Danielle Capalbo’s Blog

Change of pace

Posted in General Updates by Quiet Giant on May 19, 2009

Not to get all personal or anything, but I’m going to write about my emotions now.

Sorry.

You just can’t intellectualize some things, or even make them sound a little bit smart.

Oh well.

When we landed, my emotions became immediately trivial compared to coping with the logistics of cultural upheaval. You know: international ATM charges, conversion rates, what foods will ruin me, how to cross the street, figuring out when it’s OK to accept a stranger’s help or when trust will translate into a 30-minute tour of Aly Baba’s perfume shop.

But I’m settled now. I can think about personal stuff before bed. (Though I mostly use that time to read Twilight, no joke.) And in the van the other night, we got talking about gushy stuff. I took the opportunity to verbalize this one particular thing I’ve been reflecting on.

Right before I got on the plane at Logan, I experienced this crazy metamorphosis. It wasn’t profound. Pretty anticlimactic, actually. Unplanned, unannounced. I didn’t notice it until recently, even, in retrospect. But since May 2, I’ve been absurdly calm. Quiet inside. Unshakably present. Really, really peaceful and happy.

I can’t find a direct connection between those feelings and this trip. Instead, I’m filing it under “great coincidences,” because, for a generally anxious person, that emotional sea change gave me the chance to sink into my work and surroundings to an invaluable extent.

Egypt helps, too. There’s the inherently meditative quality of walking through a mosque, barefoot. And the city’s policy of zen-by-force: the competing sounds and smells of Cairo will pummel your Western sanity if you don’t mellow out.

And the people are great. They inspire me to take it slow and, as much as I hate to say this, because it’s an unfair luxury of a disconnected American, seeing the way so many Egyptians struggle puts life into perspective.

Finally, I’ve never been this far away from the people I love, which makes me realize, more and more every day, simply having them close is the best thing ever. Details are totally important, but mini points of contention are not.

A lot of things mean more than my narrow definitions of comfort and perfection. For once, that’s comforting unto itself.

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7 Responses

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  1. Jeanne Mendez said, on May 19, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    This is lovely and True (with a capital T). Because it is true for you. And these things sound very, very smart. You are growing and learning about yourself, which was, of course, one of the points of this trip. So don’t apologize for sharing your soul. We are honored to have read your words.

    Two thoughts: There is no such thing as Great Coincidence. So study what’s happened to you — find a clue as to why.

    Don’t worry about getting personal (in the right contexts). A colleague of mine once said she didn’t understand when corporate managers advised her to leave her personal life at home. Her response, “If you leave your personal side at home, who the heck is that sitting in your chair?”

    Be well and enjoy the rest of your journey! Can’t wait to read more of your work.

    Jeanne

  2. Jeanne Mendez said, on May 19, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Dani – on one of Nick’s blog’s he had a link to yours – with a caption about how you were one fantastic blogger. And so I took advantage of a good internet connection to read your whole collection — Front to back! You are a beautiful writer. I’m a fan!

    Hope to meet you some day.

    Jeanne

    • daniprobably said, on May 20, 2009 at 9:55 am

      Jeanne,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments and the kind words about my writing! They mean so much. Good to know I’m doing OK over here.

      And yes, I hope I can meet you, too! Maybe some of our families could get together for a debriefing dinner after the trip. It seems strange, reading comments from everyone’s parents, that we don’t know each other already.

      I’m also going to take your advice and think a bit harder about the connection between the feelings I described in this post and our trip.

      Good quote, too!

  3. Sandy Raymond said, on May 20, 2009 at 6:01 am

    An open heart is never something you should be sorry for. In fact, quite the opposite. As having followed you on this journey it’s been both beautiful and delightful to share a little corner of who you are. You’re learning lessons many people never learn. It is important to slow down and appreciate life. Jared talked about inner peace and you talk about the calm….both come from within and I see such a lovely transformation in each of you as you “open your hearts”. You must be a remarkable young lady…….

    Sandy

    • daniprobably said, on May 20, 2009 at 9:56 am

      Sandy,

      Your comments consistently make me smile. Thanks for being so attentive to these posts, and for the reassurance here. It means a ton.

      Dani

  4. nancy said, on May 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Only a few weeks from Shopping for long skirts, long sleeves and chargers, hey?

    Danielle, I knew that this trip would change you, sometimes you need to separate yourself from your loved ones, disconnect perhaps, in order to find your inner peace, become your own person and think for yourself instead of someone imposing their ideas on you.

    I read all of your post, and to be honest, I hear so much excitement , but at the same time I hear you rejoicing because you are seeing people, situations and circumstance in an empathetic light. Rock on my tiny dancer and keep bringing the knowledge that you are absorbing, I look forward to your posts everyday . By the way, my Ka would be feeding me Lobster every night,

    The Biggest Love
    Momma Bear

  5. Tim Daly said, on May 22, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Danielle, beautifully written from the heart! My wife noticed your wonderful writing from the start and I agree-good stuff! You are right in that it is wonderful to go on adventures but as Dorothy once said “there’s no place like home” where family and friends welcome you back with open arms. Peace.


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