To the beautiful friends and family that came to hear me play the concerto today:
Thank you. You are a special person. You are such a precious human being, to have taken the time to come see me play, to believe in me enough that you were willing to lend your ear to what I had to say. I want you to know I’m so grateful to have you in my life.
I hope you understood from my playing today that I really do love music and I really do think that I have something unique to say. I hope you caught a glimpse of those things. Like how sweet and wondrous music can be, how hopeful and persistent life can be, and somehow, how extraordinarily different and distant human beings can come together to appreciate the same thing. I think you should know, when students in the orchestra saw how big the audience was, they were so excited. Thank you for making their day and thank you for giving them the motivation to be their best. It was wonderful and so much fun to play with them.
Thank you for making this special day even more special, thank you for helping me be brave, and thank you for your love and care.
Placing my little five year old fingers on the black and white keys, I began, with reverent determination and care, to play “Hot Cross Buns.” I was surprised by the bright, vibrant sound that emitted from the piano, and satisfied from the then-demanding but actually infinitesimal challenge. It was the first of my many unforgettable, unbreakable bonding moments with piano playing, a relationship that I am increasingly strengthening, particularly with my studies at the University of Victoria. With each passing lesson, lecture, and performance, I realize that the life of music is the one I wish to live.
Dear computer, baby, first born child, keeper of words, stories, and memories;
You are old, heavy, loud, constantly in heat. You’ve crashed and burned and even been overcome by a virus that turned my whole OS to dust. You fight the wifi like it’s the real object of my love so I cannot connect with the outside world.
But these are words I tell myself so that I can move on – be real, let go, and move on.
You are my sweetest friend, my earliest ear of thoughts and questions and commandments that I doubted anyone would care to hear. You are a safe place, a library, a entrance to worlds of wonder. You were my occupant of spare time, or time-that-was-meant-for-things-but-made-into-spare-time or whatever you call it. You have a cool coat of cherry black and keys that fit perfectly in my hands. My computer life was born and raised with you.
I don’t want to walk away from this familiar screen bordered by sticky-notes, don’t want to place my fingers on some shiny, clean keyboard that holds no personality in its unblemished r’s, t’s, and f’s, to say the least. What will the new one be like? Will it be cold and professional? Curious and surprising? Distant and unfamiliar? Or loving?
You will always be the first, always hold a special place in my heart.
Thank you, computer.
On Fisgard Lighthouse at Fort Rodd Hill:
For a place so irrevocably tied with loneliness, it’s an unfailingly welcoming freedom and adventure that is always present no matter how many times I come. Maybe it’s the self dependence of finding your own routes or the instinctual simplicity of survival in an actually potentially dangerous setting. Whatever it is, it’s a happy place.
A disjuncted journal entry:
I remember writing words like “unforgettable” and “once in a lifetime” and “so much fun.” I was excited in a young, just-won-the-biggest-award, can’t-believe-I’m-going kind of way, before I cooled down and thought like a grown-up, remembering responsibility and calmness despite exhaustion and everything else care-takers of children must remember. So I was prepared and cool-headed and professional going into the trip, except perhaps, with a slight sense of curiousity for where I would fall as a 19 year old chaperone and alumna.
And yet again, it is the people who make all the difference. And of course as important as the planning of events and activities are, it is the stuff slightly outside of our control, our guarantee, that make all the difference. The kids who get invited over here are intelligent, quirky, often mature. There must be enough difference in those things for it to make a difference.
There’s a sense of groundedness, a complete emptying of desperation when one finds the best friend. Two people casually sidle into shoulder leanings and head resting and speak of things outside the situation. The banter is a million times better than when being along and hugs never need to end.
Thank you to the alumni for being my friends, for the chaperones for their character and wisdom, and the kids for their laughter and easiness and eagerness in everything.
Was it about good-byes? Or about the changing world? Or just a capturing of a small moment that brought on a slew of thoughts and ideas and funneled neatly into a singular, bow-tied conclusion? Whatever it was, at least it was fully formed and focused and finished. Fly free, unchained thought, fly free.
FWAP. It’s a tight sound, a thick sound, or at least, tighter and thicker than I thought a knife splitting flesh and bone would be. The chosen slab of meat shifts into chunks of pork ready for cooking and I try to erase the imaginative whisper of blood splattering and parts flying from my mind. The butcher has his tools – big blades, thick blades, skewers, hangers, and one long, thin metal stick sitting on the edge of table. A fly skirts across my attention. Then, another creature. A moth? It flaps its dimly yellow, speckled wings towards the butcher’s counter. Is a bug a nuisance? An infringement on cleanliness? An object to remove? My mind wanders to the array of knives and the precision I suspect the butcher can employ to remove this unlabeled disturbance. I watch as the bug lands on the one long, thin metal sitting on the edge of the butcher’s table and slowly walks along the beam. The butcher becomes still, a stillness that surprises and deems me unable to translate.
he says. And all of a sudden, the creature is a butterfly and sunlight unfolds from its gently sun-kissed wings and the expression on his face is a soft smile, one of wonder and love and admiration for creatures that reminds me that butchers may or may not be killers or cutters but without a doubt they are men with hearts and moments of humanity.
Isn’t it a beautiful thing to sometimes be, for a moment, changed, broke, absolutely not you? To look at your own body and feel that at any moment, you might shatter, your heart might beat itself out of your chest, or, your flesh will turn to liquid, and all that will be left is that heavy, gaping feeling of fear in your throat. But it’s beautiful to feel so different, to be free of the awareness of “what’s to do” that comes with having been yourself for so long. And the whole world changes when you are so changed; the depth of dusk becomes a lighter, more fleeting blue from outside the window, as though it’s telling you to no longer be afraid of the dark.
But as you know, everything eventually comes to and end, and the magic fades to a sore neck, old age, and whatever else.
Oh, but you should see the ink fades as it’s washed away by the water! Or how, in the instant a dried crumb hits the water, it blossoms into a perfect poised half-sphere. Somehow they litter the surface of the sink, each drop with the same intent as the animated credits of a movie. Such effortless perfection.
Well, I suppose if this letter was born from such a passing place, I might as well let it go.
I thought I’d just leave you a happy message before you left for Ghana because I’ll be in Taiwan in a couple of days so I don’t get to see you. So. I’d just like to wish you all the best for your little adventure… don’t get Ebola, please, please, please (If you bring it back it’ll probably freeze to death here in the Vancouver summer but let’s not take chances now). You will have an incredible time, I’m very sure. You’re sunshine-ness and open heart and endless energy will undoubtedly make your experience as good as it can get. When times get rocky, because when you’re on the other side of the world it sometimes can, just remember that I ❤ you very much and I am also eternally jealous and wish I were you. The people you meet will teach you so much and give you so much love, and the best you can do for them is probably just to love then back and keep their smiles and stories in your heart. They might make you cry, you might make them cry, but Africa is a beautiful home and it’ll hold you in it’s warm, loving arms until you smile again. I’ll miss you and I can’t wait to see the pictures. (I’ll try not to cry in envy and nostalgia when I see them).
Take care, ma rafiki. ❤