A Morning Walk in Amsterdam

DSC04106This is definitely one of my gnarlier re-entries from resource-poor work setting back into developed-world life. Not surprising, that fact, since it was a full intense two years in Papua New Guinea, a place which remains unique to me in its vast and complex history and sociocultural variety. Plus the fact it was my longest assignment so far. But the fact it’s not surprising doesn’t make the re-entry any less personally … well, gnarly, which is basically a nice way to say challenging as all get out. I sit in darkened auditoriums – mostly Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, where I’m spending five weeks just now – and when the orchestra goes through its organized tuning-up ritual, tears come to my eyes that humans can organize themselves for the creation and appreciation of beauty and magnificence, not just death and destruction. I sit, finally, at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica and find myself racked by sobs when we sing some of the hopeful, compassion-and-acceptance-filled hymns that are standard UU fare: again, reminded that the world can be full of hope and collective human effort towards generosity, warmth and creation rather than in-group fighting against in-group. It’s also me letting myself, finally, feel some of the pain and grief our patients experience in PNG and which I’ve not let myself feel since it would have impeded my work while I was still on the job…

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I know this is all a bit raw, and I apologize – but I do need to move through this process. Remembering beautiful times and places, like the daffodils above which I saw during my too-short two-day sojourn in Amsterdam, helps. As do all the bike rides I’m taking up to Topanga Canyon or down to Hermosa Beach, here in LA. You’ll see those in due course. But I still have a lot of basic sorting and catching up to do, and my basic apartment setup is lacking in many basics such as printer and even reliable steady internet… So I’m still color-correcting and sorting – and yes, I really do delete most of the photos I take and try to put only the ones I think will you give you some window to where I’ve been. My soul and body are still landing back on this side of the world; in some ways these photos help me trail myself back to where I am now. Maybe they’ll give you either a glimpse of places you’ve loved or would like to be, or lacking that maybe a sense, if you know me, of why I seem to confused a lot of the time lately! :-/

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3 responses

  1. Diane Rachiele

    Lovely pix, Paul – thanks for sharing – I get all the stuff about the emotions – this too shall pass! 😉

    May 5, 2014 at 20:15

  2. Bree

    Gorgeous! You must allow yourself to finally feel, overwhelming as it may be. You are incredibly strong and have the resources (here) to work through just about anything 🙂

    May 13, 2014 at 10:28

  3. Stephen Brockmann

    Reminds me of some of our wanderings around Amsterdam a while back!

    June 10, 2014 at 04:53

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