7.30.2009

add friends, and stir.

~theme song: jewel * good day~ you know it's a good weekend when you laugh, cry, find solace, feel happy, overcome fears, get through the pain, feel empathy, get comfortable, feel at home, live, love, and dream.... and realize you have shared all of that with your f*r*i*e*n*d*s.

we set off sometime in the midday on sunday, hit the expressway and landed shortly thereafter to our favorite weekend haunt. the house of hans and suzie. the plan: chill, sleep, adventure; primarily in that order, but not necessarily. we were open to whatever our hearts desired, and waited for the surprises lurking in the shadows of the gray day we were exploring. the time had come for all of us to leave work behind like a bad apple at the grocery store, and set off on a group adventure. white water rafting sparked our interest, and pulled us in like a warm hug on a chilly day in autumn. it was the perfect medicine for a midsummer cold, and was likely to kick the funk out of our lives. goodbye funk. hello life.

the early evening brought peter and lacy, additional humidity (as if there wasn't enough already), flash-frozen gyoza paired with citrus vinegar sauce *a perfect marriage i might add*, corona, which went oddly well with all of its surroundings, and the usual fabulous conversation. corona with lime whilst being in the middle of rural japan was perfectly out of place, yet, well, the perfect exclamation point to it all~ strangely felt like a bit of a metaphor of my time here in japan. hmpf... a dessert of fruit salad in a watermelon-rind bowl, and mitsuya cider poured over it all. a sweet way to finish out the evening; early to bed.

i awoke to the sound of my alarm at six am... i love being up super early, especially here in japan because life seems so incredibly quiet and serene~ so sleepy, but so alive. a cloudy sky and a million shades of gray painting its face. dew drops on each and every leaf of the jungle-like garden. birds beginning to sing the song of a new day and the shower calling my name. the house was lost in the soft echoes of slumber as i slipped under the warm water to finish waking myself. the sweet smell of warm vanilla sugar sends my mind into a spiral thinking about all of the memories, but i'll save that for another day. i rinse, dry, and pull on my swimsuit with all of the usual apprehension a woman feels in reference to swimsuit season. ugh. my mind goes through my to-do list of "how to be swimsuit-ready in 5 minutes a day", "get {insert famous skinny bitch's name here} hot bikini body NOW", "eat this, have a flat stomach tomorrow" and various other plans of how to have my ultimate swimsuit-ready body, and then i remind myself the swimsuit is already on. the time has passed. too late. plus, the list was way too much to think about that early in the morning ~ and i hadn't had my coffee just yet. that's how i prefer to think; on coffee.

boiling water is so hard for me- in the sense that it shows me each and every morning how impatient i really am- but it's such an easy prep for my taste buds' desire. the first drop of boiling water on the fresh coffee grounds has to be the best smell in the world for me. it's so aromatic, and feels so thick and warm hitting my nostrils. maybe i'm just as crazy as chris says i am about coffee. maybe i am in need of a program, if you know what i mean, and i don't even know it. *coffee addicts everywhere scoff in unison at this thought* the rest of the house is slowing waking; hans is doing dishes *his usual in the early morning, equipped with his current book on tape {ipod}, a classic, i'm sure*, suzie's footsteps softly padding on the 2nd floor, bodies shuffling to the bathroom one after another, the sound of chris voice 'morning, love'. i was stirring the milk and eggs into the pancake mix, suzie added the banana, peter cooked 'em up. there's something to be said about community cooking. we successfully shook sleep away and got ready.

food consumed. water bottles filled. bathing suits on. towels at the ready. cameras charged. sunscreen *sans the sun so far*, keys.

and they're off.

we drove. through the city. through the suburbs. missed our turn. turned around. correct turn found; all the while dj lacy d rocked the tunes. follow the winding road. twisting and turning along a two lane road brought us in and out of musty tunnels that smelled of damp earth and exhaust fumes, thick and warm, almost burning your nostrils. each tunnel was dark and dreary, then just as fast as we entered, shot us out the other side into the bright greens of the mountains, and the sparkling sunlight peering at our white skin through the clouds. the river was like a glassy ribbon that twisted and turned with the road high above it, only allowing a few short glimpses, like an admirer from afar. all too soon we'd be intimately involved.

we're late ~ but, welcome to happyraft. we begin applying the sunscreen to all the whiteys. pay the man. meet steve the kiwi river guide. the cliches are too easy, so i'll leave them to your imagination. wild river house. 8-year-old with the battle scars of her brand new unicycle. pregnant woman in the office. co-ed bathroom, save for the ink-jet and yarn sign on the door. random semi-homeless-looking dogs lounging. japanese hippies with dreads *i was anxious for the smell of patchouli, alas, none*. racks of damp shoes. musty-smelling wet suits. tie-dye curtains on the makeshift dressing rooms. handmade benches. randomly colored fleeces. helmets. to top it all off: the feeling phish or grateful dead should be playing as the anthem.

we board the rusty, beat-up old white van. drive a bit further up the road and turn onto a steep narrow dirt road. the point of no return. exit said van. find our footing onto the rocky beach, and listen to our 5-minute how-to-save-your-own-life. paddles. go time.

chris - hans
courtney - suzie
peter - lacy
kiwi steve

floating down the lazy river. learn to paddle. half jump out to practice. try to get in~ not such an easy task. to help someone back in, you grab their jacket, dunk them, and then pull them in. the dunking is where the fun is. the other half jump out.1st time, i couldn't get back in myself. that was not going to be the case for long. i was vehemently determined to get my ass in that raft. ready for the first rapids. what a rush, not knowing what those next few seconds would throw at you- brilliant. pure enjoyment. adrenaline is such an amazing drug. jump into the icy water again. i did it. slithered my way back into the raft. score. totally stoked. helped suzie and lacy back in the raft because the next rapids came up fast. again, watery brilliance. jump rock. lacy didn't hesitate. love it. took a perfect running stride right off the rock and kerplunk. again with the brilliance. a bit further down the river.


damn. already done. it's like summer lovin' ~ happened so fast..... we climb the hill back to happyraft hq. drop paddles.hang vests. peel off fleece and wet suit. rinse with the icy water hose. clothes. slideshow of our trip. itty bitty square of banana bread. mouthful of barley tea. stamp card. happyraft sticker. next trip booked for our upcoming holiday. smiles all around. good times had by all: priceless.

play-doh moonlighting as soba for lunch. so hungry we ate it anyway. then off to find one of the jump rocks and some sun. found myself baking like a turtle on a some rocks a short-while later. i have a fairly un-healthy love for the sun. there's just something about those warm rays kissing my skin. aaaahhhhhh. heavenly. suzie proceeded to pull out an umbrella and retreat to her anti-sun sanctuary. she, too, looked a bit like a turtle with her green umbrella; a protective shell. love that girl. the sun-soaking didn't last nearly enough, but the long drive home called for us to return to the winding road.

friendships strengthened. secrets shared. fears tested. new music discovered. bonds forged. understanding found. funk averted. me thinks a repeat is in order.