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2002-11-14 9:13 a.m.

Today I leave for Sweden. I have been awed by the responses I got to my letter. Friends, family, and friends I have not yet met posing as strangers all sent in words of encouragement and money. A week ago I was $1500 poorer. I had no idea how supportive and loving my community–at–large really was. But, this was my own fault. I never gave them the opportunity to show me until now.

My mind is buzzing like a hive of bees, and the thoughts oscillate at frequencies fantastic, like the tiniest of wings displacing the air of my stream–of–consciousness. I try to stay focused and grounded, but there is just so much buzzing. What will the train that takes me from Copenhagen to Malmö smell like? What will the bed I sleep in feel like? What will I eat for breakfasts? Will I prefer his Microtek Geffel mic or my Lawson? How much will pear cider cost? What is the exchange rate? Will his car have brown seats? What is his village like? Will I speak Swedish with his three–year–old daughter? Will I be shy and not speak Swedish at all? What pants will I wear?

My friend Thi gave me some stellar advice in an email yesterday: Think big, and breathe.

I am wearing a suit today, since I always wear a suit when I fly. It is my last line of defense against the unavoidable discrimination that is carelessly inflicted upon people with lots of piercings. I don't mind, though. I understand that there are sacrifices with any style. I like wearing a suit, anyways. It feels sarcastic.

Something came to me last week—popped into my mind—like a surprise gift in the mail. It was a simple phrase that summarized a recent theme in my life. See with your eyes, and not with your mind.

It is so easy to spin one's mind into a flurry about things, turn them over and over until it causes a sort of emotional and spiritual motion sickness. Why make yourself sick? Instead, look at the situation for what it actually is, and not for what you think it is or feel it is. Things are almost always so much better than we twist them into being in our minds. Look around: there are flowers in every country.