. But there it is, this obnoxious little pasty yellow note, sticking its tongue out at me from the mirror. I snatch it from the glass and it tears in half.  I grab both fragments and hold them together, making the note complete, as if they are separate clues from a treasure hunt. Together they read, “STOP leaving your shit all over the bathroom, or I will throw it away for you.” I angrily scan the bathroom, wondering what the hell he is talking about? Ok, so my stuff is on the counter, but that’s because there is nowhere for me to put it. In the corner on the floor are a towel and my bathing suit, but it’s summer and I use it, like, everyday, I justify to myself. This is ridiculous.

Without knocking I burst into his room and attack him with an aggressive voice.

“Dude, what the hell is your problem? If you have an issue then come to me instead of leaving all of these bullshit little notes around the house.” I have finally got his attention, and he is looking at me rather than at his computer.

“It’s really annoying Taylor, and you’re acting more like a passive aggressive roommate than my brother.” I yank his door shut and stomp back down the hall to my bedroom, leaving the bathroom as it is.

                                                                        * * *

The car ride to the meeting is a silent one, as neither of us wants to talk to the other person. His face is turned away from me as he looks out the passenger’s side window. I know my brother well enough to know the expression he must be wearing. I’m almost positive that he doesn’t want to go to this meeting just as much as I don’t. I’m only home for a few more weeks before I move to Thailand for the year, and this is about the last thing I want to be spending my afternoon doing. Before my mother asked me to go with him I had big plans of lying around, reading a book and possibly working on one of my many unfinished canvases. I had the day to kill before going out all night, so I could sleep in half the day tomorrow. This had not been in the plans.

The tension between us was adding to the unpleasantness of the situation. This tension, it wasn’t natural; it never used to be here. We were best friends. I had spent almost everyday with him in college. We used to adventure together, cook dinner together, and spend long afternoon days at the beach or in his backyard, listening to music and acting weird in the way that you can only around your sibling. But that was over a year ago, and I guess maybe I’m even remembering it differently. Maybe it had really been longer than a year since we had been like that. The last year we were in university together became so jumbled with everything that he was going through, as well as a very rough breakup I went through, that my attention was diverted, and my memory was confused. College had developed into a time of extreme emotional highs and lows, and the trauma of all he had been through, that we had been through together, had ruptured my memory, as trauma often does. The events that had taken place, the many conversations that had been had, and the people who were involved had all bled together in my memory, like the colors on a homemade tie-dye shirt.

It was impossible for me to remember with accuracy, the temporality with which things occurred, and how quickly or slowly they changed. Maybe towards the end I hadn’t actually been seeing him everyday, but more like twice a week? Was that how it was able to get as bad as it did? Maybe I wasn’t as close to him as I had imagined, but rather I chose to ignore the changes in his behavior during the moments when I needed to admit how bad things had gotten. In the back of my mind, I knew that if I admitted how bad things had actually become, then I would need to admit that I was in over my head; that we both were. If I actually admitted how serious it had gotten, then I would have to stop taking my brother’s word for things and would need to turn to my parents. And I didn’t want to. Hadn’t wanted to. He was my best friend. I wanted to believe him so badly. I wanted to handle it because I thought as the closest one to him, I was capable of it.

But it was there right in front of me. Aside from the stories I heard all year from friends of his and friends of mine, he was the biggest piece of evidence, and it was like a giant red flag being waved in my face. Countless times he showed up at my apartment, his eyes bloodshot and his face exhausted, his eyelids drooping as we spoke. For every excuse he gave me, I made another of my own. It’s allergies. It’s stress of finals. It’s too much caffeine too late in the day and now he can’t sleep at night. His slimming body and hunched frame were because he was exhausted and overworked from school. As students, we all neglected our bodies throughout the school year, and finals and midterms meant minimal sleep, adderall and more coffee than food. I was building a dream around me so that I didn’t have to face the reality of who my little brother had become. We both existed in our little worlds of altered reality. He was my only sibling, the only little brother I would ever have, and I maintained an image of him that he no longer could fit.

The clicking of the blinker as we sat in the turning lane was the only sound between us. It was a long red light. The lane we were in was marked for turning, and I probably didn’t need to have my blinker on, but I resisted turning it off, because in this moment I found the rhythmic steady click of the blinker more soothing than the silence that would fill its place if I pushed it off.

                                                            * * *

I sat on the edge of his bed, the sound of my Father’s car becoming more distant as they moved farther away from me. Half the room was empty with the exception of the things he had owned but no longer cared enough to take home with him. Home, that’s where he was headed. After the phone call last night, my Father had decided to drive to Santa Cruz to come get him. He was here before noon arrived. It had all happened so quickly, the events that I had set into motion, that I was having a hard time believing what had just occurred.

                                                            * * *

I could still hear my Father’s crying, but this time I had actually seen the look on his face; no telephone line between us. When he arrived he pulled my brother close to him, his arms wrapped around his small frame. It was more than a hug, it was an embrace of genuine love. Where you’ve missed someone, needed someone, have been scared for someone, and finally, you have them in your arms.
I remember my Father emailing me earlier in the year, telling me that a good friend of his had recently lost his adult son. My Father had met his friend through a shared passion for the ocean and sailing, and so they spent the weekends exploring the San Diego coastline, and often taking weekend trips to a near by island. In the email he explained how the son had lost his life to a long battle with Oxycotin, a drug my brother, unknown to my parent’s knowledge, was also using. The point of the email was to tell my brother and I that he loved us and he hoped we were making healthy decisions while living away from home. A line that I will never forget is how he described spreading the son’s ashes over the ocean, and how he held his friend in his arms as he wept for the loss of his only son. I knew that the fear of experiencing what his friend had months before, was pulsing through the blood in my Father’s body, speeding up his heartbeat and creating the type of chaos in your mind that feels so thick it’s impossible to think through.

They stood in Stephanee’s living room, embraced as one, my Father and brother crying, and I suddenly felt like I no longer belonged. Suddenly this wasn’t something that involved me anymore, and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of awkwardness, both physical and emotional. That feeling where you have found yourself in a situation where you realize you don’t really know anyone and everyone else is the best of friends. I had to step outside, to give them some room and get some fresh air. The last thing I heard before closing the front door was my Father telling him, “We love you. Mom and I love you. I am never going to lose you. I’m here to bring you home.”

I sat on her porch steps, slumped over, my head resting on my arms and knees. I starred at the chipped blue paint on the weather worn wood, as my eyes welled with tears. I didn’t want to cry; it was already too much to see it from both of them. Stephanee sat by my side and rubbed my back as I concentrated on my breathing, on calming myself down. I could tell she was shaken, as well, but there was no one to comfort her.

As the muted sounds from inside made their way to where we sat, a relief washed over my body. With each exhale I knew it was over, and everything that I had been holding inside for the year started to drain away. But with the relief came a wave of sadness. A realization of what was to come. It’s hard to describe the sadness I felt for my entire family. The process of helping my brother into sobriety, which I knew was going to be a long journey. The moments of honesty that would cut one another deeper than they had ever expected. The acts my brother would have to confess too, and the realization my parents would have to face. Ahead lay sleepless nights, brutal honesty, and words of disappointment.

I closed my eyes tight and all I saw was the electric white and purple light that’s fills the space behind your lids. I watched the glowing shapes float around the inside world of my head and when I opened my eyes, a tear raced away from me, slipping from my face, where it fell to the wooden board and was absorbed.
                                                                        * * *

I looked around at the room we had partied in so many times. A group of us had all sat along the edge of his bed, wearing fake mustaches, dressed like sailors, drinking cheap booze from fancy wine glasses, laughing as we shook our faces while a friend behind a camera snapped pictures.

It was strange how his smell was still lingering, even though he was no longer here. I wondered how long it would take for all evidence of his life here to fade? When would his roommate remove his bed, and where would it go? The shelving where he had kept all of his clothes was empty, and it hit me that he was really gone. Walking downtown this morning felt like an eternity ago. My soul felt it had aged years in what had just been a few hours. I knew I had done the right thing, but there was a feeling of selfishness I couldn’t push aside. In a few months I would graduate and leave this town in search of life after college, which at the moment was hard to imagine existed. I had wanted him to be there for me up until graduation. I wanted his friendship, his companionship and in the end, I wanted the security of knowing my brother was just down the street. That if I was having a hard day, I could go see him and spend time with him. The absence of his possessions reaffirmed that he wasn’t coming back.

There was a gentle knock on the doorframe, the kind that someone gives to ask permission to come into a room that’s already open. His new roommate was standing there, in a blue flannel and cut off shorts, with a cigarette tucked behind his ear. I had never met him before, but I remembered the conversation we had had earlier that day, and how excited my brother was to be living with him.

“Ay Allie, umm eh, are you alright?” He asked with an Australian accent, something you rarely heard in this town.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” A direct lie. I felt like someone had just slapped me across the face and snuck in a quick punch to my stomach, knocking the air out of my lungs while my eyes struggled to focus.

I stood up and took one last glance around the room. Left in his windowsill was a candle with a painting of Jesus on it. Neither one of us are religious, but this was exactly the type of random stuff my brother would collect. I grabbed it and left the room, unsure of where to go next.

                                                            * * *

I follow my brother’s directions, which lead us to a parking lot for a building I had seen a million times in my life. One of those buildings that’s built right along side the freeway, and has been here since before I was born. Not old enough for the architecture to be charming, but old enough for it to be tacky, in the way that it resembles a different era, probably the 70s. Of course, my brother, being the disorganized person that he is, does not have the room number for the meeting.

“You know that we’re ten minutes late?” I remind him, although he knows and he could have gone without hearing it, as we walk through the halls of what seems to be a type of community center. There is a strange smell to it and I dislike everything about this place. It is a neglected building, which reminds me of the type of place you would see snotty nosed children with their young single moms, waiting to get their free flu shots. A stale building that could double as a low-income clinic. Or a place for the elderly Vista locals to come and hold council meetings. The original residents of the town, who had lived here before the cloned neighborhoods had invaded. When Vista was all avocado and orange farms, and the new sixteen theater Cineplex was un-built, as well as my high school made for educating 1,500 but currently had a student body of 3,200 and a parking lot full of trailer classrooms.

The air is stuffy, the interior is cheap and I immediately make up my mind that this place is awful and these are going to be the longest two hours of my life. Like the hallways of my old dorms, our footsteps echo with each fast paced step we take, as we walk down the yellow worn floors. A few doors ahead I hear voices and we approach an open door to a room with about twenty people seated in a circle inside. Twenty adults. The full grown kind; the kind with children and wives and husbands and divorces and careers and credit card debit and all that stuff that young adults don’t have yet. And issues with addiction. A room full of heroine addicts.

I peek my head in, half sure if this is the right room. “Hello,” a woman in her mid-sixties greets us with a warm and welcoming voice. “If you’re looking for the depression and bipolar support group, please come in and join us, we just got started a few minutes ago.”  Depression and bipolar support group? I look back at my brother, and he nods sheepishly.

We find the last two empty chairs and join the circle, which is large enough that its edges touch the perimeters of the wall. The only way more people would be able to join the group would be if everyone scooted their chairs together, and it was already uncomfortably close. I sit down in the nearest chair to the door and he takes one opposite the room from I. In my anger caused by the notes this morning, it never occurred to me to ask what meeting we were even going to. I assumed it was either an AA meeting or some other type of sobriety group for narcotic abusers. The thought never even crossed my mind that my brother was going through something else.

From my seat I look around the room at the other people here. They don’t look crazy. Well, some of them do, but most of them look normal. The only difference is the age. They are at least all fifteen years older than us. I mean older than him, my brother. I am not part of this group. I do not need to be here. My mother’s words keep echoing in my head, “two hours is too long for him to be gone with the car.”

Great, I think. I am stuck in a room full of Vista nutcases for the next two hours. Around and around the circle we will go, so everyone has a chance to talk about their depressing lives and their neurotic behavior. I glance around the room at the people, wondering just who will reveal themselves to be the craziest, when I notice the man sitting next to me staring at my arm.

Friday, June 7, 2013

In Memory

My phone was ringing, and I searched for it half awake, with my eyes closed, patting the area on the ground where I believed my purse to be. The buzzing continued. I slowly opened them and my world was flooded with the early morning daylight that crept in through my friend's apartment windows. Most of San Francisco was still asleep, and as my phone buzzed and buzzed I wanted nothing more than to rejoin the dreaming city.

I finally retrieved it from some where in the deep dark depths of my purse. It's an old friend's phone number, who I don't talk to too often since moving away from home. She was my best friend all through high school, bit I've been living up North for the last two years and well, you know how it goes.

I click the green answer button. "Hello." I push the words out quietly, as the rest of the people in the room are still asleep and we had a late night.

"Allie, Jantz was hit by a car. Last night. There was a fucking horrible accident and he was killed."

It's been a little over two years since I got that phone call, and recently I've been thinking about Christopher Jantz more than ever. He was my closest guy friend for years, and was there for me through thick and thin. 

I met him through random circumstances and fell in love with the person he was. He was sweet, he was fun, and he was a good friend to me. A great friend. He had that laugh where you knew it was coming from deep down within. When he would find something funny he would just go and go, and not only was it contagious, but at times it made me think he was crazy. I take that back, I didn't think he was crazy, I knew it. He had this passion for adventure and excitement that couldn't be subdued. He was always looking for more, always pushing boundaries, and living his life in a way where everyday was just, fun. He was a beautiful person, with a wonderful soul and smile.

After about 5 years of being really close, we started to grow apart, and by the time I moved to Santa Cruz, our friendship was more distant than ever. I still saw him around when I came home, but we were never again the way we used to be.

When I heard the news of his death, I was shocked, but for some reason it was as if it didn't sink it. As if I was too far away for it to be true. Regrettably, I couldn't attend the funeral, which is, among many things, a public event where grieving is displayed by the people in his life. I never witnessed that nor was I a part of it, which may have also been a reason it was hard to grasp.

This Spring I've thought about him more than I have in the few years leading up to his death, and the few years following. 

It recently hit me that I lost someone in my life, who I used to love and care about so much, and he's gone and I will never have the opportunity to mend a relationship, or explain what he meant to me.

I know death is a part of life, but it's something I still have been unable to come to terms with. It's not fair to lose someone you love, especially so early in life. 

In the blink of an eye, death takes people who we think will always be there. Who you think have their entire lives ahead of them. Take the time to mend broken relationships, or at least let the people know who matter, that you love them.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Time Has Come

I've been living in Japan for over six weeks now, and life got busier than I expected, and I've been bad about writing. Until I can find an evening or afternoon to go into depth about my new life here, I've picked out some of my favorite photos to show what life is like on a daily basis. I am, once again, in love with the beauty that I am able to call my life.

The Alps that I get to see everyday.

Castle afternoon- The oldest in Japan

Spring Blossoms

An authentic soba lunch at the most famous soba restaurant in the city.

Matsumoto is famous for being Japan's home of soba. To me it tasted like cold wheat spaghetti.

Enough said.

The entire city has running fresh water down every street and in many places they have spots where you can stop and drink from a spring.

Writing stories on a Saturday afternoon.

Why not?


Getting messy

Water carries me from here.


Friday at work- Building blocks after creative clay time (evidence on bottom of shoe).

Performing arts in the park

Work- At the park

Low floating clouds.

My beautiful traveler



Book worm

Amazing dinner


Bike Rides Through My Neighborhood