Borrowed Umbrellas

Almost everyday in Nakhon Sawan it rains, and it rains harder than anywhere I have ever experienced. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, it will go from sunny and hot to dark and dumping rain. After the rain clears the city glistens with little beads of water clinging to everything it can. Water continues to drip from all the rooftops and the air has a fresh wet smell to it. I love our afternoon storms, and being caught in one on my way home from work left me soaking wet (even with an umbrella), but I didn’t mind at all. The air is warm, the water is warm, and the pressure pushing down on my umbrella reminds me of just how helpless we truly are against the elements.

 

 

The sky before the storm.

Saturday Afternoon

 

 

Since first moving out of my house three years ago to start college at the University of California Santa Cruz, I have spent countless hours packing up numerous rooms and then unpacking hundreds of boxes.

Although the sun is shining and there is literally not a cloud in the sky, today I have dedicated the afternoon to clearing out my room. Wait- rephrase. Beginning to clear out my room. In a month I will be moving out of my childhood bedroom in a different way than I ever have before. I will be leaving for at least a year to live in Thailand, and then I plan to apply for a program to work in Japan that will start in the fall of 2013. If accepted, it will be over two years until I return home.

A room is our own personal place, full of all the objects we have accumulated over the years- Many of which have sentimental meaning, and many which had it at one point and have now lost the meaning they once held. Where do you begin? Sitting here today, starring at the project that stands before me, how do I know what I will still want to hold onto in a year from now? Two years?

When I finally return home I will be far different from the person I am today.

I have to start clearing out this room full of possessions I won’t need anymore. A closet full of clothes that won’t be worn again. Material objects that are currently part of my everyday life, that I will no longer live with. Minimizing is incredibly refreshing. I own too much.

 

For anyone who has traveled and left behind the room they grew up in, full of the possessions they have come to own over a life time, any advice on where to start?

Dear little Allie…..

It’s always weird when a child decides they are going to have a stare down with you. I should rephrase. When a child decides they are simply going to stare at you. For as long as they please.

There is this girl on the metro. I don’t know- maybe eight, give or take a year. I would assume old enough to have introspective thoughts, or at least in the most basic form. I think. Shes old enough to be starring at me and probably thinking about me.

Am I seriously being analyzed by a kid right now? Am I seriously analyzing the situation of a kid analyzing me? Oh god, I am…..

…..I looked up and met her eyes and gave her a smile and then looked back down at my ipod. Shuffling to another song. Distracting myself.

I look back up and shes still starring at me. No expression. Just a stare. Wide eyed. Gaze set on me. What on earth could this kid be thinking about. Just starring at me, her mind running.

A part of me feels awkward under the relentless eyes of this child. Another part admires the part that she hasn’t learned to be coy yet. To have social manners. To understand that you just don’t stare at someone for minutes on end. Especially a stranger. There are so many things that children haven’t learned yet. I start to wonder if starring at someone is something you are ever told not to do, or if its one of those things you just learn as you get older? Not everything we learn as we grow up our parents tell us, nor do our teachers. Some things I suppose we just learn from observing others.

What was I like when I was this girls age?

I remember being really curious. Always wanting to experiment. Always wanting to write everything down that I did or saw. Not that much has changed.

I remember being fascinated with those who were older than me too. I remember being fascinated with the idea of one day having my own place, being able to cook myself whatever I wanted to eat for dinner, being able to drive myself wherever I wanted to go that day, having a job where I got money. Now that I have all these grown up advantages I don’t really want them any more. Isn’t that how it goes? Being a young adult and having unlimited freedom and no one to tell you what to do isn’t half bad, but being a kid was so nice. It was so carefree. I remember days where all I had to do was entertain myself. No responsibilities, no where to be. Just hanging out.

The pain of the world was still hidden. You haven’t begun to question your purpose in life. No one you know has died. You haven’t experienced heart brake. The problems of your parents aren’t something you think about when your mind wanders. Theres no what ifs, time spent wondering what could have been. You don’t have to plan ahead. You don’t have obligations, priorities, things that would cause you any stress at all. Remember when you didn’t know what stress felt like??? When you’re a kid there aren’t sleepless nights. There are nightmares and your parents bed to crawl into. When you’re a kid you don’t think about what others think of you. They either like you or don’t. and when they don’t, end of story. There isn’t a self reflection of why that would be.

Complexity is just- non existent.

Remember when the only thing you regretted was not staying out later on Halloween so that you could get even more candy?

Remember when you could eat all of your Halloween candy in a sitting, and you’d still feel good afterwards?

Being a kid is sweet. Very very sweet. I wish I could forewarn my childhood self of the attachments that come with being a young adult.  I wish I could tell eight year old Allie that life is good, don’t be in such a rush to grow up.

A stare from a child got my mind racing all over the past. What on earth is she thinking about as she continues to stare?