Friday, August 24, 2012

The Adventure Thus Far

My packed up car

This trip has been a roller coaster of emotions. For the last several months I've been preparing for a far off distant thing that was only an idea. And then, the day arrived. The morning of August 17, 2012 actually showed up, and shoved me out the door of my friends' house, where I had been living the previous 2 months, reminding me that I had to go because I said I would. I do my best to do what I say I will do. This time it was really hard. I was terrified. I cried for the first 2 hours of my drive and wondered what the fuck I had been thinking.

I'm sitting in my plush hotel in Omaha, Nebraska basking in my last night alone for awhile. I have a king-sized bed, glass of wine, journal, a book I stole from a new friend I stayed with in Chicago (who also happens to be one of the people I'll be working with in the upcoming year), and a few hours to reflect on the last 7 days. Holy shit. Only SEVEN days??? Those seven days have felt like months. In a good way. 

My trip started with a 2 night visit to my long lost cousin in the Pittsburgh area. We hadn't seen each other, or even really talked much since we graduated from high school in 2002. An entire decade had escaped us somehow. We discovered how much we had to catch up on, how much we had in common, and how much we really needed that time with each other. It was sad that so much time had gone by and we had no idea that we held such large parts of each other's hearts, but on the other hand, the timing of it was impeccable. It was, in spite of how it may seem, not at all late, but rather just in time. We talked, drank wine, and made cupcakes. It was as though that decade apart had never happened. Those two nights were exactly the transition I needed to be able to continue to the next part of the adventure. Tearless.

Lemonberry cupcakes and wine

The next part of my journey took me to Chicago, Illinois where I was able to hang out with friends I had met in Kenya in July. (cue: 'It's a small world after all') Here, I marveled at having met them on another continent while running to catch janky run-down matatus,  attempting to avoid being pick-pocketed in chaotic dirty Nairobi, and lounging on the beach after preparing fresh fish for dinner, and was now hanging out in bustling Chicago catching a metro to the Willis tower, eating 'Chicago dogs', and lounging by a rooftop pool. I stayed with one of them the first night, but they were both heading out of town for work, which left me wondering what to do with myself for the next few nights. 

On the deck in Willis Tower

As luck would have it, one of the other Fellows I'll be working with in Estes Park had mentioned in one of our correspondence emails that he would be driving out from Chicago. Prior to leaving Pennsylvania, I sent an email and asked if he wanted to meet up at some point, and if he knew of any cheap places to stay as my friends wouldn't be around. He offered his place as an option, and though I fully realized that could be a horribly dicey situation in that we could meet, hate each other, and then realize we would have to inhabit the same house for an entire year, I accepted anyway (which turned out to be a funny story because he had the exact same thoughts). Thankfully, we hit it off and I stayed for 3 days/nights- which was awesome because instead of hanging out in Omaha for 72 hours alone, we woke up and had conversation over coffee, met one of the other Fellows passing through for lunch, laid around a park talking and drinking beer, made dinner and watched one of my favorite movies, went to Green City Farmer's Market for breakfast the next morning, hung out in a coffee shop for hours to read and write, then finished the visit on the morning I was leaving (which was today, though today feels like several days), with coffee and conversation

My new friend and fellow Fellow is a giant

And this all brings me back to the present where I now happen to be in Omaha, Nebraska, but only for one night. This is the perfect amount of time to spend doing exactly what I'm doing. I got an awesome 90 minute workout in, had my only proper meal of the day (my favorite peanut butter puff snack, Cheeky Monkey, was breakfast and lunch), wandered back to my room with my second glass of wine, and am compiling my thoughts before heading off to shower, read, and get a solid night's sleep. 

When I began this trip, I felt more scared and sad because I had no idea what was coming. I just knew what I was leaving. As the days have progressed, my fear and sadness have been transforming into excitement and joy. I've had the opportunity to reconnect with people I already knew I loved, in addition to meeting new inspiring people that deeply resonate with me and my life- people that are showing me just how much I had been missing out on by being afraid to take the leap I had known I needed to take for years. But again, like the time with my cousin, though it seems as though I'm "late", I'm actually right on time. 

Tomorrow morning I will get a quick cardio session in, pack up my things, and make the final 8 hour jaunt to Colorado where a whole new part of the adventure will begin in Denver. I will, for the first time, get to meet my dear friends' baby girl, and spend a few nights catching up with them. Then, I will head to Boulder to spend a week with a friend I met last November who has, in spite of not knowing me that long, been one of my biggest supporters. She provided more calming comfort than she will probably ever really know. And last, but by no stretch least, I will go to Estes Park on September 1st to begin my new role. 

Here's to old memories, and new beginnings. Cheers~

No comments:

Post a Comment