Wednesday, March 31, 2010

lifers

Dear anti-friendship forces,
You've got nothin' on us. Your distance barriers are flimsy, and you underestimate our resilience to your "over time" theory. We're lifers. Get it? Different schools, different countries, different goals, different paths... they don't phase us. We be flyin'.





this is what i like to call karma




Monday, March 22, 2010

"it's too hard"
"you're making it that way"
"well YOU (pointed finger) aren't really helping any."
"oh, i'm not am i? how do you know?"
"you just sit there, watching me, silent."
"i'd love to respond if you have any questions, but you have yet to ask any. in fact, we've barely even talked about this at all lately."
"well i guess i just assumed that you were going to fix it, and i didn't have to say anything."

"hello?"

Monday, March 15, 2010

i'll need a bulldozer for that road, please.


"The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating."
-Unknown


I applied for two anti-trafficking summer internships today. Today was the deadline. And man it was stressful trying to get everything just right and checking off all the things they were asking for...all before five o' clock.

But I loved it, absolutely loved it. I kept telling myself, "This is hard because you're doing something worth while...if you want it, you've got to work for it."

There is a part of me (a small part, mind you) that doesn't so much care if I get one of these or not...it's just the knowledge that I tried, that I DID something.

My heart feels fluttery. I'm painting my future, and I love it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

i hope i don't let me down.

Dear future,

You captivate me.

Sometimes when I think of you I get giggly, and my mouth starts to hurt from excited smiling. I dance and laugh and sing at the top of my lungs, because the you allow me to DREAM. But it's so strange because there are other times when the thought of you makes me shrink and cower and put my hands in fists, refusing to move until you explain yourself.

Why do you shine bright sometimes, and then shroud yourself in darkness? Do you think this is a game? You are illusive to me...which makes you exciting, but also frustrating at the same time. Every day I get to know you better, only to find that you've slipped past me and are now ahead of me once again. Maybe you don't realize that, if I knew you better, I might do things differently. You are making me look silly, dear future. You make me say things like, "In retrospect" and "If I had only known..." and "He could be the one."

Maybe you got the short end of this "life stick." The past is lucky, because everybody knows him, and he gets to be studied and learned from. The present is blessed because, well, he gets to go through all of it with us, and gets the most attention. But you, dear future, are never known...and therefore never understood.

People say that you are untold. Which makes you mysterious, I suppose. Maybe when I get older I'll be more comfortable with you. Maybe you won't make me so wary. But then, maybe you won't be so exciting to me...and I won't question you anymore. Oh dear...what if you become boring to me?

Ok future, let's make a deal. You keep being illusive...and I'll keep dreaming you into what I want you to be. I know you've got some curve balls in there, but don't worry, I've got past and present to see me through. You just keep doin your thing, and I'll keep doin mine, dear future. But just know that I will always be thinking of you...no matter how much I try not to.

So here's to your brightness...I hope you don't let me down.


With all that I am,

Tara

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

freedom


I'm sitting here in Jessi's apartment with my ankle iced and propped. Chris is making Mate, Jessi is writing in her travel journal, Ben is washing dishes, I'm doing homework...and we're listening to amazing music. We're being productive, but we're also communing at the same time. And we're laughing...we're laughing a lot.

It's times like these that this wave of magical happiness and contentedness washes over me.... And I feel FULL.

Oh the bliss of being comfortable, and knowing that you're loved for exactly who you are. These people have seen me UGLY.

UGH.
LEE.
In all forms of the word.
But the love continues.
I'm free.

How did I get so lucky?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

and then there's reality....



The summer before I started my first year of college I got my heart broken. I remember the day he did it, I remember what was said…and the silence in my house after he left. I just sat there…waiting to feel something. But no tears would come. I remember thinking, “Hmm, this doesn’t hurt that bad, I think I’m going to be ok.” Oh na├»ve Tara. The next morning I woke up and instantly felt the “break-up pains.” Someone was wringing out my stomach and it felt like my heart was actually breaking. The reality virus was moving through my body.

When I was in 7th grade one of my classmates and friends died in a fire. When my parents sat me down and told me I remember not crying…and wondering what the heck was wrong with me. Why wasn’t I feeling something? It only took a couple of hours for reality to hit. Then I curled in a ball and sobbed.

Reality…what do you wait for? Why do you slowly seep, instead of instantly douse?

I said my goodbyes to the girls last night. They were all telling me not to go, and I was telling them to climb in my suitcase. Hugs for staff. Hugs for the kids. Hugs for the girls. Hugs…all around. I was sad to go for sure…but I was surprised that I wasn’t feeling more.

Jessi picked me up from the airport today. I dodged a couple of questions about the trip, not going too into depth…saying that I wanted to wait to tell the stories because I knew that other people wanted to hear them too, and I didn’t want to tell them over and over again. But now that I think about it, I’m not sure it was real yet, and therefore I didn’t really know what to say about it.

It hit today around 4pm as I was unpacking. “Well hello reality, I should have been expecting you…oh you’re just going to pull up a chair? I’ll sit down then too.”

What am I doing here in this plush apartment? Did I really just take a six hour plane ride and transport into a completely different world? There is CRAP, absolute CRAP going on in this world. There are girls that need love, that need to be told that they’re beautiful and special and deserve to be treated like royalty. There are babies being born to mothers who don’t want them because it wasn’t their choice to have it in the first place. But they dance and laugh and play. These girls DANCE and LAUGH and PLAY. You can take a six hour plane ride and experience maybe one of the most magical things you’ve ever seen. And when you tell them that they’re beautiful or talented…they look at you with this hope in their eyes, like they’re just aching for it to be true. And so now I sit here, in my cushy apartment, with reality creeping in from all sides. And the reality of it is, there’s a huge piece of my heart that didn’t get on the plane with me. It’s like my body just realized, “Wait…there’s something not right here. I’m feeling an emptiness that I’m having trouble filling.”

And then comes the tug of war:

Oh good my heart still works, but oh God…it hurts.

Oh good this passion is real, but oh God…how long do I have to live like THIS before I can live like THAT?

Oh good I didn’t forget as soon as the wheels touched down, but oh God…what if complacency and mediocrity beat out memories and compassion?

Jessi came in as I was writing this, so I shared all these thoughts running through my head…and as I sat here crying, she was so excited. She was excited because she says that this is Jesus moving in me…and it means that I have more love to give… and it means that my soft heart will do more than a hardened one will ever do. She’s right, I think. I hope. I pray.

So thanks my dear friends and family. Thanks for your support, and for caring, and for showing me what real love looks like. I’m gonna need more of that goodness for the next…oh, 60 years or so.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

full speed.

It was a good day.

It was a really, really good day.

The girls and I have become much closer over the past couple days. When Amanda and I walk into the compound we are now greeted with "Hola Senorita Tara! Hola Senorita Amanda!" They're excited to see us...yes!

These girls here...man...they are starting to crawl into my heart. Every day the little valves are opening, and they just crawl right in, making themselves real comfortable. Some of them have just pulled up a chair and propped their feet up. And they can stay there forever, as far as I'm concerned. One of the things I wish though is that I could speak their language. Their verbal language. I get by pretty well with lots of hugs and smiles and the spanish that I know...oh but if I could talk to them, like REALLY talk to them...huge avenues would open up and we could just drive on through.

There's a girl here, her name is Kayla. She has a four year old son who is a "special needs" child, as they say (the story behind that breaks my heart). Anyway, Kayla is really quiet. She's older than the other girls, and a little more mature...so she's kind of a loner. But she's SUCH a good mom, and she's SO sweet. We took all the girls to the pool today, and she swam for a little bit but then she got out and was chillin on the benches for the rest of the time. I've been watching her and trying a little harder to connect with her because I see that the other don't pay much attention to her. Anyway, tonight we painted our nails with stickers and clear nail polish and I sat down beside her and told her that her nails were "muy bonita". She shook her head and leaned over to me, getting really close to my ear and said in slow, but clear english "I am ugly. Yo soy feo. Pero you are very pretty." Heart. Break. I would have done ANYTHING to be able to communicate more clearly in that moment. I told her that she WAS beautiful on the inside and out. I told her to look at me, and believe me when I said that she was not only adorable on the outside, but that her heart is good. And...that's all I could communicate. I couldn't go into detail about all the things I've seen her do this week...or how I was just thinking that she looked really cute and I should have told her before...but I couldnt' do any of that. Nothing. These girls have been told pretty much their whole lives that they're disposable, worthless, not deserving of respect...and it breaks my heart.

I don't know what God has planned for me...I honestly have no idea. But if someday He calls me to a place like this and says, "These girls Tara, love THESE girls"..I'd do it. It's been so good for me here because it's helped me realize that it's not all rainbows and butterflies when you do things like this. It's hard. Really, really hard. You have to show them ALL the different forms of love...including tough love.

Anyway, we leave Iquitos early Saturday morning, so tomorrow is our last day. In the middle of the week I thought I'd be ready...but just kidding, I'm not.

Monday, March 1, 2010

gaining speed

Every time I sit down to write a blog I get overwhelmed. There's too much to say, too many new things...too many thoughts.

Do I tell the funny stories, the gross ones, or the sad ones? Do I tell you what I'm feeling, thinking, doing, praying? Should I talk about how the language barrier is frustrating and exciting at the same time, and that I actually kind of enjoy making a fool of myself as long as I'm learning? Should I tell you that I almost cried today out of discouragement because I felt like I was too idealistic in my expectations for connecting with these girls? But then tell you how the rest of the day unfolded into laughter and bonding? Or maybe I should tell you that there's a girl name Elvira here who I absolutely adore, who has a son that is three years old that fell asleep on my lap today. I could also go into detail about how I felt when I heard all nine of the girls' stories today, and what it made my heart do. I could probably talk about how I swallowed a hair in my food yesterday and couldn't stop thinking about it for a good two hours (I have a pretty extreme phobia of hair). Or I could try to explain the AWESOMENESS that takes place on these roads. There are NO rules, and everyone drives around in these three wheeled motor cars. Last night we packed four of us in one of those little things and drove on this bumpy dirt road while a lightning storm came.
I could talk about the doubting slash equally confirming thoughts I've had about what I'm doing with my life and where I'm going...but those aren't formulated yet so maybe that little can of worms can just stay tight for a bit. Oh, I also could talk about how I held a monkey today, I walk by two huge parrots every time I go to my room (we're trying to teach them how to sing "la cucaracha"), there are salamanders crawling all over the walls, and I've seen two HUGE cockroaches in the house (bigger than the one we found Chels!).

But none of these things would even come close to explaining to you this experience. Every day is new. There are new things every day...pretty much every hour. I will tell you that I'm more convinced than ever that I want to learn Spanish. I really am having so much fun trying to learn and saying things wrong all the time (even though I'm actually surprised at how much I'm able to say and communicate). They'll giggle...but they'll correct me and appreciate that I'm trying...and then I get to laugh at myself too, which has become a great form of entertainment for all. ADVENTURE!!

I'm gonna try to get some pictures up sometime soon. I'll put faces with some names...and then I'll start telling you about the people.

I gotta go now though, tomorrow we get a 7am wake up call to go help with purchasing at the market. Heeck yea!