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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Matthew Harris' LiveJournal:

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Friday, April 29th, 2016
4:30 pm
Today was my first happy day
Today was my first happy day. Not totally without worry and depression, but a day when I enjoyed things without thinking "oh shit". I got wired money to pay my rent and now I feel like I really belong here. I also have enough money to walk around and buy food.

I found a roommate almost miraculously and having someone to live with makes me feel useful again. Like I am not a beggar or a hanger on carrying scraps of paper around in a plastic bag. I am part of things. I can observe and appreciate the culture around me without being afraid. I can well and truly begin to do what I was supposed to do.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
11:22 pm
Four complete days
Its been four complete days since I updated, and in that time, I wouldn't even know where to begin to describe the emotional ups and downs that I have had. The good news is, every day that I have been here, I have gained back some of my needed things (including my credit cards and passport) and learned a new skill (I've been riding the bus and not getting lost)

On the other hand, I've had some pretty tremendous bouts of just feeling incredibly lost and homesick and scared and worried and just wanting to run away. I also haven't really honestly worked out which of my feelings are adaptive, telling me real things about my situation, and which are reactive, just me being scared and wanting to go back to feeling "normal".
Friday, April 22nd, 2016
9:55 pm
This is only the second day, but much better
You know sometimes you wake up from a nightmare, and you have that happy time when you shake yourself awake, and think "its not really that bad"

Well, I´ve had that, only instead of that I am like "yeah, that really happened, and is still happening"

Okay, but lets not think about that too much. Because I also have the power to actually do things.

Today I saw the side of Chile that I wanted to see. I walked down Providencia, and visited the Parque Metropolitan, a large park built on a series of hills. I visited the bohemian neighborhoods of Santiago like Bellavista, and got to see people living their lives, got to experience some of the energy. It certainly recharged me, at least for a while! Being up on the hill also helped me get away from Santiago´s tumult, and it was nice to be somewhere without voices. Not of, course, that I mind the voices, but it was nice to be in nature, without the constant reminder of what a wall to understanding that the voices can be.

Hmm...I guess this doesn´t sound as optimistic as I thought it would at first. The days kind of cycle, (all two of them), and sometimes it is energy and optimism, other times it is "well, what now"

I guess I am just going to take this one day at a time.
Thursday, April 21st, 2016
5:19 pm
Big updates on Chile
So, Chile:

First thing, I am safe. And staying at a comfortable home.

But, my first experience in Chile, getting out of the taxi from the airport, was being mugged by a group of five people, who stole everything. My luggage, my laptop, my wallet, my backpack, my clothing. I then spent three surreal hours with Chillean police officers who were very kind and helpful but who didn´t speak much English. I was lying wrapped up in a pink blanket across three uncomfortable plastic chairs in the Providencia Police station when my employer showed up to take me away, and I am now staying with him.

This is...well, I guess one thing is, its really easy for me to look back at how I was thinking 24 hours ago, when I still had everything, and think that if I had done one thing different, I would be without a care now (Although, of course I would have cares). Time is a continuum, but not a good one. And a big part of it is second-guessing myself. But apparently this is a rate thing, and I just happened to...have bad luck.

I hope I have better luck going forward.

I will keep you all posted.

(I was loaned a laptop to use)
Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
11:26 am
Panama
The seven hours I am spending in Panama seem to tell me a lot more about me than they do about Panama (especially since probably at least half the people here aren't Panamanian).
Airports are the same the world over, and the biggest difference here is that it's even more expensive than San Francisco Airport. Which causes some grumbling on my part, in both my stomach and the mind.
It's pretty modern, but I can see some crumbling of the facade, sometimes literally. There is a bright plaster mark on the wall right in front of me.

And what this says about me is that there are understandable limits to my engagement. I am in a new country for the first time since 2003, but mostly I want now is to get somewhere where I can sleep for real and go to a grocery store.

More updates to come.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
8:50 pm
At SFO
I'm at SFO where I am currently sitting on a little booth with faux marble and electricity, and dealing with the fact that my airline counter didn't open on time and that my cellphone tried to update all my apps as soon as it sniffed wi-fi

Also I'm at 28% battery life which is slowly going up.

So, the point is, lots of little things to nettle me.

And a lot of big things to think about.

Okay going to go check on the Copa Counter


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Sunday, April 17th, 2016
4:09 pm
Hurry up and wait
At another time, the week or so I've been in Arcata would be a great vacation, and I would be making the best of it, and getting ready to return home refreshed and full of visions that would make my "normal life" seem more interesting. This was what it used to be like in Hamilton, even when I went to somewhere as near as Missoula. But now Arcata is just another small American city, a rest stop before the real adventure begins.

And mostly what I've done is hurry up and wait. There is tickling anxiety, of course, sometimes over something like how many pairs of socks I should carry. I do have the feeling of paper work left undone, of the scattered elements of my life that have gradually been winnowed after the past...five moves? being in a state of lack, or of having the wrong thing. I play a lot of "Killbots"

So that is me right now, waiting. Soon enough, there will be updates about things other than waiting.
Thursday, April 14th, 2016
12:04 am
I still have this for me:
IMG_2962

I've changed a lot in the past few years, to the point that sometimes its hard for me to understand myself as I was in 2008 or 2012. But then some parts seem to stay the same. The long walks down nameless country roads that were so important to me as a teenager, listening to Neil Young songs, are still something that seems to appeal to something in my core. Such was it this Monday, a long two days ago, when I got in a nice walking trance and walked the six miles from Arcata to McKinleyville, a walk that went from the dreary suburban outskirts of Arcata through the pretty country roads to the...also surprisingly big non-town of McKinleyville. A lot to look at and think about.

And its hard to type on this keyboard, so...
Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
12:31 am
The end of Homestuck
So the final chapter of Homestuck was finished tonight, after a seven year run.

(What is Homestuck? Something that started out as a webcomic, and ended up as a multimedia work, infamous for its length, complexity and shaggy dog stories)

I started reading Homestuck in late 2012, in a motel room in Brookings, and the fatalistic, complicated nature of Homestuck was a counterpoint for the beginning of 2013, a year that saw me broken down in almost every way. Also, an ironic title given that 2013 would herald the beginning of an almost constant state of moving and being away from home.

Homestuck really is where my life took a turn, or at least it appeared and seemed to symbolize the turn that my life was fated to take. And now it ends just as I am departing again, on another adventure...but one that I am much better equipped to understand.
Sunday, April 10th, 2016
7:03 pm
I'm getting a lot of practice at moving
The upcoming move still seems rather unreal, but that is somewhat altered by how unreal the entire year has been. This trip to Arcata is my fourth "move" this year, and its only April. Its somewhat inexplicable that I've found myself in Tacoma and Arcata, so why should a move to Chile be so incredible?

My time in Arcata, so far, which has been all of 48 hours, has been pretty good. Despite some of the things that make Arcata less than perfect, I am with my family now. And despite the past anxieties associated with that, I am finally home.

...for another less-than-ten days.
Thursday, April 7th, 2016
11:06 am
Another last day
Its my last day in Vancouver. In a few hours, I will be packing up and moving on. Less than two, actually.

I've had a lot of last days this year. There was my last day at my father's house. There was my last day here in Rosemere before going up to Vancouver. On the CELTA, there were four last days in a row: my last day teaching, the last full day of class, graduation/parting day, the day I left Tacoma. And now here is one more. And there will be one more coming, when I leave the US.

I am kind of beyond the point of wanting to give everywhere and every time a sentimental send-off. The rush of experiences that I've had since I first stepped off a moving fan on a bright July day last year won't be given a neat little bow, as I prepare to leave the Portland area for a long while.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
11:04 am
Spinning my wheels (but that isn't a bad thing)
I haven't updated in a while, and since that...not updating, things have been proceeding. I now have train tickets to California, and tickets to fly from San Francisco, to Panama, to Santiago. All these things are done deals. It seems simple enough, people do this all the time. Yet it still seems incredible for me.

I walk the streets of Vancouver, in the spring, and it seems like this will just be forever, I'm bored and I want to get out, and I am leaving here in four days (Thursday afternoon), but it still feels like forever. This desk, this computer, my mass of papers on the bookcase that isn't mine, the clothing balled up between the bedframe and the wall, the stale cookies in the cupboard, the routine of taking Lucy for a walk, watching Star Trek voyager, checking my phone in the morning, all of it seems like ti will go forever, even though I know in a few weeks my life will be something I can't even imagine.
Friday, March 25th, 2016
11:26 am
Walking in the rain
IMG_1993

One of the coincidences of my recent life is that I find myself living, for a stage, about a thousand feet away from one of the places I "grew up in" --- the preschool where I have some of the earliest memories, which is in the same complex that my father lived in for some of my childhood. Pretty much everything I see is linked by memories over 30 years old. Quite a bit of the terrain and businesses around here are still the same: the Burgerville doesn't have the gigantic hamster wheel that so enchanted us as children. Waterworks Park, which at one time was the jewel of Vancouver Parks, now is run down and less savory.

Occasionally, there might be some epiphanies hiding in these well-travelled streets. I had a couple of them while walking on the path shown above, tying my past to the present. But, at this point, I am kind of moving beyond that. I am moving on to the future.

Maybe I will come back here in ten more years and things will make even more sense.
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
6:59 pm
I'm back in Vancouver
Today is Tuesday. Whooosh!

I came back to Vancouver Saturday night. As soon as I got a good night's sleep, the stress and fear and generally myopic and caged world I had been living in for the past four weeks kind of dissipated. It seems incredible to me now that my life of a week or two week's ago was so regimented.

So in the past three days, I've been...doing things. Mostly enjoying myself. Sleeping. There is also some...past to sort through, I guess I would say.

And future: I am taking the Chile job. I should be leaving the US in four weeks or so. Pretty incredible to me. Wow. I guess more updates to come:
Friday, March 18th, 2016
12:32 pm
Done with the CELTA
I'm done with the CELTA, presumably with a passing result. :)

I should feel really good but mostly I just feel so tired that I am numb.

Like a lot of hard tasks, I will probably edit this out over the coming months and years, forgetting just how exhausting and stressful this was. But for now, I'm just sitting in a little foyer next to a conference room at Bates, not even thinking about what happens next.


Posted via m.livejournal.com.

Monday, March 14th, 2016
11:13 pm
Tacoma in the Rain
IMG_1962

This picture is from Saturday, which (repeat this refrain) was a long time ago.

I feel that it shares some of the spirit of Tacoma that people expect. In Downtown, they have the university and the museums and Tacoma is on its way, and up here in Hilltop, they are building condos and townhouses at a furious clip. The four or five steep blocks inbetween are a slice of what Tacoma used to be. And also shows how much of a gap there is between Tacoma and Portland and Seattle: I can't imagine unused land like this anywhere in the Portland/Seattle downtown cores.
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
11:34 pm
A bit late, from this Monday
Time moves both fast and slow during this course, as I think I've mentioned.

Another thing to mention: I came here in February, and in the three weeks since then, spring has started here. I've been too wrapped up to appreciate nature changing, and I am sure that once I get done with this and my full awareness returns, I will be like "wow, that was a lot of stuff I missed!"

But yes, last Monday, when we had a "free" morning, I went for a walk in the immediate neighborhood, and visited Wright Park, Tacoma's main "downtown" Park.

And this cherry tree was blooming:

CherryTreeWrightPark

And who knows what has happened to that tree since then? What has happened to the woman who sold me this keyboard at a thrift store near Ruston? Or the bikers roaring out of a bar along the #1 line? Or the woman from Pennsylvania who I talked with on my first full day here, when I went to Goodwill to buy two shirts?
Thursday, March 10th, 2016
11:35 pm
Getting by with logarithims
I am now 14/20 days done with the CELTA. A little more than two thirds. Given how draining it has been so far, another six days still seems like a long time.

Besides the last day is not a full day, being a paperwork day and then a celebration day. (If we have anything to celebrate! :) )
And tomorrow I don't have teaching practice. I have two more days of teaching practice, Monday and Wednesday.
Also: logarithms. Logarithmically, I am 89% of the way through the course. Not just a piece of mathematical trivia: the steep learning curves that have marked the course are all gone by now. Not that I am letting my guard down...

And with all this rush to be free of the criticism and the tension and the fear of being stuck in a moment of panic with no escape, and the diarrhea and the dead sensation, what is left? How many walks on the skybridge, treasuring the little bubble of escape as I look out at Mt. Hood and see Bates' diverse population go too and fro talking, will be lost? Eternity as a tangent line continues on, pushed off by the recoiling we do out of tension.
Saturday, March 5th, 2016
11:42 pm
Homesick
There is a lot of feelings going on, a lot of experiences, but let me name just one, one that I only really put into words just recently (like maybe 20 minutes ago).

I'm homesick.

I miss my home, and I don't even know where that is. I miss Montana, I miss having a nice house where I could make tea and rest. I miss Vancouver, and the streets I walked through when I was young. I miss Portland and the buzz and feeling of accomplishment I had in my 20s. I miss all of it. I don't know when something will come by to replace it. I have a very nice hotel room with no feeling of home in it, a refrigerator full of frozen meals, a beige carpet that reminds me of the 1990s, and a walk forward to unknown destinations.

What next?
Friday, March 4th, 2016
11:18 pm
The CELTA is really tough
The CELTA is really tough.
I am also halfway done with it, which is a lot more than halfway due to the magic of exponential numbers.
I've done lots of weird things, like getting up at 4 AM and not being able to fall back to sleep. Often I will go two or three days like that. Compared to my usual habits, this is pretty unusual.
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