I wrote this almost two years ago when I traveled to Kiev for work. I meant to flesh it out at the time, fill in the thoughts with complete sentences, but reading the abrupt thoughts and flow from beginning to end is rather endearing (and a bit like being in my head, I think.)
Find myself single, traveling the world. Unprepared and diving in. Ready to spend some time with myself. Passport fiasco. Two hours before leaving came down with a cold. Charles de Gaul airport – luxury goods, faint smell of toilet. Well designed bathrooms. Amazing food on planes. Great seating. Ride from airport. Stacks upon stocks of apartments of varying versions of the same architectural style. Dissolving around it. Not sure it was ever pretty to begin with. Gas stations. Faded paint. Dreary flowers. Rain didn’t help. Dead quiet airport. Nice woman on plane. Leg cancer scare. Museum advice. Maroon 5, Britney Spears, Michael Bolten, Cirque du Soleil, Ace of Base Churches, golden domes, shining beacons in a sea of faded pastels. Nicer away from airport. Trees. Giant woman with sword. More European in artwork, structures, parks, Guy on moped rumbling down cobblestone street. Beautiful statues. Pastels seem more intentional here rather than color victims of time. I should get a haircut in Amsterdam.
Thirty-five things I’ve learned on the way to becoming thirty-five.
I’ve learned that we are all in the middle of some kind of story.
I’ve learned that Iowa is not so bad. I kind of like it here.
I’ve learned that if you don’t try, you’ll never win.
I’ve learned to think before I speak. Most of the time.
I’ve learned that you can’t live up to Pinterest. (You just can’t.)
I’ve learned to take photos. You can never take too many photos.
I’ve learned that when in doubt, wear black.
I’ve learned to tread lightly.
I’ve learned that there is plenty of room in my heart for two kids. Plenty.
I’ve learned that everything is going to be alright. Stressing too much is wicked.
I’ve learned to feel pretty. Whether I’m in a Vans t-shirt or a Jason Wu dress.
I’ve learned to say ‘yes.’ And I’ve learned to say ‘no.’ Mostly.
I’ve learned to enjoy. And not to hold back.
I’ve learned that life is too short to waste being insecure.
I’ve learned to embrace my beliefs. And that you can believe in God and listen to heavy metal and support gay marriage.
I’ve learned how to lose.
I’ve learned what true friendship is. And that good girlfriends are pure gold.
I’ve learned how to hold babies.
I’ve learned how to throw birthday parties.
I’ve learned that you can’t always get what you want.
I’ve learned that giving feels good.
I’ve learned that when you find your match, you will know it. And you will be so lucky.
I’ve learned to be comfortable in my skin. As much as I possibly can.
I’ve learned that you have to keep growing.
I’ve learned to give a little.
I’ve learned that no matter how old I get, I can always count on my dad calling me to sing ‘happy birthday.’
I’ve learned that adequate sleep and a hot shower cures all.
I’ve learned to be sensitive.
I’ve learned that the internet is a strange and wonderful thing.
I’ve learned to be the love I feel.
I’ve learned to live on purpose.
I’ve learned that the years fly by but sometimes the afternoons are endless.
I’ve learned that music can heal. The right song can make you soar. Even Pantera. On the right day.
I’ve learned that is never hurts to be great. Especially when you can be badass.
I’ve learned that there is so much to learn. It never ends.
Asheville’s French Broad Chocolate Lounge (a favorite destination of mine) asked its Facebook followers to comment on their post for a chance to procure some of their delectable chocolate. Locals were to write about what chocolate means to them (see my older “Chocolate is Important” post) and out-of-towners were asked to describe their city, what makes it unique.
I may have left a bit of a long reply, but it really got me thinking about why Atlanta is special. It’s easy to complain about the traffic, the sprawl, the rough neighborhoods (I could go on), but to focus on the great in the context of French Broad Chocolate Lounge’s philosophy was a refreshing turn of cheek for me. My response:
Atlanta native, here; just a few short miles from my beloved FBCL (your chocolate makes me swoon). Atlanta is a city that is coming into her own. We have embraced the farm to table movement, supporting wonderful local producers of meats, cheeses, produce and yes, chocolate! We have followed Asheville’s example and supported local craft breweries into success beyond our fair city, and our cocktail slingers are among the best in the country, redefining custom tinctures and elevating the adult beverage. We’ve been placed firmly on the map of foodie destinations. And I’ve watched it all happen right before my eyes!
To all my fellow foodies, crafters, designers, friends and followers, I hope you have a fantastic 2012 filled with many adventures and celebrations of YOU.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.