The Call to Prayer

In all my days, I have seen few things more beautiful than this–
the desert sun burning at the edge of the world,
the edge of dawn,
like the fiery breath of hell,
yet lit up a hundred, ney, a thousand times more,
by the brilliance of God.

The blackness of the desert floor
in an instant meets
the gradient of light
that dives back into darkness of night
singing worthy, worthy is the Lord God Almighty.

It burns like the end of a cigarette,
smouldering in its divine moment:
For we will only tilt toward the sun like this once.

The dark horizon melts away with each breath of day, and look–
Jehovah is in his holy temple,
let all the earth be silent before him.

Do you hear it? Ringing in the dawn?
This is your call to prayer–
It’s more than a voice from a loudspeaker.
It’s more than a tune from a hymnal.
It’s more than the clanging of bells.
It’s more than good deeds.
It’s more than phrases repeated over and over.
It’s more than offerings brought with such care to the shrine.

Behold! Behold! See the desert fire that harvests the morning.
Take in the golden rays with each breath you can reckon.
Let the light refine you as you journey.
Open your eyes and believe, you devout one.
Yahweh is standing at the door.

 

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Errantry: “I’m Loving It” (The True Solo Traveler’s Perspective)

I’ve always romanticised the idea of solo traveling. It seemed so free and adventurous, and no doubt it is. But what the travel bloggers don’t tell you, is how lonely it can be. Here’s a little something I wrote during my recent solo traveling experience in Switzerland.


I’m Loving It

Switzerland is too damn expensive for anyone,
so I, the poor traveler,
find myself in McDonalds–
alone.

I can’t say I’ve been to a Mickey D’s alone before,
and as I look around,
I notice no one else here is unaccompanied.

A double patty burger
for a single patty gal
I suppose.

As a kid, I loved the fries.
I remember when Grammy and Grandpa once bought me THE LARGE FRY–
eyes wide with delight, but stomach too small.
Or on long road trips with my family,
when the car would roll toward the exit ramp
marked by the golden arches.
And let’s not forget the McDonald’s playground.
The worst day of my life
must have been when I outgrew it.
Several years ago, when I learned how processed the food is,
I swore never to let that greasy stuff pollute my body again.
That is, until a few weeks ago,
when a sudden McDonald’s fry craving
had me and my roommate biking through the rain,
hunting down a late night snack at the nearest joint.

The fries are less exciting now,
with no one to share them with.
The burger fills the hole in my stomach,
but (pardon the cliche) not the hole in my heart.

I guess I’ll just swallow these feelings
with my last sip of Coke.
So here’s to fucking “I’m Loving It.”

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“Errantry” is a series of blog posts related to my gap year. If you want to know more about this year and my reasons for it, check out my first post about Errantry.

Errantry: Lowlands to Mountains…The Next Step

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After three incredible months in Amsterdam, I find myself in the Alps of Switzerland. I have been in Lucerne, soaking in the breathtaking views of mountains and exploring this new city for the past few days. It has been a time to process all that has taken place in my heart and mind over the first quarter of my gap year before moving on to the next big thing. And it has been really good. I have a few more days remaining before I move on to a place of more long term residency.

I have traveled from the lowlands of the Netherlands to the highest peaks in Europe, and now to the highest points in Asia I shall go…

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In 2015 I spent a month and a half working in a children’s home in crowded streets of Kathmandu, Nepal. I helped out in the aftermath of the two devastating earthquakes that rocked the country in April of 2015, and also got to spend a lot of time with the kids there. I have a deep love for Nepal, and have had a yearning to return there ever since I left.

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On the day I left Nepal, back in 2015, I remember only being able to get out two thoughts before being overcome by tears. “I love you all, and I am coming back someday,” I said to all the kids.

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Well, guess what? That day is soon here! Tomorrow I will board my flight for Kathmandu. I will soon be reunited with this country and these people that I love. I will be staying at the same children’s home for at least a month, with hopes of staying in the country longer. I don’t know what all I’ll do when in Nepal, but I know God will provide many unique opportunities and experiences, and I am so excited for all that I will learn and discover in my time there.

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“Errantry” is a series of blog posts related to my gap year. If you want to know more about this year and my reasons for it, check out my first post about Errantry.

Errantry: A Nomad’s Paradox

IMG_1256What is this longing to be known,

longing to be seen,

just like the air that leaves my lungs,

right in front of me?

Like rain that hits the water,
each drop disrupting matter,
the ripples interact
causing more than just impact.

This is my desire,
to be known and yet I fear-
when I leave this time it might
be to much for me to bare.

So I sit alone in silence
on this bench and watch the rain-
falling, falling rain,
longing, longing rain,
to be known,
to be seen,
like my breath in front of me.

The light fades in the west
yet rises in the east.
So my heart prepares to leave,
tangled in this paradox,

where I fear to grow deep roots
knowing I must go,
yet I grow them anyway,
and feel the pain this day.

For despite my greatest fight,
I am known,
I am seen.
Yes, your little drops of rain,
and the ripples that now rise,
have more than merely touched me-
they speak of loving deeply.

Like falling, falling rain,
longing, longing rain,
each ripple sets off another
till soon there is a hurricane.

Errantry: Home?

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These past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a place feel like home. I think feeling at home in a new place has a lot to do with connecting with and building a community of friends. But what makes you feel at home before you have this community?

Having moved around my whole life, my idea of “home” changes and adapts over time with each new place I move to. But there must be something that connects the places together, some kind of common ground or constant.

For most of my life, that constant has been my family, along with other elements taken from past places and experiences. My family has always been the one familiar thing in a new place. Having them with me always made it easier to settle into a new place and be able to call it home before having developed my own community there.

But when I moved to Amsterdam two and a half months ago, I didn’t have my family for the first time. I had to find some other kind of common ground between Amsterdam and the last place I lived, Kenya. Once I found a common ground, I could use it as a way to make me feel at home until I had developed my own community of friends and people who really know me.

One aspect of home that I have taken with me is my love of sunrises and sunsets. In Kenya, my friends and I would get up early, every time we were together, to watch the sun rise over the coffee fields outside my house. Or we would climb the neighborhood water tower to catch the last rays of the sun as it went down over those same fields.

The other aspect of home that I have brought with me is my love of chai. When my friends and I were together, we would always make big batches of Nepali and Indian chai, full of rich spices–cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger.

Both of these elements, chai and watching the sun, are unique to my experiences in Kenya, only learned during my time there.

As I settled into this new home in Amsterdam, I unpacked my tea and spices, uniting them on the stove with milk and water. I biked out to the waterfront near central station, or the big wharf downtown, and I watched the sun fall with its fiery breath. I inhaled the spices of the chai and exhaled with the sun, each breath feeling closer and closer to home, even in this new land.

Overtime, as I made friends and became more a part of the community here, I needed these elements less and less.

And now, with only two weeks left here, I wonder what new aspect of home I will take with me to the next place. What element will be my constant? What aspect of home have I added to my definition?


“Errantry” is a series of blog posts related to my gap year. If you want to know more about this year and my reasons for it, check out my first post about Errantry.

Errantry: 2 Months In

I’ve been in Amsterdam for two months now, and haven’t really had the chance to share many of the stories and adventures I have collected here. So here are some pictures from the last two months with short explanations. Enjoy!


Working in a hostel, you meet a lot of guests. One of my goals for my time in Amsterdam was to jump into a canal (despite how nasty they are). I met a guest who wanted to do so as well, and we spontaneously decided to jump into a canal, clothes and all.

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I’ve always wanted to busk, so I thought I would get some experience by jamming at Central Station. I ended up singing improvised jazz with a jazz pianist at the public piano there. It was totally spontaneous, and we were just making up the music on the spot!

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The most dangerous part of working at The Shelter Hostel, is that I live right next to what is considered the best apple pie place in the Netherlands. And, it happens to be open until 3:00am. My friends and I are always keen for some late night apple pie. If you’re in Amsterdam, you should check it out. It’s called Winkel.

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Pro tip: If you want to get a picture at the iamsterdam sign without hundreds of tourists, go at around 6:30am. And, you get to catch the sunrise while you’re at it!

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My friend and I biked all the way out to Zaanse Schans to see the windmills. The ride out there was so beautiful, through farmland and countryside. And on the way back, we got drenched by an onslaught to rain, which made the trip even more unforgettable.

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While we were there, I decided to embrace life as a tourist. My Dutch friend didn’t feel the same way 🙂img_0284


This is the other dangerous place near where I live: Tony Chocolonely. The wall behind us in the photo is completely full of chocolate, and at the store, you can sample as much chocolate as you want, of all different kinds. That is why we look so happy 🙂

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Unlike my European friends, Muiderslot Castle was the first castle I’ve ever been to. It was a pretty exciting experience for me, and the bike ride from Amsterdam is gorgeous!

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We biked 60km round trip, just to watch the sunset from the beach and go for a late night swim. It was so worth it! Zandvoort Beach

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Its hard to see in the picture, but there was a huge classical music concert on the canal that I got to go to. The event was free so the streets and canal were packed with people and boats. The music was incredible! Prinsengracht Concert

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Some adventures are big, planned out events. But sometimes the best adventures are the everyday ones.

Like every stroopwafel that I have eaten here…

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Or watching the sunset…

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Or playing cards in Dam Square with McDonald’s soft serve ice cream…

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Or football matches in the park…

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Or singing at open mic nights…

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Or hanging out with friends…

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Or going on walks…

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Or riding through the streets and along the canals…

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Or shall I say…simply living life, moment to moment, in Amsterdam.

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Peace to you, and may you have a blessed week!

Metamorphosis in Dam Square

Who is the man under the skeleton costume,
posing with tourists for a few spare coins?
Who is hiding beneath this skin?
Is he a father,
seeking to feed the hungry mouths of a family,
hoping his job is more than just a man in a guise?

Then I see it, his metamorphosis.
The skeleton mask comes off–
A tanned face appears,
worn and tired,
like the aged leather of my journal,
used too many times.
He takes off his suit,
stoops over his jar,
counting coins.
Is it enough, I wonder,
or will he not eat so that his family might?
He walks away,
face and shoulders low.
Disappears into the crowd,
unnoticed, unknown.
Spare change for a photo—
A man’s pride for trade.