"I am peeling back the layers of mankind and stepping into the moment." This thought just hit me. The moments of my current existence, my life are glorious. Glorious moments of sincere kindness. In photojournalism searching for the 'moment' is a honed art form. The 'moment' is pursued like an alluring lady and worshipped like a sacred deity. I don't have to search anymore. I just open up my front door or sit down for dinner. Sacred moments surrounded. At at glance, the atmosphere may be slushy, muddy, and chilled but if I listen, I hear conversation and laughter and culture aka the kind people I live among. The 'moment' has become my life. The search is over, for now. Yes, I will continue to travel and explore all of my days but for now, I pause. Nesting must occur. Not packing or leaving or changing flights. I am settled here. I have settled in Syhnayivka. I am content within the realms of my life. I am blessed and humbled and amazed at the depth of each moment of my day. Whether I am walking to school or sitting at my desk or listening to my students speak English with sharp, crisp accents; I am in constant awe. I am constant awe of birch trees, the texture or color of their bark, the change of black dirt to brown dirt to gray bark to white bark as my eyes advance up the tree until overwhelms all other shades and meets a sky of similar tone. I have been given such important and pleasurable responsibility to watch trees and listen to accented speech.
I named my blog Indigo Frames for a couple of reasons. First, indigo is my favorite color. It's a color, I think, that's mysterious. It's tough to find the bottom of indigo, it's tough to figure out the amount of blue to purple to white to black. During my favorite summer in Monterey Bay, the ocean at sunset was indigo. My favorite bedroom in my favorite house in Bowling Green was indigo. I opened up a book of crayons during my summer of nannyhood in high school and used an indigo crayons to cover a board sky. I took the indigo crayon home with me that day. I just had to spend out it color a bit more to study. I was mystified. Second, my thought pattern occurs in frames. I see in layered framing. I see people, settings, colors at how I think they would appear in a frame. The frame I see in my mind is the frame I attempt to capture. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I like to wander off during walks with friends or on my way from work just to see how the frame of a road looking from a new angle. As a photographer, I think each frame should have depth equal to the depth of indigo. A perfect frame tells a story, portrays an emotion, or the forever sought after 'moment' I desire for the edges of my frame to tell of such. I want viewers of this blog to see a frame and understand the story/moment/memory/people within it.
But back to the point, every day is a different frame. My frame has changed so severely since arrival in Ukraine, I hardly recognize morning mirror me. I'm different. Different isn't bad. Today is a different frame than yesterday and tomorrow will change again. I'm counting frames and days and moments all the time. I strive to write it all down in order to remember each frame with greatest accuracy.
I say all of this because today my life changed. I am moving into a new house with a new house and things will change, for the better, drastically tomorrow and the day after. Today, I was given a new chance and toilet. I don't know which I am more grateful for. The situation with my current home/host mother/landlady just wasn't working out. Thankfully, I am able to move out and on without too many hurt feelings. She and I are going to have tea next week. We'll still be friends. I am optimistic about this new place. It's a warm home with many kind family members. I've eaten at their table before. At their table, we laughed and shared and I felt like myself. Wearing my skin was a little less uncomfortable. Since moving to Ukraine, I have faced many obstacles. Comfort has been fleeting. Adversity has risen up to meet me each dawn. I have desired beyond description to be able to breathe and move and feel right within myself and within my surroundings. To take in long, calming breathes not short huffs of survival. Don't get me wrong, I love this country, it's culture, language and people. But many days I cringe in realization, this country doesn't love me as much as I love it. Lines on my faces and hands have greatly multiplied in the morning mirror due to such. I've been in one sided relationships before. They suck. Today, Ukraine loved me. I saw my counterpart, the headmaster of my school, Peace Corps staff, my current and future host families push their own needs aside, come together in order to make my life better. I do not deserve such. I have done nothing worthy of earning such attention. I'll spend the rest of my time here in attempt to pay such grace forward.
Tomorrow could be stressful. My new home could be stressful. Teaching will be stressful, being in charge of someone's education is terrifying but I'm prepared. The obstacles Ukraine has provided for me has given marrow to my backbone. The foundation built beneath me during my previous life in America has been repeated reinforced. My gratitude for being born the treasured baby daughter in my parent's home, in all of my family, has never been truer. I loathed not having new brand cereal to eat at breakfast during elementary school but having plane tickets and a college education during adulthood faired me better. My appreciation for having my older brother poke at my nerves and test my wit during our fights is strange but quite real. I hated Caleb back then. Caleb is a brilliant and bold man in present day. He helped grow up my endurance level. Momma and Dad, take pleasure in that all your years of giving, serving, and caring for others is currently reaping in full. I am provided for. Home. Food. Friends. Profession. I would have a full security team in town if I asked for it. Any adversity or sorrow our family faced has only increased my compassion and ability to preserve. Other friends and family has as much right to reap thanks. My family and friends that have weathered years of my sickness, depression, travels and absence, victories, and joys - there are too many people to list but I see each of you in my sleep, I take each of you with me - are the ones who currently write letters or notes or emails. These people save up money for summer visits. Such affection causes my heart to sing. I don't have much a voice but my soul sings of glorious rejoice.
Each phrase of life, I have been given perfect companions. The exact friends I needed to survive whatever situation I faced. Childhood playmates. Friends with empathy and balloons during my surgeries in high school. People to listen and hold me during my sorrow and depression of early college. Characters to watch and encourage the crazed movement and rapid growth of late college. I do not understand why - outside of grace - but I am thankful. Syhnayivka is no exception. Ukraine is covered with characters who enjoy taking my call. They will listen to venting or celebrate my minor victories like my victories were their own. I also wish my new set of friends, my new set of lifelines were closer. Luckily the distance makes our conversation and visits more vital. When I am hugged by one of these friends, it's hug I can settle into. I can get comfortable in their embrace and their words. In the perfect world that exists in my mind I want to bring together my family, friends of home and friends of now into the same room and say, "Hey ya'll. Look at each other. You are different and the same and equally balanced and equally strange. You make me. You make me who I am."
So this is what I thought today. Thanks for reading. For more than that, thanks being someone I can carry alongside.