The power went out today, and honestly, I didn’t really notice all day because the sun was warm and I was busy. In the morning, we were practicing multiplication and division by 2. The kids get multiplication pretty easily but division seems to be much more difficult for whatever reason. I need to think of some new strategies for teaching that skill. The day passed, however, at about 6:00 pm when the sun began to set, and the little breeze from earlier  began to turn into the dry mountain wind that seems to creep into my bones, it really set in that we might now have power for a long time, and because my phone was dead and the internet was down, I had no way to contact anyone. Of course, I could have borrowed Loba, the cook’s phone or another one of the adults if I really needed to. But this wasn’t an emergency, and what would I have to say? Nothing that important.

I relish time without technology, and honestly on a day to day basis in Tijuana, I don’t use much of it. When I do go on my phone, I am usually 1) looking up a word that I don’t know in Spanish 2) talking to my family or 3) writing about what I see and hear and breathe and smell and taste so that I can remember my experience. Today, I used nothing, no games on my computer to help with the math I was teaching and when I was trying to ask for nail clippers, I had to use the words I already knew and mime the action.

As the darkness set in, we lit candles- velas in the kitchen, and it reminded me both of singing Silent Night at the Christmas Eve service at my home church and of camping. I had the idea to roast marshmallows over the candles with toothpicks. The kids loved it, getting all flustered, trying to make the marshmallows toast while not incinerating them, but also taking such glee when the blue licking flames would burst upon the marshmallow, burning it to a crisp. I think it is an almost divine experience to light candles in the dark as your only source of light. You feel the power when the match strikes and all of sudden those words in Genesis, “Let there be light” are no longer just words; the flames flickering and slowly devouring the tepid string of the candle and melting the wax. The huge shadows dancing and glinting on the walls. We were subdued and exhilarated all at once, bathed in soft candlelight, but relishing our sugar high, our fingers sticky sweet, and everything was a little more frightening and quite a bit more funny that night.

Finally at about 8:30 pm the power came back on, but if I’m honest I was a little sad. I quite like to live by candlelight, although of course LED’s are much more convenient.

That’s all I can manage today. No recap of the week, although hopefully one is coming soon.

Thanks for reading!


on flies

“It turns out that at some moment in their career every true writer has dedicated to a fly a poem, a page, a paragraph, a line; if you’re a writer and haven’t yet done it, I think you should follow my example and do it right now; flies are Eumenides, they are Erinyes; they punish you.” – Augusto Monterroso

they, suffocating, all enveloping
every drop of food that is not being eaten by
dirty human hands or rummaged through by
skinny cats is being eaten by

crowding around potatoes and oranges
slowly peeling away the layers to get to the flesh
boys surrounding a fight in high school hallways
they, the visible and ever present uninvited guest
ever exploring, finding new territory to conquer
what must i do to stop this terrible half buzzing unrest

they, some sign of the divine
for I may be bigger, but I cannot kill
swarm and move quicker
then my thought to swat one away
drunk on that liquor

zooming erratically
patiently on the ceiling
some new vantage point
they, wings failing

in threes and fours and tens and hundreds
and thousands on the kitchen cable cord
claim this, this life
this, this cucumber
this, this spot on the wall
while i cannot claim anything

new year’s eve

As we head off into 2018, lots of people are going to make resolutions to improve their health, write more, change careers, be kinder, etc. Last year my resolution was to post every day on this blog, which in hindsight was rather lofty and after two weeks, I failed. In fact, I didn’t post a single entry all of February 2017. But after that mishap, I picked myself up and tried to be a little more realistic. This year I wrote over sixty posts, and from March to December I averaged roughly a post a week. Honestly, that I didn’t give up blogging entirely impresses me.

My goals in 2018 range from traveling more, improving my Spanish and meditating in the mornings, but my goals for my blog are a little different. Originally, this blog was just for poetry, but I slowly began to branch out and this year I want to expand even more by posting more monthly playlists, writing lifestyle posts and a few travel guides and recommendations. This year I want to aim for two posts a week, one being  a writing post as usual, but the other on a different topic. I already know that I will be missing a significant part of the year as I will be living in Tijuana, Mexico again (likely with no wifi or way to access the internet), but I still plan to write vignettes and poems while I am there, hopefully to post at a later date.

Thanks to everyone who has read my silly posts and for sticking with me in this absurd year. Happy New Year!

put your records on: december 2017

I make monthly playlists, and in my effort to continue not having a niche I thought I would start linking these and describe my favorites from the month. To be clear, not every song on the playlist is a song that I really like, just songs I listened to. So here’s the breakdown of my december 2017 playlist.

december 2017

I was in San Francisco for my visa appointment at the beginning of the month and got the chance to visit Haight-Ashbury and some classic hippie spots. As such I added songs by The Doors, The Grateful Dead, The Mamas & The Papas, Janis Joplin etc. Then there’s a couple songs by one of my favorite artists Tom Rosenthal, who if you don’t know, you really should. His work is simultaneously both innocent and really vulnerable. Somehow I had missed “Toby Carr’s Difficult Relationship with Tuna” in Rosenthal’s catalogue; it was recommended to me and is quite wonderful. I have also recently been into Betty Who especially “Mama Say” which I may or may not have played on repeat during my greyhound bus trip from North Carolina to Georgia.  Some other nice surprises were “Seeing Blind”, Nial Horan’s collaboration with Maren Morris, not least because of the Fleetwood Mac reference, “Wolves” by Selena Gomez, and “If I Dare” by Sara Bareilles (for the Billy Jean King movie Battle of the Sexes).

There is, of course, Christmas music, but that can all be found on my holiday playlist very merry.

good samaritans

On my way home from a language exchange and drinks with my friends, I happened to see a group of tourists from the United States struggling to use the metro. I offered to help them, and in return they took me out to dinner at a very nice restaurant in Madrid. It just so happened that that next day I got pick-pocketed on the metro and lost a significant amount of cash, as well as important cards. My dear friend who I was actually supposed to meet that day, came to the police station and stayed with me while I called my bank and filed the report. She gave me some leftover pie and encouraged me, even though the process took much longer than expected. As days go, that one was not great. I think I cried more than I have in my entire time in Spain.

However, that night these generous tourists offered to take me out to dinner again. We had wonderful conversation, and it was a lovely end to one of my worst days in Spain. I was reminded all over again of the grace of God. I struggle to believe in miracles, but this felt like one. People I had known for not even two days were being so kind, and my friend took time out of her day to help and comfort me. I wasn’t beaten up like in the original story and left for dead, but I was taken in both by people I knew and people I had never met before, who didn’t have any reason to be kind to me. I will leave you with the story of the Good Samaritan. Everything about it speaks to the love of God that we can show in our daily lives.

25And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Good Samaritan

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

This story comes from Luke 10: 25-37 in the NASB translation of the Bible.

on not having a niche

As I prep to come back to the United States for a month I have been thinking about starting something new on the blithe seaside, doing some style and travel posts. I love lifestlye blogs and I thought it would be neat to show you the capsule wardrobe that I packed for Spain, some holiday looks and what I wore as I jet around for my visa, visting family and a wedding. Often bloggers are encouraged to have some sort of niche, but who has a niche in real life? We are all made up of different interests and I think it’s beneficial to share those. In the future you can look forward to some monthly favorites posts, outfit ideas and maybe even some travel guides.

put your records on: study music

Some people like to listen to music while they work, some people don’t. Funnily enough both groups have scientific research to back them up; there is the famous Mozart effect, but other studies have shown that listening to music impedes the ability to remember and recall information.

Personally, I like to listen to music when I am writing, or doing problem sets, but not as much if I am trying to memorize something or am doing a practice test. Maybe it does slow down my work, but at least my work is more enjoyable.

There are tons of study playlists out there on Spotify, and you probably have some of your own, but I recently divided up my gargantuan study playlist into different study aesthetics and moods. No song on any of these playlists has any words so hopefully they will help you to stay relaxed and focused.

study ep. 1

For the longest time Keaton Henson’s intrumental album Romantic Works and Andrew Bird’s Echolocations was the only study music I listened to. Now I have branched out to artists and composers like Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds, Bersarin Quartet and Dustin O’Halloran. One of my favorite songs right now is Soft Collared Neck by Helios and when I realized there was an instrumental version I knew I had to add it.

study ep. 2 and ep. 3

These playlists are by far the longest, at over 15 hours long combined, you won’t ever run out of music. I am a fan of Chopin’s Nocturnes for studying, as well as Debussy’s Preludes. If you like Chopin I would highly recommend Franz Liszt and Charles-Valentin Alkan who also feauture on these playlists and if you like Debussy, Gabril Pierné, Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel are all wonderful. I am still in the process of seperating all the classical music by relative time period, so please be patient with me.

study ep. 4

This is what I am currently listening to and it is such a blast. I chose some of my favorite classic jazz albums, and yes I do think that the music composed by Vince Guaraldi Trio for Charlie Brown is a classic! Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, a couple of works from Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson Trio’s Night Train are just a few that I have added. I always listen to jazz, but every year in the fall and winter I play a lot more than I normally do. Maybe it’s that I grew up with jazz around Christmastime, but I just love it a little more this time of year. I obviously biased but I think that this playlist would also work really well as background music for dinner.

I hope you enjoy these playlists and are having a wonderful autumn!