In dreams, I’m moving through heavy water

I spend a lot of time alone. As a foreigner in a gigantic city, I’m constantly surrounded by sounds and signs of life and though I interact with it wildly, lovingly and often, I have a tendency to hole up in corners and spaces that keep me isolated in observance. I love to watch the world and the day go by around me–to see the sky change, the children laugh, and watch the lights dim in buildings as the neon signs glow ever brighter. Korea has grown to be a part of me and has impacted and marked me in ways that are perhaps to be expected, but still surprise me. It’s become a place I call home and even though so much of it and so many aspects of the country, the city I reside in and the culture itself are still unknown to me, I feel a sense of ease and comfort within it.

The topic of home enters my mind frequently, almost on a daily basis, and is something I somehow struggle to grasp because home for me seems to be constantly fluid and indefinite, which goes against the stability and foundation that “home” is obviously associated with. My homes are many already and are certain to continue to grow more numerous as I set out to conquer the map that my mind fills with an insatiable need to discover and understand lands and seas and people unfamiliar. It always appeared to be expressed as a joke, this declaration between my father and I that I have gypsy blood, but with the pace at which I ache to unsettle myself, to seek change and simply to move, the joke seems to be far too accurate. Perhaps it’s silly to spend time thinking on such matters, but as a romantic I do harbor these nerves and an anxiety that the way I have shaped my life and this very apparent itch that I have to stay in motion and to remain forever unsettled will result in a heart always in wanting of that mighty, euphoric love that, maybe foolishly, I do so believe exists somewhere. Sometimes it even seems that that is precisely what I’m on an endless quest for, to either find that person or place that consumes me with what I know and envision love to be.

Last night I dreamt that I went swimming in the ocean and ended up trapped in an aquarium somewhere. I tried to get out, but then I decided that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t escape because I liked it there. It’s a slightly humorous image, but also a rather beautiful one, especially when I think about how it mirrors my own life. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily feel trapped, but I can relate to the image of floating in a sea of others as the world goes by because, well, that’s what I do nearly everyday. I can’t decide if this sounds sad or pathetic or something else. I guess what I’m getting at in a very lengthy way is that I’ve grown just a little more content with what I’m doing and how I’m living my life, which is worthy of being called an accomplishment as I am too often crippled by concerns that I am not living up to my potential or that I haven’t achieved enough yet or that I have no idea what I’m doing. I still think these things are true, but I guess I’m becoming more comfortable and accepting that I will likely always feel these anxieties, so why fret?

Anyhow, I guess that’s my journal entry for the day. To every foreigner, anxious girl, romantic, or gypsy blooded soul, I know what you’re feeling too. We’re not alone, even when surrounded by a sea of fishes.


If I could tame all of my desires

I’ve always held a fondness for lists and perhaps because it’s been raining or perhaps because I’ve had ample time for self reflection or perhaps, perhaps, I’ve found myself carving a mighty list of what essentially boils down to my desires. If you don’t know me, or even if you do, you might not know that I’m a fairly anxious soul–constantly unsettled, thriving off of an insatiable need for change of scenery of pace of everything.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve never really felt at home anywhere (the only possible exception to this is the great state of Iowa, Des Moines in particular). I’ve spent almost my entire life lusting after somewhere else, always taking the “wishing you were here” part far too seriously. Though my passions in life are numerous, traveling is above all else what thrills me, soothes me and makes me feel most alive. More than anything else, I want to see and experience the world (emphasis on experience) and it is my personal goal to have experienced every continent before I’m 30 (minus Antarctica).

Anyway, I’m getting off topic now. The point in bringing all of this up is that I legitimately fear that I will never settle down anywhere or select a place to finally call home, and thinking on thinking about this more than I already do led me all too naturally to making a list of wants. So, here’s what I want, what I really, really want (according to the last time I seriously spoke with myself):

I want to create beautiful artifacts out of words, images, cloth, ink and paper

I want to never stop learning, to speak many foreign tongues, to read and read and read and read

I want to be all right with staying put and find a somewhere to call home

I want to die before I’m old, my organs donated and my bones to be burned

I want my chalk scattered in the Vltava

I want to work with coffee again, possibly forever

I want to be in love again

I want to figure out what I want my life’s work to be

I want a hint as to what path to take, sometimes

I want to be leaner and to run without injury

I want to wear high heels more often

I want to be better at forgiveness, writing thank you cards and letting people in

Greetings from Iowa

Now that I’m cozy in my new, slightly over-priced “apartment” in the metropolis that is Des Moines, I must admit that it feels surprisingly refreshing to be back amongst the snow flurries and overly friendly folk that generally make up the population of the Midwest. Already my skin is beginning to dry, begging for intense moisturizing cream as it cracks from the harsh environment I seemingly surround myself in. My friends, those who I have re-connected with at least, are basically the same as I left them, but perhaps with a few solid drunk tales I have yet to be privy to and the notable gossipy deets about everyone and anyone. Even the cafe I worked at (and by worked at what I really mean is lived in) has remained true to form, and utterly perfect in my eyes, with the exception of some slight price increases and menu changes.

I’m not exactly one to put the state of Iowa on a pedestal (and trust me, there are those that will by simply mentioning that one movie about baseball and a field), but I will say that it feels great to be back here. My heart is oddly at ease and strangely enough I’m starting to feel as though I have made it home. Don’t tell Portland this though because it just might break her heart. So I suppose, without further ado, I say “Greetings from Iowa. You should come and visit”.

I feel it all

I was recently conversing with a professor who told me that all great writers struggle to go home. He said that these writers spend their careers writing pieces of the Utopian home that doesn’t exist anywhere else but on paper. All of the great writers, he said, write about escaping from their homes and the impossibility of returning to it.

This is for my home, my city, the place that my green heart belongs to.

Portland, Oregon
Written by Chelsea Marie Hicks

The trees here climb up the hills and cover every inch of visible land as if they were protecting the soil from some threatening prey. Above, the sky remains a dull shade of grey that remains constant from October through April until one fine day when grey fades to blue and the sky is illuminated with remarkable color. Those first blue days in spring, the days when the sun looks down on us making our skin smile from the abundance of vitamin D, illicit a child like behavior as city dwellers, cyclists and indie kids marvel at the strange and unfamiliar sight they had almost forgotten. Main features of the city lie within its distinct sectors all of which exude unique characteristics and strike different emotions depending on who you’re talking to. The buildings, unlike most major cities, do not reach for the clouds here, but rather they lay low to protect the distant view of the snow-capped Mt. Hood. Connecting downtown to its uber cool counterparts are a multitude of bridges that lie parallel to one another and grow in size as you move down the river towards Vancouver. These bridges, almost as peculiar as the cities inhabitants, are themselves works of art featuring brilliant arches and frames of muscular steel. To any stranger of this city it would appear as if cyclists rule the land as they weave in and out of traffic, some brave and bold riding their ‘fixies’ and some serious and determined to race with the real boys. Coffee shops line every corner and drench the air with a caffeinated aroma that give you the jitters just by inhaling. Litter on the streets is almost as rare as a sunny day in winter and green virtually covers the city from its streets to its hills to its people’s thumbs. Everywhere you look, even in the downpour, you see smiling faces and not once a sign of an umbrella. The people here are weird, but friendly. The streets in some parts freshly paved and in others still the old brick from the days of shanghaiing. Hippies, homeless and habitual drinkers can be found mingling the streets at almost any hour adding to a perplexing personality that can’t quite be matched. Both dark and dreary as well as hopeful and beautiful, this is the city I love.