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  • Kimberly Hula 7:10 pm on September 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: japan; tokyo; ramen; salary men; getting lost; getting found   

    This is a place where I don’t feel alone, this is a place where I feel at home 

    japan_tokyo_shimbashi-station_food-stalls_43725 a.m. I found myself unable to sleep in a business hotel of the Minami-Ku district of Toyko, so I thought to walk.

    Of course referring to it this way is misleading. The set up: the suggestion that I travel professionally, and could call out districts in Tokyo by name is absurd. I rely wholely on my husband, who just yesterday answered a friend’s question by calling on our hotel by name and location. He said this in Japanese, and then translated for me, because he is a Japanese man.

    But that doesn’t make this locale any more unknown, and I’m pretty proud of myself for waking too early and taking to the streets. In jeans and an unadorned face I left a silent lobby – taking pains (and because I was hungry, pangs!) to follow the path of my husband from when we first arrived. I took escalators down into the subways underbelly, using as lifelines the still closed shops I saw the day prior. Shops as small as a bathroom – shops with logos in minimalist paisley fonts, and absolute French names, “Le Petite Monseur”, “Rue d’ Arc”, that sat sandwiched between ticket vending machines and early to open- late to close ramen shops. They’d look like an afterthought if not for the slight slice of light breaking through the closed curtain fitted against the door frame. To look in was a show in itself, a key hole diharama of perfectly placed pencil holders and lace outfitted hand bags. The pretty positioning of merchandise – the unabashed need to be seen as something so French – had all the hallmarks of forethought. Somehow this shop, in many different iterations – of different names and with varying doorways – seemed to be everywhere.

    You can get lost in this dawnbreak window shopping. And I did, so much so that when I turned around the subway grew. What was two men in short sleeve white oxford shirts, racing escalators when I first left had grown into a militia of salary men and women! The steady stream of determined faces blanked past me at dizzying speed. With few exceptions I saw man after man after woman, stony faced, moving mechanically toward some turnstile – some running, others progressing rank-in-file. Because I’d returned to trace my steps I was one of very few walking opposite this mass. (More …)

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    • eatveggiesdrinkwine 1:40 pm on September 2, 2013 Permalink

      So happy to read of your adventures again, Kimberly! You’re my hero for taking to the streets instead of staying in bed … very impressive. Can’t wait to read more.

    • Anonymous 6:12 pm on September 8, 2013 Permalink

      Sooo…did you make it back!? Kudos to you for venturing out of your comfort zone!! Don’t be so hard on yourself 😉

    • Kimberly Hula 3:29 am on September 11, 2013 Permalink

      I sure did! Thanks for the kind words. I have SO much more to report soon!

    • Chaas 10:50 pm on August 27, 2014 Permalink

      It’s always a relief when someone with obvious expeitrse answers. Thanks!

  • Kimberly Hula 9:24 am on August 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: jelly beans, life worth living, what to do with the time we have, wisdom comes suddenly   

    I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live 

    Because I’m wild for literary quotes this fits:

    “I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
    ―     Anaïs Nin

    And also, this video.

    The Days of Our Lives

    Silly, perhaps for inspiration to come by way of Jelly Bean(s), but if life has taught me anything it’s that wisdom comes suddenly.  And to always be alert.

    Enjoy!

     
  • Kimberly Hula 9:49 pm on August 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    What you give to the world is what… 

    What you give to the world is what it keeps of you.

    -Noah and the Whale

     
  • Kimberly Hula 9:38 pm on August 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , first time, return to adventure, sailing   

    Red Sky At Morning 

    Except, it was a breezeless day.  “Light” was how the MIT sailing pavilion volunteers referred to it.  They and Brad all but assured me that the boat would do little more than slightly turn.

    Considering the list sequence of activities accomplished in 2010 it’s surprising that I’d approach sailing with such resistance.  But resist I did, from as early as 8 a.m., when I picked up Brad and found myself in a foul mood – primed for drivers seat expletives and Starbucks bemoanings.

    I said that it was a bad morning and that I was irritable but someone Brad was able to coax the true concern out of me.  I was scared of sailing.

    But how?  Why?  Sailing seems so simple – so run with the wind free that it hardly bears fear.  But that same reticence that accompanied sky diving, trapeze swinging, horseback riding, crept in.  I was worried I would capsize.  Or, worse yet, that I might fail to understand the fundamentals of boat manuevering and make a fool of myself – sitting static in water with a boon of proper sailors with bull horns announcing my defeat.

    Brad said that this was crazy.  That is was a freakishly light day and that capsizing was all but impossible, given the weather conditions.  He calmed me some.

    We started the class with little instruction and were asked to set up our boat.  Thankfully Brad’s a skilled sailor and he talked me through the stunsail knot – the bow line set up – the rigging and checking.  With his expertise I felt like a real deal.  I stood cooly by my boat imploring the class instructor to let me take the wind.  I thought it could really be as simple as moving forward.

    Not so fast, as we were subject to some warnings and ‘safety’ instructions.  We were then led outside, subject to a minimalist demo and told to queue up to sail.

    At this point I thought (to myself) ‘ I have no idea what I’m doing but I’ll try ‘ .  Then some anxious volunteer with no capacity to explain himself asked me to demonstrate tacking.

    Kim_sailI tried.  He got irritated and corrected me.  His corrections were nothing but a jumble and I tried again.  His irritation doubled and he spouted some quick, incoherent directives that I couldn’t understand.  I tried again only to meet the same fate.  Just as he was about to go down the same rabbit hole I gave up and switched seats with Brad.  I said I wouldn’t skipper – that I felt stupid.  Brad, trying to make the best of the situation took the helm (?) and we pushed off to sea.

    Well to the Charles River.  Brad demonstrated turns and manuevers.  It was fun having him in control.  We sailed like we’d been doing it all our lives and I really felt one with the water.  When we again docked it was my turn to skipper the vessel.  I felt good about this go.  I took the tiller and steered us in the direction of a bright orange buoy.  I turned and switched seats as instructed, but no sooner than I did that did the wind carry and the boat feel like it would soon capsize.  The rush of wind – the power of a hand polished vessel fighting resistance – took hold and I panicked.  I dropped the tiller.  I dropped the sail.  I started to scream, “Brad fix it!  I can’t do this!” only to have Brad completely assume control.

    This is embarrassing – to type and to relive.  We were in no imminent danger.  The worst thing that could come of that situation would have been us veering off course, but it felt like a personal failure.  I sucked at sailing, and because of this, I had NO INTEREST in follow up laps.

    We were given opportunity to skipper again and again but each time I declined.  And with each decline some volunteer, or the instructor, or the instructor’s assistant would ask why.  The incoherent man mentioned earlier bothered me further but asking me to again assess my failures.  It seemed so simple!  Everyone seemed to be getting it!  I can not say what was wrong with me except that all the attention and all the misadventures left me little choice but to cry.

    It was a sunny day and I wore sunglasses so few knew, but still the association stung.  I felt like I’d ruined sailing.  Everything that seemed so free and wild and exciting about it was now permanently imprinted in my mind as a chaotic springboard to crying.  I was relieved when we were called in for further class work.

    Class made me more anxious.  The instructor, trying to explain the mechanics of sailing, only succeeded in demonstrating all that could go wrong.  We could capsize.  We could hit our head on the boon.  All the arrows and angles he drew on the board meant nothing to me, less a promise of my inability to comprehend.  I could only focus on my failure.  I knew I didn’t want to take the boat out again. (More …)

     
  • Kimberly Hula 2:47 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: accomplishments, , bucket list,   

    Autumn blew the quilt right off the perfect bed she made 

    “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” (From an introductory speech at a session of the Académie Française, December 24, 1896)” ― Anatole France, Works of Anatole France

    Time has past but this site is just as welcoming as when I left it last. In all honesty, it’s hard to come back here. To be reminded of the risks and recklessness that permanently imprint all of 2010 in my memory. Because I want that again. I want to feel alive and adventure-full and interesting and capable. I want to run screaming from my desk job and pick up an axe and work as a lumberjack. Or swim with the dolphins in some exotic locale. I never did milk that spider or join in on a wine crush. So it’s painful, being reminded of what was – seeing that 2010 was too many years ago and that the momentum died.

    Well it’s all great and good to get nostalgic, but I’m going to spare you further complaints. This stems – the site visit, the thinking, the brooding – from a deep seeded restlessness. My husband has been away on business in a foreign locale. He’s waist high in work but I can’t help but envy the adventure potential. He’s living abroad! He can try new foods and see the world from new angles! And even while he’s pulling all nighters and begging, imploring really, to come home, I want only to join him and soak up some other sun. That helps with sleeping – dreaming of another life, thinking of all that could be if I would just get up and be it – but in the end I’m awake more than I am asleep and if I want to make beautiful my everyday I should do just that.

    First, the list. I’ve done this before and I’ve no shame in constantly amending and revising and striking through all the things I’d one day like to do. I don’t think bucket lists are for the birds. Or, if they are, I think they are for the colourful quirky toucans, or the high soaring hawks. They are for the birds that make a mark in the animal kingdom and I’d love nothing more than to have their wingspan. So I put together a bucket list – initially of things I once wanted – a carbon copy of lists of old. This got tedious because I kept striking through so much of the list sequence. I’d see that I wanted to trapeze swing, only to cross it off the list because I’d been there, done that. Well that gave me pause. And pride. I’d done so much! For the life that I was leading in comparison to the life I now live I’ve collected experiences and anecdotes and smiles and sobs at an inordinate pace.

    So I owe it to my collective past, to the friends and blog community who cheered me on to not only list what can be, but what was. As intimated by my favourite movie in my favourite way, ” the book says we may be through with the past, but the past ain’t through with us” and how fortunate for me! If the past is indicative of what the future holds, I best insure myself, because it promises to be a wild ride. (More …)

     
    • Jody 8:49 pm on August 2, 2013 Permalink

      Thank-you for this update. You’ve inspired me too. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the dailyness of life. We can have adventures by making them a priority and making it happen! Thanks!

  • Kimberly Hula 11:55 am on June 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , family therapy, graduate education, langston hughes   

    Ante Up Academia 

    Recently I’ve exchanged emails with a faraway friend who had a dream – a big one.  She readied herself; prepped and did diligence to see it to reality.  She steeled herself against potential rejection and devised plans of action and at the moment of – the I-put-all-on-bets-on-this-horse wrist-clencher of a moment – she got what she wanted.

    You were expecting bad news, weren’t you?

    So she celebrated and grew anxious for new adventures to come, but, on account of many of lifes obstacles, she had to hold off.  It was a tough decision (grueling, really) but it was a decision that needed to be made.

    Why am I re-hashing sad stories, you ask?  Well, I’m not.  The upside to this is that our heroine has opportunity to chase her dream again, just after sometime.  While it’s never ideal to put your dreams in forebearance, it’s also not an open-and-shut case.  They are there for the pursuing, lest you not forget about them.

    This got me to thinking of dreams I’ve long deferred.  Namely THE dream I’ve let slide, on account of many things: fear, other budding dreams, convenience, terror.  Because I’d sooner explain the day away in prose, here’s a good summation:

    What happens to a dream deferred? (More …)

     
  • Kimberly Hula 11:28 am on June 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: instagram, photoadaymay, ,   

    Take a Shot at It 

     “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
    Henri Cartier-Bresson

     

    Day 12: Something that makes you happy (Conglomerative Craning)

    By now most anyone that knows me understands that if given the option I’d rather write it out.  Meaning, I’ll defer to text over talk; email over skype; personal readings over public readings.  I’m a slave to my own introversion and while it’s something I’m working on (see: year of adventures makes me uncomfortable), it’s also something I’ve come to recognize in myself.

    All told, this has served me well.  I’ve convinced myself that I like writing and then I write.  I pretty much shun all the other lovely art forms out there because, well, they are intimidating and beyond my realm of comprehension and ability.  Would if I could write and illustrate and pontificate and prepare as others can, but I can’t.  I dead-end with the pen and that’s that.

    Well, maybe not.  This week (month) had me follow

    Day 28: The weather today (Sunny, says Hiro)

    ing the lead of a dear old friend, Ms. Myndi.  Now a new mother, mama Myndi has the Midas touch for making anything (and I mean anything) into a beautiful something.  Of late I’ve been a fan of her photography.  Even more, I noticed that she took part in a ‘photo-a-day campaign’ via Instagram.  This charge had her produce a photograph a day, in accordance with whatever the list decreed.  The results were lovely, often unexpected and always so Myndi.  So I thought to live life through the eyes of the photog and give this game a go. 

    It’s not nearly as easy as it seems.  First off, composition is everything.  That said, composition really is everything.  There is SO MUCH to photograph.  There are infinite stores of color and light and people and places in this world.  There is so much matter that might perfectly depict, “A word I love” (Day 10) or, simply, “fun” (Day 4).  How does Myndi do this?  How does anyone do this?  I thought to find out. (More …)

     
  • Kimberly Hula 10:25 am on June 19, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Promising Pals, volunteer,   

    The “Write” Stuff 

    “With writing, we get second chances” – Jonathan Safran Foer

    Kids say the darndest things, don’t they?  You might think, and they are quite darn, but kids also have an amazing propensity to say all the things we adult sometimes keep ourselves from saying.  They are compact truth seekers – perpetual ‘why’ yowlers, who keep us on our toes and remind us of the people we once were (which in turn, speaks to who we’ve become).  So while they may not speak in polysyllabics, the ‘stuff’ of their speech should be heeded.  And heed I will.

    I volunteered at a local Boston Public School, The Timility, in a campaign called, “Promising Pals”.  The premise is simple: volunteers (typically professional graduate students and adults in the community) will pair up with an assigned student and exchange letters throughout the year.  At the end of the academic year the volunteers will convene for a school assembly and breakfast with their long-time ‘pal’. 

    Me & Mr. Musse hamming it up

    It’s such a sweet concept.  The assembly: sweeter (but more on that shortly).

    You can request a student, but I had no gender or age preference and rolled the dice.  Lucky roll as I received a letter crafted in fine penmanship from Mr. Musse.  He was a seventh grade student with a love – a FERVENT LOVE – of math.  What luck!  A studious student!  Someone who would appreciate the intent and philosophical push of this campaign.  He employed good grammar!  He showed ambition in education!  Everything was as I’d otherwise request, with one some caveat.

    Mr. Musse hated writing.

    This is a great blow to a writer.  (More …)

     
  • Kimberly Hula 11:47 am on May 12, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: basil, cilantro, gardening, grandmother, herbs, oregano   

    It’s Not Easy Being Green 

    This year has already wrought so many changes, and I’m only in the early stages of 2012 adventure!  We’ve moved, starting squirreling (nay, elephanting) away money for our impending wedding, returned to school, and more!  It’s been chaotic, but thankfully we can retreat to a place with simple serenity; our cute little barn house on Walnut Terrace.

    We are mere renters but Hiro and I attend to our space like new homeowners.  Never have we had the luxury of space, of grass, of shed and neighbors all to ourselves!  Perhaps in preparation of one day being real-time home owners and because the worst of the winter gracefully passed, I dedicated my next adventure to gardening.

    Let me tell you, it’s not easy being green.  My grandparents were ardent groundskeepers.  Their lawn was the envy of the surrounding Chicago neighborhood and they maintained a vegetable patch that rivaled anything you’d see in Better Homes & Gardens.  It’s one of my greatest regrets, not learning the delicious art of it all.  Now that they’ve passed there is no one left to try to maintain their legacy.  What remains of my family, in way of botany, is suburban lawns and some perennial flowers near front doors.  It seems a shame, to let all that our patriarchs built dry up, so here’s my attempt to water the seeds of newfound family tradition.

    I have to start simply.  In part because I began this at the tail-end of the winter frost, but mostly because I have NO IDEA what I’m doing.  I’ve begged the internet for advice only to find that my remedial starting point is so far below what most gardeners consider beginner that reading alone won’t suffice.  I needed to start small and understand the basics, so I’ve begun with herbs. (More …)

     
  • Kimberly Hula 11:07 am on May 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: assimilation, biking, cycling, san diego, tour   

    The Sum of SoCal 

    I have nothing against assimilation.  I think being in Rome is as good a time as any to try your best Roman, and this is an attitude I’ve adopted to travel.  It’s easy for me as I like to please people and worry that I’ll make a right fool of myself but try as I might, the best laid plans go all kinds of awry.

    So it was in Japan when I tried serving Green Tea only to splinter the bamboo stirrer in everyone’s cup; or my embarrassing inability to NOT use the words “lovely”, “bullocks” and “right-o” when speaking to anyone with a British accent.  I make attempts, and my trip to sunny San Diego is no exception.

    What is inherent to Californians?  Those clever celebrity-dense ad campaigns would suggest sun and able-bodied fun.  I grew up in the land-locked US.  My family didn’t jet-ski or engage in bouts of sand volleyball.  We were efficient travelers.  We used up all our time riding every ride imaginable in Disney World.  The idea of sun-soaked leisure is new to me.

    (More …)

     
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