Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Summer Sea

This has been a hectic season for me but the slower pace I prefer has finally emerged - leaving bits of time here and there for me to return to writing. 
In a place like the deep South Jersey coast, we are still gathering a few more days in the warm summer sun and I am ever grateful for that.

September was once a time of a transition (back to school, back to colder weather) that I preferred to skip right on through. But since I have been living in these far warmer parts, this month has come to represent something different. It is now a time when the land seems to breath a big sigh of relief and a few more weeks of summer remain where life reverts back to its usual far slower pace. 

 The unfortunate thing about living at the beach is that you are never at the beach as much as you thought you would be. The last month, I have been really focusing on taking the time to enjoy this great part of living here.

For me, the best time at the beach is the late afternoon when I can plant my chair far from others and walk straight into those waves.

I allow those waves to crash right through me - the sea peeling away the layers and turning my heart inside out. For a minute, it feels like I am the only one there. I dig my feet deeper and deeper into the sand, rooting myself closer and closer to that which is best for my soul. Each grain holds a promise of gratitude I plan to keep. The wind blows right through me, the waves rolling in and out - singing a special song written just for me. I stare into the horizon and in that moment the shadows, the should's and could-have's are lost within those waves.

I seek a solace in those waters and the waves bring the silence I never knew I truly needed. The sea knits me back together in just the way I require and I feel grateful for each moment I am given. This stillness is my most loyal companion, it always brings me back home and I am not sure how I ever lived without it.

Some glimpses of summer gratitude:

Eating snap peas right off the vine / The crickets singing / Late night laughs
Buying our house / Finally being done with moving / The smell of charcoal cooking
The twilight sky / Taste of Grandma's banana bread 
Jewelry smithing classes / Unsweetened iced tea / New experiences
The smell of the early morning Summer / Laughter of others
That British cashier who really went out of his way to save me money
The smell of distant camp fire / Receiving flowers just because
Getting the locals discount  / Not needing to put money into the parking meter
Outdoor showers / The beach! / Beach sand too hot to walk on with bare feet
September days that feel like August / Only having a few more boxes left to unpack
All those ladies at the beach staying authentic and true / Pink sneakers
Friend and Family visitors / Sloppy ponytails

I will miss these summer days but these moments will always be here.
I hope you had some fun this summer as well - I would love to hear all about it below!

I hope this finds you doing well, Kaylin


Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Heavy and Light Heart

Eight weeks have passed since my last post and these days have held more than I thought they ever could. The hubby and I traveled to Las Vegas and back (more on this in the near future), we lost a friend, I turned another year older and we bought a house...

This is certainly a season of loss for us - three funerals within a year. A good friend passed away recently, it was sudden and I am so very sorry for it.  He was the type of guy you only met a few times before you referred to him as a good friend - a way in which I hope to live my own life.

My heart has felt so heavy and my mortality has felt so real - some days I've felt pulled inside out  and right back again. At times, I've needed to go a bit slower so I do.

Endings and beginnings, these have composed my days. My heart has also felt impossibly light but I guess this is the way of things. I am aware of the difficult times and do not ignore them however I also realize that my well being increases exponentially as I notice the goodness and love within my life. So, today my response is gratitude and the same is for tomorrow and the next day and the next.

I have felt grateful for: 
That Happy song / Rain / My mobility and independence
Nice strangers who offer advice on strange noises coming from my car
Shanti music / Gingerade Kombucha / A super blue and comfy shirt / Yoga
Meditation and the Meditation iphone app / Sunshine days / Wawa Iced Coffee
Finding a new and really good story telling podcast / Water / Air conditioning 
New opportunities / Getting the house for the price/ Yoga pants
My friends and family's love, support, tools, time, focus and muscle

And most importantly, I am grateful for this moment because its one more than some receive.

I hope today is a good one for you,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

India: Going Back Home

I then started the long journey back home by making the 9 hour drive back to Bangalore. Thankfully, we followed our drivers advice and stopped at Hotel Saravanna's restaurant for brunch.

For the complete back story on my trip to India, read these posts:
Bangalore, India / Tiruvannamalai, India / Pondicherry, India - Day One
Pondicherry, India - Day Two / Pondicherry, India - Day Three

Again, the food was amazing. The Masala Dosa at this restaurant was particularly large and delicious. Within that large pancake is a masala spiced potatoe mash, it is amazing and one of my favorite dishes!

We gobbled it right up and washed it down with Chai tea. 

Mom and I taking pictures of eachother outside the restaurant. 

We then checked out the nearby temple. 

A row of Tuk-Tuk's - also known as motor taxi's and always a good time. 

We then traveled a few more hours and took a quick break at the above temple, which looks very similar to the one we visited at lunch. 


By this time, we were a bit frazzled by the long drive and nearly forgot to follow the custom of taking our shoes off before entering the temple. Thankfully we were warned by the yelling locals. Oops!

In retrospect, it would have been better to wear lightweight flip flops and carry a larger bag with socks to navigate this process more effectively.

We then took our drivers recommendation and visited the Golden Temple (Sripuram Temple), which was started by Guru Amma. This temple is relatively new and not in any of the guide books - it was an amazing sight! Pictures were not allowed so these pictures are pulled from the internet.

You will be denied entrance if your shoulders, upper arms, collar bone or ankles are showing so plan accordingly.

We were shocked to see this temple as the estate is so large you can not see the temple from the roadside - you only glimpse the Golden Temple after you enter and follow a long winding cage-like hallway into the main temple area. 

There were many local people waiting to visit - the wait was about two hours long or you could pay 250 rupees to skip the line. We paid the rupees. It was an amazing sight and the people were curious about our presence but also very kind. Upon exiting the Golden Temple, we followed the crowd thinking the exit was near but instead was directed to an outbuilding where we were served a simple and quick meal of white rice and vegetable mash on a palm leaf. It was quite the experience!


We then drove a few more hours to Bangalore, had a quick dinner and again stayed with our Indian friend in her Rajarajeshwari Nagar neighborhood home. I packed for my departure the next day and said my goodbyes. My mom was fortunate to stay on two more weeks and spent a good portion of that time at an Aryveda Spa.

I woke the next morning at 5am to catch my early flight. My driver was a bit late (as he was stopped by the local police questioning why he was out so early), which provided for an exciting morning. But after crossing through the airport checkpoint and then checking in with the airline, passport and security checks I made my flight with 15 minutes to spare. Phew!

 As Bangalore is the "Silicone Valley of India" the airplane was filled with business professional men traveling for work... and then me in my polkadot slippers. I sat next to two nice young Indian men traveling to Atlanta and London on work contracts - I passed along my last few rupees to one of these men as it was not worth exchanging.

Ten hours later I was at Heathrow Airport in London where I had a five hour layover - I wandered around the airport and blindly bought chocolates and other souiveniers in my jet lagged haze. Due to some confusion with the International time and changing of gates, I nearly missed my airplane but thankfully made it just in time. I buckled into my aisle seat (which I was thankful to have), sat next to a nanny from New Jersey who was returning from a vacation in Dubai and endured an eight hour ride with plenty of turbalance.

After traveling through three countries in 24 hours and living that day twice, I finally returned to Philadelphia... to drive an hour and half home, which my hubby thankfully did. 
Here are a few more fun pictures:

To those who are wondering, I had no issues with safety or food quality. The food was amazing and I never felt unsafe however I took the obvious precautions of only using bottled water (even for brushing my teeth), getting vaccinated, taking malaria pills, and only traveling in a group usually under the guidance of a local driver. I did find it helpful to dress conservatively (keeping my ankles, shoulders and collar bone covered) as is the custom there. There were not many international tourists at the locations I traveled to so the local people were very curious by our presence - this often lead to obvious and constant staring, which was harmless in nature but occasionally felt intimdating to me.

It was a whirlwind and brief trip (only 9 days) to India but unforgettable and amazing. Words do not do it justice, only the pictures and memories can. I made some new and wonderful memories with my Mom and we were able to bond over the experience. I was also able to conquer many of my fears going into this trip, which is always a good feeling. This trip was about living intentionally and taking full advantage of the opportunities that come your way.

Thank you in sharing this journey with me! I wrapped up this review just in time for another trip I am taking soon, I am forever grateful for the travel opportunities that have come my way.
Xo, Kaylin