A Pledge…

Memoir (noun)

  1. a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation.
  2. Usually, memoirs.
    a. an account of one’s personal life and experiences; autobiography.
    b. the published record of the proceedings of a group or organization, as of a learned society.
  3. a biography or biographical sketch.

    (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/memoir)

Over the years, since I was actually quite young, I have been told that I should write a memoir. One immediately wonders if their life is that interesting and if they are actually pompous asses if they think it might be. Such a word – memoir – holds a great deal of weight, because I feel that only people who have lead extraordinary lives should really put pen to paper in such a manner. My father should have written one and my grandfather did; however, I fear that it is rather pretentious of me at thirty-six to feel like I have something worthwhile to say about life. What do I know?

I would be lying if I said I’ve never thought about it. I have momentarily touched upon my childhood in Moscow in 1991, as well as my life in Kuala Lumpur in the mid-80s in writing, but I struggle with how to write a truly full and colorful account of these experiences and a myriad of other stories. I only hope that I can do it justice.

Since leaving Los Angeles on June 3rd, 2011, I have kept a journal that I have written in almost daily. My intent over the next year (or so) is to go through these pages and find the stories and anecdotes that may help me pull together a book that would describe my move to Paris; my childhood in Malaysia, Russia, and the United States of America; and the people that are my family. I am the child of two amazing individuals with very different stories of their own.

My intention now is to use my blog to gather my thoughts in order to write this book. I must decide what to leave out and what to include. To find the correct words to describe memories that are both recent and over twenty-five years old, as well as family stories that have been handed down throughout the years. I guess the only way to forge such a path is to begin to write…

 

I have always been teased for finding a restaurant (wherever I live) and becoming a regular. It’s just my nature to find a place where I feel comfortable. I fluctuate between regular cycles at the local haunt, going out with friends, or being very happily nestled in my apartment. Quiet and alone. Over the last few days, I have spent a lot of time going out with friends.

Sometimes going out involves a Japonaise Fête at a friend’s flat in the 13th arr.
Homemade food. Lychee alcohol mixed with fruit juice. Rosé or white wine. Or beer.
Our host is under thirty years old. Who wants to go to a keg party?

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~ * ~

How about dancing on the Seine? Swing or salsa, anyone? Another friend wanted
to check out the action on the banks of this famous river that runs through the city,
splitting Paris into the Left Bank and the Right Bank.

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~ * ~

Everyone will tell you that I am in love with this city. Just walking around
and looking at how gorgeous this city is can make your day or night.

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~ * ~

Sit at a café! There are countless cafés on countless corners and side streets.
Grab a coffee or a delicious bite to eat. If you journal, this is the place to park it.

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~ * ~

Or sit at your neighborhood haunt! Morning. Noon. Or night.
The world that is just down the street from your apartment becomes a
little more familiar! Like when the roller skaters pass through Nation
every Friday at midnight while the weather is good.

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To each their own.

Agnostic: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.

Atheist: a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

Recently my mother emailed me to “trust God, for (S)he is paving the way.” As an Agnostic, I am always a little confused with how to view faith. First off, before you go “But you are Agnostic! You don’t have faith!” I will stop you right there. I am not an Atheist. I believe that there is possibly something out there; however, I do not feel that human intelligence can truly comprehend what it is.

In all honesty, faith does feel like a nice fall back, like a way of reassuring myself that it will be alright, because at least it’s being paved intentionally. It is easier to not constantly question what God might be. It is more reassuring to say “There is a God. He is spoken of in the Bible.” and be done with any questions or debate or doubts. But to me, that feels too limiting a definition. To me, God cannot be truly understood by humankind. The human language does not have the depth and breadth of understanding to put it into words. To me, there is no true definition.

I constantly wonder: Is there a Greater Good or a God or a Higher Being that puts things in motion? Are things meant to be? Do we will things through our thoughts or how we put forth our energy? Paving our own paths through thought that is repeated again and again? Or is it solely through action that we get the things we desire, need, and want?

Is it God, Buddha, or Allah? Is it all of those gods or prophets or wise men all rolled into One or none of them? Is it the Law of Attraction or are we here alone?  And why are there so many versions of God? Has God been lost in translation? Man creates their concepts: Jesus and God; the Holy Trinity; Buddha; the Deities of Hinduism; the Islamic faith and Muslims; Allah; Judaism; Mother Earth; Wiccans;  Pagans; even Satanists have staked their claim in Religion and their place on this “list.” We have so many different holy texts! If there are so many, does that not prove that none are actually the One True Religion? Or is it like countries with their different cultures and languages? To each their own belief. It might all just be the same thing in the end.

Having been baptized and brought up Russian Orthodox with nine years spent attending Catholic school, the concept of God is very familiar to me. Perhaps that is why faith is part of my spiritual vocabulary. I do not feel that when I speak of faith that I am necessarily speaking about God. Maybe I am looking inward and my faith is found within myself, as well as the world around me. If asked to describe this Higher Being, I would have to say I feel that it is an omnipresent light that reaches every corner of the World, this Universe, this Galaxy, and everything else beyond. Everywhere. Places we know and places we will never see nor experience. Places only found in dreams and Science Fiction or Fantasy Novels and Movies. The Known and Unknown.

 

 

Definitions: Atheist: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/atheists and Agnostic: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/agnostic

The love of words in any language.

“There must be a Russian word to describe what has happened
between us, like ostyt, which can be used
for a cup of tea that is too hot, but after you walk to the next room,
and return, it is too cool; or perekhotet,
which is to want something so much over months
and even years that when you get it, you have lost
the desire. ” – Barbara Hamby

Maybe it’s because I’m a Russian-Latvian that I find this beautiful. I love the Russian soul. It’s part of my blood; my history. It’s in my DNA. I have always had a love for words. I love Woolf, Greene, Austen, Eliot, Plath, du Maurier, Brooke, Flaubert, the Brontë sisters. So many.

But then there are the words written down by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Chekhov, Bulgakov, Pushkin, Pasternak, Akhmatova. A man once told me that Tolstoy was the mind of the Russian people. Dostoyevsky, the soul. I almost fell in love with him then and there. Almost.

We can also look at the compositions that came out of Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Scriabin. Music felt in the chest. Resonating. We fear our hearts will explode. We cry to relieve emotions suddenly resurrected; uninvited.

And maybe it’s just the simple fact that I love the idea… the tepidness that comes from waiting.

 

 

 

http://www.barbarahamby.com/

 

Flashback: April Trip to Deddington, England.

In April, I visited my mother and my step-father John in England. This was the rainy weather view from the Oxford Bus that took me from London to Oxford where I met the parental units. From Oxford, we drove to Deddington, which is thirty or so minutes outside of Oxford.

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The adorable cottage they rented was the upstairs section of a converted barn. Below us, the owners still had farming equipment for the beautiful pastures that were part of the property. Below: view of cottage and master bedroom from guest bedroom; second and third photograph is the view from my guest bedroom.

Deddington Cottage April 19

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I would like to return to Oxford and spend some time exploring the beautiful city. This was a view of a passing building on my way back to London and then Paris.

Oxford April 23