Location, location, location. My condo I share with 9 other men and women is perched in the mountains of Salt Lake City, with snow capped ranges outside my window when I go to bed at night, amidst rain storms and stars. Bike rides part way up big cottonwood canyon, where I look up, imbibe the 360 degree view, and am convinced that I must be photo shopped into a post card and the sun keeps moving me around like a little computer mouse dragging me to the cascading rivers, to the mountain peaks, to the largest man made copper mine, easily spotted from outer space, and back to the busy hubbub of my condo. Go Mormons! Now if only we could find a place to buy a bottle of wine….
I knew if I didn’t make time to write this blog tonight, then the rest of the week would be a blur that I could never begin to quantify or organize in a fashion that made any sense to the outside world. So after day two, I will try and attempt to describe the insanity that is training, working backwards. Today I am officially one of the few who started drive school (it’s a rotating schedule) and so I can drive our group of 18 leaders around in 15 passenger vans. I can also hitch a camping trailer and rack 12 custom titanium steel bikes to the top of the van. In the morning I learned how to navigate the online scheduling system and put in my preferences for areas to lead, in which Alaska and Hawaii crept their way to the top of my list, with most of the others being international hopes and wishes.
Day 1: complete and utter overwhelming amounts of information. Tours of the global hub, or warehouse that holds over 1,200 bikes, 15 mile bike ride towards a canyon, with a few wrong turns down steep, long hills only to arrive at a gravel dead end (you can figure out what happens next), a gourmet, garnished picnic lunch in a public park, introductions with all the training leaders, where I promptly told the group of 25 that I loved to be called “Yo Miss” from time to time, and a 4 hour lecture on how to run a successful trip, even with difficult guests, terrible weather, van trouble, co-leader dilemmas, and other mishaps or unexpected events that could take up the memory storage of this blog. I have a jam packed binder, the thickness of a Harry Potter book, minus the magic, other manuals on bikes, driving, company policies and it’s all to read each night plus online tutorials for navigating the web. It’s a wild transition, all while getting school and student emails daily, reminding me that in two weeks I will be returning to clean up a class room, enter final grades, and hand in my work computer. Multi-tasking and juggling—a little jogging exercise for the brain starting at 6:30 am until 11:30 pm.
I was waiting for there to be a moment when I realized I was drastically changing not only my job, but my lifestyle, and it never even sunk in on the plane, mostly due to the five hours I chatted with Guillermo, a Jesuit priest from Argentina who is studying in San Francisco. We talked the entire way through security, purchases of airplane snacks, boarding, and then our trip. It was very enlightening and as my students would know, I could talk for hours demonstrating the cultural and social customs of drinking yerba mate (refer back to my lengthy emails from my 2006 trip), and the amount of money I would pay for a plane ticket to eat another steak in Buenos Aires again. Regardless, it wasn’t a specific moment that made me take a deep breath and realize my life is about to change, but more so snapshots throughout the day, mostly those occurring in the condo, trying to cook with 9 people in the kitchen, labeling food with a sharpee (including bananas), not having tinfoil or saran wrap handy, olive oil, spices, trying to study in a common room with music, chatting, questions about which page we should be on, and mostly little pauses to learn about one another’s stories. I live amongst iron women, tri-athletes, lifestyle managers for the rich and famous in NYC, fellow teachers, rolfers (kailin taught me all about this tangent from massage therapy), engineers, and those who have already been living the transient life style, but decide to take the MCATS in between (just because), and we are all, you guessed it, type A personalities. It has been nothing but I-N-T-E-N-S-E in the condo, and the type of environment in training where we are asked to bring our “A Game” and to not be afraid to “step on each other’s toes”. I kind of felt like the idiot in the Harvard Bar being asked by Matt Damon in the purest of all Boston accents, “How do you like them apples?”
I have left out many details, but also feel like your eyes are a little heavier than when you started.
My housemates just completed the official Mormon run around and bombarded the quiet work space with cases of wine and beer.
It’s time for this “Yo Miss” to hit the books, tomorrow is public speaking and bike mechanics. This was a very small attempt at solidifying the tornado of events that have swept through me and my life since my Monday departure from Boston…all on an estimate of 12 hours of sleep.
No pictures yet, mostly because I don’t have a cord that will connect my pictures to this computer. Thanks for following!