Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail.
2012? When I look back, there were many moments that with hindsight, they were false truths. My first impulse is to choose my birthday again. The party that I deliberately organized to gather people I loved together, to celebrate a mere moment of my existence. Or was it at Barnes & Noble where I felt immediately accepted and instantly sense that my work mattered? Or was it Adam or Ian in Manila who loved my ice cream travel guide so much and invited us out to dinner and drinks with him? Or the many ice cream makers that I immediately clicked with on my journey? Or the best friends that I made in the past year that I know will persist for awhile?
But the moment that vividly comes to mind is this.
The day prior, I decided that we had to do the island hopping tour. I had realized our first day in Palawan in the Philippines that the capital city offered little for tourists. The weather was uncooperative for many outdoors activities in the proximity. Additionally, the city was dull. The humidity got to me and I was jealous of all the scuba diving tours in Northern Palawan that I dismissed because I didn’t have scuba certification. I desperately wanted to be in the water. I wanted to replicate my memories in Kolanta in Thailand.
So we joined the island hopping tour.
At the second stop, a floating pier in the middle of the ocean, we were told to swim (awkwardly with our lifevests) along a rope. We did. Chris wasn’t as good as swimming as I was. I glided smoothly toward the end of the rope…near the other floating cabin. Along the way, I attempted to dive in and out to capture the sealife, knowing the GoPro could barely see through the cloudy water. I made out coral and seaweed waving hellos and goodbyes. And the occasional fish darting to and fro through the blurry colors of the sea.
Yet toward the end, I realized how desperate I was to relieve myself. As Chris finally swam over me, his orange vest bobbing in the still saltwater, I whispered my desperate need. Thoughts of eastern toilets and uncomfortable accommodations rushed through my head. I starved for clean Western toilets.
“Remember that the ocean is one big toilet,” he responded.
And so I did. Far away from our fellow travelers. And I felt so much better afterwards.
I would describe how it felt funny, how the temperature of the water around me suddenly increased (instantly!)…but I’ll just stop here.