Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"Happiness Sweet One"

“When I Am Among Trees”

by Mary Oliver

When I am among trees,
Especially the willows and the honey locust,
Equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
They give off such hints of gladness
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
In which I have goodness, and discernment,
And never hurry though the world
But walk slowly, and bow often

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
And call out, “stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

When I was in college one of my creative writing professors gave us the best assignment, in my opinion, that could be given.  Over the course of the semester we needed to hand copy 50 poems of our choice into a notebook.  Unlike some students who waited until the end of the semester to bust out 50 poems with a numbing, sore hand, I took to this assignment with immediate, fervent vigor.  I poured over poetry as though they were the river bottom and I was the waterfall.  I spent countless hours discovering new poems because of this homework.  In an independent study the following semester with this same professor, I asked to be assigned the task again but my hand written anthology would include only international poets.  That assignment has followed me through post-college years and thankfully so.  I still copy poems into my journal when they strike me.  

I stumbled upon this Mary Oliver ditty a few weeks into being in Tulum.  I was homesick, I was second guessing myself, I felt angry, I felt awful.  Needless to say, it spoke to me so I copied it into my journal.  I hope it speaks to you too.  This is what I’m trying to do here.  I’m learning how to be filled with light because I have felt darkness for so long.  Your own self-perception can be so filled with self-loathing and it’s such a nasty downward spiral.  I have a college degree, I'm able bodied and smart but I have spent most of my 20’s flitting though life being a waitress and being miserable because of that.  Thinking of myself as less than because my successes have been more privately personal than monetary.

I moved back to Rochester after being in VT for ten years and would run into people from high school I hadn’t seen in just as long.  I was embarrassed to say what I was doing for work.  I’m 29,  I should have a career by now, right?  I should be married, own a house, have a child, have a white picket fence.  I have avoided the 9-5, 40 hour work week, office job do-hickey lifestyle because it scares the shit out of me.  Because  I see so many people doing that and they aren’t happy or fulfilled.  What general society begs of us is so different from what I want for myself and it's a constant inward struggle to remind myself of that.  Sure, it would be great to make some decent money, to own a house, to have a secure job but I don't think I would be fulfilled.   Because I want to travel, because I don't yearn for many possessions, because I long to be fluent in Spanish, because I want to live in a foreign country in order to experience life in a different way, I am here.  You have one chance at life and tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Probably most people I ran into after a ten year respite thought nothing of me working in a restaurant, but I disliked myself for it.  I harshly criticized myself thinking I was capable of so much more but not knowing how to get out of the cycle.  So I decided to make a change.  I woke up.  I had a choice.  I realized either a.) you’re going to be a waitress, forever talking about traveling and never actually doing it or b.) you can quit the job you’re not crazy about anyways and start traveling.  The cycle of perpetuation is just that.  You want to make a change but you are so scared that you sit inside your little tornado and it spins you until you slowly forget your dreams and aspirations.  You lose yourself and the tornado spits you out onto a seat of complacency.  Ten years, twenty years, thirty years go by and you don't even recognize yourself in the mirror anymore.  It's time to wake up.  

So I left, I was dying to.  And it would all fall into place right?   I would embark on a journey and happiness would find me and it would be limitless.  But it wasn’t.  The darkness followed me here and I was angry about it.  And I blamed everyone else.  Ashley told me I needed to stop harping on the negatives so much, I needed to look at things from a different perspective, I needed an attitude adjustment.  No one better than a close friend to gently hold a mirror up to your face and nudge you in a better direction.  So she lent me "The Places That Scare You," by Pema Chodron- a guide to fearlessness in difficult times (read it, whoever you are, I can promise you it will change you for the better).  A few days later  I circled around some sea turtles which blew me away.  I spent some time with a few new people who, unbeknownst to them at the time, opened my eyes.  Seriously, opened my eyes.  I'm thankful for it all (I'm sure Ashely is too, she doesn't have to deal with my icy bitchiness as much).  I actually rounded a corner with my own happiness.


When you stop placing blame, when you stop trying to figure out what exactly happened to make you so unhappy (because let’s face it, it’s not one thing that made you unhappy, pinpointing the base of unhappiness is like untangling a fishing net), when you just acknowledge your demons, then they start to fade away.  The beauty of life is that we have free will.  We can wake up every morning and say, “I’m unhappy and I am going to project it onto everyone that comes in contact with me.”  I did this for awhile when I first arrived and thankfully a few people called me out on it.  Or you can wake up and say, “I’m unhappy, I acknowledge that it exists, it’s time to let go of the unhappiness, it’s time to loosen up.”   I’m trying the latter these days.  Acknowledge your emotions, accept them and let them go.  

I arrived in Tulum and I was standing behind a wall peeking around a corner.  The darkness I felt was behind me for the most part but it was still present and threatening.  But I made a choice last week to deal with it.  And suddenly, I love being here in Tulum!  I ride my bike to the ocean every day now.  Sometimes I go even if it is raining and enjoy the cooling drops in this steaming humidity.  By golly, life whizzes by.  Don’t waste it being angry, because what is to be gained at the end of it all?  The time is always nigh to grow some balls and do what scares you.  I still have anxiety from time to time about this trip.  I worry, I get nervous, what if something happens and all my money disappears tomorrow?  I have an exact monetary value to my name right now.  I have no job, I have no income.  I eventually will get a job teaching English but not until the spring.  I could be stressed about this, I could let it cripple me.  But I don't.  I remember a woman in Australia told me once, “you just have to trust.”  It’s the best advice anyone has ever given me.  I think of it often when I’m freaking out about a choice I've made.  This is what you wanted so dive in and surround yourself with it.   So, I take Mary Oliver’s poem to heart.  I am trying to go through life now easy, to be filled with light, to shine.  And you know what?  It's starting to work.

*the title of this blog post is a quote from a comment that a wonderful, amazing woman in VT wrote to me recently.  She knows who she is.  ;-)

Also, holding infants that you're a pseudo-Auntie to for extended
periods of time every day can really make you smile.

I mean look at that precious little face!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Just as I was about to give up and swim back to shore, I saw it.  Camouflaged against the bottom of the ocean was a small sea turtle.  Judging by the size and having no prior knowledge whatsoever about sea turtles, I would venture to say it was an adolescent.  I wondered how many I may have swum over without even noticing.  If they aren't moving, they really do blend in with the ocean floor.  I was on a mission that day, though.  I would snorkel at the beach at Akumal until I saw a sea turtle.  No matter how many times my mask leaked or I accidentally swallowed some salt water.  I would see sea turtles, determination alone would make it so.

I gasped in surprise at the first sighting.  My eyes widened with delight and I started to smile but salt water seeped in through the sides of my mouth piece causing me to sputter like an old car engine.  How challenging to see a sea turtle up close and personal and try to keep a poker face.  Instead, my eyes stayed wide open and eyebrows raised in a botox-like fashion, in excited anticipation of what the turtle would do in it's salty habitat.  Not a whole heck of a lot, it turns out, but captivating nonetheless.  I was tempted to lift my head above the water and yell to the other snorklers, Tortugas aqui! (Turtles here!)."   I refrained, though, as there was a sentimental part of me that wanted to hold onto this moment of solitude, floating in the water, watching a sea turtle, uninterrupted by other masks and fins, for as long as I could.  What sweet and peaceful animals they are undulating through the water, rising with one current up to the surface for a breath of air, then flowing on another current back down to the bottom, a little piece of sea grass dangling out of the side of it's mouth.  They make it look effortless, like an autumn leaf fluttering to the ground.  If only I could look so graceful in my bright orange life vest and blue snorkel mask plastered to my face.  What must the turtles think of these goofy looking humans?

I had been in the water for almost two hours at this point.  The first hour I spent snorkeling around the reef checking out different fishes in every color imaginable ranging from bland beige to flourescent neon.  The reef itself is not that spectacular as far as color goes.  Don't get me wrong, it's definitely fun to float around and peek into the nooks and crannies of the coral and observe aquatic life in its watery splendor but if you're going on color alone to please, you may be disappointed.  I wasn't, however.  I love snorkeling.  It's seeing a world we are mostly foreign to.  I find it all fascinating.  Every moment is filled with something new, some brightly colored fish that no neon crayon can replicate, a school of fish darting together from one spot to another.  I tried to figure out who was the leader as I watched one school.  It's not like birds migrating in the V form, there's a distinct and obvious leader to the human eye.  This school of fish I watched though, how do they know where and when to move?  Their narrow electric blue, irridescent purple and black bodies abruptly swimming one way and then another in collective unison.  Synchronized swimmers in a dance they have not learned but know by instinct.  Nature is so damn cool and we miss so much of it if we don't bother to slow down and observe.

Needing to take a break and drink some water, we emerged from the ocean after exploring the reef for a rest.  I was the only one who went back for round two at a different spot along the beach.  The reef was much farther out and I struggled to swim against the current.  I was tired but determined to see a sea turtle.  I was expecting to swim all the way out to the reef but they were all hanging out on the ocean floor, munching on sea grass well before the reef.  I saw one once when snorkeling in Malaysia but it was seemingly in a hurry in the opposite direction and it was more of a fleeting vision.  This time though, I hovered above each turtle I saw and studied them with a profound curiosity that I never had when studying specimens in my 7th grade science class.  If I could set thirst and exhaustion aside, I would have been in the water all day watching these turtles.  Once I saw the first one, it was easier to notice others.  I think I saw five in all, three small (the shell about one foot) and two big (the shell about two, maybe three feet).  I marveled at the patterns on the shells and fins.  Those are the kinds of patterns that perhaps show us what perfection in nature is.  How did a sea turtle's evolution occur such that all the joining shapes on their shells and fins look like they came from a mathematical equation?  

So I got to thinking while I was snorkeling.  Floating around out there in the oceanic blue, it's a microcosm for traveling.  You're putting yourself into a situation where you don't know the outcome (you could get eaten by a barracuda or slapped by a sea turtle....come on, bear with me).  You're swimming out into water and you don't know what wave will knock you down but you do it because it's worth it.  You do it to better yourself, to become a stronger you.  You do it for broadened perspectives, you do it to see things differently, to see a world that exists beyond the kind of comfort zone where you can easily drink water from the tap.  Tasks that were once simple become challenging and perhaps stressful.  The laundry service I use here returned my clean clothes but my muti-purpose yoga/sleeping shorts were missing.  I spent an entire morning in duress debating between just trying to find a new pair to buy here or go back and ask if they had them.  They don't speak English and I speak broken Spanish and I was intimidated.  After a pep talk from my friend, Ashley, I looked online how to say, "Yesterday, when I picked up my laundry, my black shorts weren't in the bag.  Are they here?"  "Ayer, cuando me levanto mis ropas, mis negroes pantalones no estan en la bolsa.  Estan aqui?"  I memorized what to say and repeated it my head while I rode my bike to the laundry place.  I started sweating that nervous kind of sweat as soon as I asked her because it's the first time in Tulum where I've had a problem and had to fix it all while speaking Spanish.  After a bit of troubleshooting and explaining even more what they looked like, the woman understood and I got my shorts back.  Crisis averted, right?  Not like it was this huge crisis, but those shorts provide comfort and agility unparalleled to the three other shorts I own here.  I can't sleep or practice yoga in jean shorts now, can I?  I was proud of myself though, a small little victory for me.  I successfully communicated something I needed in Spanish.

Let me bring you back to my analogy though.  It's rewarding, fulfilling and incredibly lonely all at the same time.  But you learn to adapt, you learn to let go of everything that once made sense, and you recreate the puzzle in a different pattern.  And you see beautiful, stunning things that you wouldn't ever otherwise see, calm and anceint sea turtles sure don't exist in upstate NY, neither does an ocean for that matter.  And no matter how nervous you are about something like how to say a new phrase in a foreign language or how intimidated a situation makes you, you take these tiny steps and realize you are capable.  It's never easy to leave your bubble of comfort, but it is incredibly and undeniably worth it.  Snorkeling around and seeing those primordial creatures swaying in the currents, that trumps all the hours I've spent second guessing my decision to come here or all the hours I've spent in a lonely, homesick stupor.  I take my observation of the sea turtles as a lesson in finding comfort where you are.  Taking pride in little mini triumphs you may have in a day.  All the mini stuff amounts to something.  When you seek something because of sheer determination, you will be successful.  The outcome may not be what you intended, but it's an outcome you can take with you and learn from nonetheless.

I have no photos from Akumal so I will show you photos from a weekend trip I took to Valladolid and other fun things!

Climbing Mayan Ruins!
Amazing fountain I stumbled across in Valladolid

Cenote Dos Ojos


Auntie Bekka and Calai (Ashley's baby)
A little coffee....

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cocodrilos y Zorritos

Crocodiles and little foxes.  There was a chance we would see these two animals while we were on the boat or swimming in the water.  Our boat driver, El Capitan, rattled off a few other animals that lived in this particular habitat however, I didn't understand.  But I understood cocodrilos and zorritos.  I also understood I would be swimming in the same water as cocodrilos and that unnerved me just a tad.  My what big jaws you have...

Oddly enough, I happen to be reading Zorro by Isabel Allende right now and learned from the book that fox in Spanish is zorro.  Zorritos means little foxes and a quick look on a Spanish/English dictionary told me that zorritas means "little bitch fox."  You can take that however you'd like.  I couldn't help but smirk when I read that.

I had tagged along with my friend, Nimi, for the day knowing he was joining friends on a surprise adventure.  That's basically what we were told.  Bring a swimsuit, it's a surprise.  There were seven of us, two Americans, four British, and one Israeli.  Several different accents with a few things in common- a love of adventure, seeing new sights and quoting Monty Python.  We drove about ten minutes south of Tulum and turned off on a dirt road riddled with potholes.  I would think if someone were driving behind us we collectively looked like bobble heads.  Thick jungle encompassed either side of the road for about a half mile and then you happen upon the shore of a beautiful and huge lagoon.  You could see the other side, but it sure would take you all morning to swim to it.  The water was hues of aqua green and dark blue (much like the ocean I described in my first post).  It was slightly windy out and the mid-afternoon heat had dissipated a bit.  One of the gals who organized this little trip haggled with a boat driver and for about $25 per person we hired a boat to take us across two lagoons and through two mangrove canals.  The boats were lined up one behind the other like dominos.  Because a dock was being built, we had to climb over two boats to get to the one we hired.  You can't walk into the shallow part of the water because the sand is actually quick sand.  You'd be hard pressed to save your flip flops.

We set off on a boat similar to a row boat with two bench seats perpendicular to the bow and a motor.  The sky was bright blue and the water bounced us along it's waves.  Across the expanse of open water was a tiny opening in the mangrove swamps.  It was a channel just wide enough for the boat to maneuver through the clear and shallow water.  Mayans built it 700 years ago as a trade route.  This is were El Capitan told us what wildlife resided here.  He said that the crocodiles were nocturnal and I don't know if that's actually true or he just says that to assuage apprehension.  We were going to be swimming in this water eventually.  Well not so much swimming as floating.  With life vests on.  In a sumo wrestler diaper style.  We exited the first canal with no sightings of cocodrilos or zorritos.  The second lagoon we motored through was much bigger.  You could barely see the trees on the horizon line.  On both lagoons, we were the only moving object above the aquatic line.  It was pristine, open water, blue sky and not another boat in sight.

I should mention we were in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.  Sian Ka'an is Mayan for "where the sky is born."  It's a 1.3 million acre protected area on the Mexican Caribbean.  Of what I've seen so far, it's gloriously resplendent in hues of blue and green.  Onto the second channel there was a dock and on the shore was an old Mayan building that was used for trade and tax reasons.  You could still see some of the red and blue paint that they used.  I neglected to ask how old the building was but I'd venture to say if the first channel was forged and made 700 years ago this building could be around the same age.  There were three doors shorter than me, probably four and a half feet high.  There was a chamber and then another three doors leading to a parallel chamber, each about four feet wide and 20 feet long but the ceilings arced and were around 15 feet.  All I could wonder was, if the door ways were no more than four and a half feet high then why were the ceilings almost quadruple that?  Just how short were these ancient fellows?  Or is it a farce?  Were they actually really tall?

We spent a few minutes poking around the building and then it was time to don our life vest diapers and hit the road, err, the channel.  We were like little penguins plunging into the water one after another bobbing up and down in the cool water.  The sun had just begun it's descent so everything was a bit more soft and golden hued.  The hardest work you had to do was jump in.  The rest was up to the current, which surprisingly was quite strong.  Nothing to do but to let the water gently carry you along.  It wasn't as though there were rapids, think of the lazy river at an waterpark and then take it down even a few more notches.  Mangroves were on either side of us with their octopus arms reaching down into the water.  They are such interesting trees to look at.  Their barked limbs interlacing into the clear, light teal water.  It's a maze of tree limbs, some straight, some akimbo and some twisting around others.  The channel was clear to the bottom and there were parts that were only two or three feet deep.  The bottom was rough, it was made of what I perceived to be white, crushed up rocks.  I kept looking to the bottom hoping to find an ancient Mayan artifact and get rich from my discovery but no such luck.

Orchids do grow in these mangroves however their season starts in March so no blooming beauties to marvel at this time of year.  There were plenty of those awesome air plants nestled in many trees.  Huge termite nests as well.  I had high hopes maybe they were nests that monkeys made but I don't even think monkeys reside in this part of Mexico, nor do I know if they actually make nests.  We did see a blue heron though. It immediately took me back to driving by the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge (not to be confused with Montezuma's Revenge which is not a refuge at all) on I-90 in upstate New York where my mom, in sheer excitement, would tell us, "Look for blue herons!"  As we rounded a bend, down the channel a ways there it stood in all of it's silent, still and primordial glory.  One member of the group joked if it was even real.  Perhaps it was put there like a decoy for tourists.  Something to brag about when we returned.  But it was real, it turned its head towards us slowly and then flew off.  A fleeting image against the cerulean sky.  I could have drifted along this channel for much longer than the 45 minutes it took.  I was a bit cold with the sun going down but how many times in your life do you get to have such a relaxing and memorable experience?  In life vests diaper style?  Not often enough.

The pace of Tulum is like the pace of the water on that channel.  Things happen slower here.  It's taken me some time to get used to.  Slowing down, enjoying the moment.  I have felt heavy pangs of homesickness for the northeast, for Rochester.  I see photos of the all the snow and I want to be there.  I want to get bundled up and go sledding and snowshoeing.  I was lucky enough to even experience a blizzard via skype one night.  My friend, Erinn, took me "outside" with her iPad so I could see it and hear that muffled, quiet harmony that snow makes when it's plummeting.  And this homesickness baffles me considering my excitement before I left to be so close to the ocean and swim in it as often as I can.  Basically to be in permanent summer.  There is nothing more healing for your mind and heart than salt air and salt water.  I am trying to learn to ol' "be here now" mentality.  Yes, it's ok to be homesick and miss snow (especially when we got gypped last year) but I can't wallow in it every day (as I allowed myself to do on Christmas).  There is a reason we leave, there is a reason we explore, there is a reason we try new things.  There is also a reason why we stay, there is a reason why we gain comfort in certain things and fall into habits.  Staying and leaving, both are the angel and devil on your shoulders.  Both can have incredibly positive and negative effects on your being.  Let's face it, it's scary to leave your life behind, to take a leap of faith.  But as my friend, Katie, emailed me a few months ago, you must "feel the fear and do it always."  For many years, I dreamed of moving to various Latin American countries, learning Spanish and getting a job teaching English.  I'm actually doing all of that right now (well the TEFL certification will happen in March or April).  In my darkest moments, I remind myself of that.  I am living my dream.  I answered my calling.  I'm lucky, I'm damn lucky to be able to do this, and I thank the universe every day that I was able to make it happen.

We got back onto our little boat and El Capitan took us back the way we came.  To our left the sun was hitting the horizon marking a cloudless dusk.  Like plumage on a bird, ruffles of pink, orange and yellow nestled around the golden sun.  To our right, the sky was darkening in feathers of navy blue.  We approached the first channel, the one built by Mayans, and far off a stark white egret was soaring low over the wetlands.  Such a contrasting bright white color to the rest of the dimming landscape.  We managed to boat and float without a cocodrilo or zorrito sighting, which I was pretty much ok with.  The whole afternoon, reflecting on my homesickness versus my desire to travel, to experience life in different places, made me think of my favorite essay by Annie Dillard, "Weasels."

"We can live any way we want. People take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience--even of silence--by choice. The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting.... I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even deathwhere you're going no matter how you live, cannot you part. Seize it and let it seize you up aloft..."

My necessity and my calling these days is to live abroad, write and learn Spanish.  What's yours?    

If you want to read the entire Annie Dillard essay (and you really, really should, it's simply mahh-velous):


Disclaimer: El Capitan in Spanish has an accent mark over the second letter "a" however, I can't figure out how to type that on my computer so pardon me please!      

Second Disclaimer:  I regret to say I have no photos from this day as I neglected to bring my camera.  I'm hoping to get some from other friends who were there but I was eager to post this tonight despite no photos.  So check back, there may be photos later!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Treehouse

I live in a treehouse of sorts.  I am just realizing this as I'm wanting to describe to you, my dear reader, what my little casa looks like.  You know how some tree houses require a ladder, perhaps with uneven steps and questionable strength?  The stairs I climb to get to my second floor abode are outside and questionable.  Not questionable in strength, but questionable in safety.  There are 20 steps, about four feet wide and there isn't a railing on either side.  It's high up, I'd be at eye level with Tarzan if he lived in a tree here.  The stairs freak me out, especially because the lock to my door often sticks and I have to put my entire body into turning the key.  I unlock it with a series of pushing and jiggling motions, the key is slightly bent from my Herculean efforts.  It's almost as though, whoever built the stairs got tired of the whole endeavor and didn't bother with safety aspects.  It was probably one of those hot days here where slightly wiggling one finger causes your entire body to bathe itself in sweat.  So the stairs were done and it was just too hot to bother with a railing.  There are a lot of stairs of this caliber here though so I think perhaps it is the norm.  

There are several large, green, lush trees lounging about the yard.  Two palm trees stand guard near the gate like a butler welcoming you home.  There is a big hibiscus bush currently with only one bright red flower.  In the center of the yard is a huge tree, maybe ficus, but I'm not sure.  Tropical philodendron-ish plants climb up this tree, vining around the trunk.  There are flowering trees all over Tulum with bright fuchsia flowers but I don't know the name.  One grows next to my window so I have a nice bough of fuchsia greeting me when I open my shades every morning.  Thick branches hang over the roof of my room so even on the hottest days my space actually remains cool and four windows on the four walls creates a cross breeze that is necessary.  When it's not noisy out, which is very rare, I can hear the wind weaving through the trees and it's comforting.

(Side note- Tulum is noisy.  On par with New York City kind of noisy.  Allow me to list the sounds I hear outside my window on a 24 hour basis.  We've got roosters crowing and chihuahuas barking next door and across the street sometimes for an hour at a time.  Every day I silently wish spontaneous combustion on those pesky diablos.  There is never a lack of loud music.  In fact, just this morning I had the pleasure of hearing Whitney Houston's version of "I Will Always Love You" which caused me to reminisce about the hit movie, "The Bodyguard."  If Kevin Costner could save her in that movie can he save my sanity from high pitched, incessantly barking dogs?  There was a fair going on here for almost two weeks several blocks from where I live.  Live bands rocked the town every night and the concert felt as though it took place in my room.  My mattress shook slightly with the sounds of the bass.  Cars with speakers on the roof blare advertisements with annoying Spanish jingles as they drive slowly down one street and up another.  Men on bikes with carts selling bread squeak a cartoon-like horn nonstop.  Then there are other men hawking some other kind of food and I can't understand what they are saying but it sounds eerily familiar to the line, "Bring out your dead," in Monty Phython's The Holy Grail.)

My little home consists of an extremely uncomfortable bed, probably 40 years old with every spring digging into my very bones.  The icing on the cake though, is that it's bowed in the middle.  When I sleep on my back I sleep at a slight angle towards the middle of the bed.  Imagine when you accidentally set your tent up in the woods on a small incline unbeknownst to you until you crawl into your sleeping bag and it's far too late to rearrange your whole camping situation.  That's what it's like.  Except instead of the sounds of the great outdoors lulling me to sleep, someone close by is blasting shitty techno music.  I have three blankets folded lengthwise under me to ease the pain of the springs.  It either works to a certain extent or I have just gotten used to it by now.  I attempted sleeping on the grey and blue hammock strung up across the room but it reeks of mold so that lasted for about five minutes my first night here.  I also can't figure out how to sleep on my side on a Mexican hammock without having my head and feet higher than my midsection and feeling like the position I'm in is just fundamentally wrong for sleeping.  Sleeping on my stomach on a hammock is out of the question.  You're body forms the shape of a skydiver, belly low and appendages high.  How one sleeps in a hammock remains a mystery to me.  It now lays in a pile on the floor folded into itself to collect more mold in the humidity.  A pungent present for the next renter.

A small couch made out of wood and leather is next to the dark wood door and in front of a sliding glass door that leads to nothing.  Perhaps a deck will be built at some point?  The couch is also really uncomfortable, most likely because the "cushion" is just a folded up rug.  Next to the couch is a little table made out of wood, the top is literally a slice of wood from the tree.  There are lots of tables like this here, I love this bringing of outdoor objects indoors.  On top of the table is a piece of purple reef that you can find in a lot of places along the beach.  Two cider blocks hold a board for a makeshift table with a brightly colored cloth covering it.  A lamp sits upon the makeshift table and it is the only light source in the room.  It's a soft amber light which is wonderful until I read a book before bed and have to wear a headlamp because my eyes are so bad in dim light.  I never thought the day would come where I would need a lamp and headlamp to read a book, but it has and it causes me slight concern.  Two shelves hold my clothes, jewelry, books and camera.  I have my own bathroom, which is convenient as my bladder is the size of an apple seed.  Better the bathroom be in my room than having to walk up and down the stairs in the middle of the night, praying I don't fall off the edge.

The shelves are on a little partition wall providing a corner of privacy where the sink and bathroom are.  Since I live by myself, I don't require privacy from anyone, however, you can see into my room from the street so it's a barrier from prying eyes down below.  And I worry abut these things because I am that girl that looks into other peoples windows at night when their lights are on.  In my defense I'm not a creeper, I like to see how people decorate their homes.  And if your lights are on and your curtains are open you're asking for it!  I have a blue and white tiled counter and sink.  It lends a certain charm to that corner. Across from the sink is a step up into the bathroom.  The walls are a brick red, the floor has white and light green tiles and the door to the bathroom was built for hobbits.  It's fine when you step up into the bathroom but when you step down, unless you are a hobbit, you whack your head violently on the frame.  Many headaches and swear words accompanied me out of the bathroom my first week of here.

In the middle of the room, hanging from the ceiling is a ball made out of what looks like hemp, it's looks like a big ball of yarn missing its innards.  From the ball hangs a brown and white feather.  Because I collect feathers, I took it as a good omen when I first saw the room that I should rent it.  As I sit on my bed and look around, I know I can be content in my little treehouse for a few months.  Uncomfortable bed and couch, treacherous staircase aside, it's good enough for the winter.