Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Adventure Begins

In my freshman year of high school I began to fall in love with a culture who's music, colors and history was so complex that it fascinated me to no end. I picked up Indian friends for my avid love of all the answers they could give me and all the curry that they could feed me. I collected Bollywood, soundtracks, books, cookbooks, pictures, boxes, saris, punjabi clothes, bangles, spices, and... even Hindi Rosetta Stone. Rarely was the name of the country spoken from my mouth without a husbanded forlorn sigh for the fact that I, myself, had not set foot on its soil. Too much probably for that many years. But you know how love is.

It was October the 24th, 2012 and it had come down to only a matter of hours before boarding the plane that would start me on the long journey to get my India stamp on my passport. Only a matter of hours till one of my most treasured dreams would be coming true. My suitcase was actually being packed, my clothes finally being set out for travel... and my face was literally in the toilet. All I could do was cry and puke and puke and cry. How it had come to this and how I was ever going to pull myself together long enough to make it to that plane was rapidly becoming an impossibility.
I was a mess. An anxious puking mess.
Thank God for my parents. Thank. God.

My mother gave me a medicinal concoction and I simply obeyed their instructions of either laying down, getting up or just responding. My dad packed my bag and I incoherently replied to his questions, all just 15 minutes before leaving. Fervent were their prayers and pathetic were my tears as off we drove to the airport with me still on the verge of needing that toilet. I was highly doubting I'd make it.
I hobbled through the airport as a suspicious character looking like I was carrying the ebola virus, but they let me through anyways. My travel companion looked at me with concern. "No, no Charlotte I'm fine. You just might have to make sure I get off the plane and onto the next one, that's all." Poor girl. We barely knew each other and already I was at my worst.
Well it was all a blur after security. After the medicinal concoction peaked I only remember feeling extremely relaxed and completely unconcerned if I puked on the floor or my own belongings. Didn't much matter. What matters was that I slept. Got off that plane. Onto the next one. And slept again. The entire way to Munich.

"To the end of his days Bilbo could never remember how he found himself outside, without a hat, a walking-stick or any money, or anything that he usually took when he went out; leaving his second breakfast half-finished and quite unwashed up, pushing his keys into Gandalf's hands, and running as fast as his furry feet could carry him down the lane, past the great Mill, across The Water, and then on for a mile or more.
Very puffed he was, when he got to Bywater just on the stroke of eleven, and found he had come without a pocket handkerchief!"

Like waking into a dream.

With a 12 hour layover in familiar Munich, we strolled along the streets that often haunted my nostalgic dreams of bible school in search of palaces, churches, beer houses and donner kebabs.

Each road, each church and each sound and smell began a confusion that all time travelers must feel. There, in the past, I realized that in order to travel into the future I must relish the present. Letting go of the expectation of ever grasping the reality of any place we'd be, we simply were. And we were simply being.

Traveling the road, following the map. Embracing the vagabond status.

How God can be so equally familiar in the state of feeling so anxiously sick and then so euphorically in a dream is a human paradox that it seems you can only grasp when turning off mortal logic. Unfortunately I don't know the balance and I turned off all regular thought pattern together. Letting our raft simply coast down the rapids and calm, releasing any and all control, and our adventure, friendship and the feeding of an old dream began.

"They had not been riding very long, when up came Gandalf very splendid on a white horse. He had brought a lot of pocket-handkerchiefs, and Bilbo's pipe and tobacco. So after that the party went along very merrily, and they told stories or sang songs as they rode forward all day, except of course when they stopped for meals. These didn't come quite as often as Bilbo would have liked them, but still he began to feel that adventures were not so bad after all."

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