I am leaving Illadelph with a bang, and I couldn’t have done it with the great company I had in these last few weeks. Thank you friends for sharing great memories I had here in one of the most underrated U.S. cities.
I’ve come across a lot of people who believed Philly was one of those cities you visit on-transit to New York or DC; sadly I was one of them! It takes patience and an iota of curiosity to discover the overwhelming uniqueness of Philadelphia. South Philly magic gardens, scattered murals on the sides of otherwise ugly buildings, intricate architecture carved into the most random public spaces, and what happens to be a mecca for foodies/fat-asses.
This last year was especially difficult as I had just graduated from the 4 best years of my life (although every life chapter has its charm!) and here I was in limbo- friends are dispersed into every corner of the world, college seems like a distant memory and yet I live down the block from one, and I feel so…old. But you are what you make of yourself. My new years resolution was to NOT burn the day. Every moment would be humbled by blessings, and I notice that they keep on coming when you start recognizing them.
Each day had its struggles, and sometimes my lows were so deep, I had to make for thorough reflection (unfortunately interjected with ungrateful venting) to jump out the ditch. Thank you to those who saw me at my worst, and smacked me upside the head for not appreciatin’!
In fact, every day was filled with lessons about how life is only what you make of it and you can mold yourself into the greatest or most terrible version of You. I ended up molding and remolding myself into both as I experienced the roller coaster of emotions throughout this past year, but I’m so grateful for having done it in a space where I could lean on a shoulder, seek comfort food on a rain sunday at one of many delicioso brunch spots, get my anger out in a dance battle or soccer game, pretend I’m still a college kid with the huge philly undergrad culture, or have easy accessibility to home sweet home in Jersey; and this is only to name a few!
This past year reminds me a lot of my own belief in the life of a traveler. ~The longest journey one must take is the eighteen inches from her head to her heart.~
And what a journey it’s been! Even those times when I take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back, I’m still moving. slowly but surely.
Here is to a new chapter in the life of the Patient Cactus.
The weather is incredible today. And yet I’ve spent the last 72 hours in bed because my body decided this would be the opportune time to do so. And so here I am peeping form my bedroom window at the cherry blossom trees, reminiscing about exactly this time last year. Spring 2010 is a time I will never forget and often I’m overly nostalgic about.
I have less than 2 months before I leave Philadelphia. And only 3 weeks before all my college friends depart for their summer escapades. I must pledge to myself publicly that I will make the most of these next few weeks. Be outside as much as possible, exploring parts of Philadelphia I’ve never seen before, and spending time with friends I may not see for a good while. And take a gazillion pictures no matter how bloated I look in them (which has been a frequent issue lately)
So what’s first? Gotta get my salsa down, try new dance classes, go to Bryn Mawr at least once more (May Day!!!!), skydive next week because this week it stormed, and walking/hiking through every national park in my vicinity- Del Water Gap, Valley Forge, and home. =)
I also have to layout my summer plans. Spain? Morocco? Portugual? EAST ASIA?! What’s definite is visiting family in Kashmir and perhaps venturing into villages outside of Srinagar and conducting fieldwork for an education-related NGO- Kashmir Education Initiative.
Then July and August, I hopefully will be immersed in travelling through Spain, Andorra, and Portugal. Mayyyybe I can do a few weekend excursions into Northern Morocco? The opportunities are endless, but my budget is NOT. And I’m hoping to enroll into an english teacher training program in expand my job opps. Who knows? Maybe I’ll teach in a region I hope to focus my development interests in, and then graduate school?
I have noooo idea how this is all going to work out. So many plans in meticulous detail. Plan A didn’t come through? I got Plan B, C, D ready for experimentation.
And yet my power over my future has a limit too. Just got Him to trust and guide me through. iA!
When I finally made my way to Latin America, it was surreal to step foot into another continent where most countries are ravaged by intense violence, poverty, and lack of economic development. I mean almost every country! Ecuador was no exception. Regardless of its underdevelopment, it’s a unique country and beautiful in its own way. Representing las Islas de Galapagos ain’t such a bad deal- I mean my 4 days there was like out of a dream!
the long overdue pictures above barely cover the experience!
In other news, what is with this trend to wish everyone Happy International Women’s Day? No sorry, that’s not the issue here. Why do I think it’s so superficial to wish someone this? My initial reaction engages the notion that ONE day dedicated to the often subjugated gender completely undermines their struggle for equality and equity on social, economic, blah blah blah levels.
I also feel the same way about commercialized holidays like Valentines Day, Mothers/Father’s Day, Earth day etc.
And then I play with the paradoxical notion that celebrating it on one official day reflects the need to observe it more. When we place emphasis on something like recognizing that love is the key to everything good, the significance of our parents, preserving our environment, or the INCREDIBLE RESILIENCE, POWER, DIVINITY of women-folk (no biases here), it goes to show how we are insufficient in incorporating these values into our ever day lives. And so these days are reminders and more importantly, a re-starting point for us to do exactly that.
So in the end, Happy International Women’s Day. So blessed to be on of us. Alhamdulilah. =)
It’s official. I have finally embarked on hopefully a life-long journey around the world.
1st Step: go to the most Bhat parent-approved place in the world besides American and the UK- DUBAI. It’s just as materialistic, self-absorbed, and westernized as I imagined it would be.
Regardless, it’s been a thought-provoking experience and to at least be travelling independently and internationally is a blessing I must be grateful for!
More to come on my thoughts. Until then, a picture I’ve been waiting too long to have!
This morning, I woke up
Feeling brand new and I jumped up
Feeling my highs, and my lows
In my soul, and my goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Talib Kweli is feelin’ me.
I can’t be at a standstill. That’s an unacceptable state of being for me. And yet that is where I am right now. I’m not sure what I want exactly besides reacting to a desire to be better. this desire i have- its not that my life isnt good enough. its in fact so blessed and beautiful in ways that often i have to use binoculars for because im blinded by reactionary feelings. and im standing here rubbinng my eyes, hopeing i can wake into a dream. but what i need is more patience. a lot of it. Please. Please. Please. Give me continuous strenght and patience. And please let me do this for me.