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Thursday, 22 April 2010

She Rode There In A Tuk Tuk





We don't know the exact moment William entered this world. We don't know what sort of labor or birth his mother had. We don't know what she felt when she held him for the first time.

But 10 months ago today William, (then Darshana), graced this rather shoddy world of ours with his brand new, pure little presence! I wonder how it feels to hold something so fresh in your arms. It must feel like a miracle, like you have just been showered in sparkling grace...it must feel like awe and power and weakness all at once.

And 10 months later, here he is. Half way around the world with us, riding in cars with car seats rather than in wildly careening tuk tuks held in someones arms! Beautiful baby...he is growing quickly and already has a fabulous sense of humor and playfulness. He delights in silliness. His eyes are as huge and glossy as ever and he has more hair on his head that I thought possible at such a young age. People are still his favorite things. ;)

He has a lot in store this month...meeting all his Canadian family for the first time...next week!!!! Imagine that! Imagine how incredibly far reaching the absolute joy of our William is! It stretches from Sri Lanka to Norway to Canada!
It makes the world small. It makes the world beautiful for us.

10 months old today. I'm sure we're not the one ones who are thinking about you today, William. Somewhere in Sri Lanka, there's a woman who is remembering that it was 10 months ago today that she held you and kissed you for the first time.

Adoption can bring so many hearts together in hope.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Travels With My Brother (Sketches)

Beautiful Munich


Sketch One:

Munich is a beautiful, exhilarating city of lively beer gardens, ornate buildings and churches, and of fascinating historical significance. It is a warm and friendly place and crowded with tourists and travelers, especially in the summer months. I like to think that as we sat, drinking our coffee at an outdoor cafe late at night with a waiter hovering over us wringing in hands in what appeared to be anxious despair, that we were of the chosen few...that Kelly and I were travelers. We took a Third Reich walking tour and murmured appreciatively at all the truly fascinating bits of history that we had never heard before. Imagine what happened in this particular square, this uninspiring building here, that beer garden, these streets and homes and lives. Imagine the grief this beautiful city has seen.

On our own walks through the city we came upon a statue of a giant warthog. It was impressive and in fact, it had the dubious honor of being the only thing on our entire trip that Kelly actually asked me to get his photograph with. The stuff precious memories are made of I suppose...

There was one instance in Munich that I wish I would have witnessed but I chose just the crucial moment to go off in search of a restroom leaving Kelly waiting on one of the narrow, one way streets in the downtown area. What he saw was a unique example of the horrors of road rage. Two tourists were ambling down this narrow cobblestone street, guidebook and bottled water in hand and at the same time a car was trying to make its way down the street as well. The car horn honked loudly. The tourists perhaps absorbed in their book didn't notice. The car stopped and an angry man got out and stomped his way over to the unsuspecting couple, yelling and gesturing and as the piece de resistance, the ultimate lesson that they should never dare do this again, he thrust out his hand, grabbed the man's water bottle and heaved it mightily into the air and stalked off back to his car. As the water bottle fell, lets imagine in slow motion, back to the ground and broke, water droplets flying every where, this poor couple stood open-mouthed and staring in wide eyed surprise. I'm sure that day they learned a lesson that will never leave them. :)

Sketch Two:

A sunny afternoon in Mainz. Relaxing on a bench in the beautiful old city. It's lunchtime and many business men and women are sitting outside, talking quietly and enjoying their break from work. All of a sudden a group of giggling children appear from nowhere armed with spray bottles and begin to shriek with delight as they spray these business people who react with quiet embarrassment as having been the center of such unwanted attention, eyes downward, ignoring these small hooligans. That was perhaps the best reaction. Kelly and I watched and snickered because well it was funny. And then with exceptionally bad judgment, I called over to them as they made their way around the city square spraying everyone in sight and asked them what they were doing and what was in the bottle. They came over to our bench and sprayed us both mercilessly as we laughingly protested and got up, edging our way backward, down yet another cobblestone alley, hands out in front of us to ward these little demons off. They followed us and I have to admit that they actually chased us out of the the city square while we laughed helplessly. It felt a little bit medieval.

Sketch Three:

Things that happen on trains. Most trains in Germany are sleek, fast, and among the most modern in the world. But occasionally for the more local journeys between smaller villages and towns, the more charming, old fashioned trains pull into the stations. On one such train, between Bacharach and Koblenz, we sat in an almost empty compartment. There was only us, an elderly man, and a group of people across from us. The group of people across from us opened the window as it was a stifling day and the breeze blew in fresh and clean. The elderly man became alarmed, sat up straight in his seat and began patting his hair frantically and glowering. Finally after no one took whatever hint this was intended to be, he marched over to the rebel window openers and demanded they shut the window all the while brushing his hair down and exclaiming that he couldn't possibly keep it neat with a breeze like that blowing in.

Sketch Four:

Trier is the oldest city in Germany and boasts some really incredible Roman ruins. We arrived on a seriously sweltering August day and set out to find these ruins. Now I'd been in Trier before but my sense of direction is sketchy at the best of times and I don't generally use maps. So we wandered. For hours actually. I began with a positive spirit "Roman ruins, can you imagine? How wonderful! I can't wait to see them! think of all the history here!" and as the hours stretch on and we seemed to be no closer, my mood changed "Kelly...do even want to see the Roman ruins because I'm starting to think I don't...I mean, what's so special about them anyway?" (Kelly was very patient and didn't complain I might add.) We walked a bit more. "Ok, look let's just go to our hostel because I can tell you one thing and it's that I don't want to see those ruins. Stupid Romans. Think they're so great. Forget it, let's go back."

We went back, had a rest and then went out for a coffee late at night. On our way back, a mere five minutes away from our hostel, there rose before us, these brilliantly lit, massive ruins and well in all honesty, they were quite amazing after all. I guess that the Romans can think they're pretty great if they want...

We did have excellent luck though finding the Karl Marx Museum. Sadly neither of us bought a coffee cup or stone bust of the man though.

These are just a couple of sketches out of many from gallivanting in Germany with my brother. I hope you enjoyed them.

Bacharach, Germany


Kelly exploring the ruins of a castle on the Rhine


Me posing in the ruins of a German fortress (clearly not all ruins are "stupid", some are actually quite lovely and fascinating.;)

Monday, 5 April 2010

There's A Wild Thing Upstairs...



This wild thing seems an expert in wild ferocious sounding shrieks and roars; low, rumbling growling sounds that come from the bottom of his throat (I swear I didn't teach him these); and joyful gales of giggles that erupt from his bedroom and float down the stairs long after he's been put to bed and to be totally honest with you, the best word I can think of to describe his actual laughter is all out "guffaw".

There are two things that this wild thing finds unbearably awful. The first is having his face wiped, which he finds the very height of presumption on my part. The second is when I put a hat on his head. He doesn't cry or fuss when I do this. He scrunches up his eyes and glares at me, clenches his fists and shakes them in the air and roars with outrage at me. I think he thinks it's a fearful sight to behold. But you know what, he's smaller than I am and so I laugh, which obviously just rubs salt in the wound, and that hat goes on.

There is one thing the wild thing loves above all else. In Sri lanka we bought him blue dolphin chimes and he is entranced by them. When he wakes up, after giving an encouraging, cheerful little yell, (there are so many sorts you see), to let us know he's awake and we can come get him this very instant, he twists his head in the direction of the chimes. So we go over to them and give them a nudge and as they make their soft sound and the dolphins sway back and forth, a look of blissful awe comes over his face. Then a slow, slow smile. And then he starts hitting me in excitement and squealing in delight and frantically twisting his head between me and the chiming dolphins to make sure than I find this as wondrous as he does. How could I find it otherwise?

He kicks constantly in his crib with all his might and every time I enter his room after a nap, he is in some bizarre position. But even with one arm and one leg poking through the crib bars, he offers up a huge smile like this is the most normal way to sleep in the world.

He has a great sense of his own self worth and self importance. He simply is charming in his own opinion. Yogurt splattered all over his face? Oatmeal dribbling out of his mouth? Huge belches at the table? Appallingly stinky diaper? No, he feels none of these things detract from his innate charm. He beams at the camera just the way he is and is suitably outraged if anyone tries to make him more presentable. Why tamper with perfection after all? :)

So William, my sweet, silly little boo, with your huge brown eyes and beautiful smile: this is a tiny, woefully incomplete glimpse of how you were when you were in the ninth month of your life.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Who Will Pay For This Uprooting?

Night seems a good time for confessions.
I'm sure that more secrets have been whispered into the darkness than ever were into the light.

In darkness there are no distractions, we are just essentially ourselves. We are a quiet voice, a searching soul. We hesitantly whisper our feelings, recall things too deep for daylight. We can speak the gut wrenching truth. I wonder if this truth is there, at the core of our beings, always. What we wonder in the darkness, the things that pierce our hearts, the things that haven't healed or been resolved.

Who are we? What do our souls consist of?

Sometimes at night, there is something inside me that cries at the dishonesty and the shallowness of life. Why do we never speak to one another? Why do we never say what needs to be said? Why are we content with so very little from ourselves? Why do we not seek out things that nourish our souls? Why can't we see how fragile we are? How truly beautiful and worthy? Why do we ignore our souls?

Sometimes at night I think about the soft sound of bare feet walking on sun drenched sand. A baby's arms around its mother's neck. I think about the feeling of wondering if I was instrumental in pulling someone's world apart. In my heart I know what we did was the right thing to do, I really do know it...yet I am still sorry in ways I don't understand fully. Not sorry for the result which is pure and beautiful and most definitely right, but sorry for another person's pain. I'm sorry the world is such a mess.

Why are we content with so very little in our lives? What are we sacrificing in order to be so unimaginative, unquestioning, and placidly content? Why is examining our thoughts, minds, lives, actions, and souls not something we do often?

What does it mean to be uprooted? Who is responsible for such things and who will pay?

Sometimes at night I think these things. Then I go to sleep and in the morning they have gone. My thoughts, feelings, and questions...uprooted by the light of day.

When morning dances in dispelling the darkness of night, I gladly meet her there.

Our souls are infinite and vast, they allow for both night and day.