Wednesday, May 04, 2005


alternate title: boy am I wordy
Frog over at Between The Lakes was nice enough to pass on this meme to me. Anyone out there reading who'd like to play, let me know, and I'll send five questions of my own devising out your way (and thenyou get to ask me five questions and oh! this could go on forever...).

1) Tell me about your spiritual journey. I have a feeling there’s a story there.

Good question. I'd never really thought of my spiritual journey in any concrete way (and me! Dante obsessed over here. I know).

I grew up in a religious household. Which is to say that both my parents were religious, and actively occupied their respective faiths. My dad's a Quaker and my mom is Episcopalian, so I grew up attending both services as I liked -- Quaker meeting with dad when I was in the mood for quiet contemplation followed by organic peanutbutter sandwiches, Episcopal services with mom when I was in the mood for South African freedom songs followed by kool aid and raucous games of tag in the parish hall. And like I said, my parents were both very much involved in the life of their churches -- my earliest outside-of-family communities were formed in and around church.

This continued up through high school - I was in youth choir for a long time, and even after I dropped out of that, I regularly attended youth group and religious retreats (that was with the Episcopalians). Then, when I was a senior or junior in high school, I got very much into Quakerism -- in part because I was fairly shy, and in part ecause our old Episcopal church had hired a relatively conservative minister, and we (my mom and I and a fair amount of our friends there) were feeling a bit alienated.

When I went away to college, I stopped attending church regularly, and I have to say I haven't ever really gotten back in the habit. I do, however still consider faith and religious thought to be a big part of my life -- as I mentioned above, I'm fairly obsessed with Dante, and I read other stuff, like Aquinas and the Journals of John Woolman, which keep me on my spriritual toes. And I have a subscription to Soujourners magazine, which my mother says is just as good as church, really.

And when I was picking up my veggie box today, I noticed that there's an Episcopal church just a few blocks form me. So who knows, maybe there's more kool aid and tag in my future (though in SF, I've learned, one does not menation kool aid and religion in the same sentence).

I feel like I'm getting away without doing any sort of real meaty rumination here. But this was a great question to start mulling over - I'm sure more stuff will come out of it. I'm ruminating right now - I swear.

2) What brought you to SF?

This ones a little embarrassing, because so little brought me here, and so much makes living here so wonderful.

A little over two and a half years ago, I was living in Medford, MA with Brian in a perfectly nice apartment and working at a difficult but interesting job. I'd dropped out of Marlboro College about two years previous to that, and while I had a nice apartment and a happy relationship and a job that could be considered carreerish (that is, I wasn't slinging lattes), I still felt like there was something pretty tremendous lacking in my life. And I couldn't see myself going back to school -- there was just some sort of block there.

A week or so before thanksgiving, my old childhood friend Chris came out from California with his new boyfriend. Brian and I put them up for the duration of their stay, and Chris mentioned that should we ever want to move to San Francisco, it would be fun for all of us to live together.

That really planted the seeds. Brian had been fantasizing about California since he was a young and freezing teenager in rural Vermont, and started really talking about San Francisco as a long term plan. My job was getting more and more unpleasant, and I started fantasizing about San Francisco, too. Poor Chris had probably forgotten the whole conversation as soon as he got on the plane back to San Jose. But we started talking with him about it, anyway.

Then, at thanksgiving, my cousin Claire mentioned that she was taking a year off before medical school and moving to New York City. Everything in me that wanted freedom and something new and no more job and no more snow and arrrg! rushed to the surface, and I blurted out, "Yeah? Well, Brian and I are moving to San Francisco."

After that, things pretty much fell together. I gave notice at my job, Brian and I started saving money, and Chris started looking at two bedroom apartments in San Francisco. By March, we were here, in this small-but-cute-and-location! little apartment on Haight St. And in the two years since, I've finished my BA, started on my Masters, and made more 'neighborhoody' friends than I've had since college. Go figure.

3) What was the best thing about your trip to Hong Kong?

Thats a toughie. I went with my old college friend Liza, which was awesome in and of itself, because she and I hadn't laid eyes on one another for more than two years. So, seeing Liza, getting over (mostly) my fear of flying (because when you're in the air that long, you just cope), and getting outside my well-worn grooves. Those were the three best things.

That and looking for a lost turtle on Lamma.

Lost Turtle
Originally uploaded by Nora Sawyer.

Or at least wondering how one might find a single, specific turtle on a tropical island. Which leads us to...

4) How long have you and Brian been together and how did you meet?

Brian and I have been together five years as of April first (april fools day makes for a memorable anniversary).

I actually wrote down our 'how we met' story a few years ago, when I wanted to get all my family's love stories together in honor of my sister's wedding (a project that never really took off -- the collection that is, not the wedding). Anyway, you can read it here.

5) Tell me about the photo in your profile. I’m intrigued by it.

Ack! I just wrote a whole long bit on this, then accidently deleted it. Boo. Apologies if it comes out rushed.

That's probably my favorite photo from my trip to Hong Kong. Its of an alleyway in a town called Tai O, which is on Lantau Island in the Hong Kong archipelego. Liza and I went on a daytrip to Lantau one of our first days in Hong Kong. My guide book, "The Top Ten Guide to Hong Kong," reccomended that one take the Star Ferry over in the morning, then take a bus to "the quaint fishing village at the end of the island" -- Tai O, then hike up to the Buddhist monastary (and its 72-foot statue of Buddha) and enjoy a vegetarian lunch provided by the monks.

We got up early and took the ferry over, munching on red bean buns and sipping tea as we tried to get pictures of Hong Kong retreating in the distance. Once on Lantau, we poked arount Mai Wo, the village where the ferry dropped us, then hopped a bus bound for Tai O, on the other side of the island. The bus, filled to the brim with elderly people and their groceries, chugged up and down steep mountain roads for about a half hour before finally dropping us off in Tai O. We poked around for a bit -- Liza bought shrimp paste and I tooke that picture -- and congratulated ourselves on discovering something so far off the beatenpath (at least to those not in possesion of a "Top Ten Guide"). After a while, we started to get peckish and headed up the only road out of town (past the 'Fat Ho' middle school, for all those adolescent sniggerers out there), and towards the monastary.

After about fifteen minutes, the sidewalk ended. Another ten minutes, and we started to consult our maps, trying to figure out how many miles were contained in the half-thumb-width between monastary and town. Finally, after about forty five minutes of conversation about what an adventure this was and attempts not to look annoyed in front of one another, we managed to flag down a monastary-bound bus. Ten minutes and several(!) steep hills later, we were at the monastary. And man, was that monk-food good.


Trixie said...

are you getting your Masters in funny? because you are! And endearing too! I wanna be memed...what do I need to do???

Nora said...

Dude, I'll so meme you. Watch your mailbox, lady.

Shana said...

Do you need to have a blog to meme? It looks like fun- and I think you'd have great questions...
Also, I read your "getting together with Brian" account- Thank God for that Kegger!

albox said...

I feel like I MIGHT remember that kegger.
drinking beer in the woods next to cottage 3? Yeah, that's the one! hahaha. Um. I forget how the numbers go. I remember 1, 5 and 6.