Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Contrary to the attitude of my previous few blog entries I’ve been low lately. The highs and lows I’ve experienced in the last few days would put any rollercoaster to shame. I could begin with a list of reasons why things become so low at times but I don’t know if I’m ready to come out and say it just yet. Fortunately there is great music out there like Manu Chao. This stuff fires me up. My life is a sudden game of uncertainty and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared at times but why worry? Worrying is dangerous. On top of other things I’ve got a nasty virus of sorts making life that much more unpleasant.

This entry isn’t a downer. In fact this entry is the manifestation of everything I feel I’m capable of. Things aren’t going my way but it is a reality check – life doesn’t always go your way. With the help of Blogspot and too much time on my hands my thoughts have become very public and longwinded at times but I’m over it. I want it to be known that I’m happy even during rough times and besides my nasty arm infection a few months ago this is perhaps the lowest I’ve been since I’ve been out here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we pay our debts sometimes.

Rain makes me paranoid. It was pouring on the bus ride home so I slid up the crazy bus windows only to find that it was translucent red. Staring at the rain through dark red glass (do I say glass funny?) for too long would make anyone go a little nuts. God I felt awful yesterday. What can you do though, you know? I have a fever of like a million degrees and I haven’t eaten anything in about three days. Can’t sleep. God bless Manu Chao. This music makes me feel great even though everything beneath me is falling apart. God especially bless my students. Their constant enthusiasm and musical hearts never stop making me smile.

This story isn’t over.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The forces of creative minds are unstoppable

So Hoo pooped in the sink last night. He (she?) was probably mad that I didn’t share my sashimi. We also acquired a new cat of ambiguous gender and a pending name. You would think the family is complete but there will soon be yet another addition to our humble family. Apparently a man named Kennedy from Zimbabwe will be joining us in a few weeks thus making my house among the most diverse establishments in the country. It’s kinda funny but earlier today Takeda’s friend Rumiko came over who speaks fluent Spanish. There I sat in Samoa speaking Spanish to a Japanese girl. Any words we didn’t understand were spoken in Samoan – what a cool experience.

It’s the first day of the term and things are taking a wonderful turn. I’m beginning an ambitious project to teach English, music and computers during the day while (soon and hopefully) teaching night classes at an art school down the road. I’ve decided to step up the pace a bit and push myself to my potential. I’ve also been pursuing a regular schedule of kung-fu practice with Sitivi and Arona therefore making my life busy as I prefer it. Last term was great but it was lacking in challenge and I feel like I am capable of much more.

Here I sit, nursing a bucket of ‘ava and fiddling through pictures of birds I took during interval today. I’m in a great mood. I love experiences with people when their voices ring through my head in the days to follow. I can’t stop smiling when I think of the wonderful people my life has placed before me.. I can’t wait to make pancakes in Tonga :) I haven’t stopped drawing pictures since Team Tonga left and there is something special ringing in my head about someone in particular who also appreciates upside down crescent moons. Remember that?

I had a dream last night that I was in a parking lot in Detroit freestyling with one of the dudes from Handsome Boy Modeling School – what a strange dream. The sunset last night would make you believe in God and a good wind kept me peacefully asleep all night. You know, when I was younger I was always angry and I loved to complain. I regret spending so much time being so gloomy. You should be happy with who you are and maybe I felt out of place or I thought that everyone thinks I’m strange but hell, I am strange and I think I wear it well. It’s a big world don’t you think? How exciting. I think I’ll swim to India one day just to hear the sounds.


These pictures are all from home and thus completely irrelevant however they make me smile.

HONORABLE - Aidan Christopher Smith

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Symmetrical – that’s how I feel right now. I feel like the last eight days or so have been a fast of sorts from sleeping and eating right but both were a small price to pay for excellent company from new friends just a small island away. The events of the last few days were clouded with the sudden tofa le soifua of five excellent guys from our Peace Corps Samoa institution. These things are out of my hands though and I’m sure their lives will lead to beautiful places regardless. I miss my Tonga friends. I really miss that someone in particular with James Brown’s initials who I survived a riptide with – I’ll find her again – I won’t tell how this story ends before it even happens, wouldn’t want to give away what happens next! Symmetry… I got some great sleep last night and today at Faofao where our early service conference was held. It’s been days since I’ve slept well but I woke up looking out over the ocean as peaceful as a Hindu cow. I feel strangely happy today. Chapter two of my stay out here has ended and I’m very content with how things are turning out. Last night I sat on the beach and made cheers with some of my closest friends. It reminded me of training when everything was new and together we shared our excitement nightly. These days we are off in our own worlds writing our own stories and it is good to bury our feet in the sand together and laugh at the nothingness of things. It rained hard for a while and the pitter-patter of heavy raindrops on my fale was so intense I couldn’t hear myself dream. I’m happy. I’m very happy right now. I’ve learned a lot in the last few days and this realization came to me under such strange circumstances and chance that I almost didn’t learn from the wisdom that lay right in front of me. These things do not appeal to the obvious but rather to the minds of those who believe there is something more beneath the surface. Something is waking up and I’m glad I’m up early enough to see it.

Smile if you read this. You make me smile.

Give your hearts but not into each other's keeping
for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
-Kahlil Gibran

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I'm goin' surfing

You take your car to work, I'll take my board..

Sunday, May 06, 2007

People of the Bridge

I heard that every cell in your body completely regenerates every seven years. That means that after only seven years you will have completely become something new. It also means that whatever it was that we used to be has been completely eliminated as the natural courses of our bodies endure this process. This is a curious thought. What was I like seven years ago? Man, I hardly even remember. It’s also curious how we hold on to our memories like story books and although we may change some things at times they are still the foundations of our lives. In the fabrics of our cells you will find every scar of history and every invisible mark of separation from the rest of the world.

So seven years ago.. Let me think about this a little bit. I was eighteen and freshly graduated from high school. My fondest memory was of the long road trip I took to Savannah. I could tell the entire story as if it were a book. I’ll never forget waking up everyday somewhere new and being in the company of strangers; strangers with advice. I used to believe that every stranger who has a conversation with you was no coincidence but rather a bearer of an important message. Sometimes it would be easy to read but others I would have to pry into and find the meaning of our chance encounter. I have a small list of random advice from strangers whose names I cannot remember:

-Laugh loud and often

-Go barefoot in the spring

-You can run forever and never go anywhere

-Home is where the heart is.. right inside of you

If this advice has buried itself inside of my cells it would be a shame for it to have destroyed itself. Perhaps with the regeneration of new cells comes new advice and new experience. It’s a strange world I’ve fallen into. I’ve given much thought to whether or not I’m in my natural element out here. I’m a city boy. I’m proud of where I come from and I speak of Detroit with a big smile. That city has spawned some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met and I miss the hell out of them. Their memories are entangled in my fibers and I take them everywhere I go.. and I’m going far. This is just the beginning.

I got super depressed the other night. It was uncalled for and I shouldn’t have let it get the best of me but the impending absence of someone very dear to me left me in shambles. I walked the long way home and found myself making pathetic looking faces at those who I passed by. This brought me a bridge very close to the Peace Corps office. I paused at the sound of a guitar being played from below and decided it would be in my best interest to follow the music to its source. Below the bridge I found perhaps seven Samoan guys singing songs and drinking themselves merry. They invited me over and before I could utter a word they put the guitar in my hands and told me to play. Rivers of Babylon floated out of me without giving much thought and nobody sat in silence. They knew every word and their enthusiasm made me happy. They gave me beer and advice of their own. It started to rain. They took shelter under the bridge but I slipped out without saying goodbye. I wore the smile they gave me for the rest of the night.

Deep breath.. I used to think I was going a little nuts out here. I don’t believe this anymore. Something started changing inside of me the moment I arrived to Los Angeles last year. I have to be an advocate for a second and recommend Peace Corps or something of the like to everyone. It really is the most adventurous thing I’ve ever done and uprooting your life causes you to regenerate like a cell and the experience brings your true self to the surface. People can say what they will about how things go down out here but I love it. I don’t think I’m going nuts – I think the peeling away of different layers has made me uneasy at times but I’ve grown to like it. I smile and stare at the space between my hands and today I feel like an empty canvas onto which I can paint anything I like.

Kait.. If I’m that passing stranger with esoteric advice and bits of information from my travels let it be that I wish upon you also the happiness of living like an empty canvas. That gem in your eyes is bound to see faraway lands and otherworldly fantasticness. I’d tell you to be bold but you took the words right out of my mouth.