On Dreams

I’ve been having a lot of crazy dreams lately.  Last night I had a dream that my mother, sister and I went to Haiti together, and upon arrival we stopped in an artist’s studio.  I walked outside onto the deck for a moment only to have a parade of elephants walk right by me.  Then I looked down at my arm and noticed I was developing a small rash.  I then remembered that you were supposed to get vaccinations to go to Haiti, and I had completely forgotten to get them.  And that’s when I realized that if I had taken the time to think about it, to get the vaccinations and get nervous about the health risks of going to Haiti – then maybe I wouldn’t have come, and maybe I wouldn’t have ever seen those elephants.  Guys, this dream was so real – even though I’ve been awake for hours I’m still not completely convinced it didn’t actually happen.  (Although 1- my mother would never travel to a place like Haiti, and 2 – there are no elephants in Haiti, so this was most definitely a dream.)

Two days ago, I read through  my friend’s book proposal.  Any time you read a book of memoirs from a good friend, it’s an amazing thing.  Seeing everything you’ve experienced with her, or everything you’ve heard her talk about so much, right there, written down all in one place, it’s this surreal experience.  I was fascinated scrolling down the pages of the novel, and I came across a chapter about an experience we had witnessed together.  The focus of the memory was on the atmosphere, and this one inspiring person we met in this story, but as I read through her account of that same memory, I noticed one thing was absent from her story – me.  I understood why, the focus was on this more inspiring person, and it made for the story to flow better, but I still couldn’t help but feel a bit hurt that I was omitted from this tale.

This is coming from a person whose presence in my life has been incredibly significant.  She would most certainly be in my book.  The fact that I was removed from hers showed me that even though I try to do so much…I’m not doing enough.  I’m not doing enough to impact the lives of others, to inspire others where they see me as a crucial part of their story.

The other night I was talking to someone over a glass of red wine about my life dreams.  How every time I’ve had a dream, I’ve managed to make it come true. How I’ve done things that are so far beyond what I ever could have dreamed I’d actually do.  He said I needed to dream bigger.  He’s right.

Which brought me back to my original dream.  The one that started before I ever embarked on any kind of path.  The one that was implanted into my head at a young age when I discovered my passion for writing.  The one that sent me to enter and win that young writer’s contest in Newsday when I was 13. The one that sent me to journalism school.  The one that inspired me to start this blog.

I want to publish a book.

However, I’m left with the same questions I faced years ago, the questions that made me think I needed to become a journalist and travel the world in order to collect enough experience that would one day give me material to work with.  Well, I’ve traveled the world.  I’ve lived in the most exciting city in the world. I’m still doing both of those things, and doing my best to make the most of every single second. But alas, I still have no clue what I’m supposed to write about.

Maybe I need to stop thinking, and just start writing.  This blog post isn’t about any significant event, or world travel.  It’s just about my most personal thoughts.  Maybe it’s not going to get me closer to publishing a book, but maybe it will.  In any case, this is me, making the decision to go to Haiti with no vaccinations, and praying that I see something as fascinating  as a parade of elephants from the deck of an artist’s studio.

How My Friends and Family Inspired Me When I Returned From Morocco

Adjusting back to the U.S. after our amazing journey to Morocco went more smoothly than anticipated. The transition was made easier by the enthusiasm my friends and family showed in listening to me go on and on about my trip, looking through hundreds of photos, and reading the in-depth recaps I posted on this site.

But I couldn’t have expected how much the people around me were about to surprise, overwhelm, shock and inspire me two weeks after my return. Remember that fundraiser we talked about doing for Rachida so she could rebuild her house and her loom that were lost in the fire? Well, that fundraiser went live on our website on May 3rd. I sent around an email to my friends and family, telling them about Rachida and what had happened, and asked them to throw in a little money towards rebuilding if they could.

A little more than 24 hours later, I was astounded by the generosity these people showed. By May 4th, we had raised enough money to rebuild Rachida’s home, and more than half of those funds came from my friends and family – my two amazing roommates and some of my favorite brides-to-be, my incredible mother, and even an old friend in St. Louis. Even a dear friend in danger of losing her job contributed. A few ex boyfriends even kicked in some cash – and donated very generous amounts! You never know who will come through and rally together when you believe in a wonderful cause that has genuinely touched all our lives.

Needless to say, I’m incredibly lucky to surround myself with these people every day, and they’ve certainly made the post-Moroccan transition much more bearable.