Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cumulonimbus and the Birth of a Filly.

It's 2:00 A.M. and I'm refusing to pack.

Maybe my trouble is that I've refused to process anything past Wendesday the 20th for the last three or four weeks. Consequently, my last final occurred eight hours ago and I am thus at a complete loss. I understand my clothing isn't going to jump into suitcases and my lamps and notebooks aren't going to arrange themselves according to their size, filling tupperware containers just so... but I'm sitting here, listening to Drew Gordon plunk a geniusly crafted tune out on the piano, and don't particularly feel inclined to move. A terrible situation I've found myself in.

I'm not paralyzed in fear of my trip, or in fear of moving back to St. Cloud for two weeks. But perhaps, for the first time, the reality of my leaving is settling in. I've been saying "goodbye! Have a good semester! I won't be here!" with excitement endlessly. I never really know when the last encounter with a friend will be. Sometimes they show up less than 24 hours later and I have to say goodbye all over again. I'm always guessing.

However, tonight was just slightly different. It's my last night in Minneapolis for an extended period of time, and my last night with the proximity of many I care about. It's just a little more real than it's been before. I suppose in my logical, relational sort of brain I'll come to the conclusion that not packing isn't going to make the morning come any more slowly. But part of me wants it to. Yet I know it will all be here, waiting, when I get back to the states. And I'll get a glimpse of the city lights on the 4th of January when I drive to the airport at 4:00am.

Drew Gordon is still playing.. but it's now his song called "The Birth of a Filly," and I can't help but remember his apparent mantra as the eighth notes dance on top of his swinging 3/4 measures. For those who have never heard of him, Drew was an accompanist in the dance program and was dearly loved. He passed away early this past fall, and the Barbara Barker Center for Dance will always resonate with his quirky charms, enthused rhythms and endless, genuine love. He was a man of passions: never allowing the hurt of the world to reflect his nature and attention for the individual. I guess his mentality, subconciously, somehow has supported my desire to travel and do something that will make a direct impact. Because in so many senses, that was what he was about too. It's good to know someone else shares my passion for people. However, I am going for five months. Drew was "going" his entire life.

So maybe going is good. Not that I ever thought it wasn't. And maybe I'll start packing. After all, it is now closer to 2:30 than when I started and the clock will keep on keepin' time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jazz music, Paper chains and Overwhelming support.

I'm beginning to find myself again.
Not that I was really lost, but only that I wasn't always letting my whole self out.

Yet in leaving, I've found tremendous support. Part of my trouble coming back to school last fall was that there were very few to whom I could deeply relate. I'm finding that again - that support network. Those deep relationships, where people really care about what I'm about and where I'm going. The traveling bit doesn't only pertain to my immediate relocation. I've begun to immerse myself in a network of individuals who have a genuine interest in my success in both school and my eventual and inevitable "long run." Everyone wants to know about the fluency of my spanish, my locations, the people there and about their dance.

I just feel so loved.

In my mind, my general leaving for five months was never a big deal - but there's so much genuine attention when people ask about my trip. It sometimes makes my heart want to burst open and give it all back to those who are asking. I'm putting a huge chunk of my life into an entirely different direction, and my friends, family and mentors alike truly have an interest my passion for the place that I'm going.

Two of my best friends, Lauren Baker (my roommate and fellow Dance Major) and Chris Vatsaas (who lived on the sixth floor of my dorm last year and enjoys the occasional trip to the caves for swing dancing), threw me a going away party entirely in my own style last Saturday night. They deemed it: "Are You Fairly Buzzed?" The idea was that everyone was going to drink coffee all night instead of getting tipsy on booze. It was complete with a red paper chain, jazz music, and all my friends wearing red and black - my supposed signature colors. I'm a giant nerd and made cards containing the information for my trip, so they could be tacked by magnets to refigerators. My excuse was that it was easier than writing it all down each time I was asked, but subliminally it seems I just didn't want to be forgotten. However, It wasn't so much the event that made the night wonderful, but rather it was the people who came. I was surrounded by those people mentioned above - the ones who have genuine interest in my passion. There was an obvious kind of warmth in the room, and it wasn't just from the number of bodies within it. It was so nice for many of my friends to finally meet the people they hear me boast about in conversation. I also knew many were off performing in a midnight cabaret that night, and it was wonderful to get phone calls and to know we'd be catching up over coffee this week.

It's with occasions like these that I am utterly convinced of the beauty and goodness in the world. It's amazing and I am just so grateful. Grateful for both the beautiful people in my life and for Guatemalan chickens in the streets.

As for the most current on-goings of my life, they are consisting mostly of giant papers and one final on Wednesday that will inevitably, (for the purposes of this being a family shared journal) whoop my behind. I move on Thursday, which I'm sure will be an event of semi-mixed emotion. As my father has suddenly quit his annual writing of the Christmas letter, my mother sent me a pleading email last week and I took his job and wrote the letter on Tuesday. Many of you should expect that in the mail soon. My Christmas shopping is done, and I have managed to string a set of 100 mini lights to the slightly-browning plant in my room. My last day of work was yesterday, and the Kudak family Christmas tomorrow is a great excuse to take a break from my current loathing of early British Literature.

I think, perhaps, that I either need to start posting more frequently, or practice my "short" windedness. I'm always so lengthy and I know very few of you have more than a few moments in the day. Speaking of time, I wrote a fair amount on the constraints of that subject the other day. Nevertheless, that is another topic for another day. I hope all of you are finding some quiet in your hectic lives to enjoy our, wait .... green grass and rain in December? While I would love a little snow as well, continue to enjoy your days. Remember the sun shines just for you and the world is filled with beautiful energy.

Much love and peace to you all,