pride & joy

On Sunday I ended my hiatus from the pool. It had been a year since I two-point entered from the deck and propelled myself from the wall. A year since the smell of chlorine stuck to my skin long after my shower. A year since I had black eyes not from punches but from goggles. And for the past three days I’ve been back every day. The tan circle on my back has returned and I’m anxiously awaiting the cap tanline. I even bought a bright pink cap like the one coach Tyler bought me for my first meet. And when I leaped into the water today, I was home. And when I came home from the pool and fell asleep on the couch, I knew I was doing it right. Nothing compares to the feeling after a swim. Nothing makes me feel more alive or happy or happy with myself. Maybe the chlorine is getting to my head, but the pool is my happy place.

When I was leaving the pool today I watched as one of our new tour guides gave his first solo tour. And I got butterflies in my stomach and my heart was overflowing and I wanted to yell so many things at him but instead I just made some sassy comment and went on my way. But I was so taken aback by this feeling of pride that I imagine is what it feels like to see your baby take its first steps. WHAT. MATERNAL INSTINCT IS GOING CRAZY. But really, you guys, I walked home the rest of the way beaming because I was so damn proud. And I am so excited to share this thing I love so much with our new members.

Side note, what a difference good food makes in your day.

I left for WOW training tonight with flowers braided into my hair. I felt like sunshine. I felt like I was going to go sit on the floor for three hours but it was going to be worth it. And tonight I was reminded of why WOW is so near and dear to my heart. And why I’m going back for more.

I read part of Andy Warhol’s “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and back again” for class tonight and I don’t know why but it made me really happy. He writes in such a matter of fact way and he sounds so young and pure of heart. “The world fascinates me,” he said, and it’s refreshing that someone else was as enamored by the world as I often feel I am.

We doodled in class today. I wish I could call it art.

I am more than ready for this spring to sneak up on me and steal all my weekends. I’m going to love every second of it.

“I think everybody should like everybody.” -Andy Warhol

Love.

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In these moments, I swear I am infinite.

The feeling after a swim. The smell of chlorine. Blowing out candles. Breaking down walls. Telling secrets. Keeping secrets. Falling in like. Fitting playlists. Pure blue sky. New dresses. Walking arm in arm. Smiling at strangers. Eating family style. Waking up because you want to, not because you have to. Homemade cupcakes and the people who make them. Flowers that make your room smell like heaven. Cheek kisses. Forehead kisses. Being warm. When someone puts their arm around you when you’re cold. The first sunburn of the year. Elephants in the room. Summery color schemes. Brothers. When people laugh at my jokes. Goggle marks. TOMS tans. Rolling fog. Rolling tides. Walking and talking. Hand written cards. New friends. Old friends. When “I love you,” means “I’ll always love you.” When you walk into a room. 

Starting spring break off right

The moment at dinner when conversation stops, and everyone either internally or externally smiles, because we all realize that we’re surrounded by people who love us.

Tonight I got dinner with six of my favorite people on the planet.
Tomorrow night I’ll be reunited with my brothers and sister and mom and dad.

This is a good place to be.

An open letter to San Luis Obispo

You rained last night but I didn’t mind. When I woke up my friends asked me if we should still hike your tallest peak and I said of course, and when we reached the top we all laughed at the idea of abandoning our plan for the day. We were taller than the clouds. The sky was grey but there’s no such thing as an ugly sky when you live in such a breathtaking town. Even grey looks good as the fog dances with the peaks of your mountains. It makes the greens a little greener. The rocks a little more slippery, but that’s okay too.

You have an uncanny ability to feed my sense of adventure. I could be scared but I know you’ll take care of me. You’ve brought me to some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. To the ones who keep me safe and the ones who crack me up. I owe you one, SLO.

The sun always seems to shine a little brighter with you. And my summer shadows feel longer and my heart skips a beat — sometimes two — once I cross your county line on the 101. Because I know, there’s only 32 more miles until I exit and we’re reunited. You’re my best friend. Or at least, you’ve brought me to some of the best friends I could ever ask for. Thanks for that.

And thanks for making sure Avila’s always sunny on my birthday. Birthdays by the ocean were too good to be true until I met you. I hope I’m not jinxing it by telling you this 20 days before my birthday. Consider this my sun dance.

Oprah didn’t need to tell me you were the happiest city in America. I knew when I was in fourth grade and I wrote a poem about my favorite place. I told Nana all about it. Most days I wish I could still tell Nana. Write more silly limericks about it. But I don’t need to write a limerick. I see it through the window when I wake up in the morning. I feel it when I finish a tour and people applaud. Or when I run into someone and they hug me like they haven’t seen me in ten years. Or when I go to a class I love. Or when I come home after a long day and my apartment smells like freshly baked banana bread.

Or when I’m at the top of a mountain with new friends and we YELL AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNGS. Because we can. Because we’re at the top of a mountain and we have the lung capacity to do so and we hiked to the top of this mountain and we’re together. Glued by our love of YOU, San Luis Obispo. Glued by the fact that you put a smile on our faces.

I wanted to write you a letter because most of the time I’m pretty good with words. But I guess I didn’t really need 500 words to tell you how I feel. But I wanted you to know, San Luis Obispo, that I love you. It’s more than a crush. It’s more than a “I want us to be better friends.” I love you. And I owe you one. I can’t thank you enough.

Thanks for the rain and the sun and the mountains and the ocean and the family and the thousands of reasons to wake up every morning. You’re the best.

Yours,

Han