Just a CoUPle More Things…

Fact: Things taste better when eaten out of a mug or pint glass. Example: coffee, beer, soup, cereal, ice cream, water…etc.

 

Two things that are kinda weird to travel with: a mug and a pint glass. As I embark on my trip to Thailand I’m trying to think about what makes me feel at home. Drinking coffee, tea, eating soup or ice cream out of a mug is definitely superior to any other vessel in the kitchen cupboard.

Traveling abroad, traveling away from anything familiar can leave one more or less discombobulated, homesick and scared. Am I saying that bringing these objects to THAILAND will make me feel at home in SE Asia? Nope, but a tall glass of water, or a beer or coffee out of either of these will remind me of a time where I shared a moment and conversation with a good friend in a far away place. It will bring a bit of home when I coffee/beer skype with my friend in Colorado or Oregon or Switzerland.

I’ve decided to bring my favorite mug from one favorite coffee shops—a coffee shop that I spent many a hours at during college; writing papers, doing homework and facebooking (yeah, all the important stuff) all while sipping an Americano crafted by the talented baristas at Lemonjellos in Holland, Michigan.

I’m also bringing a pint glass. A glass that I earned by running a 50k this past summer, a race that wound through the trails of Southern Oregon on the PCT. A glass I earned by training my ass off and working hard to get my ass to the start line at 6am that day and running for a long ass time. This is my favorite glass to drink ice water out of after a long, sweaty, salty run. I can’t wait to run long and sweaty in Thailand.

Mug and Pint

 

I’m not saying I’ll be at home in Thailand but I am going to bring a little of what makes me feel it with me.

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Connections

As I loaded onto a plane the size that Ron White would describe as a pack of chewing gum, we left Oregon, our nose set for east.  I said goodbye to the mountains and was looking forward to greeting Lake Michigan and it’s cool breeze that it always has to offer. Touching down in Grand Rapids I was excited to go ‘home’, every asked me if that’s where I was going, home. This is a foreign term for me, was Michigan home? Was South West Michigan home?

My dad, since I was a kid, has always called me his Child of the Planet, I was eager to travel, always hungry to see and do and learn more. So I never learned to be at home anywhere. Where are you from? Is a question that gets blank stares from both my brother and me. This isn’t a bad thing, I wouldn’t change my nomadic childhood for anything. Not only my childhood, I’ve continued that lifestyle into my adulthood.

My trip’s purpose was to be a bridesmaid for my friend in her wedding, it just happened to be a month before I’m leaving for SE Asia, perfect timing to catch up with everyone back in Michigan. I left Oregon excited to see Michigan, I was in Michigan for a week and didn’t dream of Oregon once, didn’t think about the mountains, the trees or the crazy hippies that dance around the courtyard at the Co-op. I was completely in Michigan.

Discovering my lack of connection to Oregon was disturbing. I always figured I would love the west coast and never want to leave. Realizing that I don’t think I could move back to Michigan was also disturbing. I’m realizing as I grow up that I don’t know where I belong, I’m like that kid that eats lunch in the bathroom—no where else to go. I guess Thailand is my bathroom? (okay, bad analogy…but you get it, right?)

I’ve never felt at home, so I just keep moving in search for that connection with some place. I’ve got the wanderlust, we know that, but is it such a bad thing? I’m moving on from Oregon, maybe I’ll return, maybe I’ll leave it behind forever.

I’ve moved on Michigan for the time being, I love the lake, I love the people, but the land is flat and love high elevation. For now I guess I’m just super excited about this adventure afoot. Oh yeah, I also bought my plane ticket yesterday, so this is REALLY happening!!!!!

 

Let's get real, this is why I actually came to Michigan

Let’s get real, this is why I actually came to Michigan

A Much Needed Breath

The morning came and I ran. The streets of Grand Rapids were damp from an early morning rain, the river black, only because it was not yet past sunrise, and fluid because the rapids have slowly been let loose. 5:26am the Tuesday of a long week was ahead of me and I ran to clear my head. I’ve yet to run any miles consistently since my injury, I’ve yet to feel good since my injury, but the feeling of familiar streets under my feet was comforting. A bit of rain fell to cool me.

 I ran passed the park, passed my old gym, along the dumpy streets I used to call my own in G-Rap. On my way back I passed the 6th Street Bridge, a bridge designed for many modes of transportation: train tracks embedded, a road for cars, a smooth sidewalk for bikes, and the whole thing is boardwalk. Two by fours pieced together with nails for my pleasure. If you know me at all, and you know my running at all, you know that I love to run across boardwalks. I dream of designing a 5k race all on boardwalk so that other runners could maybe experience the feeling of raw, grainy wood underfoot and appreciate the hallow sound it makes are you step step step across. Swiftly, quickly, fluidly over the bridge to cross a river beneath is blissful. That Tuesday morning I ran across the bridge in the dark, unsatisfied I ran back across to return to Monroe Avenue, there and back gave me my fill of boardwalks for the early morning.

My run was interrupted by needing to walk, stretch and hope that my bones hold and remain strong without re-injuring. Frustrating, but it was good to be outside and moving. I made my way back to the hotel and was out of the shower before my roommate even woke. It was a good start to long week that was then clouded by copious amounts of information, schmoozing and boozing, dancing and working.

Throughout the week I made it back to the bridge multiple times. Walks with co workers while on breaks were the breaths of fresh air needed to clear my head and bring myself back to the ‘now’. The two by fours underfoot were a destination and a turnaround point, always pausing to look over the railing at the never still water of the Grand River. Always on the move. Always pushing forward to find what’s next.