October 11, 2010

There’s been a lot of talk among my friends here (and at home in the U.S.) about finding our “niche.” I am turning 30 in January, so this is becoming increasingly important. I don’t want to cycle through the same patterns year after year. Even if my life is not typical, and I don’t follow the same routines as someone else, there are still only so many things one can do to refresh. There are only so many gigs, shows, fashion moves, creative experiences, foods to try, etc. before again that nagging sense of “what else is there?” surfaces.

The temptation every year of my life is to not be impressed by anything and to not notice that amazing things are happening all the time. I am also tempted to continually wish for the next big moment and forget that actually most of my life will be spent in the small.┬áThe last few weeks have brought circumstances, not entirely big or small, but with that Goldilocks feeling of “just right” that have pointed to a sense of purpose. These good experiences are not random. To me, they let me know I am just where I need to be and point, almost more than anything else I’m experiencing personally now to existence of an intricate Creator.

Reasons I Love Where I Am:

1. Walking. I see people on the street I know because they walk, too. This happened for the first time about 3 weeks ago. Within the same day, I saw the woman who helped me fix my jeans and a lady in the English Course I’m teaching (same day, separate walks). I thought, “They look familiar, but it can’t be.” I’m still hallucinating friends from the States, so I sometimes doubt that I actually know anyone here.

2. Living in Community. Today, at the new Tesco (grocery store) about a seven minute walk from my flat, I saw two of the girls who attend afternoon church. Keep in mind I’ve only been to afternoon church 3 times. I heard my name while I was in the checkout line (the lady ringing up my groceries was excited I was from the States, so I was engrossed in conversation with her), and there are these two precious teenage girls trying to get my attention. THEY REMEMBERED MY NAME. This is incredible. One of the girls has ignored me the last 3 meetings. When I ask her name, she actually walks away and puts her head down, intentionally ignoring me. While it was her friend with her saying my name, I swear she smiled at me today.

3. Art. I’ve been trying to progress in my art without guidance. I haven’t taken an art class since secondary school, and here I am, taking a course called How to Make Images by a brilliant Scottish instructor. His heart is really to help us develop our abilities, teach us a process, and help us go further with our own work and style. Painting, much like writing, has a voice, and I’m going to find mine. I’m bringing photos of my paintings to show my instructor tomorrow. All week long, as I’ve been going to art events, I’ve been thinking in these terms, and it’s helping me be more intentional about looking at why I like what I like.

I also acquired an art studio! This was a complete miracle given that it’s shared with someone I like and whose work I admire (I met her at a collage party she organised at Out of the Blue). I not only feel comfortable creating around her, but I also believe that she will inspire me. It’s much cheaper than anything I know of in the States, and contrary to European space standards, it’s actually large enough for two people. We get to move in together November 1st, paint the walls, do what we like with the space. All a 20-minute walk from my flat.

Cheers, Edinburgh.