Feb, 2006. For the past five months I have been living in a car at the edge of woods — jobless and homeless and totally unable to find a way out. I can't sing, I can't dance, I can't scream loudly enough, but I can read and write. So here I am laying down tracks...hopefully the start of an online paper trail out of here. (Update: Miracles happen....if you are reading my story I am part of your proof.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

One fire and a funeral

I went to Andrew's dad's funeral on Wednesday, very sad.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The buds are opening on the trees again. Today, for the first time this year I saw branches flecked with pale pink blossom. Is there anything more lovely?

Monday, February 04, 2008


An hour ago a friend of mine's father died; his name was Douglas. He was a good man. Maybe while you're passing this way you'll say a prayer for him.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Life seams...

I am sitting here trying to catch up with emails. Lots of them in the last few days are from readers in Asia.. I had no idea my story would end up in an article over there and be read by a 16-year old student in Singapore...how bizarre is that! But over the last few days emails have been coming in from people who have read the article or read my book all those thousands of miles away telling me how, although they might have very different lives, they have been able to relate to my story in some way.

I have spent the last hour dipping in and out of some of their blogs, reading about their lives and cultures, being reminded that people are essentially the same wherever they come from, the same fears the same dreams...
Some of their blogs have pictures, or some are so vividly written that I almost feel for a moment that I have swapped worlds. Then I look up from the virtual world of my computer screen and back out through my side window, here in my real world, across at the London skyline. From this distance all the scaled-down, matchbox-sized landmarks stretching across from the towers and cranes of Canary Wharf and the dome of St Paul's along to the long misshapen pole of the Post Office Tower, and there, slowly turning through the trees, the big, bright bangle of the London Eye poking up from somewhere down on the Thames. I look back to the computer, at Shing Yi and her friends at their reunion in a restaurant somewhere in Singapore, smiling out at me from the screen and I can't help smiling back at how this world wide web we are all now in is making the world so tiny....at the great possibilities of that...as if there was no distance and no time.... And at how it was a blog and the people from around the world that came to read and give me encouragement on it every day, that literally saved my life in the end.

As I wrote that I just remembered something about Asia, some connection to when I was in the car. While I was sleeping across the front seats of the car in the laneway all those months, at one point, I can't remember exactly when, but at almost the coldest bit of it I seem to remember, there was an earthquake in the Philippines. Catastrophic destruction. Every morning I'd turn the key in the ignition to listen for a few minutes on the car radio to news of the mud slide disaster — to how whole villages had been wiped out, generations of families gone overnight. Morning after morning there would be reports of how many more homeless people there were now in these villages in the Philippines each day. The Phillipines had always seemed a milllion miles away for me before, tiny squiggles on a map, just a name, a geographical plural. But during those cold weeks I felt such a connection to them somehow. And as the traumatised voices of survivors filled the car each morning, or accounts of them were given, telling how they had not only lost their homes and all they had, but had lost their people too: mothers, husbands, children, friends, grandparents, lovers, all gone in an instant, it made me realise how lucky I was in a way. I know that sounds bizarre: I was homeless, completely on my own, had broken down (probably), and was living in my car, and I thought my own loss seemed unending, but it made me realise that I didn't have to deal with the enormity of their loss all at the same time. Not only were they homeless and had their dreams wiped out in an instant, but some of them were having to deal with the grief of losing all their loved ones at the same time. It was near the end of my time living in the car and I had almost shut down completely, but somehow something far worse that was happening over in the Philippines got me thinking again, and got me feeling something other than my own pain.

I used to sit there in the car under the trees those mornings shivering, eating whatever I had left over from the night before for breakfast, before I drove off to the hospital to have a hot shower in their basement. And whenever I thought I couldn't manage for another day or another moment I would think of all those people who had had their lives blown apart and say to myself 'At least you have a car to sleep in, Anya, they don't even have that.' So what many of you have said in emails about my story making you see your own problems in more perspective, I can understand. I don't think anyone's problems are really bigger or smaller than others', but I know that feeling. I know it because waking up to news about the disaster in the Phillipines all those mornings is what got me through some days too. It taught me that there is always something better and something worse.... Even when you think things can't get worse, there is always, always something worse happening somewhere. What was happening all those thousands of miles away in the Philippines was much worse than how I had ended up, living in my car...at least I had a car to sleep in. And I had public libraries and access to a blog to tell whoever might stumble across it one day about my story. I could never have imagined that a journalist from the New York Times would be the one to stumble across it— and from that hundreds of people would read my blog and that there would be a book and then this, or that one day I would be out of the car, and that again the Philippines would come into my story....

It did yesterday, with a man leaving a short message here on my blog, no name, saying simply:  'I am from the Philipines, thank you for writing your story.' For some reason it moved me deeply. I'll probably never know, but maybe he was someone whose life was torn apart by that disaster that time, one of the ones I listened to in the sleeping bag laying in the car...the ones whose voices came into the car those mornings to remind me that I was still a whole lot luckier than some. Maybe he was part of the invisible weft of my life, as others through connecting with this blog or my book have become, and I part of theirs. I'm not quite sure what I'm trying to say here, it's just that sometimes you think you start to see the seams of life — the way things are all joined up, meanings and purposes behind things, how everything is connected. It comes, it goes — and I don't think anyone ever does ever quite see them, but I hope I never give up believing that they are there: that somehow things are connected, and for a purpose, and that there is some design in all this, some method in what sometimes just seems like madness.

Book in Singapore

I have been told that in Singapore you might find my book in MPH, Borders
or Kinokuniya stores?

If not, it can be ordered from this blog, by clicking on the link over at the side of the blog (the one under the pink book cover. Or just click on the pink book cover)
Hope that helps...