Friday, July 18, 2014

Living in an Airport

Another Day Another Airport

Sorry I haven't been able to do much blogging. I just got home Wednesday after my sixth flight in the past five weeks. Hence the title, I've admitted the airport as my second home. Which is good and also not so good. Lay overs give me a lottt of time to spend wandering the crowds, sitting on floors and in window sills (I don't know why but I'm not a big fan of conventional seating).

The Pepper giving me inspiration      On the floor in Phoenix airport

Either way I've actually always loved airports. Uhh WHAT go the millions of people who hate them. I can see why some people hate/fear them. There is the "never been before it's so intimidating" fear and the crowded, stressful "is TSA really going to let him touch me there!" hatred. But ever since I was little they've been a really cool place.

Read this in the airport, laughed in front of strangers.
"Exchange students are ruining our country."
It's like the old days. Sitting up against a window turning gazes from the metallic birds launching off concrete fields, to the hustle and bustle of what must be a every age and every race heading off to every possible destination in the world. And people still think I'm crazy to like it here. Here, in this international flocking point, we're all from somewhere, all going somewhere. It makes me wonder about people's stories. Everybody has one. Each flight brings a new one to hear and a new one to tell.

Always wanted to be a twin.     Ryan Gosling?? Sadly no :(

Unfortunately not all flights bring the people willing to tell. The fact that I've turned to a blog shows how much I like to talk. Not everyone is quite so talkative and that's ok. I've learned the signs.

I Do Not Wish To Communicate if...

  1. Ear-buds are in
  2. Book is out 
  3. Lap top is on
I can respect people's boundaries but with a hyperactive mind and a more than 3 hours of sitting I'm not a big fan of sitting still and staying quiet. If my "Hi, I'm Tanika. :) So, is *insert destination* your final destination?" doesn't get me anywhere I resort to my books and occasionally, if I can find some inspiration, my writing.

Time to Take-Off

Looking out at my home of two years I don't feel the usual sadness. Maybe I'm getting too good at goodbyes. Lot's of things (that I'm sorry but must remain off this blog) are flowing through my mind. So I focus on the belly of the bird.

A plane has two sides. I always hope for the good side, the turning-side. You know the side where the bird tilts and you can look out at the views down there, watching at the ity bits of man-made miracles below. But not this time. As the as we lift up and tilt right I was sky-side. Man, I had to stretch my neck to look across the isle only to be stopped by a poof of Dallas-Dolly hair clouding the window. I sat back and settled for my window. At first the sun bounced off the wing and struck me in the eyes. Hmf  I squinted and recovered finding nothing more than endless blue. How boring. I let my thoughts fly from my head with only paper to catch them.
Turning-side. Leaving NC in 2012
    First view of California in 2012 and last view(for now) 2014

Flight photography. Not too shabby California

Cruising at 35,000 Feet

We are in the clouds, and my visions of blue faded fast in the now endless white. Clouds are the BEST. From the eyes of a bird they pillow around you like a welcoming bedroom. And then you're flying through them! Layers and layers of misty fluff, further closer and all around you, blinding the windows with white. In the cloud, that's the best.

 Couldn't get many good ones but here is the cloud bedroom and the blinding white.

At first it's a little weird. You can't orient yourself in a cloud where UP, down, east, WEST no longer matter. For a moment it's like your in a time machine. The clock may not stop on your watch but for once it stops being important. You're just in the cloud feeling a tad bit lost, and on your way to a different place. The clouds are a piece of magic. No matter how many times I pass through them I'll always feel the same excitement in getting a little lost.

I changed my mind. Airports are not my home. Airplanes are not my favorite.
Clouds, they are my favorite home.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

World Traveler Edition 1

Travel Journalism

I have always wanted to make one of these. Pinterest, instagram, travel blogs galore are flooded with these homemade journals. They outline people's amazing travel experiences in ticket stubs, post cards, used napkins and the good ole' "Dear Journal". So I thought heck I'm going to Spain that should be enough adventure to earn a book! And I began. Like this blog it has been really hard coming up with ideas, do I write in it? draw in it? put chewed up gum in it? Yeah I found this on a Barcelona street bench woo hoo! Of all the internet trolling I had done, the advice that stuck with me the most was, make it memorable, make it worth it, make it yours. And I am so ashamed that I can't remember where I found these good words, but they definitely set me on the right track. With a few trial pages I started to get a feel for what I wanted this mixed-up-journal-sketch-scrap-book to be. So here I give you the early beginnings of "World Traveler" (Or Welcome To the Wild Mind of Tanika Santos.. the first one just seemed more professional).

Practice Page 1 : A Messy Mix Up
With this first page I just let myself junk it up and hope for some artistic inspiration to sweep up the mess. Well I did manage to junk it up. My "Pocket of Positivity" holds the secrets to happiness- kinda. I filled it will inspirational quotes about travel :D love <3 and life * (that's my figurative sun). The rest was a process of writing prettily, tearing it up and gluing it back together (another figurative image of life ;)) I'm so good at the figurative thing I even managed to give a ROLO's wrapper meaning :
Memories are like Rolo's.
We savor them.
Absorbing as much feeling, 
until it melts away.
But even when it's gone, 
the sweetness still lingers.
Flipping poetry, I know! haha only kidding :) Despite a messy beginning as I always seem to have, this page sparked some ideas for more pages to come. 

Page 2 (featuring the sweet notes from Breaking Down The Walls 2013)
This page got my juices flowing a little more. That morning I received as always a pile of college pamphlets and letters STUDY WITH US! Your future is calling! WE HAVE PAINTBALL!!! One did manage to catch my eye, not for the "bright future I had on their campus" but for the four simple words Your Journey Begins Here. It seemed like "here" meant the kitchen counter I was sitting on at the moment, here meant the anxiousness of waiting to receive my host family, here meant now. The picture, Our students travel to 32 different countries on semester long exchanges. Kaitlyn, 19 taking in the beautiful view of South Africa. They really were talking to me.

Pages in the middle : Doodles and Such
With these pages I found myself sitting outside and thinking without thinking. Some call it meditation, but really I just sit outside and occasionally draw stuff, or write stuff or shout at annoying geese. (No peaceful meditaty would shout at birds).

Page 8 : The Real Traveler Stuff
 I love these pages because they just look nice! I started on the left by drawing Spain so I could have an idea of where the cities were. (Not perfectly to scale but pretty snazzy huh?) I did some girlish travel doodles and left space thinking I'd fill it with actual travel stories. But then I got too excited! I have many lists, bucket lists, travel lists, travel-bucket lists (My favorite!) so I added some of them instead. Hopefully this will be a checked page by the end of the year because I know it'll be all checks before I kick it.


I will have many more of these to come. They mostly outline my excitement for Spain, the city and my new life, even with some fears (shhhhh)

So that's what I've got so far. My journal is like me, an open book (there I go again with the figurative language) Hope you liked the little trip into my "Semi-artsy-definitely-crazy-mind"
See You Soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Introductions to a Budding Blogger

"Here we go!"
Words in Warning
This marks my first leap into the unknown jungle of blogging society. I realize that creating a blog means pulling together thoughts which spin and change, fade and fly (especially in my hyperactive mind). So if my words get jumbled or my thoughts skip around, please forgive my human imperfections. I'm still working on them :)

I am Forever Bound by the "-"

"I'm off on a new adventure! See ya!"

The hyphen. My name is my story, Tanika Rose Santos-MacSwain. Long name, cool name, and absolutely perfect for explaining my beginnings. (I tell this story to everyone so if you've heard it before skip on). 
My parents meet in Japan where "Tanya" my mom's best friend introduced her to this handsome Peruvian with an Elvis-like hairdo. Peru home to the Inca's, home to the beautiful city of "Ica" filled with gold. 
Skip ahead a few romantic years and then the name presents itself. In Singapore, my birthplace. My mom being the determined, independent woman she is insisted not only on my uniquely wonderful first name but my hyphenated glory name. My dad kept things simple, a middle name of beauty "Rosa". My name continues to confuse but also leads to a good story ending with "From the age of negative 9 months I became a traveler."

    So why Spain?
"15 countries, one crazy wonderful mashed up family"
Despite having an pretty cool background and moving almost always, I have lead a pretty simple teenage conquest: soccer, friends, peanut-butter sculpting, random dancing in public because I like the smiles I can bring (another warning I can be an upbeat cheese-ball) But no matter what I did I always wanted more. And then I met them. The exchange students. Boy was I in for a ride with these guys. I'll have more time to talk about them later because that is what my blog is supposed to be about? (Sorry for all the side tracking) But for now I will tell you this, they are superheros
"Pau's first time in snow!"
I'd experienced foreign exchange once before. Her name was Paulina, our exchange student from Mexico. The experience she was having was the experience I needed. In our year of late night trampoline talks and endless laughter we became not-by-blood-but-in-every-other-possible-way-Sisters. Never had the word felt stronger than in the moments of hugging goodbye. I've come full circle and I'm here 3 years later, saying goodbye, yet again, to another place, another year, another home. Let's see where it takes me.
"Look out Spain. This girl is on the way."