I made it (with cankles)
I made it through the proverbial winter... The years and months since my separation and ultimately divorce from the man I solemnly swore to spend my eternity with.
I made it through the wedding, the post-party come down, a move to London, a deportation trial, a return to California, a yoga teacher training, yet another upheaval and complete refurbishment of my existence on earth, a festival in the desert that changed my perception of life drastically, the break up, the year I got lost in Venice and forgot how to feel reality, a move to Indonesia, another alteration, countless adventures around Asia, 10 days of silent reflection, meditation, and study of the science of the mind that is Buddhism, and finally the month of bliss and love in rhishikesh, India that I just tore myself away from yesterday to find myself here, today... On a central London bound train, bundled in an Indian yaks wool blanket, rocking an orange bindi on my third eye and a spirit that this grey, bleak, London energy can try but will never be able to crush.
I look around from my backwards facing window seat and reflect on it all... Groundation - a reggae band I have recently fallen in love with- is playing through my iPod speakers as I gaze out the smudged wet and foggy overground train window... Remembering being one of these Peacoat and leather boot wearing London girls reading with handbag on lap and lips pursed together in a "don't fuck with me" kind of way.
The working class 18 year old mums yelling at their daughters for getting their winter coats dirty. "mind your gloves Milly! You're gonna be freezing you are. There's a bit of a gap so you hold my hand. No running. You're gettin your coat filthy."
An endless tirade of demands and orders from a mummy with pink highlights in her a-symmetrical hairdo poking out from under a beanie.
It feels like a million years since I lived here but it's all so familiar I almost feel like I could say I was home... This could be my final stop for the year.
I arrived at Heathrow last night around 8pm. (very delayed).. After a 9 hour flight that I mostly rested through, listening to reggae and watching a Harry potter film as my ankles swelled and swelled to finally end up as massive cankles. (no difference between the calf and the ankle)... I think it's hilarious.
The fasten seatbelt light flicked on. Our empty biryani trays were collected along with our headphones. We began our descent.
The captain came on over the speakers to do the general thank you for traveling virgin Atlantic and to tell us that the temperature was 2degrees in London.
We all flinched and groaned.
I bundled tight and scuffled off the plane into immigration. I've been in this exact immigration office about 25 times according to my passport.
The customs officer asked why I was coming to London this time.
"to get closure with my ex-husband's family post divorce and to catch up with the city I used to have an intimate relationship with."
He rolled his eyes and stamped my passport as his seemingly audible inner dialogue groaned and mumbled "pshh. Hippie."
I giggled, collected my passport and told him I loved him and proceeded to the baggage reclaim that took a solid hour. The belt circled around and around with no bags on it. We got word that the doors to the plane were frozen shut so they couldn't get our bags out... I felt the city dweller vibe of my fellow travelers getting progressively more and more irritated and agitated.
Cell phones came out and exasperated voices winged and complained - apologizing to loved ones in the next corridor waiting us Delhi folk to emerge.
I knew Lucy was waiting for me and felt a pang of guilt and considered borrowing a phone to call her and apologize and get caught in the frustration but stopped myself and thought no...
We have all just come from India where nothing happens like you want it to... Everything is chaotic and frustrating and we just accept it and shrug our shoulders.. Ah well... It's India.
What made it different now that we were standing on UK soil!?
We had literally stepped off Indian soil- cankled up on a plane and then here we were- as though totally transformed- sucked back into Now! Now! Now! Energy... Making "tsk" noises and tapping our toes furiously.
Even today walking through the station to board this train I did my power woman power walk, shoving my bag back on my hip so I can navigate the crowds of people and zig zag through to find my platform not unlike the way the rikshaw drivers swerve through the Delhi traffic without braking.
I have no brakes when I speedwalk through the London underground stations. Ruthless, brisk and super intention- destination set.
I think I forgot that I knew how to move this quickly.
Living on the island, meandering through the jungle... Nothing is urgent.
India and Thailand are not far off... Letting the wind lift and carry me, there's been no call for brisk movement- no need to march quickly or efficiently.
Everything is go! Go! GO! In London... Maybe that energy was permeating the cool air that swirled above us at the baggage reclaim last night... Like a perfume that permeates a room- the London gogonownow vibe permeated our psyches as soon as we touched down.
My train came into Paddington and I marched to the bakerloo line- boarding a tube train to Oxford Circus where I switched to the central line for Tottenham court Road.
I felt a nostalgia wash over me.
I used to live on the red line. These chairs.. I probably sat right here in this exact seat before. (though I used to like to walk to Oxford Street from our Notting Hill flat)...
Walking is not an option today as I have hypothermia when I so much as step outside (I am NOT adjusted!) and because the blisters on my feet After the gnarly trek to the temple I did with Joey and the tribe a few days ago in the Indian forest- are still raw on my heels.
Plus my cankles are still pretty epic - like I have a layer of playdough around my ankle bones under the skin.
Groundation reggae awesomeness only came out of my ears once on this train adventure so far today- when I passed a busking man in the Paddington station sporting a top hat with feathers strumming flamenco sounding music on his guitar. I shimmied, spun around and blew him a kiss.
He started cracking up as I kept walking to the next platform...
I was on my way to meet Mario & Michelle - my friends from Indonesia who happen to be in London after their adventure in Nepal and Tibet.
I haven't seen them since I stayed at their resort - Surfing Village up in the Telos Islands - a few hundred nautical miles north of me in the islands.
I can't wait to see some of my people! The slow flowing gypsy mermaid people- also most likely freezing and looking around for some semblance of peace and chill vibes!
Later - a glass of white wine floating in my belly warming my cheeks - I am back on the bakerloo line heading back to Lucy's house after an awesome 4 or 5 hours with my friends.
Michelle is Australian and Mario is Brazilian. We are so similar and love each-other whenever we hang out. They have just been in Nepal and Tibet while I was in India and now we meet in London. We walk such parallel paths and I generally feel so connected to them. They get me and my gypsy ways. Their resort is so comfortable and inviting to everyone. I felt so comfortable there when I went on an adventure with Shayne, Pix and Jessica last August. They were wrapped in that same mellow, positive light when I met them today.
I can't wait to go back up to their resort next season when I'm out in the islands. We talked a lot about it as we wandered this amazing city with Mario's sister and her English boyfriend.
We all met at Tottenham Court Road and I lead us in a little walk through London as we swapped stories and made notes about the difference in atmosphere and how trippy it was to be in a first world country.
We all felt like such poor people as we walked down the closed off pedestrianized wet London streets all Christmas spirited out in the kitschiest way... Down Oxford Street, through Picadilli Circus, down through St James Park- over to Big Ben and Houses of parliament and over the bridge to the London Eye - where we noted outloud how much we'd love to find a nice hole in the wall pub.
Moments later we stumbled upon a pub called "Hole In The Wall"
We climbed inside and warmed our freezing fingers... Everything about London makes my cheeks red. The in and out from frosty cold cobblestone to raging hot heated stores and pubs serving cheek warming wine... The sweet accent of complimentary London men in suits- the unassuming, but totally inviting pick-up lines from the equally rosy cheeked guys makes me blush. But luckily I can mask it as a reaction to the temperature.
I ate apples any time I could all day long. Oh how I've missed apples. I remember on my flight out to Indonesia early this year, I only ate apples the entire 22 hour plane journey. I haven't really had a good one since.
An apple in London costs the same as a nights accommodation in Rhishikesh- a big double room with a private bathroom and hot shower.
That's how much an apple is here.
It blows my mind that I used to live this life- earn pounds... Spend pounds... Live this go go go life and drop 100 rupees on an apple like it was no big deal.
Michelle and I gasped when we spent 100,000 rupiah on 2 drinks.
It's all how you look at it, really.
I remember when Jamie and I were living here in London and I was itching to travel... Dying to go to India. Aching to experience Asia and the southern hemisphere.
Jamie would say "ya... But you have you entire life to travel zani! Why go right now!!? You can always travel later."
I could never see it his way no matter how hard I tried... And finally, while standing at the foot of my 25 year old girlfriend's deathbed at UCLA hospital - it all became abundantly clear to me.
I can't wait because there's no guarantee there will BE a later...
Today could be my last day on earth. So I have to make it count and do everything I want to do... Today.
As Michelle and I walked (me hobbling on my cankles), ignoring the blisters and hypothermic hands... We found ourselves strolling through Saint James park with empty pockets... joking (but half seriously) looking for a soup kitchen that feeds homeless people, I realized that I am living.
I am so poor. Totally in debt. And never happier.
I don't know how long i have - but i know that if i have my entire life to do anything- I'd rather have my entire life to pay off the debt for my yesterday when I lived fully, joyously, and blissfully... Carefree and open hearted. Then waiting my entire life to live.
This is the way I made it here today. Charging it. (financially and metaphorically)
Bravely stepping one cankled foot in front of the next.