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2:30am, siem reap, cambodia. 

walking down the street that runs along the old market–the market that hours earlier was teeming with people, emitting the scent of fish and lotus flowers and stinky, pungent durian fruits and nailpolish remover and amok stirred up in an electric crockpot and now is empty, ghostly, throwing menacing shadows onto the sidewalk–i caught my silhouette stretched out before me, a longer and leaner me, holding a guava tree.

i am carrying a guava tree down a shadowy lane in siem reap, cambodia, on my birthday.

stumbling on 5″ prada heels and slightly tangled in a long dress, shoulder bag creating a giant marshmallow-ish appendage in this shadow, as it’s stuffed with various trinkets, thoughts, mementos, cards, i am struck immediately by the change, the difference, the newness that i’ve just encountered on this day, my birthday. 

jason and shannon gave me a guava tree. roots, soil, leaves, foreverness planted into a”shannon chose this because they’re your colors” ceramic pot; a token of the future, a significant symbol of the foundation we’ve all laid here, the meaning of “we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.” even if we leave, we are here. we’re keeping a piece of ourselves here in this dusty, hot, ridiculously humid town. this plant, this gesture, the hugeness of the gift..its value. it’s value. the message is its value.

i received a red glossy painted lacquered bike helmet, hand painted and painstakingly obsessed over by serguei. my insane, custom designed typographical letters strategically placed across the back, perfectly symmetrical, evenly spaced, beautifully art directed and lovingly done by hand, by finger, by eye, reads: I AM WANDERLUST. beautiful, magnificent, i am left without words. this is for me. this helmet, this thought, this gift, this gesture. for me.

a journal from romain, a tiny sterling silver charm of a book from elodie. a bottle of red wine that is surely expensive and impressive and well beyond my elementary knowledge from mr magoo/kevin. a handmade black jersey, minimalist, so-chic-it’s-painful-and-i’m-going-to-rock-it-in-new-york-every-single-day dress from don. a silkscreen from loven of a vodka bottle filled with NYC airport luggage tags which underneath says ABSOLUT ELIZ. all bestowed upon me at a rooftop party organized by my beloved sheree, the person who is the soulmate of my world here, the ying to my yang, the sister/friend/confidant whom i can sit with in my hot steamy room and cry with, chain smoke cheap terrible cambodian cigarettes with, roll on the floor screaming with laughter with. and say anything to. anything. unconditional. the person who will come with me anywhere, go the distance with me, who has become a part of my self. this person who’s biggest gift to me is her self. and she organized this event for me. on the rooftop of my beloved soria moria, my summer 08 home away from home, with my dear kristen in cahoots.

i am carrying these things home. i see my shadow carrying these things home. carrying these people. carrying the tree, the books, the wine, the laughter, the sharing. the everything. they’re all in this bag, this exploding, oversized, enormous faux leather tote from a supermarket sweepstakes style swing through topshop with ruth one rainy day in london so many, many years ago. this bag is filled with them, the people who have cemented me here. the people and the experiences and the journeys that have made this place, this strange intoxicating town in the middle of nowhere, feel like a mirror to myself. each of them  reflect the person i want to be, the person i strive to be, the better me, the stronger me, the independent and fun and it-is-what-you-make-it me. the people they are, the people i love. they are mirrors, they remind me. they show me the way. they illuminate the dark shadowy road on the journey home, they light the torches. they are the torches. they are the lights.

they are with me. they are in my bag. my pocket. my wallet. my world, my life, my today, my future, my forever. 

i carry them with me wherever i go.

i. carry. them. with. me. wherever. i. go.

13 march, 2009. birthday gifts. people.

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10 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Happy Birthday my long lost friend- this is Martha from HS all those long and magical days ago- I am so proud of you and how you have lived your life as I know Ann and Katy would be. I think of you often and pray for your happiness. I hope this birthday in this new life and land was special and that you know no matter where you go- friends from the past will always cherish and love you ! Martha A

  2. at a dinner party in ny, a few years ago, i was asked what i wanted to do with my life – in an instant without thought or hesitation i heard the words come out of my mouth ” i want to be an entertainer and touch a million souls and be a monk so i can reach my own soul.” soon after, i left the corporate world, an ex-SVP to start a life without a defined title and to learn and follow what is in my heart.
    today, an animal advocate, environmentalist and actor, -me, was searching for a bag to carry all my headshots and wardrobe and such to and from shoots and found stella mccartneys line at le sport sac. and i found you. that’s a great gift – you. thank you for sharing your cool stories in this blog. i hope to further my meditation to the point you have reached albeit i am in my east village apartment w/o the benefit of the monk’s chants. i do hope our paths cross again one day soon. until then, i have a few film stills on imdb.com, for fun check them out when you have a moment to giggle. best wishes and be well

  3. Thinking of you on the 13th. Happy, happy birthday. To another glorious year of wonder, wander, love and growth…… I am so happy to hear the contentment in your voice. Much love from old friends. Kristin and Greg

  4. You are the one who has given all of us roots here. It will be a very good year–I can feel it.

  5. again… thank you for a lovely and heartfelt read.
    oh.. happy late birthday darlin’.
    xoc

  6. Squinting with one eye because my glasses were on the other side of the room, and ignoring flooding from the snow melt through the fire place, I kept reading on my little iPhone screen because the stories are so beautiful. Thanks

  7. A late happy birthday to you. Beuatifully told story. I wear the clothes from your store all the time & I heard my friends from Sweden also visited your shop this weak.
    Take care,
    Elin from Sweden (came by your shop several times in november together with Malin)

  8. Your stories warm my heart. So vivid and captivating as well. Can you start a book of short stories PLEASE??????

  9. Kalispera.

    Love, your old crone-y

  10. Dear Elizabeth,amazing to read your story, was in Siem Reap some years ago and loved it, thought life would never be the same back in the west after that, sort of speechless, there is a way in this world for definite changes, here in Paris working on an exhibition with Craig, you are my new source of inspiration!
    Lots of love.
    Thierry


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