I finally had the opportunity to join Trolley and Steph at their cottage, after a drive of roughly three hours through scenic country roads. I didn’t even realize how close we were when we passed by it on the way to the farm 17 years ago, although it may as well have been 17 centuries. How strange it is to think of those as my salad days when I had already experienced enough heartache and trauma for a lifetime.
They call it a cottage but it’s really a house when there’s a full kitchen, laundry room, several guest rooms with queen-sized beds; even glass shower stalls.
Since then, I’ve loved and lost and loved again, taught myself to play guitar, and gained an unhealthy obsession with canine companionship. If you asked me back then where I would picture myself now, I might have given you a few guesses, but none would have been close to correct.
Continue reading “like it’s a holiday”…
For Christmas vacation, Heather and I decided to head to her hometown for a few days with her family. Every holiday is uniquely difficult in its own way; this year I could tell it was hitting her harder than usual. She’s been my foundation since I met her, but under the strain of travel and the pressures of the parents, she began to crumble. It didn’t help that her brother — who suffers from schizophrenia — went missing in November.
One of the highlights was seeing old family photos, especially Heather at various stages of her life.
To be helpless in the face of such hardship made me feel like a burden, perhaps cause I’ve been struggling to regain my sense of self-worth. The most I could do was be present and extra attentive to her needs as she sat in her chair each night and chewed the inside of her cheeks for comfort.
Continue reading “don’t add me to the weight you carry”…
When Dave and Jenny asked me to film their wedding in Maui, there was no way I could say refuse. Soon I found myself in the only place in the world where Koa grows, and every tree I passed made me wonder if it would eventually be made into a ukulele or guitar. I was only there for two days, but it was worth every moment in the delightful weather, spending time with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.
The entire wedding group gathered for dinner at Mala restaurant, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the islands of Lanai and Kaho‘olawe. At this time of year, the Maui sunset passes in the blink of an eye.
I learned that there are only twelve letters in the Hawaiian alphabet (which is why so many of the words look the same to me), and the language uses Spanish vowels. Each vowel is usually pronounced by itself (Wailea is said “Why-lay-ah”). I was surprised to see most signs in both English and Japanese; it turns out there used to be a significant Japanese community in Hawaii, although most of the Japanese tourists go to see Pearl Harbor instead.
All the locals are super nice, perhaps due to the fact that tourism is one of the only industries left in Maui; it seems like most people living there are in the service industry in some form or another.
Continue reading “Maui Wowie”…
Mike was between jobs, so I got to shadow him without being too intrusive. That not only meant I got to check out his favourite haunts, but meet more important people in his life.
At one point, I had to withdraw some cash (since Mike had previously lied to me about my credit card not working), and it was strange to suddenly find three different kinds of currency in my wallet.
Continue reading “UK Detour, Day 11: London”…
On my last day in Rochefort-en-Terre, I receive an e‑mail asking for support for my Wu Wei theme. This isn’t uncommon; earlier this year, Wu Wei was chosen to be part of the official WordPress.com repository, and I’ve been flooded with such e‑mails since. What stood out about this one, from a Michael Harvey, was the fact that he was in London, read from my blog that I was in France, and offered to show me around if I happened to be stopping by.
I told him it’d be lovely if I could go, but I’ve no place to stay, as I’d only planned on going to France. On a whim of his own, he offers to let me stay with him, and tells me I’d feel at home as they have two cats.
For a while I turn this idea over in my head, as there’s most certainly a risk involved in living with someone you’ve never met, least of all whether or not you’d even get along. Eventually, I decide that I couldn’t give up on the chance to see more of Europe. Fate opened a door, and I only had to step through. I couldn’t say no.
And so, armed with a ticket for the EuroStar and a box of assorted macaroons (one of the specialties in Chartres) for my new host, I set off for London.
In Chartres, waiting for the train to Paris — Gare Montparnasse.
Continue reading “UK Detour: Day 10, Chartres to London”…