Picture Perfect

My phone is Harel’s when we’re together: He has an eye for angles and alignment more than I ever will. He snapped this picture in a plaza in Queretaro, and it’s still one of my favorite photos of all times–the color balance, the simplicity, its subtle complexity.

He also has a fondness for statuary. We once went to a natural history museum and he wandered off while I tried to read a lengthy description of Greek and Roman deities (it was in Spanish, but my familiarity with Greco-Roman mythology allowed me to piece together its meaning). By the time we drifted back together, he had taken pictures of literally every statue in the exhibition hall. Seriously. Each and every one of them.

I have a bad habit of taking too many pictures to remember something and then realizing later, as I look at my pictures, that they don’t really, can’t ever capture the moment like I had wanted them too, and instead of living it more fully, I had lost myself in the momentum of trying to catch it in pixels.

When Harel takes my camera, it’s hard to get lost in something I can’t have–somehow it frees me to be more present in the moment. And when I finally look back through my camera roll, I get to glimpse the experience through his eyes–what were the things that caught his attention, that drew his gaze, that made it memorable for him?

Even now, looking at the pictures he took for me, for us, it makes me feel closer to him.

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TBT: Sacred Space

They say that home is where the heart is, but it’s an empty saying without articulating what we mean when we say the heart. Is it the space where our bodies physically rest, or the space we feel most embraced, or is it something less tangible, more spiritual?

The synagogue pictured above is the oldest in Mexico, literally known as the Historic Synagogue. We went to visit it our first day together, but it was closed, so we went back the next day. We went upstairs and ogled at a temporary exhibit from the Palafoxiana Library (the oldest library in North America), and we were amazed by the stunning architecture, how small and perhaps insignificant I felt inside this place.

But also how expansive, how endless, how holy.

Outside these doors, after signing the guest book, we walked away wondering what we’d write if we were married, one last name, or two? Hyphenated, his first, or mine?

It was inside these doors, five months later, when we exchanged engagement rings.

I don’t always know where home is–or if there’s only one. Home is with my family, and in Raleigh, and in Hoonah and Punta Gorda and San Francisco and in Mexico, in the guest house where we spent our first night together, in Queretaro where we bought our rings, in Puebla where we kissed inside a volcano, in Mexico City where we met and embraced and kissed for the first time.

Home is in each of these places, because in each of them, my heart grew.

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TBT: Subway Robbery

 

All times aren’t good times.

Heading into the subway at the start of our day, I was pickpocketed and we lost all the money we had on us, with barely enough to get back home.

All our plans were ruined, and I had to worry about ID theft the day before Christmas.

We were angry, frustrated, stressed, and pissed off. But we were together. So we allowed ourselves time to vent, to let it out of us, and then we walked around the city, stopping at places where we could explore without paying–like walking through an antique bookstore, a Judaica shop, and an art gallery.

Shitty things happened, and they always will, but we made it through.

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Throwback Thursday

The year began with promise: We’d have our visa interview and then my fiance would fly up to the US and we’d be married.

Instead we found a clerical error on his passport, and the whole process came to a grinding (albeit temporary) halt.

So in the mean time, it’s my goal to dedicate every Thursday of this year until we have our visa interview to looking back at some of the moments he and I have shared.

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The Coin Game

I wish on falling stars. I make a wish at 11:11. I wish on birthday candles and math tests and every time I cross the street. But I’ve never tossed coins in a fountain to make a wish.

I like fountains, though. Harel and I had a habit of taking a picture with every fountain we passed. Then we’d taken a picture with all the fountains, so we stopped.

There was this moment, back in Queretaro just a week and a half ago, when he and I were in a museum and in the middle of its courtyard, there was this ornate fountain, its basin shaped like an eight-pointed star. I leaned over to admire the blue and white tiles inside it, for a moment thought of making a wish on those waters, but we didn’t have any coins on us. And yet, the moment lingered, drawn out, as though something were stirring, my pockets yearning for a few pesos to cast aside, the world waiting to grant our wishes.

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A Moment of Gratitude

Aside

Today I’m grateful to be in love with a man who I support unconditionally and who supports me just the same. I’m thankful to live in a country that recognizes our relationship and allows us to obtain a visa so he can move here and we can live together. And I’m thankful for the small number of amazing people who have donated to help us cover these costs.

Will you take a moment to make a small contribution? Just click here.

Here, There, and Anywhere

Writing is like meditation, and perhaps like any of the great monks, I can usually find my words anywhere. (Except of latemy words have come to my mouth like thick tar, and what I want to say is never what ends up congealed on the page.)

It’s a bit of a cliche to say I’ve written in coffee shops and libraries, but I have. I’ve also penned my words in more exotic places–in the middle of an open field, on the perimeter of a cafeteria while I ate my lunch, in bed at a hostel in Puebla, Mexico.

Some of these posts have made the front page. Others still haven’t been published. It’s an interesting discussion, the importance of inspiration and place, the interplay of ideas and space, but it’s a little bland if I boil it down. Is it easier to hit publish when I’m sitting at my desk or is it the risk assessment of my content that decides whether I share it with the world or let it steep in my saved drafts?

I like publishing complete thoughts, but not all conversations have a tangible end. My love affair with math. The state of racism and my place as a white man within it. Remarks on LGBT issues that I just ran out of time to proofread. Tangents and ramblings. All these things lie in wait. Perhaps someday I’ll gather the courage to share the incomplete.

So sometimes I write in strange places. I let the words roll down, simmer and swirl. Sometimes they form fruit and fall. Other times they wither in the bud.

Closet Confidential

Have you ever heard a joke that’s great until the punchline, and then it falls apart?

I feel opposite that: I know where I’m headed, but not how to get there–not even where to start. You see, I just spent a week in San Francisco, and seeing what the world could look like–what a more inclusive and queer-friendly world can look like–has made me realize a world where sexual orientation doesn’t matter can exist. But after seeing such high levels of inclusion, coming home feels a lot like walking back into the closet.

It’s not as funny as a joke, is it? But it does have a better punchline.

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Re: the Season of Giving

Gift Giving

My fiance holds the gift I gave him on the eighth night of Chanukah. Dec. 23, 2014.

With the Season of Giving going behind us, it seems fitting to take a moment to say thank you–both to the people who gave me gifts personally, but also to all the people whose generosity helped brighten the lives of others. It’s always seemed fitting to me that the gift-giving holidays are all clustered during winter, when we (in the northern hemisphere) most need the cheerfulness to keep us warm until the spring.

As any gift-giver may know, the easiest gifts to send are those that give themselves–like cash and gift cards. There’s something special about tearing off the wrapping paper and seeing precisely what you want to get, but for as long as I can remember there has been a different kind of excitement when I open a gift card–now I’m holding potential, opportunity, and I get to go on an adventure to decide precisely what I want.

This post is about one such adventure.

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