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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I left my heart in India...

India...doesn't the name just sound mysterious and beautiful? For
those that have never been, and find it utterly uninteresting to
listen to someone lament about a trip, OR have been and hated it: Stop
Reading Now. You won't get what you're looking for here! Nothing more
to see!
For the rest of you who will at least humor a girl her *small*
obsession, go ahead: keep reading. Approximately 3 years and 2 months
ago I boarded a plane with 12 other female students and one male
professor to spend a month exploring India. India, it was really
never on my list of places I wanted to visit one day...in fact, until
Boyd Wilson's World Religions class it would probably have been in my
bottom ten. I just wasn't interested. For one thing, it seemed
so...old...And hot, and it was full of religions that weren't my own
and therefore made me uncomfortable. I'd also heard stories of kids
who left home to learn about Budhism and never came back. I was never
too keen on opening myself up to that possiblity, better to stay
ignorant. Ahhhh...sweet ignorant bliss.
But then, Sophomore year I enrolled in this World Religions class. It
was part of my major, and I was entirely apathetic. Until I got
there, and met the prof, and started reading. It was a shock to my
system that I might find this stuff not only interesting, but
compelling. If you're passionate about your faith, I decided, you
cannot just ignore those other religions. In my opinion it's pretty
irresponsible. If you don't know what really makes your faith
different from others, how effective are you going to be in spreading
the gospel really?
I would strongly encourage anyone who is serious about their faith to
pick up a book that explains, unbaisedly, the beliefs of another
faith. (or better yet, read their actual holy texts since any factual
book is going to be biased, who am I kidding?) After you've actually
read an "unbaised" book, go ahead and read one that is written by a
Christian, but you've kinda gotta get the facts first, you really
should learn the basics. Islam is a good place to start as it is
possibly the most intimidating to us Westerners. But if you want to
be entertained by good stories and a lot of hidden similarities
between the Christian faith and another faith- my favorite is
Hinduism. I find it to be an extremely beautiful and intriguing

**Side bar** It must be said that I truly enjoy these religions. It
does not mean I think they are true or that I would encourage anyone
to experiment with them. I have just reached a point that I can
admire them for what they are; for their culture, their stories, their
art and their beauty. It can get confusing to some because you'll
find a lot of Christian principles in Hinduism, Budhism, Jainism,
Islam, etc. But if you think about it, they are all just "moral" or
"good" principles, of course they exist in other religions! There is
just a vital part missing from these other religions- Jesus and
Salvation. **end side bar**

So I went to India and though there were times I hated and cursed the
whole coutry for how hot it was, and other times I cried for the
unfairness I witnessed, the majority of the time I spent in wide-eyed
disbelief. It cannot be explained - I can't do it. But here are some
pictures that can try:

Notice how COLORFUL everything is. If you were there when the picture
was taken, every single one of these images would bring with it both
sweltering heat and all-encompassing sensory overload. Smell is of
course the most memory-jarring sense in my reperitoire; I look at
these images and smell jasmine, tandoori, nag champra, gasoline,
asphalt, curry and ginger. I can feel how I felt but it is impossible
to explain. I can see begger children with kohl on their eyelids,
blessings on their foreheads, and dripping in bangles. Begger
children that look for all the world like miniature royalty but are
living on just pennies a day.

India is the most perfect oxymoron, obscenely rich coexisting within
feet of the obscenely poor. American progress side-by-side with the
most primitive ways of life imaginable. The most beautiful sights and
smells and experiences, paired with the most terrible. There are
places that feel like nirvana, and others that feel like the 7th
circle of hell. There is no justifying the ways people are treated
and animals are exaulted. Cows are sacred and walk the streets where
crowds part like the Red Sea while human beings dart across busy
streets (google Indian Traffic, do it) where cars would literally
rather hit a human than a cow for fear of the scum they could be
reincarnated into.

Now, 3 years and 2 months later, sitting in my clean house with all
the food I could need in the freezer and a car full of gas in the
driveway (rather than coke but that is another story), I can scarcely
believe that place exists. The entire country seems to be something
from a dream- there is just no way that raucus country could still be
out there, outside of my dreams. But put me in a store like World
Market where I'm surrounded with small reminders of India- with
lotions that could only be made in India for how authentic they smell,
and I'm thrown into a day dream resulting in three-page blogs where it
all bubbles to the surface. My breath catches and the part of my
heart that I left in India begins to ache for the loss of itself. How
a trip and a country can impact a person forever is humbling, it
amazes me still how quickly those memories come back and how
vibrantly. Now I'm left with my pictures and my memories. I hope
that each of you can one day have an experience with will change you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Highschool and Weddings

I've been thinking a lot lately about Highschool and Weddings...
Since high school came first I'll beging with that train of thought: Since I tend to spend a lot of time with or thinking about high schoolers (no it's not weird, it's my job:), I find myself transported back to my four years of awkwardness quite often and, disturbingly, quite clearly.

I've always considered myself as having a pretty good memory and am especially responsive to smell triggers. An example of this, for those of you that know who I'm talking about – smelling the Original Abercrombie and Fitch Cologne brings back sudden memories of Nate (my high school love). I'm also subject to flashbacks of Kenny (another boy) when I drive by Mongolian Barbecue and smell their food cooking (he worked there and became, for lack of a better word, quite saturated with that smell...it was almost overpowering at times but of course, I loved it.)

Come to think of it, Nate wore a lot of that cologne too... But less potent smells do it to me as well: the smell of spring reminds me of one particular spring/summer – the one between Junior and Senior years. It was the summer I spent the majority of my time with a group of kids from FHC (Kenny is included in that- yikes), and my best friend at the time, Lisa. We spent a lot of time hanging out outside on, yes – on, our cars and just generally "be-ing." It's this particular memory that makes me think about the high school yearst--- we spent a lot of time doing nothing. .. And loving it.

For instance, one time Lisa, Rose, Brian, Justin and myself parked our car at Siedman park, walked about a mile into the park to an area made mostly of sand dunes, laid down, and took a nap. (on Mexican blankets we'd picked up at a gas station on our way home from Florida, of course) Then we got up and walked out. I don't remember deciding to do this, I don't remember talking about going or even talking while we were there, I don't have any clue why we did it... I do remember there was a guy smoking pot not too far away so maybe the smell made us sleepy, but that was what we did. It was normal, it was entertaining, it was how we passed our time.

I look at my high school kids now and remember exactly how simple and yet dramatic life was. I remember that going to the prom at another school was a huge deal. I remember that going to prom at your own school was a big deal, especially if you had the right date. Does anyone besides me look back and realize that we spent as much time getting ready for school dances as we did getting ready on our wedding days? No, really. Had invitations been allowed I'm sure more than one of us would have invited every living person we knew to come check us out in our hot dress with our hot date. (except we never would have admitted this back then, because we wanted to seem nonchalant and act like it "was no big deal.") Kids today seem to have the publicity stuff down pretty well though, as I've seen pictures of prom nights go up on facebook or blogs when it was still technically prom night according to my watch!

anyways, where was I going with all this? oh yeah, I remember. Ha. So that I don't forget all together I would like to write down a few of these feelings so I can relate to my own kids one day just a little more. It's not that my parents did a bad job of this and I'm desperate for a way to do it better, it's just that I can already see in just the 6 years since I graduated from high school how much I have already forgotten. I am still young enough that alot of the memories pop right back when I encounter a story similar to my own, but I am still amazed at how much I've forgotten and have had to almost force myself to remember in an effort to understand the kids I work with better. How long before I can't even make myself remember anymore? I'm sure I'll remember the stories but not the feelings. Those are what I want to preserve. So I might try it. Or maybe I'll just talk about trying it...but either way, high schoolers are cool and I hope I don't ever completely forget what it was really like to be one.

Now, weddings. You know how they say a girl spends her entire childhood up to her wedding day thinking about her wedding day? Does anyone ever mention what a girl does after her wedding is over? Us girls have spent these 20+ years daydreaming about our weddings and the men we are going to marry and what we will look like and what it will feel like, and who it will be and when it will be, and then...it's over. One day ends a lifetime of planning and dreaming. Sure, you're married and you love your husband, blah blah blah (that's not the point ;)

For me at least, and I suspect a lot of girls were like this too - when I pictured my wedding day as a kid or even a teenager, it wasn't exactly about the groom -he was a nameless, faceless (but exceptionally good looking, of course) blob in a tuxedo who gave me a big shiny diamond and lots of flowers. My wedding day was always about me, what I would look like, what I would wear, I chose what he would wear too but that's just another bit of control. I dreamed about what colors would be selected, and how everyone would ooh and ahh over me in my beautiful dress, and be envious of me. Laugh all you want but you all know this is true, at least to some extent-when you don't know who you're going to marry you can't exactly day dream about how in love you are with him!! Weddings to little girls are about being a princess, and though I'd like to say that was the complete opposite of the truth when I reached adult hood- it wasn't. By the time i got married it was less and less about me and more and more about the relationship, but it was still largely fulfilling a daydream and getting to be a princess for the day.

Strangely though, as much as I would love to do that day all over again, having been married has made me enjoy weddings just that much more. For one thing, I am no longer preoccupied with thinking about my own wedding and what I will or will not do. I'm not squirreling away tidbits and ideas for myself, I am just sitting back and enjoying. It is also the only way that a married woman can keep that daydream alive. We get to share in our friends' excitement and reminisce on our own feelings that day. So really, the daydream never ends. As long as there are good friends and weddings we can all go one feeling like princesses.
Congratulations to all my recently and soon-to-be-wed friends!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

**side bar**

I get the feeling that when I post blogs like "Thoughts on Being a Pilots Wife" most of my blog readers tend to think I'm complaining, trying to make a point, or just downright depressed. Then, they think too much about what I'm writing and either get really worried or never comment for fear of saying the wrong thing. I know that those people just care for me and want to see me happy, but this note is to set them at ease and let them know my true thoughts behind my blog:
I'm not going to off myself if my blog seems a little too deep, contemplative, depressing, or whatever you may call it. I see my blog as a place to explain myself, keep my family and friends updated on what is going on with me, and just plain get everything out that needs to come out or I will eventually explode. I would put all of this into a nicely contained diary away from other's eyes, but frankly, I'm too lazy to write it all...my handwriting tends to get a little sloppy. Plus, I type almost as fast as I think, so it comes out a lot smoother and truer. PLUS, I just figure it keeps all those "how are you," "what's new," "what have you been up to" questions answered as best I can.
My life lately has indeed been a little tumultuous; it's no secret that work is slow, the building industry in general is struggling, and sometimes the long days of monotony- waiting for business to pick up - well, they just get a little tiring and tend to overflow into my entire outlook on life. My husband is gone a lot - something I think I deal with well but does cause some road bumps along the way, money is always tight, and I've made some major decisions lately. It all adds up to a somewhat subdued Krista. Also, I don't exactly have a lot of exciting things going on- I'm busy, but not really with anything that is really worth blogging about. I don't have kids with crazy antics, my cats are pretty much professional couch potatoes, and most of what the dog does is pretty normal too....(phew! how's that for a run-on sentence) So, by default, I write about the greater issues in my life- the ones that cause me the most contemplation. This is me, this is how I always wrote my school papers, and these are the things I think are worth writing about. (I was also always a fan of the "darker" literature out there so my writing may tend to reflect that preference as well.)
Anyways, that said, I'll do my best to keep you all up-to-date on the sunshiny parts of my life as well as the deep thoughts. Just don't worry too much when you read a post that doesn't seem all that upbeat and positive. I'm just getting it out, and it means I'm dealing with it. And by all means, go ahead and comment! I'd rather see a million comments that don't say "just the right thing" than always see "0 comments" at the end of my posts. I love you all, and I just want to clear the air, I am not depressed! I am successfully off the anti-depressants and generally happy with my life, I can just tend towards the negative (and really long novel-like) blogging. LOVE YOU!!!