Thursday, January 22, 2015

New House on Wheels

I bought a trailer. 

This has been a dream of mine for a while now. I have researched many a Craigslist ad for a trailer that I could live in full-time for less than $5,000. Well, I found one. It's a 1971 20 footer. It's very dated on the inside (lots of brown), but it's in pretty good condition. I am working on getting it to a livable condition as it sits in my parents' driveway in California.

I figure the trailer is a metaphor. Like Frozen says, "everyone is a fixer upper," and it's definitely true for my new home (yet to be given a name). The veneer is peeling in some places, there's some truly psychedelic carpet in one of the cabinets, and the exterior paint floats away in the breeze. But every piece of work I put into it adds a bit of charm and makes me like it more. It's starting to seem like my property, at least, and not just something I'm working on.

Speaking of work, I got a part time job here, and when I'm not working, I work on the trailer. I've bought key things, like a new battery, brake lights, and new clearance lights for the exterior. I put some serious elbow grease into cleaning the ceilings and floors. There are some 70s features that I love and I'm going to keep, like the olive green oven, or the faceted glass light cover. The floors are also pleasant: a marbleized linoleum with gold faux cracks. 

When I bought the thing, I could see the potential, and it's growing on me. I definitely effect it, but it works back on me. I wasn't so emotional when I bought it, and I didn't build up fantasies in my mind about how much work it would take for it to get where I want it, but I was willing to make the investment. This can be a metaphor for my future marriage relationship. My husband won't be the perfect person. There are things I would rather change, but every little positive thing I will give to him will contribute to the success of our relationship. 

With the trailer, I almost feel like I should ask it what it would allow me to do. Though it's old and not in pristine condition, I feel the need to preserve some original things, but other things need to be brought up to date. I would really like a desk, but would it appreciate me just sawing into it? If it could communicate to me, which of my plans would it agree with?

For now, I will keep putting my love into it, and soon I will move into it full time, with all my stuff. I hope it all fits, and we can begin a wonderful journey together. 

Full-time living, here I come.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

[Poem] Maine

Hojas de diferentes colores
La luz del sol brillando detrás de las ramas
El suelo suave y sensible
Corro en el bosque para ver el río
El aire intenta invadir mi casaca
Siento mi cuerpo moverse, paso tras paso. Estoy llegando al agua.
De repente los árboles se partan y puedo ver la orilla al otro lado del río
El sol me calienta a mi faz
Cierro mis ojos y me quedo parada
Lentamente abro mis ojos y me acostumbro a mi entorno
Hay una casa a mi derecha y un camino de madera a la izquierda
El faro de frente de mí vigila por los barcos que pasan por el canal
Abajo las olas lamen a las piedras y pasa por mis oídos su conversación con ellas
Paso por el otro lado de la casa y me siento sobre una roca, tratando de absorber el ataque a mis sentidos
Quiero estar en este momento hasta el fin del día,
Pero hace frío y estoy lejos de casa
Por el momento trato de vivir en el momento
Solo hay ahora
No hay nada más de lo que veo
Agua, arboles, tierra. Rojo, verde, azul, marrón
Todo está aquí.
De esto me glorío.

Leaves of different colors.

The sunlight shining behind the branches.
The soft and tender soil.
I run in the forest to see the river.
The air attempts to invade my coat.
I feel my body moving, step after step. I'm getting closer to the water.
Suddenly, the trees part, and I can see the other bank of the river.
The sun warms my face.
I close my eyes and stand still.
Slowly I open my eyes and take in my surroundings.
There is a house to my right and a boardwalk to my left.
The lighthouse in front of me watches over the boats passing through the canal.
Down below, the waves lick the rocks, and their conversation passes through my ears.
I cross in front of the house and sit on a rock, trying to soak up the attack on my senses.
I want to stay in this moment until the going down of the sun.
But it's cold, and I am far from home.
For now, I try to live in the moment.
There is only now.
There is nothing else but what I see
Water, trees, earth. Red, green, blue, brown.
All is here.
In this, I glory.

Written originally in Spanish for my class in Chiclayo, Peru, July 2014. 
Photos from my trip to Maine in October 2013.

[Snapshot] Cañon del Sonche, Huayas, Perú

The wind passing over my ears drowns out any natural sounds that would be hovering over the canyon. The curled tops of the cotton-white clouds contrast with the bright blue sky.
If you peel off the green mask that's draped over the canyon walls, you see a smaller-scale version of the brown and red Grand Canyon. There are tears in the green blanket, though, where the white and red soil is exposed. 
The erosion slides look like giant eggs were cracked above the canyon, and the yolk is slowly making its way to the muddy river at the bottom. A set of waterfalls adorns a neighboring canyon in front of me. 
A majestic condor would not be out of place here, riding the air waves that blast up from the bottom of the canyon.

I'm happy just being here.



Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Job research

Trying to decide on a career is painful. It shouldn't be this way. If I knew what I should be doing, it would be a whole lot easier. I feel like I did before Peru: searching randomly on Craigslist and for jobs that might possibly fit my interests, but turning them down after reading the requirement list. It’s so discouraging.

Jobs require experience, and I am going to venture into an area in which I hardly have any experience. Do I take classes beforehand? What kind of writing category do I fall under? I do introspection, but I also can write help guides. What kind of relationship is that? I guess the common element is transparency; I try to find clear ideas on my life’s path, and I attempt to clarify technical things for other people. I think transparency is my guiding principle throughout my life, and I’m still trying to figure out why I value it so much.

Today I wrote a list of potential job titles that are related to each other:

  • Writer (manuals, non-fiction, self-help, travel, poetry, songs) 
  • Copy writer (found out this is writing for print and online publication, mostly for businesses) 
  • Editor 
  • Copy editor (before stuff gets printed) 
  • Proofreader (the last step in the publication chain) 
  • Editorial assistant 

I still go back to when I was in Argentina and some guy wanted me to edit his English translation from Spanish for a travel brochure. I felt like an English expert. I want to work with graphic designers to optimize their publications. I want the opportunity to write original content based on real life. I want to help collaborate on print materials and learn how they are actually produced. I have a need to use my sense of touch to connect with things, whether they be the texture found in ceramics or the feeling of indented type on a page. There is something about the presentation of a printed material that cannot be replicated online.

Any ideas for my future job?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Left at the crossroads, standing on a precipice

Did I think it would be different? Did I think I would know the answer just because I stand in a certain spot and a certain day has come? The big question on my mind is: Where will I live? I don't want to make a mistake. I don't want to feel limited. I want to make the correct decision, but what I learned from a talk with the Lord is that whatever decision I make will be right for me. If I do not want to progress as much right now, I will make a decision that will slow it down. If I am focused on a certain goal and will do anything to achieve it, I can listen really hard to the Lord, take sufficient time to ponder, and make a calculated decision that will be more in line with what He has for me. They are just decisions, and I get more blessings the better the decisions I make. 

I realize now why I didn't get married before: I wasn't ready. I desired it, I prayed for it, I worked toward it, but it wasn't the right timing, and that's because of me. I am more maturely looking for and have prepared myself for this high commitment. I believe this is the right time, but I will focus more on advancing myself personally, for if I decide where to live based solely on good husband prospects, I might not put myself first to make sure I am still developing independently and putting into practice the important lessons I have learned in the past few months. If I am living my dream, other things will fall into place, but if I put something before my highest priority right now, perhaps my steps will be misguided. 

So, what is my priority? It takes leaning toward a decision and then listening. It also requires putting together the pieces I have learned along the way. I have been reminded of many things I need to develop, but I cannot do them all at once. I heard something important recently: “Depend on the Lord, enjoy every opportunity, and delight in the life you have” (Kristen M. Oaks). I am also trying to take every opportunity to develop myself and try to listen to the Lord through other people or seemingly coincidental happenings. Today in church, a guy said by name the place where he worked. I looked it up, talked with him, and will contact them to see if my manual-writing skills can be put to good use. One of my sister's lessons to our 6 year old twin cousins when we were visiting them in Idaho was "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," and I am trying to recognize all the gifts the Lord has blessed me with.

I know I will visit my cousin in Omaha. I know I will get my stuff soon from an out of state storage unit. I know I need to be involved in a young single adult church congregation and live next to a temple. I don't know where that will be. Perhaps the Lord has given me enough clues to have me figure it out for myself and make my own plans, instead of Him telling them to me. The answer came in church today: Just keep close to the Lord in everything you do, and you will know where to go, whether He says it directly or indirectly. So, time for a spiritual overhaul, complete with prayer, scripture study, fasting, and patience. 

Stay tuned for major life decisions happening.

Learning French

I thought my Spanish could facilitate my communication with French people. Maybe I could even speak to them in Spanish and they would understand.

I was wrong.

My Spanish is only helpful to me in learning French. Spanish and French as Latin-based languages. They have common cores, and I can usually figure things out, except a few mistranslations like preservatif, which is actually a condom. No, I could only be able to understand French based on my personal study. My French freind that I met in Peru gave me a couple of starter courses, and I bought a manual from the Alliance Française in Lima. With that combined, I had a pretty good head start for actually being in the country.

Language is a key part to a culture. People communicate by using their words, and jokes, expressions, idioms, and accents all add to the cultural experience. Later in my trip to France, when I was on a river cruise for English speakers, I missed hearing French, even though I didn't understand most of it. I longed to feel like an outsider in a foreign country instead of an American tourist being shown what France was like. Learning the language allows you to connect with people in their native tongue.

As far as pronouncing French, I'll try to give a short lesson. Usually, vowels are like Spanish vowels, e.g. the a is long, as in ahh. So, comme ça would be pronounced "kom-sah." Usually, you don't pronounce the last letter of the word (hence, "kom"). To simplify, gender is distinguished by an e at the end of the word: you can eat at a bourdelais restaurant, or apply bourdelaise crême to your hands (I don't know if they make lotion there, though). Everything has an article, definite or indefinite. You can't just say "I've got books." You have to say "J'ai des livres" (I've got some books). Oh, and French people like to say in Spanish, "¿Es posible de tener un café? instead of "¿Es posible tener un café?" They really like that de.

Though I might have a good head start in learning French, it will definitely take work. I would like to take classes from Alliance Française here in the States, but I feel it will be easier to learn it from Spanish and not from English. I can more easily make connections from Spanish.

I'm thankful that I can learn French from Spanish. Now, I just have to make sure I don't confuse the two in my head.