It’s been three and a half weeks since I got back. My girlfriend who went with me, Rebekah, loved our trip so much she decided to sublet a place in San Francisco for a month and take as many classes as she can. She works from home and doesn’t have kids or a spouse, so she has the freedom to just pick up and go. She leaves in 5 days. I would tell you my insides aren’t boiling with envy, but it would be a filthy, unsustainable lie.
It’s ok, though. My kids went to Dallas to visit their Fairy Grandma Linda (she has a mansion stocked with nerf guns and video games and she lets them stay up until midnight… they never wanted to come home, either) over the holiday break and they were gone so long I actually missed their obnoxious faces. Sleeping in feels so lazy when there’s no one coming in every 10 minutes asking when you’re coming to come down and make breakfast. It’s practically boring when you can get through a work phone call without having to simultaneously mentally review the AZ RE contract, use sign language to communicate to a son that he CANNOT go to Joshua’s house because it’s dark outside, and make dinner. I would be lonely and unchallenged without all my worldly burdens.
Though I can’t abandon my Arizona existence and go back immediately, the lessons I learned on the SF trip continue to greatly affect my life. I returned home forever altered, enriched, and worldly. It would be impossible to package all of the epiphanies I experienced into one brief blog post, but I’ll do my best to summarize the most important, life changing and enriching discoveries I made on my travels:
1. They serve delicious canned wine on Frontier flights.
It’s adorable, a little bubbly, and perfect. Obviously I was aware quality wine can come in a box, but WHO KNEW it came in a can with pithy sayings? The world is just so big and amazing, right?
2. Hostels aren’t only for murders.
It turns out hostels can also be adorable and perfect. Sure, ours was in a moderately terrifying neighborhood, and you couldn’t stay in one with a family or anything, but for our purposes, it was completely excellent. It was $30/night for a bunkbed in a room with 4 beds, lockers and a bathroom. When I left for SF, Jonas asked me where I was staying and I explained the basic concept of the hostel. He made me promise I’d sleep on the top bunk for him. Luckily, Rebekah was worried she’d have to fight me for the bottom bunk, so we were happy bunkmates.
The room and facilities were clean and creatively decorated. The staff and all the patrons we encountered were polite (although it’s possible I was the oldest person there). They had a hairdryer I could check out in the morning by leaving my driver’s license at the front desk. There was a tiny bar in the lobby that served cheap beer and wine until midnight. When I accidentally left my necklace on the high shelf next to my bunkbed and didn’t remember until we’d left for the day, it was gone when we got back that night. But I went down to the front desk figuring there was little to no chance someone had turned it in and there it was.
Our hostel experience was an A+ and I’d do it again.
3. Umbrellas are not just for wasting space in my glove compartment and my kids to invite bad luck into our house.
It turns out they’re legitimately useful when you’re stuck using public transportation in an apocalyptic rainstorm. There are also varying degrees of robustness in umbrella manufacture. Not all umbrellas are created equal. The ones sold in AZ are apparently only useful for one trip from your car to Target in a freak 10 minute downpour. Anything more aggressive than that will render them sad and lifeless.
4. I cannot do the splits.
Sure, I can do this:
But Elena, the tiny, Russian, badass circus teacher, disabused me of the notion this was a true split during the stretching portion of her conditioning class. It turns out it’s a cheaty dancer split, because my hips are not square at all.
Sadly, this is what my true split looks like:
I’ve always thought I was generally naturally flexible. I’ve come to realize, however, that some parts of me are super flexible, while others are miserably tight. For instance, my hip joints are ridiculously loose, but my hip flexors are rigid like an old lady’s. Also I feel super flexible about cleaning schedules in our house, but I’m absolutely unwavering regarding the necessity of cocktails with dinner.
Now that I know I’ve always been a giant cheatery cheaterpants, I’ve put into place a stretching system so I can work toward getting my true splits. I also want to be able to touch my feet to my head:
It’s going to be a long process.
5. I can totally hang.
I wasn’t one of the young ones. I can’t do the splits. I can’t do 10 handstand pushups. My butt is too soft. My umbrella can’t resist the weather. But… I could keep up. I was never the weakest. I have potential. My body is strong and resilient. My outfits are awesome. I fit in at circus school.