Friday, November 18, 2011

City of Lakes

Well...Thailand didn't happen. In short, all of these people trying to tell me to go and me still not feeling quite right about it and me making a list of things I wanted this year that did not match up with THailand. Basically, I think I was infatuated with living abroad, being close to my sister and a dear friend from college, and being able to continue my wanderlust. But then I asked do I really want to be preparing lesson plans, not have holidays off, and teach 50-60 kids? Instead, I took a financial leap of faith and am living in Mpls. paying rent and living "normal" life. I have my tea on the coffee table ahead of me and am now an all-year cyclist. I'm teaching Spanish at the elementary schools, but only 4 teaching hours (10 paid hours regardless) and hoping to soon start teaching in my studio. I love saying that! It's such a great space. I'm also volunteering as the Program Director (my working title) and future board member of the El Sistema Twin Cities Music School Advocates for Community through Musical Excellence ( I'd love if you liked us on Facebook or signed up for our newsletter :)

The other day I heard the loudest geese flock ever. I know it's a random thought, but it truly was a sign of autumn and to me felt significant. It led to me writing a song tonight all about how animals hibernate, leaves fall, flowers wither, and yet humans continue to live life the same regardless of the season. The fact that I probably will never get over the wanderlust phase of life and I'm not so sure I need to. What does security mean in this economy and what is living "the life" if you don't have adventure? For me that's not "the life." I've found someone who will record for free so hopefully once I develop it further I can do so! I don't know what has changed this year, but I feel so inspired to write music and actually have content to write about. Not to say songs can't be happy, but I feel like some just require misery, at least on some level (this is not meant to be a pity party). Sarah McLachlan wrote a whole break-up album for instance and I will not be surprised if she wins yet another Grammy in Feb.

Spiritually, I'm also realizing traveling has changed me A LOT! It is very rare I can participate in a Bible Study, not because I won't learn something, but because I have a very difficult time expressing myself when no one can relate or people are on such different levels of faith and/or paths of life I feel like there is no common denominator even though there is (though some definitely define it differently). For me, love is first, the specifics of what that means are second. I understand God from a Christian perspective, but I truly am a pluralist encompassing ideas from all faiths. It's amazing how we fight and compete when most of the time we're talking about the same thing using different words. There's an interfaith church in Mpls I am dying to check out, but may have to wait til it's nice enough to bike outside again since public transit anywhere takes 40 mins to an hr 40 mins even when you go 5 miles! For now, I have found refuge in the most AMAZING yoga class ever and am currently reading Paolo Coelho's The Zahir. While I know this is no substitute, honestly I haven't gone to "church" in so long since Sun was my one day off last year, that I don't feel I'm missing anything. I still have plenty of philosophical/spiritual discussions and there's always YouTube and online devotions if I do feel a void. Meditation and prayer are enough for me right now. Moving here was based on faith alone, knowing se van a salir (things will result). And so far I'm breaking even and have a connection with one of the full time jobs I've applied for..Trust!

So as this holiday season approaches, I can't believe I've already been to an egg nog party and of course choirs are practicing Christmas music, I'm not just thankful for all my blessings, but also my experiences and the people who have made me who I am today. Part of me will forever remain in Tanzania regardless of my dislike for the city of Arusha itself. Maybe part of me will remain in Minneapolis. The diversity, the lakes, the zumba classes 8 blocks from my house with all Latin Americans, my now regular trivia and salsa nights and hopefully soon a female barbershop choir rehearsal, and the future farmers' market and music everywhere. Along with the bitter cold, the snow, the horrible Metro Transit system, and the kindergartners who will NOT stop talking. I'm trying it and while not thriving, immensely happier and hopefully setting up shop for the next step, whenever or whatever that may entail. At this point, I've put my hands up and surrendered. Life sometimes is out of one's hands. Though I would be thrilled if the article that said Minneapolis has the lowest unemployment of any big city in the US and it's the best place for the unemployed due to the relatively low cost of living were to prove itself. Right in my face. Tangible, bold, and daring. If it wants to be bashful, secretive and what most of you would consider more realistic, so be it.

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