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In exploring

By Natalie

the very best kind of seattling.

On 05, Nov 2013 | No Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

Seattle visiting

“There’s some about the spirit that’s out here. Something in the air. It’s different here. This land is still getting to define itself, live into who it is. That’s part of it’s crazy and wild beauty, you know? Because it’s still searching, still exploring. And so are it’s people.”

And with these words, I met Seattle. Read more…

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In exploring

By Natalie

coco-cola kind of day

On 23, Jun 2012 | No Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

there was nothing left to be done.

first the Coca-Cola.
down it went.
sip by sip by sip.
then the Fanta.
because i couldn’t help
because somedays
{like today}
you just can’t resist.
and when those days come
{you should know they will}
be sure to cheers yourself to
the perfect summer day
and to
old bottles
filled with a
little something cold.




In exploring

By Natalie

extended vacation

On 02, Jun 2012 | 3 Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

I took a little vacation. A little Memorial Day vacation. Ok, well sort of a long Memorial Day vaction. An  e x t e n d e d  Memorial Day vacation to be exact. I returned Thursday night as the sun was turning all things a milky orange color during the best time of day, dusk.

My couple of short airplane flights took me this time to Los Angles to visit a friend, two friends actually, the ocean, the mountains, the taco trucks and the sunshine. 

Quality time spent romping around LA with each of these friends of old was exactly what I had been looking for. 

The ocean was just as I remembered her — brilliant, strong, always changing, yet comfortingly consistent. 

The mountains? They were perfect (as mountains often seem to be). 

And finally, judging by the rumblings of burritos still in my stomach and the skin on my nose starting to rebel by coming off of me — I think the  e x t e n d e d  Memorial Day vacation was fairly successful.

How was your Memorial Day??





In exploring

By Natalie

bus 21.

On 01, Jun 2012 | 7 Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

Upon my arrival this evening at the infamous MSP International Airport, my ride home didn’t quite work out…

(i.e. I didn’t have one)

so, I decided to give the public transit a go. The Light Rail from Lindbergh Terminal to Lake Street/Hiawatha exit to bus 21. No trouble at all.

As I smashed my way onto bus 21 with my backpack in front and my biking satchel in back, I took up more room than anyone really approved of. 


Two strollers with heaving, tired Moms behind them joined us on bus 21.

The man sitting across from me had a long, thick and full grayed beard. He even had a walking stick.

“What’s in the bag sweetheart? Looks heavy.”

Ahhh. He was talking to me? I was not quite prepared for bus interactions so his question caught me off guard.

“Oh, ummm… you know, clothes, a camera, socks….”

(Socks? Did I really just say socks?!)

“You know, I know these streets like nobody else ’round here. You know why?”

(My still somewhat surprised green eyeballs just staring at him seemed to indicate it was a good time for him to continue).

“Well, I used to biked up and down these here streets in the older days. Hell, I even remember the first time I saw a spotlight in the sky! Some thought it was aliens, but not me! I just took off on my biked, ridin fast I could toward’ it. And you know what it was? It was Target’s grand opening! Can you believe that??”

(No, I really couldn’t).

The next few people made their way onto the bus. Baby strollers exchanged places and kids seemed to sorely out number parents at every block. I watched as this Full-bearded Man with The Walking Stick interacted with nearly every individual who passed him. He gingerly, at one point, leaned down to pick up some litter than others (like myself) had merely stepped over. As one of the mother’s with a full stroller began exiting the bus, he stood up and shouted a, 

“Don’t come on! A Mom with a stroller is gettin off!!”

(He winked at me).

The next batch of kids walked by him in breathless wonder with one little girl exclaiming from the top of her lungs,

“Holy ****! It’s Santa!!!”

This Full-bearded Man with a Walking Stick put his finger up to his lips and leaned down to the little girl,

“Shhhh… don’t let the adults know. See you at Christmas sweetie!”

As the bus began approaching Pillsbury Ave, I stood up to make my move. 

“You know your stop backpack girl? Often people stare off into space and forget to get off at the stop they want. I always try to help people get right where they’re trying to go. You remember your stop?”

(Yes sir, I do in fact remember my stop).

“Maybe I’ll see you again someday. I seem to always be riding the 21. It’s a great bus.”

We exchanged a “peace” as I scrambled through the bus doors that always seem to close quicker than they should.

And as I walked away from Lake Street and bus 21, I realized people like that — like that Fully-bearded Man with the Walking Stick — they’re magic. 

Bus 21. I think I might just have to ride you again ….




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In exploring

By Natalie

never stop.

On 15, May 2012 | No Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

It just keeps going….

It’s like a drug really. I start and I just can’t seem to get enough. So I search more and more and more, around this corner, through this link, onto that blog and halfway through that book.

That’s why what I’m doing now — researching, writing, asking, searching, learning, creating — it seems to fit. Yes, it seems to fit, nicely.

Almost perfectly. Like I’ve always been meaning to do it. Like I know it. It feels right. Comfortable. Kind of like my favorite pair of jeans. Nothing flashy or out of this world-ly. Just a bit faded, a little stretched, blue, blue jeans. Familiar, really.

I think I’ll just keep going then.

Keep learning. Never stop.

Stopping seems impossible. So I think I won’t.

another world.

On 26, Jan 2012 | No Comments | In exploring, noticing | By Natalie


can you hear it?
can you hear the

in the coffee brewing.
in the snow melting drip by melodic drip.
in the sun finally showing himself.
in the lights of morning traffic.
in the rhythm of typing keys.

can’t you?
can’t you hear it?

in the spontaneous purchased flowers.
in the friend’s honest answer.
in the shaky ‘no’ exercised today.
in your newest idea.
in the chance encounter.

there it is now.
you can feel it.
you can.

in that moment with the radio.
in your boy’s innocent question.
in the rhythm of typing keys.
in the brighten candle.
in the rise and fall of your breath.

another world.
it’s brewing.
if you listen
{and you must listen}
we can hear her breathing . . .

 – n.

post inspired by one of my favorite novelist, Arundhati Roy.




In exploring

By Natalie

ask a good question, please.

On 16, Jan 2012 | 2 Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

From a very early age we learn there is no such thing as a bad or stupid question. This is truly a shame, because we all know that this is a completely preposterous notion. 

Of course there are horrid questions. People practice asking them routinely. These sneaky little buggers of bad questions seem to show themselves frequently when encountering an individual just returning from travel. They don’t mean to come out, but they do. They just can’t help it.

Typically they go something like this:

“So, how was it?”
“Did you have fun?”
“What was your favorite part?”
“You went somewhere, right?”

And for this kind of question asking, I must repent. Because I, and probably like you, am guilty.

So what to do? How can one know what to ask anyway? It is not often, after all, that one has been the recipient of a perfect question.

Perfection can be so tricky.

So, when my friend saddled up to me, just days after returning from my most recent Spain adventures, and offered a:

“So tell me! What were the colors of Spain?”

I knew, with slight envy and complete admiration . . . she had done it. 
Perfection in question asking.

I knew it was that elusive perfection of question in a moment, why? Because I couldn’t answer right away. 

So after a deep breath and a long thought . . . 
I told her all about the colors I saw.

r e d . . . .
walls stucco walls. closely tucked together buildings. winter coats worn by locals. santa claus’ hanging from balconies.

o r a n g e . . . .
decorative tiled every-things. blooming, boasting, beaming flowers. juice drank in the mornings.

w h i t e . . . .
loafs and loafs of bread consumed. stacks and stacks of cheese enjoyed. blinking and twinkling lights of Christmas. seashells.

b l a c k . . . .
late nights of dancing. discussing. debating. and drinking Spanish wines.

y e l l o w . . . .
beach chairs and tea mugs. the morning light. the siesta sun. and the beams proceeding dusk. all gathering in my lens.

b l u e . . . .
the sky meeting the ocean. the sky meeting the ocean. the sky meeting the ocean.

See? The perfect question could take you anywhere.
May we learn how to ask . . .

– n.



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In exploring

By Natalie

midwest bound

On 06, Jan 2012 | No Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

last night
after days without
horizontal sleep,
countless delays,
hours of tarmac waiting,
enough dashing through

to quench any marathon runner…

i had finally made it.
to the very
last leg of my
home journey.

breathless and sweat-full
my terminal sprinting
ended as i deflated
in front of the final
chicago to minneapolis.

the airline worker
looked over her glasses at me,

“you missed it” she said.

“but isn’t that the plane?”
i ask.

{some ultimatums
must be questioned.}

“and besides, it’s 7:58 and the
plane doesn’t take off for
another 6 minutes.”

the airline worker’s eyes
locked with mine.

{the starring over the glasses
was beginning
to get old.}

she agreed to check
if the gate was open.

it was.

i’d made it.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

such a gift.
the chance to leave what is
and go.
just go.
to see and explore and wonder
and test and search and marvel.

there is nothing quite like it.
when you know
what home is like.
what you’ve missed.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

sneaking onto the aircraft
not a moment too late,
i approached cautiously.

the plane was
of course
full of eager travelers,
who had been on time.
who were waiting.
ready to get on with their journeys.

the situation had potential to be

the stares.
the glares.
because after all.
being THE ONE.
the late one.
the holding-up-the-plane one.
the your-tardiness-is-foiling-my-connection one.
never a good

intimidating and scornful
looks did not greet me.
only smiles,
nods of approval,
and congratulatory
last minute plane-catching
were doled my way
as i,
still short of breath,
found my way down the aisle.

and when seat 26A was
doubled booked
and i had no where to sit,
3 rows in all directions
of concerned travelers
found another seat for me.
all before
a flight attendent even
knew there was an issue.

the midwest
truly welcomed me home.

and while
even though it felt
like my time traveling was
too short
and it was hard to leave.
to say goodbye.

it’s good to be back.

as for last night.
dear United 959 plane-mates,
thanks for the
warm welcome.

– n.

stay tuned for
tales of the past weeks.
of meeting
new years-ing
and sunning.
with sister & parents
and a bunch of Oxford MBAs.



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In exploring

By Natalie

happy christmas: i am home.

On 26, Dec 2011 | No Comments | In exploring | By Natalie

i’ll be home for Christmas,
you can count on me.
i’ll be home for Christmas…

… if only in my dreams.
last year
i sang this song 
with a bit of 
a catch in my throat.
{a lump really}.
because i was no where
near home.
quite far far away actually.
and sometimes
that something in my throat
was just too much 
to swallow.
it would brim over,
seeping out
the sides of my eyes.
even when
i never asked it to.
because i missed…
the blustery snow.
the trimmed tree.
the cozy house.
the driveway shoveling.
the cooking making.
the caroling at the market.
the Eve service tradition.
the family gatherings.
the faces.
i missed home.
and yet, here i am now
an entire year later.
still in a place
quite different from my home
marking the day of Christmas. 
and it was this very afternoon
that i sat
amongst my sister, mom and dad,
when this song…
that song.
carried itself through the 
speakers and filled our
i’ll be home for Christmas,
you can count on me… 
i noticed.
there was no catch
this time.
because i realized.
that wherever i am.
south or north or east
it doesn’t much
because in fact
it is not the place
that tells me.
it’s those 3 people.
mom & dad & sister.
they are the ones that tell me.
my body rests,
and my mind can take a sigh.
and i just know
that wherever i am
with these people.
yes indeed.
i am home.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
wishing you well
wherever you find yourself
this Christmas,
– n.