There is a place


There is this place in Nepal . . .

a place where time stands still, life is full of adventures both big and small, and people pass time by sitting//watching//gossiping// drinking tea//dancing and wrestling in the mud.

The place is Letang. And it is one crazy, special place. A place I find very difficult to describe or understand.

The internet these days is slower than ever these days and it is hard to begin to recollect these past few days. The journey back from Kathmandu was far more manageable than the journey there and I felt that part of me was missing while I was away.

As I write this now, I’m squinting, feeling better at last, but near-blind from a game of handball (*in a muddy rice paddy) yesterday. I gave myself over to the game and was left blind in one eye and covered head-to-toe in dark mud.

The days here are happy. We tend to loose count of the days and have little desire or intention to check our watches. It is a good way to live and I feel that I could keep doing this for a long, long time.

“Out beyond ideas

of wrongdoing and rightdoing,

there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.”

– Jelaluddin Rumi, 13th century

For now, I am thankful for this life. Thankful for these experiences and the lessons I have learned. Lessons learned about this place, this country,  human kind, and most of all, lessons about myself. I find that in living like this, in traveling, I come to better know myself. And even though it can be far from pleasant at times, it’s necessary, needed.

Until that next time. I never know when it could be. . .

[Photo: Outside. Letang//Grace Farson]

The India I used to know





Made it to Delhi at long last!

I got to Greg’s place this afternoon after a long, long journey. It took over 24 hours on a non-A/C train to get from Mumbai to Delhi.

Unlike this, the journey reminded me of the India that I used to know. The India I both love and hate.

I can honestly say, regardless of the number of trains I’ve taken like this in India, I always forget how hard it can be. I always forget that being a woman in India is hard. I always forget what hot really is. . .

It’s 115 degrees (F) in Delhi today.

. . . And I haven’t stopped sweating since I left Mumbai.

I woke up this morning and realized I only had five more hours to go. I was covered in new bruises, new smells, but I quickly realized there was still a lot of good. I had friends to look after me and share their breakfast with and help me down from my high bunk. . .

And once I arrived, nothing compared to the great sense of victory that washed over me. I walked into Greg’s apartment and didn’t know what to do with myself. I went to the shower and stood there, stunned.

The good that comes from train travel is that there is time. Lots of time. Time, to think, breathe and meditate.

For me, I thought of and questioned my life decisions a good deal, I thought about chaffing, I thought about what the word resilient means, and I thanked God for music and the occasional breeze that came through the window. . .

Now, it is time to celebrate the good. The victories both big and small and for being here, safe and comfortable even in extreme heat.

*Note: Still feeling incredibly dehydrated, so hope some of this makes sense. Too tired and hot to even bother reading over this again.

[Photos: Paschmin Express from Mumbai to Delhi//Grace Farson]

Still with hearts beating




One final paper and then this semester will be over. . . and summer will officially begin!

Plans for now and the next few days of life:

+ About to hit the road –> Boone for tonight + tomorrow

+ Two more days of work

+ A handful of meetings

+ A trip to Pennsylvania with them!

+ A day back in Chapel Hill to move and celebrate dear ones graduating!

+ A half day back home

+ Two days in D.C. with Mom, Kelsey, AND Abby!

+ And then, then I’m flying across this big world to this beautiful city!

These plans are the plans that make me excited to be alive these days. These are the thoughts that make my heart beat a little faster. Big transitions, big changes, but good things all around . . .

[Photos: 1.) BBQ love, 2.) Blair at 100 Shelton St, & 3.) A day in the life of Tiger House/100 Shelton St. residents//Grace Farson]

Tuesday thoughts

+ How to spend my summer. . . It’s endless. . . overwhelming. . . exciting

+ List -> poetry

+ This puppeh. I’m in love

+ Asia.

+ America. Today in history. Voting.

+ Early morning coffee makes my whole being happy

+ I want to learn how to play chinloe.

+ The leaves fell too quickly this year

+ Found sounds // the sounds we hear everyday and think nothing of

+ People in cars. Andrew Bush’s brilliance.

+ I need to sweat more. I’m in cold weather hibernation mode these days – I store up food, wear socks and sleep (a lot)

+ This book makes me laugh

[Photo: Outside my door, Udaipur//Grace Farson]

Thoughts on being an American

First, an explanation.

This photo was taken on one of my last days in Indonesia this summer. This particular photo goes out to Nicole and Tom who put me up to it. Tom uses this lovely American flag as his beach towel. When he whipped it out of his bag, Nicole and I went crazy. Before I knew it I was hitching a ride on some sweet Indonesian kid’s ATV and going for a joy ride, flag, smiles and all.

I often joke  that I possibly make one of the worst Americans of all time. I don’t vote as often as I could, I’m apathetic and I prefer to spend my days abroad, learning about new places, new people. And yet, I have it so good. Being an American is something that I do often take for granted.

On my flight to NYC from Dubai this summer, I sat beside a special guest to the United Nations from Tanzania. He was a remarkable individual and we got to talking about travel, experiences abroad and most of all, being AMERICAN. I told him I didn’t make a very good American and I always feel more like myself during my stays abroad.

What he said in response to that has really stuck with me. He told me that overall, “You have it good. You have an American passport, but you are a global citizen.” I like that. And, it is true. I should consider myself a global citizen with the blessing of American nationality. And that’s that.

During my stay in Indonesia this summer, I also read through Tracey Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains about Paul Farmer. I wrote this quote down in my journal and just found it the other day –

“I think that the rich can always call themselves democratic, but the sick people are not among the rich. . . Look, I’m very proud to be an American. I have many opportunities because I am American. I can travel freely throughout the world, I can start projects, but that’s called privilege, not democracy.” – Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains

C’est tout.

[Photo: Depock Beach, Indonesia//Grace Farson]

response: does art matter?

{photograph by alberto saveso}

i’m getting anxious for the day when i can finally live in a creative space/place . . . i feel like i haven’t really done this university thing right for me yet . . . rather than being a place where my creativity thrives, i feel like it has been zapped.

in september, abby wrote this post in response to our visit to the ackland art museum and as much as i wanted to believe her that art did matter and did make a difference, in my heart of hearts i still wasn’t convinced. her words were so lovely and comforting but i had a hard time believing that art really did communicate the divine.

for so long i’ve tried to find alternatives or ways around the arts because i was convinced they were meaningless and did not have the capability to change the world.  i’m fed up. i am tired. i am tired of avoiding this part of me. i love to create and share and feel involved and it’s about time i start making the arts a priority.

“art is a lie that helps us feel in control. it helps us create an order and a harmony we can only rarely create in our own existence. art helps us establish a sense that we, and the events of our lives, matter, that they have meaning and weight and beauty. and art gives us the idea of an audience, of a group of onlookers who care about what happens to us just as much, as if not more than we do, who are invested and who will laugh when we laugh, cry when we cry, blush when we are embarrassed and cheer when we win.”

– kathleen rooney, live nude girl

on a similar note, i watched born into brothels last night in a class and i’m now a complete wreck. . .

art matters world.



a little list of things for your day:

+ voyages through egypt in the 1920s

+ from book to carving

+ reesenews’s sick video from holi in chapel hill 2012 {and another holi video here}

+ bruce weber & gypsies in vogue

+ this drawing apparatus is sweet

+ i love people too

+ helpful tips on good food combinations

{all photos from the other afternoon in the woods behind ehaus}