A Real-Time update and an open love letter to my Friends

And now, I’d like to take a tiny break from the painstaking chronicling of my Spanish assignation to offer some proof of life present. My Dear blogosphere: Hi! I live.

Edit: (I just spent about 1.5 hours writing a lengthy review of Beirut–one of my favorite bands ever’s–new EP, March of The Zapotec/Realpeople Holland–originially intended to be posted here. As my friend who runs an online music/arts/culture magazine called The Retrospective has since snapped up this material and will be posting it probably on Wednesday (the album’s official release date), slapping it up here is verboten. I will, however, link it all on up when it’s live and kosher! Woot woot!)

So anyhow–all is well. I have beautiful new music to enjoy. My Spanish haircut is growing out rather nicely. I have a sweet new office at work (pictures forthcoming) and I should know more within the next month about the future towards which I’ve been crawling for what seems like eons. Even without knowing others’ decisions, I think I’ve made my own. I find this both thrilling and terrifying.  Here is the conclusion to which I’ve recently come, with which I am settled and set and deeply pleased: I know who I am, and I would much rather be interesting than impressive. I need no piece of paper to tell me I am a worthwhile human being. I needn’t toil away for the better part of my young life in a library and gain the approval of some highly intellectual don to feel like I am worth the air I breathe. I am whole, I am powerful, I am realized and, frankly, I’m pretty badass and blessed as it is. For this reason I’m not afraid of making a choice that may prove somewhat shocking. Let’s just see what the best option is when they all roll in.

In other news, I think that I worked my abs so hard last night that I’ve rendered myself ill. My visit with Katie the weekend before last rekindled not only my faith in unconditional love and the generosity of the human spirit, but my deep, dark, frightening adoration of the gym and for working my bod to the bone. It was opportune timing to recommence keeping a workout journal and to find the photos from just before I left for Córdoba in 2005. I was about fifteen pounds slimmer than I am now–not to mention better muscled and more cardiovascularly fit–and I think at my sexiest. Armed with inspirational photos, a series of truly ill playlists, and genuine want to, I’ve been hitting NYSC with a renewed vigor. I’m starting to see the outlines of muscles once more. I am exhilarated. Stay tuned for updates!

The weeks that have rolled by since my homecoming from Spain have been full of people I love and lots of fun. First, there was the weekend in New Haven with my dear, dear Charles. We pined for Madrid, talked about The Future, drank Taro boba tea (or what they told us was Taro Boba tea, but was really Thai Iced tea with tapioca pearls) and generally loved on one another. Later, Charles and I played Scrabble with Anthony and Lourdes, and I spent the evening with a warm kitty named Ayeka chirping and snuggling in my lap. That night I slept on an air mattress at Anthony and Lourdes‘s in preparation for the next day’s event–Gabriel, my favorite baby’s, 1st birthday party. A classy fete held at Ahimsa in New HayHay, the party was every bit as well orchestrated as the one I attended in Spain–and with far healthier fare that I didn’t even have to cook! Anthony and Lourdes are such amazing parents, and Gabriel? Gabriel is perhaps the cutest baby that ever lived.

The next big event came two weekends later in the form of a much-anticipated visit with Katie in NYC. This, I have to say, was one of the most fulfilling, healing experiences I’ve had, possibly ever. The emotional/psychic recon work begun by Spain and the healing powers of a good hearted, lovely-eyed man and my Fulbright friends was finished over three days in Harlem with Katie, one of my closest friends from Trinity. I had not seen Katie since July of 2007, shortly before I boarded a plane to Madrid and my life shifted forever. Last Friday night at 7:50 found us talking on the phone, both lost as usual, trying to figure out how we were going to find one another in the huge station.  I was coming up the escalator in Port Authority, getting my bearings in preparation to go on a wild goose hunt for her across the city when I saw her standing there, miraculously both of us in the right place at the right time. Despite being laden with a heavy backpack and wrapped in layers of scarf, jacket and hat, I shoved by a businessman in a trench and ran the last few stairs, juggernauting into the arms of the only woman I have ever snuggled with and felt totally cool about it. We screamed. We hugged. We danced around in public, screeching. We elicited a lot of bemused gazes. I don’t remember the last time I was so happy to see someone. We held hands, swinging arms and chattering in a language I’m not entirely convinced was English all the way to the subway platform.  We boarded a train, marveling at one another’s existence, high health, and fine looks like the mutual biggest fans we are, and headed out to dinner in The Village at a lovely little Spanish restaurant called La Oliva. We stayed up far too late that night, talking about boys and whispering under the covers. It was like being 13 again. It was oh so good.

Over the next 36 hours we cooked, indulged in some sick partner workouts at two different NYSCs (hey–we’re rowers–it’s what we DO together), recounted the old days and filled one another in on the newer ones. Over the past few months Katie, like I, had been on a Fulbright, except hers took her to Argentina, from whence she just arrived home in January. Her time there changed something in her, moving her thoroughly from the realm of girl to woman. She was always an impressive force, but now, she is a certain, sexy, calm and composed woman who leaves me happily in awe. I had never imagined that I could be more pleased with this new iteration of my friend than I was with the old one, and yet she continues to grow and surprise me in ways that make me appreciate her only more. Some friends we fit with from the beginning and grow into ever more as the years go by. I am happy to find that Katie is one such friend. And here: don’t we look happy?

Katie (left) and me

Katie (left) and me

Seeing this girl, soaking in her glory, witnessing her growth, and lavishing in her deep, genuine goodness did something to me that made me cry–happily–on the bus ride home from New York. Katie’s flamelike warmth and generosity, her fierce and earnest goodness and lovingness–for me and for all of those for whom she cares–reminded me of who and how I was before my heart got hurt, before I closed off and shuttered myself away some out of fear and protection.  Being with her reminded me of who I actually am and the love with which I want to treat all of those around me. For all of the poisonous girls whom I’ve called friends in the past, Katie makes up tenfold. This girl is a blessing to my existence and to all of those that she touches, and the closest thing to a sister I have ever had. I am so, so lucky. I am so, so proud of her and to be her friend. I wil so, so be going back to New York City next month to eat, to talk, to run in Central Park and do push up after push up with my favorite Amazon pair. My soul has been realigned, and I have the goodness of my friends to thank for it.

The other day I reported all of this to my long lost childhood friend (whom I’ve still not seen in 12 years, but am now in touch with frequently via Facebook) Brenden. Today I arrived home from work to find this in my inbox, entirely without prompting:

Hi Caitlin!!

It was so much fun to chat with you yesterday.  I love to hear you with this new voice, so much to say, so excited.

I am very happy that you were able to visit your friend in New York and remember how you use to be.  It is awesome that
friends can bring out something in us that sometimes gets covered up or we forget. We can be so inspired from seeing how creative energy bounces between two people and feeling how quickly we can grow from this.

Hang on to all your inspiration, and walk 20 inches above the ground (as Jeejung told me the otherday 😉

Lots of love, b.

He has not seen me in ten years, but somehow remains interested in my life? His goodness, too, is simply amazing.

And then there is Bethany–my kindred sister for whose existence I can’t explain or account. We are linked by blogs and by her tireless stalking of mine last year in Madrid! Ha. We are now linked by mutual like and my recognition of her sheer awesomeness. Will we ever meet? I think so. We have plans to escape some time in the future for long, European girls’ holidays while our husbands take care of her child-god, Ezra, and my doe-eyed, tousle-headed Spanish children who do not yet exist, but someday shall.

How did I become surrounded by such love and such good? I feel, tonight, like I am too sodden, too saturated with luck and love to not leak in such a maudlin fashion out onto every last sticky fiber of the internetz.

And now, I must go to sleep. It’s rather late and I’m incredibly tired. Tomorrow I have a date with an erg and the treadmill. I’ll write more soon–both of general thoughts open to all and what shall be, perhaps, the final or second-to-final installment of the start of my healing process, the portion kicked off in Spain. (;

I am so lucky. Universe, Internet, whatever the superior power is: thank you for putting in my path the beautiful, wonderful people who’ve become my friends. I could not ask for anything more precious or more fulfilling. I bow my head in humility and marvel at how I deserve to be so blessed. Thank you. A million times thank you.

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2 thoughts on “A Real-Time update and an open love letter to my Friends

  1. Oh, sister. I love watching our children run up and over the grassy hills of (whom,whom), calling to them above the gentle breeze as the husbands refill champagne flutes. Le sigh.

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