04_pilot wife

Awashed with relief,
words to describe what I’ve been feeling these past two days.
Awashed with relief.
There’s this song in my heart,
and a new openness to live my next chapter.
Been holding to old characters,
even if they’ve jumped off the pages long time ago.
Suicide.

So today,
I’m awashed with relief.
Done with death,
ready to get on with life,
Baku, best place.
Here. Now.

Found several groups, new, budding, blooming friendships.
Love working with Azeris,
and have also found an interesting conglomerate of people from various continents.
Walks of life.

My heart is open, singing,
visions of new doors opening.
New positive characters,
full of love.
How could I have kept myself in the limited?
Characters, lost lines.

So I’ve joined this book club,
which a Polish friend initiated.
Our first meeting was on “Ali and Nino”,
our next on “The Shack”.
Perhaps I’ll write about them another time,
both books I recommend.

I found “The Pilot’s Wife” in Chiraq.
Not sure if I liked it.
It’s about Kathryn,
pilot’s wife duh.
She finds out about double life husband leading,
overused plot,
of personal and political betrayal.
But this is not what the story is about.
It’s an introspective rendition of Kathryn’s emotions,
as she crawls without choice,
from grief, to betrayal, to not being able to grieve at all.
For the man she thought she knew.
The language lyrical. Contagious.
Riddled with fog mood.

Line from novel resonates with me today.
Scene: she is on a boat, fisherman rowing across ocean,
place where she drops wedding ring.
Intentionally.
To be relieved of love, she thought, was to give up a terrible burden.

Letting go always means death.

But the wind whispers,
It is only death here. On the other side of the glass door, there is a room where you will see your loved ones again. The way they were when it was all new.

And that is the burden of love,
stuck in inextricable maze.
It always hopes.
Beyond death.

But today I woke up,
awashed with relief.
Ready to swim,
heart open
eyes open
arms open
along the waves of the Caspian.

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My beautiful first graders.

My beautiful first graders minus one. (He was absent during our Christmas play.)

When I’m with them, time stops.
Our class is filled with learning, laughter, a complicated web of relationships.
Our classroom is filled with love and fighting, and all those things that we can’t extricate from this thing called life.
We have tears and tickling and “nine minus five. what is nine minus five? what is nine minus five?” J screeches in frustration.

They say that children are a blessing from God.
After 4 years of not having a homeroom,
and being blessed with these twelve precious little ones,
twelve little ones who are learning my language,
twelve precious ones who are learning how to love and care for each other,
in a way that five, six, seven year olds can,
I know that I am truly blessed.

Thank you, G, for the twelve irreplaceable jewels you’ve set on my fingers.

Door to my apartment building.  Baku, Azerbaijan.

Door to my apartment building. Baku, Azerbaijan

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A walk along the Caspian. Baku, Azerbaijan.

A walk along the Caspian. Baku, Azerbaijan.

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart.
So I’ve been in Baku,
this hidden jewel of a city
by the Caspian.
It’s been all about the dust settling down.
Work permits, getting my first graders ready.
Learning Russian. Okay so I’ve taken a hiatus but will hop back on the learning train again.
Spaseba.

It’s been all about meeting new friends,
many times, from unexpected places.

It’s been all about buying winter clothes–sweaters.
Winter hats.
These cushy tall shoes.

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart.
It’s been about waiting.
Giving second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances,
until there were none.

It’s been about taking long walks,
Along this polluted, damaged, devastatingly beautiful Sea.
But still, I go, walk,
drown in sky deep blue.

This morning I woke up with a song in my heart.
A song graced,
celebrating murky seas, dark valleys.
A song that skips with the highs of the Baku wind,
whistling.
A song that keeps me beneath its wing.
Warm, cushy.

This morning I woke up with my heart singing.
I’ve been gifted with a new day,
open skies.
Blue.
I’ve closed a door with my heart full of love, blessings and hugs.
Only blessings for the people I love,
and full respect for the choices they make.
So this morning I woke up with a song in my heart,
excited for new doors to walk into,
new possibilities.
God has no limit.
I’m excited for Him to write the next chapter in my life,
and see how it unfolds,
day by day.

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Looking back, it’s very hard to believe that on two separate occasions, I didn’t speak to my Dad for one whole year. (That makes two whole years in total!) I was resentful. Bitter. I felt like he didn’t know me and didn’t care to take the time to build a relationship with me. My heart was hardened. I was in the right. He was in the wrong. I didn’t care if he said sorry. I had decided to build a wall to protect myself from pain.

I’m not sure how things started to turn around for me and my Dad. All I know is that I had finally turned to my Heavenly Father. It was clear that He wanted me to forgive, give my Dad a blank slate, and honor him no matter what. Even in his imperfections. I had to make a heart decision, not once or twice, but several times. And I can tell you that although it was difficult, it was well worth it because I’m now enjoying the rewards of having a loving relationship with my earthly Dad!

Today, as I had lunch with him in Cafe Ysabel, it was obvious that he wanted to spend time with me just talking and enjoying each others’ presence. After being away for a year and a half, there is nothing more I want in this world than to spend quality time with him. Life is short, fragile, full of unexpected turns. I’m choosing to spend that time with loved ones.

They say that actions speak louder than words. Here are some lifelong lessons I’ve learned by seeing my Dad in action.

1. Never give up on the people you love no matter what the circumstance is. My Dad has stood by my mom, sister, brother and me through our ups and downs. We have hurt him deeply on uncountable occasions. But he has never cut us off or left us. My Dad’s greatest joy is the simple pleasure of seeing us and being with us. In today’s world of disposable relationships, where people break ties because they are unhappy or not getting what they want from the other person, my Dad has gone against the norm. He stands by us. Supports us. He is there for all of us when we are sick. When we need help. When we are broke. When we are stomping our feet and throwing tantrums. When we walk through dark emotional valleys that seem to have no end. When we turn our backs on him and betray him. My Dad stands by us, fights for all of us and protects us. I see this choice my Dad makes over and over again and it has cut my heart. I am amazed at his strength. He is like a boxer who keeps on getting knocked out but keeps on standing up again as he slugs through the pain. I can only pray that God gives me half of his strength through the inevitable dark valleys in life.

2. Treat people equally no matter what their race or socio-economic status is. My Dad used to take me to Aurora market, a wet market near Cubao. Every week, a man with cerebral palsy would limp up to him and sell him sweepstakes tickets. And every week, my father would buy a ticket from him. My Dad always greets doormen, waiters, waitresses and other service people. He makes them feel valued by engaging them in small talk.

3. Value learning. You’ll never see my Dad without a newspaper or novel. He is always reading or watching CNN and talking to me about world politics. In other words, he’s a nerd! He is always encouraging me and my brother to explore further studies. He values that I’m an international school teacher so I can share this love of learning with others.

I have the best Dad in the world who has taught me lifelong lessons through his actions. I am so grateful and glad that today I am able to spend time with him and honor him. I love you, Dad!