Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's been a few months since my last blog. We successfully made it into a new decade of the 21st century. 
I coached a girls basketball team, went through the ebb and flow of a season with 11 14-year-old girls. 
Jacob and I moved into an 1800's victorian home in San Jose, CA. I hiked into Big Sur, Yosemite, Pointe Reyes National Seashore, and other various places in this part of California.
I wasn't sure what I wanted from a blog when I started this one. 
It might seem strange that I lived for 3 years in East Africa, and only now am I documenting my voice in the ostensible anonymity of the internet. I was just having a conversation about how strange it is that people share so much of themselves in the open-access world we live in. Yet, here I am. Just another of my many contradictions.
Since I've started, I figure I might as well use this space for a purpose.

We all seek meaning in our lives, and wish to tell a story. I've been trying to strike an internal balance since returning to the states, and it's proven to be an arduous task-what with the challenges of reverse-culture shock-the struggles of re-entry into a place I used to recognize as home. 

With a new set of values and a fresh perspective, my frustration has been manifested in an unfair judgement of Americans-I say, I don't remember people being so indifferent and narrow in their scope; I don't remember this lack of depth or foresight in interpersonal, political, or social interactions. 

I don't remember people being so disconnected from the world around them-the Earth they are indebted to. 

I don't remember it being so hard to find a common connection to the people around me; and most importantly, I don't remember feeling so isolated or lonely. 

Lucky for me, I have a friend and comrade to commiserate with. Not all people are so lucky.
Nowhere has this change in me been so apparent as in my rejection of a career. I don't know what I want to "be", by American standards; yet I feel more certain than ever before of who I want to be. I don't know what path I want to take in the workforce, yet I feel very certain of a path I want to take for my own self.
I went home for a week, to the cold Minnesota winter, and visited with my beloved family. Although I think readjustment has been difficult, the time I got to spend with my parents and siblings was a refreshing reinforcement of the unconditional love that I have and feel with family. No matter where I go, or what I do, or vice versa, there is that common history, ancestry, and shared formative years that will keep us together. While having a dialogue with my sister, I was able to see the reflection of the my values in her eyes. "Kit has three things that are important to her-Jacob, the PCT, and fluffy poop."
While not in this order, or quite as literal-especially for the latter of the three, they do reflect the values that I have come to hold dear to my heart.
1.Jacob, of course, is the primary example of the value I have for intra and interpersonal relationships. I do believe that the most important relationship any of us can and ever will have, is the relationship we have with our selves. As individual as Americans are, I still find it interesting that this is the one relationship that tends to be the most neglected, damaging and affecting the ability to form, nurture, and develop relationships with others.
I find that I'm able to put the necessary energy and love into my relationships with the people most important to me when I've fed my soul. When I'm grounded, or balanced, or centered, or however you want to say it; I'm able to empathize, really listen, and love others. And I am grateful to have found a friend and life partner in someone I admire, respect, and want to have the longest conversation of my life with, through marriage. I look forward to when we will recognize our commitment to each other in October with friends and family. And I'll get to call him my husband.
2.The PCT
An intersection and interaction of three countries, three states, and nearly 2700 miles of rock, sand, wind, desert, mountains, and snow-the Pacific Crest Trail is a childhood dream that is now within my grasp. Like the Peace Corps, the PCT represents a desire and drive I have to continuously challenge myself to grow and change and evolve. Together, Jacob and I plan to walk at least 20 miles a day for 4-5 months; a full-time job with the deadline every day as the setting sun, and the long-term objective of walking inexorably north before the snow or our bodies stop us. With our homes on our backs, and nature unrelenting; I want to see the wind, hear the rocks, taste the sky, and smell the mountain streams. I want to push myself past my limits, and challenge myself to force that interconnection between my mind, body and spirit. I want to overcome and work through the heat, blisters, hunger, injuries, and mental and physical fatigue. It's what keeps me going right now, and what I'm looking to. This blog is a journal and documentation of the preparation for the PCT.
3. The final value my sister so explicitly stated, was fluffy poop. And before anybody can say how disgusting that is, please let me explain. Being a vegan does change the consistency, density, and form of bodily waste. Now I don't necessarily value that change, but I do value the implicit values in a vegan lifestyle. I eat with intention, I think about what is going in to my body, and what repercussions my eating has on the larger living community. It's, as I mentioned before, a pillar in my life.
So, this was another dialogue into that open internet abyss. Hope someone could take something from it.
Until next time, I'm out.