Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kelli's Blog

Photo taken 12 July 2009 - Richard & Kelli's backyard, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.

29 September 2009 - Beirut, Lebanon (sitting in Graffiti in Hamra, as usual)

I just read the very first post of Kelli's totally hilarious blog. I'm in my usual pre-travel tizz because I'm flying to New Delhi at 3am tonight and working through a ridiculous itinerary of planes, trains and automobiles to get me to the ashram in the Himalayas by the 3rd. It was such a treat to read a day in the life of Kelli's life. I worked with Kelli's husband, Richard for 8 years at BofA. He and I are the same age but he was always many rungs above me on the corporate ladder. It was Richard's persistence in luring me to the London office that laid the foundation for my leap of faith out of the country. Back in the early BofA Houston Energy days, Richard and I were both in long-term relationships for roughly the same number of years, a number which grew each year that we worked together. I remember (not sure Richard does) a few big conversations we had over drinks about the possibility of marriage to our respective others. Eventually we made our decisions: I broke up and went solo, Richard married Kelli. When I moved to Lonon, Kelli came over the day I moved into to my flat at Elizabeth Court and we talked for hours. I realized then that she and I had very similar lives but made opposite choices. Kelli's funny, smart and cool - and she knew what she wanted: marriage and children. That day as we sat in the beginning stages of my new, uncertain, single & childless London Life, I remember admiring her clarity. I still do. What I admire even more is her honesty, which I find humorous, poignant and wise. I've always thought she and I should write a book together, a back and forth between divergent paths from the same fork in the road (the fork, specifially, was being a female, urban dwelling corporate late-night worker in Houston, Texas circa 2002).

Yesterday is a great example:

At 1am last night, I was out with Chloe, walking past a barbed wire military patrol point on the Corniche in Beirut, Lebanon. Chloe's a fascinating an kind humanitarian Peace Corps NGO person who is not the least bit afraid of war zones. We were discussing the infinite madness of being in our thirties, single, childlesss, working abroad, traveling in the Middle East, what we're doing next, if we could ever get married, have kids, live in the States. Do we want it? Could we have it? Are we happy? What do we want to do next? Is my return plane ticket (returrning to Beirut December 09) a safety net?

Meanwhile, Kelli was writing her first blog entry about landscaping and cooking MSG fish sticks for toddlers. And you know what? Kelli could have just as easily been walking with us past the rifled soldier behind the barbed wire on a cliff in Beirut; and I could have just as easily been hanging out with Kelli, lamenting landscaping decisions, fish sticks and dishes in the dishwasher. We're both fortunate, we're both living lives which so many people do not have the privilege to attain. And we're both grounded in the reality that neither of our lives is all it's cracked up to be. Everything in life is a trade-off.

Link to Kelli's blog: My Life as a Stepford Wife


kas said...

Oh no, now everyone knows about my blog. THANKS ALI, now I have to keep at it! Sounds like you had a relaxing day.