april in a list

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well, sort of.

april is the month of birthdays. father’s, grandfathers’ and mine. at least twenty people that are close to me celebrated their birthday this month. april is the favorite.

I have slowly began dipping my toes in the waters of freelancing. sponsorships, requests and commissions are flowing in and I am learning how to manage it all. with the regular job, it’s proving to be difficult. I wasn’t expecting that. not enough time in the day. I keep reminding myself that beyonce also has only 24 hours. insert smirk, giggle, whatever.

I need to reevaluate my own priorities. want vs need.

I am two/thirds finished with mandela’s long walk to freedom. I wish I had more time to focus and read in peace. such an inspiring book. I’d collected many sentences, wisdoms and inspirations to remember and be guided by.

instead of focusing on one thing this month, I am becoming a jack of all trades even more. I am not sure, which direction that will help me to evolve in. I am still trying to figure that out.

I am still waiting for things turn out for the best.

and then the boathouse. as if walking past there somehow transferred my feelings across continents. I refrained from looking at the pictures from that day. there is no point, nothing changes. it’s always the same. I am always surprised at how naive I was. I predicted nothing. I honestly thought that everything was going to remain the way it was. now my inboxes are darkened with bold unread emails and messages. the misinterpretation, the misunderstanding, or whatever it is. I don’t understand how we got here.

what’s worse, I have no clue where we are headed from here.

twenty three

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the ocean / the boy and I / cupcakes and twenty-three candles / drinking wine on the beach

twenty-third birthday. I recollected all the previous ones; seventh birthday celebrations remain the most favorite one until now. twenty-third comes close second. then there was the twenty-first, the inaugural year of truly no longer being a child. or that’s what they kept telling me and I kept proving them wrong. although, that year made me grow up. I was jerked out of any illusions I might have had at that time. no slow transitions, or getting used to anything. it was like a slap in the face. bitch, you got to deal with your own life now. on your own. it’s gotten easier since then. but because of the quiet lasting since december, I did not expect him to say anything, but he did. of course, he did. happy birthday x. quick inhale, sharp exhale.

on tuesday we ventured out to our favorite beach in hong kong; the lower cheung sha beach. a few hours before the sundown, we took the train across the city all the way to sunny bay and beyond. then a bus. we missed our stop because the sofa on the side of the road used to be my reference and it is no longer there. we ended up in a nearby village, with no taxis or english speaking anyone. only cows and the smell of shit. but it didn’t matter. we found our way back and quickly settled into chairs of the only opened restaurant on the beach. south african cuisine infused with the mediterranean. my heart is happy every time we eat there. a hug jug of sangria, which I drank by myself. we walked through the sand, listening to and watching the ocean. he said to me, I love the effect that the water has on you. you become calmer, quieter. the boy doesn’t love the ocean the way I do. he doesn’t trust it, the vastness intimidates him. to me, it’s the ocean is the most peaceful and beautiful thing I know.

we took sappy selfies together and drew hearts and messages in the sand. dated and marked carefully, I wanted to remember it all. barbecued chicken with grandma’s potatoes, beef stew with rice, spring salad, feta cheese, olives, red wine and beer. we finished with four cupcakes and twenty-three candles. one by one, he patiently lit them up for me. then he stood up, make a wish baby girl. long after the restaurant closed, we sat there in complete darkness, with nothing but the waves to keep us company. only our stories and laughter could have been heard, if there was anyone around. but we were completely alone. we were alone, with our hearts full.

then, of course, there is the sky

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image credit goes to hannah grogan. and here’s more.

I am envious of other people’s words. particularly in the seasons when I seem stuck, incorrigibly stuck in the daily routine that is life in hong kong. when the words are not coming easily to me, when I need to search for them. read through dictionaries of different tongues in hopes that a word or two will strike me with its beauty. or its ugliness. the deformity that sometimes language knows how to present. because words cause hurt and damage more often than they do any good. but it doesn’t happen. it doesn’t happen as often as I would like. because I am constantly disturbed, my mind wandering in places where it shouldn’t. an email beeps on the screen interrupting my flow of thoughts. after that it’s almost impossible to return to where I left of. where I attempted a beginning of a piece of work. I am a little bit like jamal wallace and I need my own sean o’connery to rescue me. if only it worked that way. (also, read this.)

the city is covered in milky layer of clouds that move across the plain of the sky with difficulty. low weather slows the city down; it appears smaller than it is. street hawkers crowd the corners and overpasses that have become synonymous with hong kong. I am craving things are that are difficult to have at this stage in our lives. he and I are like fighting warriors, in an uphill battle of the early twenties. the art of compromising and the science of conveying your message. knowing the worst and still loving. the art of living the life in synchronization. these are all of the unanswered questions; the everyday life.

I am dreaming of growing my own garden behind a house; a house with eight rooms and three bathrooms. with a mango and a banana tree on either side. a spacious area; miles and miles of open air in all directions. I would grow my own herbs and vegetables. bake my own bread and think up a weekly cake for no particular reason. I would master the perfect pot of semolina; cassava and okra, the staples I am finding myself unable to go one week without. I wouldn’t mind having a couple of chickens and a goat. I would drive a land rover, an old beat-up passed down generation after generation.

an open fire under the skies when the electricity gives up. I would write on a typewriter, with candles as my source of light. one of the bathrooms would be converted into a darkroom. I dream of an analog life. with sporadic connections, but pure and real connections with people around me. we would go on the hunt for the wildlife, without hunting. only watching in awe at the nature that spreads out before us. the vastness of space and its possibilities. an elephant, a giraffe, maybe a lion, if I am lucky.

I wanted too much to give him a taste of fireworks, of comfort created in understanding and soothing silences. I wanted too much to give him mornings of love-making and afternoons of sweet coffee and double chocolate cakes. to feel the aftertaste on our tongues as we exchange kisses and our lips meet over and over, just like the first time. I wanted too much of everything and I wanted it all at the same time. perhaps, one day, I will have everything I am yearning for.

the strength of wanting something you’d never had before is incomparable. and it means only one thing: that you must do something you’d never done before either.

post scriptum, I am reading rules of the wild again, which could explain a lot.