Today was my first day back to being a nanny. I was tackled by hugs from Molly and bombarded with questions about where I've been all summer. I held little Gus & Charlie by the hand and walked them home from school. We all had brightly colored raincoats, and Gus' little pink umbrella made him look like a mushroom. It was all too precious. I've missed this part of my life :) So glad to be back again. When I left, darling Charlie let out a "Goo-bye Tasha...I'm-a miss you so much!". Ahh. They kill me, these little ones.
This 100 degree weather is destroying my conviction that it is Autumn. It's almost toying with me...teasing me that summer has come to an end, but not letting me enjoy the excitement of a new season.
Let the wind blow! Let the leaves fall! Let me grab my scarf and an extra sweater!
Saturday, though, I will be in Seattle (probably wishing for the sun again).
Tia and I used to do a lot more of this, when I still lived in California.
I took my first walk down Hollywood Boulevard, and matched my feet with Cary Grant's at the Chinese Theatre and watched the Michael Jacksons battle it out through dance. It was a good time. We went with a few friends to see Frightened Rabbit at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. Tia and I get front row at 95% of the concerts we go to, so we spent our night being blown away by the speakers and the Scottish accented music coming from them. We will stick together when we're old and deaf. Afterwards, we hung around and talked to the band. Mid-conversation, my friend Danny comes over and tells me that Rainn Wilson from The Office is right over there. Two seconds later, Tia grabs my hand and says, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. John Krasinski." They had dropped by the concert after the Emmys (they lost). We got photographs with them, completely ignoring our instincts to "play it cool". But really now, what are the odds that you and two of your favorite actors attend the same obscure-indie-rock concert?
I miss going to concerts with Tia! I miss our LA adventures and the big "city living" plans we make for ourselves. I miss my best friend, and I think it is pretty darn incredible that we are just that, considering the fact that we are constantly on opposite parts of the map.
It all seems so far away! The people, the places, the completely different lifestyle. It's almost like it never happened. Like I've been ungracefully plopped back into reality, or, more accurately, into this limbo between the end of an incredible summer and the start of my final year of college. These handful of days are full of figuring out a few questions: Where have I been? What am I doing here? Every day is figuring out what to do with the next 16 hours...who to see, how many pages to write, edit and edit an re-edit, crumpling up pages and furiously fighting nostalgia. And...when to start packing? I can't hold onto one thought long enough to see it through, and....I'm zombie-like. Drifting from one day to the next until....I'll soon find myself in Seattle, all of a sudden hit with the reality of responsibility and rainy weather and rent-is-due and oh, oh, oh. I'm starting to fathom the distance between the two halves of myself. Mi-e tare dor.
I'm such a bummer today! Make up for it tomorrow? Deal.
I was greeted into America like this:
African tribal music playing in the airport, followed by 45 minutes of waiting through passport control and customs. Chaos and luggage and fifty languages and signs warning people not to smuggle parrots into America so we don't all die of bird flu. Good grief. Welcome home, right? But then, barely getting through the terminal doors before I see my mom rushing towards me. And then my dad. And then my 2-inches-taller-very-deep-voiced brother. And then my best friend in the whole world. It was perfect, and then to top it off we get a call from Anca that she's 20 minutes away. So, we met at the Carl's Jr. by the airport in the most ghetto part of LA, and it was in that parking lot that I laughed for the first time all day. At finally arriving and not caring that I hadn't slept in 36 hours and the neon signs blaring around me were selling "Live Girls", used cars, and fast food. Oh, the irony of it all.
Driving into Yorba Linda felt...safe; kisses goodnight, a hot shower, and my own bed. Suburbia isn't so bad sometimes.
Oh my gosh, it's so hard to say goodbye. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.
I walked around the city today by myself, running errands and saying goodbye to some of my favorite places. Parcul Botanic, where we slaughtered our watermelons and read our books. Piata Unirii, the meeting place; evenings spent sitting in front of old European architecture and talking for hours. I made the entire loop, and I even came across places I thought I couldn't find on my own. The best no-name bakery in town, where I bought two baguettes and a pretzel for 2,5 lei (I am going to miss cheap organic food). The market and the gypsy women that always try to sell me cheap perfume, and then damn me to hell when I walk past them. Somebody was practicing their piano scales in the music school by the old ruins, it felt like a divine appointment walking down that street. The men that sit along the street and sell old books about war and who knows what else. I got a last ice cream cone from Timis', and went on my way. I said goodbye, and my heart was okay with moving forward. Until, I took the street from Unirii into the main square. And my headphones blasted the soundtrack to 500 Days of Summer and the kids chased the pigeons so they flew up in a sweep right in front of me. And I realized that I'll be gone tomorrow. The Opera house. The catherdral. I grabbed a bench by the fountain and sat and looked around me at these people that will move on with their weeks as I cross time zones, borders, and language barriers until I arrive.....home. America. My family, my friends....who have been living their summers in a completely different world.
And what of my friends here? And what about the fact that the Ciuciui family will be back from Greece on Friday, and I won't be here? Weird. It's weird moving on, and leaving a place that has been home for what seems like a long time. After two months, your feet know how to find the place you're going to without your brain. You know what holes in the sidewalk to walk around without your looking down. You can give people (accurate) directions and tell them what a street's name was before it was changed. Good thing.....good thing that when you love people it carries over across borders. Good thing when you love a place you carry it in your heart wherever you go.
I am soooo dramatic.
I really am excited to go home, and to sink my feet in the shores by Anca's house. And to sit with my mom in the Gypsy Den and talk for hours. And to drive to LA with Tia, and spend every waking moment with the ones I love. I'm excited for seeing how much my teenager brother has grown (and for hearing his deep voice). And for hugging my Dad when I first see him at the airport. And for swapping stories with my grandparents at our kitchen table. I'm excited for what's to come. I like that I'm leaving this home only to arrive at another.
My mom and I had a conversation last week, and it went like this:
Mom: "Hey, where are you?"
Me: "Uhhhhm, I don't know. All I see are fields."
Mom: "You're such a gypsy! You can't stay in one place!!!"
Me: "No, I'm not! Yes, I can!"
Mom: "Where are you?"
Me: "On a train."
Mom: *probably smiling on the other end, knowing she is right once again*
I like that about me, though. I'd like to think it's a good thing. Because on the inside, I am a homebody. I just happen to have many places to call home :)
Okay, this is a book of a blog. And my suitcase is half-packed. And I have way too many things to fit into them. And Mihai is coming to pick me up in 2,5 hours. And we're headed on a red-eye roadtrip to Budapest, with a thermos full of coffee and a car full of suitcases. (Which, I will bet you a dollar right now that they'll get stuck in Paris).
Today I woke up and walked to the bus stop to get picked up for work. At work, I practiced my my counseling and my hair-braiding; my letter writing and my nannying; my debating social justice issues and my grape-picking. Working at a house for abused girls this summer has grown me in ways I never would have imagined. Every day I learned a little bit of humility and how to love people at a capacity I've never known. My love for these girls is fueled out of compassion and a strong burning for justice (that I think I got from my heavenly Father). I want to fight for them, I want to see them grow, I want life to be okay for them. I want them to know that somebody is angry about what happened to them, that their story isn't just another statistic filed in a cabinet. I want them to really know their worth. I can't believe I get to be a part of this ministry.
After work, I took little Cristi to run some errands. We talked and wound our way through the city. I like going places just the two of us, especially when he goes on skateboard and I go by foot. (My favorite part is when he comes back halfway down the block to wait for me.) He is the most curious and the funniest 11 year old I've ever met. We ended up at the mall, and I bought us some ice teas and we sat on a bench. "Anca and I used to do this. We both love this one (Lipton green tea with mint)." ***(Dear one, it has been something else staying here while you're gone. You're missed sorely by your family, and there isn't anywhere in this city I can go where I don't think about you.)
I keep taking in panoramas on my walks, turning around slowly mid-walk to memorize how it feels to have Timisoara around me. Feels like home.
Sometimes, we get ice cream and sit on the steps of the cathedral and talk. Pictured: Lavi, Dani Bun, Cristi, and myself. I'm going to miss this city. My whole summer was spent with this place as my home base, and...it has been an incredible summer.
Today was emotionally exhausting. I'm floored.