Tuesday, July 7, 2015


I entered lao a year ago with the full expectation that I would be a lone wolf and not make a huge effort to make friends. Curmudgeon I cannot say I am, but I felt that my capacity for reaching out and making significant new connections was severely depleted. I even told everyone that I fully intended to live alone, and you know—work on my writing and basically be the embodiment of a lonely artist living in lao. It wasn't about the image (however I am totally into being seen as a sexy, misunderstood artist) but it's just honestly what I felt I needed and would naturally do. Less than two weeks later I was living in a lao mansion turned commune with 5 other people and also negotiating full work days of entertaining and educating 20 nine year olds. Cue ilse introvert explosion (implosion). But it didn't happen! I remained ploded! What happened, you may ask, to have so greatly changed the natural course of events (ilse moves to lao, meets a lot of friendly extroverted people who want to live in a big house together, moves into a big house, people talk to her too much, come into her room too much, ask her to hang out too much, etc, ilse goes crazy and implodes, is later found living in a local goatery, the end). What happens, my dear friends, is that I soul-mated! According to my research, soul-mating exponentially increases your stores of love, energy, and potential by 934%.

so it turns out that some of my previous soul-matings (of the romantic sort) have been less soul-matings and more soul-occupations. My soul, although strong, can be accommodating and sometimes it can get overpowered by a more aggressive one.

This time, it was pure and mutual, and never have I met another person so essentially similar to me, without lacking the interesting nuances and differences that people must have from each other. Erica and I exist in seamless harmony with each other, and ironically, singing in harmony is something that we found really easy to do together. At a time in my life where I felt bereft of inspiration and hesitant in my own strengths/traits, I met someone who reflected back to me a beautiful ilse and a magical world and I hope I was able to do the same to her. Through my lovely Erica I was able to appreciate the way I see the world, and look at things I have never seen and have seen with wonder.

Together we are coming to terms with a grey world. Turns out neither of us have the gift of seeing things in firmly delineated and categorized blacks and whites. That's okay though. We both like rainy, gray days anyway; the kind with monsoony clouds and all the colors muted with a dreamy half-light.

Together we are saccharine, disorganized, loving, dirty, wild, smooshy, and curious. There's no one I'd rather spend my time ogling beautiful humans and animals with. Together we are gentle to each other, ourselves, and the world.

I had framed my year in lao to my good friends as 'the year without men.' My year in Vientiane turned out to be the year with Erica, but her gender is incidental as we would have met and soul-mated regardless of gender, age, or species. I hope I have many years of Erica.

Something else we share is a love of poetry. This excerpt from William Blake's poem illustrates how Erica and I help each other see the world:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.
Then, this next poem is from “The Prophet” in the section on friendship that especially reminds me of our soul-matery. 
 And let your best be for your friend. 
      If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also. 
      For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill? 
      Seek him always with hours to live. 
      For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness. 
      And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. 
      For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.