Ka kite ano (‘see you later’ in Maori) letter to a dear friend.

My city is very spread out; it can be hard to see friends sometimes. This really deepened my appreciation of commuting times on the ship; if I wanted to see a mate, I only had to travel a few minutes (sometimes literally seconds, if they lived a few doors away) before boom baby boom I am knocking on your door. You can spend sooo much time together. I remember on my long journey home, walking through the airport, musing on how crazy it was that you could know someone for only a few months, but feel so much closer to them than some other people you’ve known for years (note: this is definitely not always the case).

Time is like friendship-glue! 😛
Especially if that time is spent with hearts open to each other.

I am including some (edited) excerpts of my goodbye Ka Kite Ano (‘See you later’ in Maori) letter to Pedro – who in this blogpost acts as a symbol of a dear friend – for two key reasons:

1. To give a brief taste of a few aspects of ship-life (E.g. #DatHotWaterMachineThough :P) – updating this blog years after it happened means my memory is warped, and this letter, to me, is like a time/space machine (Tardis ;)) that takes me back to things when they were still fresh.

2. As a celebration of caring deeply for friends – this is so meaningful. The ship has been called the ‘Love Boat’ #LoveBoatStrikesAgain. Indeed, my Facebook newsfeed these years since I left has delighted me with announcements/pictures of shipmates who met on the ship getting together/married.

For me, love in the form of FRIENDSHIP struck my heart #LoveBoatStrikesAgain – the people I met onboard now have Homes in my Heart. (These don’t always happen; I don’t want to give false expectations. The ship can actually be a very lonely place; I myself have experienced this at times).

Importantly, I’d like to extend this out to include friendships in general – I don’t want to glorify friendships made on faraway adventures in any way – friendships made back at home, in the sweetness of everyday life, are just as beautiful, sometimes even more so. And of course, different friendships are different; they can be deep without feeling the things I wrote below, things change, no friendship is perfect, etc. etc. etc. When you read it, perhaps you will think of someone dear to your own heart …

Buddy Pedro told me to include the whole letter bahaha (all ten flippin’ pages).
Don’t worry, I’ll only include things that pertain to those purposes 😛

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Credit to Joey, of hair the colour of wheat fields, for converting us into The Little Prince fans.

‘And now here is my secret, a very simple secret:
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.’

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

My dear, dear Pedro…

Ahhhhhhhhh man, there’s too much to say, too little Microsoft Word memory space on the computer =P …

Let me begin with a few days ago.

Night time drive from Tana to Tamatave

Tuesday 17th – Wednesday 18th March 2015

‘To forget a friend is sad. Not everyone has had a friend.
And if I forget him, I may become like grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures.’

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince.

It took Kayla and me two days and two nights of travelling to get home, including around 33-34 hours of taxi-broussing. I reckon that I could write a book now, titled, ‘The Art of Taxi-Broussing.’ When I told that to Kyle, he said something along the lines of, ‘Yea. It can have one page saying, ‘Don’t Do It.’’’ xD LOL (Taxi-broussing wasn’t actually that bad, but the joke (‘joke’? xD) was funny). Anyway.

The last stretch was a 7-ish hour night time journey from Tana to Tamatave, and the memory is a dark blur of trying not to touch the man next to me … then epicly failing as I woke up slumped on his shoulders, and eventually waking up several more times on his shoulder as I’d given up trying to fight gravity + exhaustion + a constantly swaying bus. I avoided eye contact when I left xD (he’s only the 4th or 5th stranger I’ve fallen asleep on on our road trip anyway … :P).

The reason I tell you this: during one of the times that I woke up, they played a ‘Boys II Men’ ((some people I know) had waited backstage for them and then frikkin’ sung one of their songs to them!!!! EPICCCC) song (‘End of the Road’). I was in this tired, fuzzy, sentimental mood in this dark, swaying bus, which I think made me more vulnerable to the flood of feelings which overwhelmed me as I listened to this song. I was transported back to a period of time which is extremely meaningful and dear to my heart – a time when I was very much enveloped in a world characterized deeply by my glee club friends (= family), who would sing this song sometimes. In that time, these people were a HUUUGE part of my life. They meant so much to me …

Additionally, just before this drive, I’d read an e-mail from a friend (back home) giving me updates on a bunch of people from another of my favourite groups of people – a group of people who are part of a lot of memories, some of the people whose minds and hearts I respect the most .. I think this was another reason I was feeling so sentimental and thinking-about-people on that hazy, night-time drive home.

All of this made me realise with fresh poignancy, as we were driving away from you and Annette: I don’t ever want to lose complete contact with you …

The Day I Arrived Back Home After Our Road Trip

Wednesday 18th March 2015

At the moment it’s 11.13 pm …

I walked around the ship a lot (a LOT) today, and people have been delightfully (or ‘light-fully’ ;)) welcoming!!! People have made my heart SOOO happy … I’m delighted that to be doing my goal to really invest in people as I’ve had a few deep and meaningful conversations already where I feel that we’ve really built something in our conversations together (It feels fulfilling …) … But at the same time ….

I felt like a piece of my heart was missing.

Like, literally. My heart actually felt smaller in size!!!! (Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut xD :P).

This missing-you-and-Annette thing began on Monday, just before our 24-hour bus ride. Kayla and I were fantasizing about what we’d do when we got back home. I was fantasizing about Tek’s beautiful, beautiful face greeting us from all the way up on the gangway (I picked a random (security guard). The hilarious thing is that it WAS Tek who was on duty and who welcomed us home LOLLLL xD) and then imagining going into the dining room and getting a glass of free hot water (= Jesus in a cup? xD), free lukewarm water, free cold water, free milch (I love that stuff. I don’t know what’s wrong with you guys xD), free juice, free other kind of juice, free coffee, free coffee decaf, free tea, free another kind of tea, free another brand of the same kind of tea, free different tea of the same brand …. And that’s when I first remember it really, really hitting me (I don’t think it really hit me before):

You and Annette would not be there.

I’ve gotten free drinks with you in that dining room soooo many times that this realization that you wouldn’t be there felt as weird and as painful as the hot water machine not being there L. That’s when my heart began to be like, ‘OAH!’ L It was such a strange feeling.

When we pulled into the port gate this morning, my heart was so full of feeling – bittersweet. I was deliriously happy (and kind of incredulous) that we were home … but walking into the port, looking at our secret-not-so-secret garden, looking at the tall Juan trees, and realizing that I would never again walk those roads with you (except maybe for when you come say goodbye) … my heart felt so much like something was missing. My ship home was not the same home without you. When I first got back on the ship it was the weirdest thing – memory feelings of the days when I first came on the ship came flooding back as I walked around the ship (the first thing I did was laundry), mind-images of sitting forlornly at the computers with Caleb not really knowing anyone, feelings associated with the starry sail; adventuring into this new life on a foreign island floating in the Indian Ocean, walking back home with you and Dorf after some excursion, …. All these memories that had been strangers to me for a while became familiar again … and my heart felt. Home was not the same home without you.

… This is why they say ‘I miss you’ – a piece of my heart feels like it’s missing – it’s gone. Because you’re gone …

I know that this feeling will fade because ‘time soothes all sorrows’ … but I want you to know that I felt these things. My heart mourned you and Annette today. It’s the end of an era. I really did not realise that I would feel it so keenly. I tried to sleep today, and as I lay in bed, my heart and mind were filled with the fact that you and Annette will never be a part of my Mercy Ships life again. Ahhhh my heart feels like it has lost something special. Lost it somewhere in Madagascar. On the way to the port … today, I looked at the wall of the warehouse – our ka kite ano scratches are still there <3.

I’m also REALLY glad that my heart hurts with missing you and Annette – I am actually embracing it :P.

Because it means that you guys really meant/mean something to me – and I’d sooo much rather go through life making deep connections and hurting when I say goodbye see you later, rather than live a life without any special connections even though my heart would feel comfortable.

You are not just my pet rock and holy salamander. You are also one of my pet roses.

‘It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.’

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

In the past 5 ½ months … (lots of) quality time with … I guess you were to me what rice is like to the Malagasy – always there, I’m always very happy for it to be there …

Why do you mean so much to me? A combination of reasons.

  • You were there from Day 1. Literally. You are my only friend left from my very first group of people – and I have a very special place in my heart for the first ones, as well as for that time in my life – a time coloured by magic (did you know that magic has a colour? It’s ‘octarine!’ 😛 (#TerryPratchettReference)). You were also one of the main people who helped me integrate into the community, which I appreciated so much.
  • You’re just plain incredible as a person … (I list reasons) …
  • We’ve spent so much time and experiences together – and that means a lot to me, because then you get to scratch the surface of a person and go deeper into more of the core of a person …I don’t have many deep relationships with people on this ship, and you are one of them. And I feel like with you, when I talk with you, it gets deeper, because it’s already deep. Because you were there from Day 1, and because we’ve spent so much time/experiences together, the meaningfulness just accumulates.

For example, talking with many people on the ship, even people I really really like, I feel like I’m facing them and getting to know them. But with you, I feel like you’re a part of me and facing the world with me … There have been so many times when I’ve been with these groups of people, where I’ve looked around and thought what you said to me that time … – how fortunate am I that I am with these people ... I genuinely have looked around at the people and been like, these people are SOOO awesome awe-full … so interesting, so wonderful – and I have the privilege of spending time with them … (I know you don’t believe that it’s God, but I reckon it’s God’s gift …). As you said, we may not have had the chance to witness, and know, these people …. But we did. What a blessing.

‘I am looking for friends. What does that mean — tame?’
‘It is an act too often neglected,’ said the fox. ‘It means to establish ties.’
‘To establish ties?’
‘Just that,’ said the fox. ‘To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….’
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

History OurStory

… (I recounted some of our adventures – included an excerpt in Little Adventure Wonders) …

I Would Take A Hammer For You.

‘You’re beautiful, but you’re empty…One couldn’t die for you.
Of course, an ordinary passerby would think my rose looked just like you.
But my rose, all on her own, is more important than all of you together, since she’s the one I’ve watered.
Since she’s the one I put under glass, since she’s the one I sheltered behind the screen.
Since she’s the one for whom I killed the caterpillars (except the two or three butterflies).
Since she’s the one I listened to when she complained, or when she boasted,
or even sometimes when she said nothing at all.
Since she’s my rose.’

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

I Have Dreams For You.

I have dreams for you. I want you to be all you can be. I want you to be the shiniest, spooniest spoon you can to spoon the world well with. I want you to have a fulfilling, meaningful life, full of love and community and meaning and things that you love and making a difference in the world and all that good stuff.

Which is one of the reasons that if someone asked me whether I wanted you to extend or not … I would say no. Because I love you and so I want what’s best for you … which is to go off, finish your studies, and then fly. Spread your wings, my amigo!

The thing is, I see so much potential in you. I’m sure you’re aware of a lot of it, so I will focus on one of them (we only have 8 minutes before I’m due to go to karaoke with you and the others lmao xD I’M SORRY IN ADVANCE FOR BEING LATE)! You have this superpower. This power for being able to be wanted. As well as to make others feel wanted. The power to connect with people, and make them feel like people. It is not a common power to be wanted, or to be able to connect with people easily. You have this power to make people happy – I’ve seen many people become happy/animated by talking to you J (including myself). With great power, comes great responsibility. I challenge you to use this power (and all your other powers) to the best of your ability, for the greater good. To use this power to make the world better, and not just live for yourself (I’m not saying that you just live yourself, I’m just using this in my challenge expression to you). To love others in your own way (I think that loving people looks different for different people, based on their spoon) to the best of your ability. I can see you being a leader and making a real difference. I challenge you to be the best Pedro you can be, for yourself, for those around you, and for the community at large.

(I love that we are close enough that I can challenge you this without offending you).

My prayer for you is that the Pedro I know today, already so awe-full, will be different to the Pedro that I meet in the future (because we will meet again ;)). I want you to grow, challenge yourself, expand your mind, hone and increase your strengths, constantly improve… on purpose. Intentionally becoming a better person day by day. Living life to the fullest. (Because SVUV! ;)) (SVUV is Spanish equivlent of YOLO :P) I can’t wait to meet Pedro in the future, because if you’re so awe-full already … my mind can’t even handle how awe-full you will be in the future …

You Are Tamed.

‘You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.’
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Just in case we do lose complete contact one day, because I do know that even though I’m going to try not to let that happen because I love you as a friend to utter bits … life is a dick sometimes and there is a small chance that it is possible … I just want you to know that you mean sooo, so so so so so much to me (so much) … I love you dearly. You have been one of the most important/special people to me in this time, in this place (a time and place which is one of the most important/special things that has happened in my 23 years so far!), and I appreciate you.

And no matter what, I will always be here for you. So, in the example that you like to use, even if one day we’re in our 60s and you suddenly realise that you need a friend/you need something from me … just contact me and I will be there for you …

‘You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.’

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, El Principito

Ka Kite Ano, Pedro.

‘And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me.
You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me.
And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . .
And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky!
Then you will say to them, ‘Yes, the stars always make me laugh!’‘

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

This is not goodbye, this is ka kite ano

See you later, my friend.

I’m sure that there will be many times in the future when I look up at a beautiful sky alive with cheeky stars (and maybe a shooting star will show itself to me, for frikkin’ once! :P), with other stunning souls in other stunning places in other stunning times … and I’m sure that some of those times, I will think of you and this ship, and all the other incredible (‘incredible’ means ‘hard to believe’) souls on this ship we’ve experienced this time together in our life with. I think that’s so beautiful, btw. We are all here, together, in this place. This is the intersection of our lives. Something that will probably never happen again. And when I do, I’ll say that ‘you – you alone’ quote and I’ll think with deep fondness of you.

‘If you love a flower that lives on a star, it is sweet to look at the sky at night.
All the stars are a-bloom with flowers…’

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

‘So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near–
Ah,’ said the fox, ‘I shall cry.’
It is your own fault,’ said the little prince. ‘I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you . . .’
Yes, that is so,’ said the fox.
But now you are going to cry!’ said the little prince.
Yes, that is so,’ said the fox.
Then it has done you no good at all!’
It has done me good,’ said the fox, ‘because of the color of the wheat fields.’

― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

I DECIDED TO TRANSLATE THIS INTO SPANISH FOR YOU USING GOOGLE TRANSLATE. LMAO.

OK never mind I think I just broke Google Translate.

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