29 May, 2007

give it up already...

My body is desperately trying to make me reproduce. I am now having my periods every 3 weeks, which in turn makes me ovulate every 3 weeks and I have ¨menstral like¨ cramps really bad when I run over 20 minutes, it’s not fair and I am having some serious talks with my sub-conscious mind! I am not going to stop exercising and ¨settle down¨. I think I will now use the reverse psychology approach and tell myself that yes, I do want to have a baby…just not yet, I still have plenty of time…maybe that will work, wait, is it listening to me now? shit.

26 May, 2007

Come on baby light my fire...

It's official, I am now a "cover girl"...my lifelong dream...(yeah right...)

I attended the Native Spirit camp in Austria in the summer of 06 during the Masters Peace Program, where I learned to make fire. As I stared at my hand-made warmth someone snapped a photo. Later I was asked if they could use the photo in their 2007 brochure in which 5000 copies are distributed through Austria, Germany and Switzerland. I always knew I would "make it big" in Europe!

23 May, 2007

Passport renewal??

I went to Valencia to the US consulate to renew my passport which expires in July. I, as usual, had no idea where the place was (other than an address). I was told that it was near the Corte Ingles which is a gross-awful-huge department store full of shit nobody needs but feels compelled to buy. I guess I shouldn't be too hard on consumers who enter the monstrosity, since I have been know to enter the one in Castellon a time or two because in the lowest level they have a very large supermarket where I can get natural/organic products that I can't find anywhere else; so I apologize to all the people who shop there to buy items of necessity.
I got to Valencia, walked up from the metro and was in the middle of this huge city. Since anyone with sight couldn't help but see the store, I found it right away and walked to it; but quickly realized that the store was a complete city block therefore the consulate office which was 2 blocks (roughly) from it could be in any direction! I stood there and decided to let my ever growing/developing intuition guide me this way and that. I was looking for a big american flag which waves outside Embassy's. I ended up at this cafe and stood deciding which way to go next. I then sat down to contemplate the situation and while doing so, looked up and saw a street sign posted on a building; not only was this the exact street I was looking for, but I was also sitting in front of the building that houses the consulate office. So all be damned if I hadn't walked directly where I needed to go. For whatever the reason (and I can think of many) I saw no flag flying proudly...come to think of it maybe they only do that in the movies, I know that's how Jason Bourne always found the US embassy when he needed it...

I paid the renewal fee and dropped of my passport and application, so now I wait to receive my new passport in the mail which will allow me to travel where I need to go...provided they indeed renew it and give it back...well, because I may have just overextended my tourist visa just a little...maybe...

21 May, 2007

more privledge...

Okay this post is not so "heavy"...again it is about my thoughts of privilege and the whole "why me" issue, but things are becoming more and more clear to me.

The McKee's have family in town, so for the next 2 weeks, I am staying at the house of Charlie's brother, who along with his wife and 2 children are living in Valencia (about an hour south of Castellon). I am now sitting in a very beautiful place! When I walked into the house the mom said "you can have the upstairs, pick your room, because the kids sleep on the main floor in bedrooms near ours"...so I headed up the stairs.

I turned into the first room and I just about died (in a good way, of course). There in front of me was a bedroom with big sliding doors leading out to a terrace surrounded by trees and plants and furnished"India" style (which I completely am in LOVE with) with big cushions on the tile and colorful beaded pillows....I obviously had found "my room". I am now sitting on one of the cushions and actually feel like crying, yes I know...again, but I just can't help it, I guess it's from all the years I felt compelled to "hold back the tears" which is such a stupid concept, if you have a feeling why not express it, You wouldn't hold back a laugh would you?? except if you were in church, ah, but I digress.

Which brings me to "privilege" as I previously called it. While perusing the house, I found a book called "The Purpose of your Life" and promptly started reading it. I have really been working hard on"finding myself"; started yoga in the mornings and have been reading up on really being in tune with my sub-conscious mind. Well this book takes it steps further and in line with the book "Celestine Prophecy" which I loved, it tells you that everything happens for a reason and as long as you become aware of the "signs" around you, then you can kind of prepare yourself for things to come, so to speak. Along the lines that everything happens for a reason; the harder you try to "make something right" or "try harder for something to work" and it is continuously unsuccessfully, then it probably isn't or wasn't meant to be.

This was finally made clear to me when I had a feeling that I should contact a close friend of mine in Austin. He replied that his life is not working like he wants it to and everything he has tried so hard to achieve is just not working. While emailing him back and forth telling him my thoughts on his dilemma, things suddenly fell into place for me then and there! When I look at all the links (coincidences if you will) in the past 2 months that brought me to where I am, it's downright scary. I won't go into it all since that would bring me to post some depressing stuff and since "anonymous commenter" requested a more uplifting post, I'll skip over that part! but basically, since the "Easter event" one thing has lead to another through the crying session on the hill to finding the book to emailing my friend. Reading the book and "hopefully helping" my friend in need, I have come to terms with the "privileges" that continue to find me. I cannot look at these incredible opportunities that have happened upon me in a bad way, they are just happening because they are a necessary step to help me on my path to find my purpose in life.

When I had talked to a "mystic mentor" in December she had mentioned that I need to write everything down, write down the people I meet, their characteristics, what their interaction with me means to me, what I learn from them, etc... this didn't make sense to me at the time and actually I haven't paid much attention to it until now...the book talks about how even the smallest meeting or "running into" someone can have a purpose in your life to help you stay or get on the path you were born to follow.

I mean luck only goes so far...there has to be something more at work here. I have also released myself from figuring out my future. What I mean is that I have let go, so to speak, and realized that there is little I can do to change whatever crazy path I am supposed to be on. I am "going with the flow", but along with that I am very conscious of my surroundings and opportunities that come my way. I can not take anything for granted and not be so hard on myself for the opportunities that have come and will come my way.

Who would have thought that by trying to help a friend, I ended up helping myself. It reminds me of "The King and I" movie where Deboah Kerr is singing to the little siamese students and states "It's a very ancient saying, But a true and honest thought, That if you become a teacher, By your pupils you'll be taught". Now in no way do I feel that I am a "teacher" but what the hell, I have long since given up trying to figure out the things that pop into my mind...

The wonderful thing is that he has realized that doors are opening up for him, ones that he wasn't even aware of AND I may have the pleasure of traveling with him again.

PRIVLEDGE: 15-5-07

I was struck with emotion the yesterday while hiking in the hills around the city of Pucol. I had gone for a jog/walk and ended up on a hiking trail overlooking the city all the way to the sea. I suddenly started to cry and I didn’t know why. I was all alone in this incredibly peaceful beautiful setting and the tears started to come and I didn’t try to stop them. After a few moments I felt better and started back down the hill. Looking back, I got emotional because of the privileges I have in life and how fortunate I am; but why do I deserve this when so many are suffering. Why do “good things” to happen to me; like the opportunity to have found a job teaching English (without any prior teaching skills); meeting the McKees; living with them and having a steady salary on top of it…why do these things happen to me and not to others. I know it has something to do with karma and how positive energy begets positive things, but it still is hard to accept at times.

When I reach my goal to work in disaster relief, I will be able to experience the suffering that others go through because they happened not to be born in a “developed” country, although the current victims of Katrina in New Orleans are struggling for basic human rights and they live in America. I did toss around the idea of going back to the US and working with a non-profit promoting human rights for Katrina victims…but, I am just not ready to do that yet. For my own personal growth, I need to experience living in a country that doesn’t have a culture of over-consumption and waste. Living in Spain on a very tight budget has prepared me as best it could have. Here I have learned to live with out the luxuries I previously though I couldn’t live without a car, clothes dryer, phone, unlimited internet access; as well as the ability to communicate verbally to my family and friends on a regular basis.

That is something I think about a lot. I know I am not as physically close as I used to be, but now I think I am sort of emotionally detached. Many times I feel an outsider and guilty because I am not focusing my energy on my family that could possibly benefit from my support. I feel sometimes that I am drifting away and closing my heart to my “former life” maybe I am doing so subconsciously because someday I could be completely “cut off” from contact and this is just a way to make it easier. I often think that is one reason that I have not been able to now (and could not in the past) develop a strong bond with a man that could lead to a “future together”. I always knew something deep down was holding me back. I know that I will find someone when the time is right for both of us…and if I don’t, then I will have spent my whole life perfecting “being alone” which is actually so much easier in many cases.

THESIS Smesis 16-5-07

The fear is setting in…my thesis is making me freak out. Now I can “freak out” for different reasons and it usually only lasts for an hour or two and then I calm down and begin the task at hand or answer the door as my date arrives, what ever the case may be. This freaking out is a little different as I am in the early stages of writing and researching and if it’s happening already, I am scared of what lies ahead. My online class in Peace Studies is walking me through this never-before-experienced process. The first and second questions in which I was to write a 3-5 paper essay about, were relatively easy…”Who am I as an Author” and “What compels me to write about this topic”, which by the way is Global Obesity and the structural and cultural violence surrounding it. These 2 papers were basically all about me, a topic in which I am well versed. The 3rd “What is the problem” and 4th “How would you explain it to people” were a bit more challenging, but still within my capability without exerting much effort. Now the 5th paper is upon me and I guess Professor Josafina is getting down to business. I now have to answer “Which method will I use and why did I choose it” AND “how will I structure my materials: (i.e. – an outline). Draw up my outline and determine which method I will use in my research??… I don’t know do I want to do a case study? That would be great, but where and which culture/population. I will of course have to incorporate the US into the paper, because it is a face that the US culture of over consumption/over eating/un-nutritious foods is being thrust upon the rest of the world because the “American Dream” is no longer reachable for a vast number of immigrants, the “developing” world still thinks it’s doable; therefore they try to emulate our culture. It’s a sad occurrence.

An outline??…I guess that is the main problem…I don’t want to even start, that’s the problem with fear, it prevents you from doing things…although I know I will write my thesis, it’s the starting part that is at the moment freaking me out. But now I actually feel better and am determined to at least write down something, (besides on this blog) even if it is only the title…its due in a week, by the way…

08 May, 2007

goodbye dear one...

here´s a photo of me and Hilary (and Sandy) at our going to Spain party in Austin over a year ago. I am wearing one of my favorite sweaters...it´s so comfortable. It has kept me warm in 5 countries and I was looking forward to it´s softness and warmth for many years to come...but alas...

it was not to be...this is 3 year old Soren wearing my newly shrunken sweater.....I have washed it many many times in the washer, but I guess the one in my new home has a super spin cycle and shrunk the hell out of it... Soren is only wearing it for photo purposes and now I have given it to my friend who has a baby girl...My beautiful sweater will now live in Spain and hopefully will keep lots of little niñas warm for many winters to come.

04 May, 2007

sailing...day 6 (02/05/07)

Sleeping at 3AM. I couldn’t sleep because it was freezing and I didn’t have a blanket. I ended up listening to my Ipod (which now I can’t imagine how I lived without it!) and reading my Christmas present book “You can’t be neutral on a moving Train” by Howard Zinn, which is a “must read” for everyone!

The ferry was so huge! It has about 5 floors and there were about 5 semis and a lot of cars too. When we arrived in Denia, the others took a cab to Castellon, but since it was a long way away it was 60.00 each. R and I passed on the cab and took a bus from Denia to Valencia (9 euros), a bus to the train station (1.15) and then a train from Valencia to Castellon (4.00). We finally arrived at Robert’s house around 12:30. I cleaned up and then took the train to my new house in Pucol getting there around 3:30, and then worked until 9. I was exhausted but had trouble falling sleep from all the craziness from the past 24 hours. It was a great trip!

sailing...day 5 (01/05/07)

back in San Antoni Port….the plan was to sail back to Castellon around 5 AM on May 1st and arrive sometime that evening. Well, that morning bright and early the first team woke and got the boat ready to sail back, but the wind was really strong; had changed direction and was against us. By the time I got up at 7:30 it was decided that there was no way we could make it back to Castellon and we were headed back to Ibiza to see if the wind would change later that day. It took us 6 hours to get back to Ibiza and G decided to dock the boat at the port and we would all either fly or take the ferry back to Castellon. After looking at prices the ferry was the cheapest (by about 250.00), the only catch was that it was leaving at 2 AM the next morning. We spent the day in Ibiza, cleaning the boat and then after lunch everyone took a nap. I was not tired for some reason, so I found an internet café and got online for a little while, then got a snack and coffee at another café and read for awhile. I got back to the boat and the others were getting up and we went for a walk around one tip of the island and then P, D and I went to a small bar to have a drink and dinner. We took a taxi to the ferry, which was on the other side of Ibiza and got on for the 5 hour boat ride to Denia.

sailing...day 4 (30/04/07)

The next day we stayed anchored off the shore of the island and at one point D and I both looked at the back of the boat and D pointed to a small inflatable boat floating away from our boat and exclaimed ”Melinda, es esto nuestra dingy”. I looked at the back of our boat and said, yep, D, it is our dingy. Of course since P was the one who “tied” the boat up, he had to go swim to get it!

After a small panic when D and D realized they were out of cigarettes, we sailed to a nearby island which was populated. We anchored and they took the “safely tied” dingy to shore for the precious tobacco.

Back at the Island that evening watching the sun set on the 4th night.

sailing...day 3 (29/04/07)

Around 4 the next day we left Ibiza to sail to a nearby (about 4 hours away) island. We anchored and stayed for a couple days. The island is inhabited, but has a long beautiful quiet beach along one coast. In the middle of the small island there are sulfuric clay pits, so R and I swam to the island and found the pits. We walked into them which really freaked me out since you sink about mid-shin in the muck. I kept imagining getting stuck. As we rubbed the mud all over ourselves I asked R if these are the right pits (as he had only been there once before). He said he thought so and then we got into hysterical laughing fits talking about perhaps, this is a cesspool or something and we are really rubbing shit allover ourselves. Finally we saw another lady a few meters away from us doing the same thing. We decided well, we weren’t going to be the only ones smelling like shit! Actually the sulfur smell was really bad! We then got out of the pit and walked back to the beach so we could sit in the sun and let it dry. By that time, there were a little more people on the island (about 10) and when we came walking out of the green area onto the beach, there was a group of people just staring at us; obviously unaware of the clay pits on the island. I turned to R and said “What’s the big deal, haven’t they ever seen Americans before”.

3rd night, anchored off the small island, another beautiful sunset.

B and R preparing dinner inside the boat

about 2 AM, tired but not ready to go to bed yet!

sailing...day 2 (28/04/07)

April around 7:30 the next morning – no land yet!

The first night it started raining about 1 AM and the guys had to take turns going on deck to work. It was really windy and stormy. Luckily I am not trained in sailing (nor in understanding frantic Spanish) so I was exempt from helping and spent the night warm and dry down below. This is a shot of the guys’ clothes from the night before as they dried out. They had to change every time they switched shifts; even though they had “waterproof” gear on over their clothes, they still got completely soaked in minutes while on deck.

Land and the finish line in sight around 11 AM (roughly 19 hours later)!

B and I the next morning while we were docked in the port in the town of San Antoni on the Island of Ibiza

the 2nd night and we were still docked on Ibiza. It was a beautiful clear night and almost a full moon.

sailing...day 1 (27/04/07)

I was invited to sail in a race beginning in Castellon finishing on the island of Ibiza. There were 7 of us on the boat and the race began around 16:00, on Friday, April 27th.

With the land far behind us, we still had a long way to go. It was really peaceful and relaxing and luckily I didn’t get sick although I have never sailed that long before. (20:00)

Bringing up dinner the first night on the boat (21:00)

Around 23:00, boredom started setting in…It was completely black with only the moon to light the sky. Q had a flashlight and was shinning it at his face making eerie noises and when I got in the photo, the flash lit us both up and unfortunately the photo came out too clear!