Friday, May 11, 2007

My last days in California

Kate made me pancakes for breakfast Sunday morning. We lingered around the breakfast table until Kate introduced me to the Sarah's World on Fire Video . It was the first time I'd seen or heard it. The video took my breath away, brought tears to my eyes, and chills to my skin. I was so moved I watched it three times. Just unbelievable. My awe was interrupted by Kate's need for me to run to the store. When I returned, we had lunch, ate brownies and drank more wine. The morning was a joyous yet quieter morning. We listened to music, brainstormed ideas for dinner, and basked in the sunshine outside while Alé discovered the joys of Tupperware and water together.

He was hilarious. I loved it. I could watch him for hours.

Friends of Kate and David stopped by with their son to visit. We chatted for awhile until it was time to get ready for church and they left. I finally polished my toes, which made me feel complete. Kate and I conversed about how much better one feels when her toes are pretty. Having "Aphrodite's pink nightie" slathered on my little toe nails just brightens my mood and makes me feel stylishly presentable no matter what I'm actually wearing on my body.

We headed to Kate's Pastor's house for dinner. He had a backyard, which is unheard of in L.A. It was magnificent in its full green fluff adorned with beautifully crafted tables. We poured ourselves a drink, grabbed a plate of appetizers, then headed to the grass to plop down with others. Everyone was so nice, friendly, and pleasant. The sense of community was astounding. Four or five of the women all had children (including Kate) at the same time so all of the little ones were running around playing with each other. They were adorable. The crowd was diverse, yet young and vibrant. A wonderful sense of sincerity and grace surrounded them. I was very grateful to be part of the evening. We sat down to a delicious potluck meal of Spanish dishes. We passed around bowls of goodness and mingled with each other. It was a sublime way to celebrate life and faith. After we ate, they showed a touching yet alarming video regarding the crisis in Darfur. I could not help but feel tremendously outraged about the atrocities occurring in our world today. As we sat peacefully surrounded by an abundance of nourishment and love, I could not help but think there was more than enough to go around. No reason exists why everyone in this world cannot have enough. It's disgraceful and despicable for humanity to let such travesties happen. Once the video was finished, a few members spoke briefly about how we could help by signing up for the 'Save Darfur' newsletter, signing the petition for Fidelity Investments to stop funding the war, and how we could write letters and make phone calls requesting our leaders to help stop the war. Of course none of these things seem like enough no matter how much it helps because most want to do more than they can handle. I know I do. However, anything we do helps. Just do not passively sit by watching when you could DO SOMETHING. How difficult is it for you to take five minutes to call our ridiculous President to tell him to DO SOMETHING? Not very. Five minutes to someone living in a refuge camp is a lifetime or the difference between life and death. How difficult is it for you to sign the petition requesting Fidelity to stop paying for the bloodshed? Not very. Africans living in a refuge camp do not even have paper let alone the freedom to use a pen to sign their names. How difficult is it for you to donate $25 to the cause? Not very. $25 means life or death to someone living in Darfur. It means food instead of starvation, it means HOPE. To us it's lunch or drinks at the bar. I know I'm preaching and mostly to the choir, but we did not have a say about where we were born. Luckily, we were fortunate enough to end up in the 'Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave'. The people caught in the Genocide in Darfur were not so lucky. I think we owe it to humanity to DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING helpful even if you just buy the cd that comes out June 12th: Instant Karma .

After the presentation, the brief conversations, and a lovely little song, we had tea, coffee, and dessert. It was enlightening and quite revitalizing to be part of a community such as Kate's church, even if it was only for one night. We should all be so lucky to encounter such greatness, love, and abundance every night.

After church, we headed home to enjoy a relaxing night drinking wine and visiting. Kate proclaimed all one really needs in life is wine, chocolate, a Latin lover, and good friends. I agree wholeheartedly and could not feel more grateful for having at least three out of the four.

The next day Kate and Alé saw me off at the Burbank airport. I was at a loss for words to express my gratitude for such a wonderful week and an even more amazing friend. I kissed Alé and promised him I would not wait so long to come visit. Then I hugged Kate and made the same promise. We waved and I was off...

There is nothing quite like traveling to make one realize all that is out there. Traveling reminds us of how to get unstuck because it highlights the endless possibilities and fills us with an invigorating sense of wanderlust. We are reminded the world is bigger than ourselves. It gives us a chance to rediscover parts or ourselves as well as an opportunity to learn about pieces of us we've never seen. I love to observe the people around me in the airport; to watch them interact. Traveling to California again reminded me of how much I love L.A. I love the rolling hills, the houses greedily covering them, and the lights you can see for what seems like thousands of miles at night. I even love the hazy smog that hangs in the air until 11 in the morning. Most of all, I love to have my beautiful, artistic, worldly, and insightful friend remind me to live.

Kate's homework: to read some of the books on the two page list I gave her.

Thank you Kate, David, Ke'anu and Alé for such a marvelous trip. I cannot wait to see you again.

Books I read:

"Love is a Mix Tape" by Rob Sheffield

"Sparkle Life" by Kara Lindstrom

"How to Learn Any Language: Quickly, Easily, Enjoyably and On Your Own" By Barry Farber

"The History of Love" by Nicole Krauss

"The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo

"The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne

I highly recommend the first, third, fifth, and sixth books. I'm always open to discussion, if anyone cares to chat.

Oh and I'm quite proud to say all the pictures I took were with my PDA camera.


Privatjokr said...

OOOOOOOH you read Love is a Mixtape! I am extremely curious about this book. I saw it at the store not too long ago and became interested enough to dig around a bit. I found people who were quite happy with it, but have enough on my plate currently that I haven't picked up a copy. Maybe I'll be more inclined now that I know someone who has read it.

cupcake said...

I'm a little surprised you want to read this book (btw, it took me less time to read this than any book I've ever read. don't be mad.)
But given its reference to music, I guess it makes sense you'd be intrigued.

I really liked it. The story was a little bit sad, but the author provided an interesting perspective not usually found in modern fiction today. And I loved his use of music. I think he has a very valid point in the title.

There is a part in the story that reminded me of the summer night we were sitting in your bedroom listening to a certain Pat McGee song for the first time... I remember blurting out exactly the same thing she said at one point in the novel. Don't let that discourage you from reading it though. I think you'd like it.

Privatjokr said...

Should I be concerned that your first reaction is surprise at my interest level? Or should I focus more on the part where you eventually justify it?

It's sad? Hmmmmm....maybe I don't want to read it after all. You know how I prefer to pretend emotions aren't real.

cupcake said...

It's a good book. You definitely have read A LOT worse. I think you'd like this one. Plus it's not all of a sudden sad; In the first chapter he gives it away, which just makes it more compelling because you what to know how. I didn't cry if that is any help gaging the "touchy feely" level of the novel.

My initial shock probably was more from the fact you might actually listen to one of my recommendations.