An intermission

After this summer is over, will I be returning to real life or leaving it?

Sunset on the Na Pali coast

Sunset on the Na Pali coast

We are at the halfway point – you and me.  We completed the Middle East leg of our travels

Laundry in Oman

Laundry in Oman

two trips to India

A palace in Kerala

A palace in Kerala

the five-day layover in good ol’ Philly.  And now I am writing this post in the near-pitch black of Sara’s lanai (that would be “porch” in Hawaiian).

Sunset never gets old

Sunset never gets old

The cool island breeze blows gently requiring a nighttime blanket even in July.  The toads and crickets call out and mix with the soft sound of Joni Mitchell and the trickle of the waterfall below.  The lone palm tree just past the railing is barely visible against the dark sky.  Behind it the stars light up pin-sized holes just like in the planetarium in high school.

It was a struggle to adjust from the luxuriously determined strut of Dubai to the minimalist laid-back swagger of the islands.  I sleep outside every night now and although I have no job here on the island, I find myself waking with the sunrise just to be able to spend more time with the day.  My biggest responsibility at this very moment is…it’s…non-existent.

Following Lucian

Following Lucian

A perfect day starts with yoga on the beach, a hike along Kauai’s famous Na Pali Coast, and scrounging a couple bucks for a lunch of locally-grown sprouts and (my signature – or so I would like to think) caramelized oranges.  The icing on the cake is sitting on the lanai while watching a tropical storm move across the valley and then running inside as the rain floods the porch.  Moments alone with my thoughts are plentiful…and welcomed, knowing not everyone gets them.

A lone camel in Oman

A lone camel in Oman

In the last year, my life has changed so much that it barely resembles what it used to be.  It is a shadow of everything that I recognized a life to consist of.  A steady job, a house of my own, a solid relationship, an inkling of a future.  It seems that not only did the rules of my game morph, but the game itself changed. I went from playing a strategically calculated Monopoly game to tinkering with a game of Candy Land with modified rules and real life candy.

A boy and a rope

A boy and a rope

Or maybe my life is a DVD player (big surprise, I’m being indecisive).  It’s as if I ejected The Secret of My Success and inserted a little Vicky Christina Barcelona.  And then in the middle of watching, I hit pause for four months, grabbed a couple suitcases and went wandering.  How many times do we wish we could hit the pause button in life?  Pause the outside world to get more work done, cram in some more vacation, have more time to write a paper.

4th of July driveway fireworks

4th of July driveway fireworks

Well, this time when I reached under the couch cushion for the remote control, I found it, I pressed the button and it worked.  Pause.  My life paused.

Wild chickens in Kauai

Wild chickens in Kauai

So, it seems that this post isn’t about food.  It’s not about travel.  It’s not about the things that have happened so far on my trip or the events that took place.  It sounds so cliché, but it’s about the moments between those events.  It’s the stuff that happens when I probably shouldn’t be watching.  It’s the unsure feeling of trying to fit in somewhere for the first time.  It’s waking up and realizing that culinary school still sounds like a whole lot more fun than grad school.  It’s getting in a taxi and not knowing your destination.  It’s recognizing that changing my mind is sometimes a perfectly good decision.  Those moments matter.

A lantern in Oman

A lantern in Oman

Sara and I went to a wedding on the beach the other week.  I’m sure most of us can agree that a wedding is one of those big life events.  But, in the memory of the day, I find that it’s not the actual event that I remember.  What I remember is the way the groom’s pants were sandy from kneeling on the beach to pray before the ceremony when he thought no one was looking.  It’s the smile that unwrapped on the bride’s face as her new husband made a nerve-induced joke during the casual service.  It’s the sweat beading on her brow as he held a glass in a toast.  It’s the two-year-old flower girl that refused to participate under the pressure of an audience.

Locals on the beach

Locals on the beach

It’s these little blinks that crack my biggest smiles and make me laugh out loud.  It’s these moments that always seem to change my life’s direction.  It’s these glimpses that make the uncertainty of life seem so very worth it.  And it’s times like this in which I feel so very fortunate…

Real life

Delusional maybe, happy definitely.

Advertisements

5 Comments

  1. Rima said,

    July 17, 2009 at 9:32 am

    I love the image of the groom praying…..
    a wedding photographer’s
    “best shot of the day”.
    It seems you have discovered
    the profound in the everyday.
    Yes, what is
    “the real world” anyway?

  2. Abby said,

    July 20, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    Darla, it is very exciting being able to share our new journalistic adventures with each other. you are so observant, that your writing always paints a clear picture in my mind. I love your pictures, I love your insight. I’m learning about the craft of writing from you and the value of why were here. keep up the good work!

  3. Uncle Jack said,

    July 23, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Your high school had a planetarium?

  4. Lisa Brouelette said,

    July 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Hitting the “pause” button on life is the perfect phrase. Thanks for your prophetic reminder that not only is it healing to take some time for yourself every now and then to recharge but that it is SO important.

  5. Kirsty said,

    August 6, 2009 at 2:25 am

    Hi Darla!

    Thanks so much for sharing your adventures and writings with me. I really enjoy reading them and I look forward to reading more! You look lovely in the picture!!! What a nice smile. We miss you here in Dubai and hope to see you again soon. : )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: