"Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the blis
Peace out, MS1. It’s been real.
School has been out for a little over one week now. I’ve been getting oriented on a wonderfully applicable project that meshes two great loves: global health and technology (and getting paid! Hurray!) but overall the pace of life is so much better. These past two weekends in particular have been a great social binge of sorts for me.
My friend Rose is flying off to Stanford. I genuinely fear that the West Coast has taken her forever. She’ll fall in love with the climate. When she initially broke the news, I played a small sad violin but now it’s more akin to Coconut Records “West Coast”—still a bummer but tempered with a groovy rift and some solid drum work. We had lunch on Sunday at this new discovery: Cafe con Leche. This great restaurant has been behind my #1 favorite ice cream spot and I had been too busy eating ice cream for 10 years to notice.
I went for a walk with Sara and her dog. Sara, Ty and Jessa adventures have been well documented here and it’s basically the same blissful routine: walk, faux-TV, hours and hours of talking, some fro-yo, some cheese and bread if things are getting really snazzy. It doesn’t get old for me. If I could spend the rest of my life basically doing that, I would call it a rich, fortunate life.
Prior to that I spent some time at the beach, which reminded me that experiences are all about appreciating who you are with. I go out to beaches in a baseball cap, SPF 50, and a rash guard, dreading my enemy, the sun, and the scarcity of natural shade that inevitably occurs at beaches. There’s no use in scurrying from tree to tree because there are no trees. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time. Later in the day, I was able to chat up older-folk (my friend’s elderly aunts and uncles) under a big umbrella—basically I was really in my element and super bliss’d out.
I took more pictures last year and will hopefully return to that habit. Lately I have been into “Superman Is Back” which is a Korean reality show chronicling dads raising their kids. (You break those traditional gender roles, Korea!) One of the dads is a startlingly creative amateur photographer so this summer, I hope to approach my day-to-day life with similar vigor, appreciation, and creative perspective.
I ended up in a Protestant church this year. There is actually a Catholic church very close by, but it’s hard to beat what amounts to a stone’s throw in distance. That combined with the fact that I have an exam tomorrow is ultimately how I found myself in a cozy, well lit church, surrounded by a bunch of pastel-clad kids and well-dressed adults.
Church and I have had an interesting relationship. Growing up, it was not a question. It was habit, routine, without choice or very much thought to be honest. Then as I grew older, I actually resented attending church. I felt surrounded by Judge-y McJudge-y Pants and I felt out of place, a misfit. Now I’m more of the mind that while there are some narrow-minded, Holier-Than-Thou sorts at church, there are almost plenty of wonderful people who are just trying their best.
So when I went this afternoon for the first time in awhile, I found myself oddly touched. The music, the space, the light, the flowers. Everything and everyone seemed very sweet and well-intentioned. To a certain extent, everyone’s trying to get by, to do their best, and I felt that commonality very deeply today.
- I sat in the very last, high-backed pew and in front of me was a man, his two small children, and what appeared to be his mother. The kids were funny because the little boy was insane (as kids tend to be). His collar was popped and he was full of energy. Eventually his dad pulled out a clipboard, crayons, and blank paper to try to settle him down. Instead this 3 or 4 year old just started talking more because he needed a lot of help writing The Next Great American Novel. At one point he asked “How do you spell ‘sleepy’?” which amused me. I imagined this whole Easter “church” endeavor was taking far too long for him. He eventually fell over or something happened to cause a loud BANG.
- During peacetime, Catholic masses usually have everyone shake hands with adjacent people only. In this Protestant mass, everyone got up and circulated around. I thought, “Oh, is this what we’re gonna do now? This is how we’re going to play it? Alright.” And it was really lovely. Mass probably ran “over” due to this but c’est la vie. Catholic masses are over strictly at 1 hour. Today I didn’t mind. In the middle of mass, an elderly gentleman made an announcement about some kind of Church event at a nearby amusement park. “We might even have mass there!” He said. I was totally taken aback. Church in an amusement park? You can’t even get married on a beach in Catholicism—-true story. My 3rd grade teacher told us that the Catholic church did not recognize wedding ceremonies done under the open sky.
- Afterwards there was coffee and an egg hunt.
I left the service thinking that that was how church should be. Granted, their church was very small so it is probably easier to create that sense of community and pleasantness, but it was just such a lovely experience.