My new car hit 10,000 miles today. I suppose this means that it is no longer new, but I cannot fathom nor accept how this is so. Febuary is just around the corner, and the Civy came into my life in May, which means that in the course of nine months, I’ve driven ten thousand miles. In other words, I drive (or have driven) more than 1,000 miles a month—more than 250 miles a week.
Obviously, this is just too many miles. But, this is also the curse of Los Angeles, and the result of how I’m living in this city—hurtling about, back and forth, mountains to coast. I love my little town by the beach, but unfortunately all the people I love do not, in fact, live within its boudaries (if only I could make them!). So, to be social—and I do like being social—I drive. I drive to work and I drive home to see my family, and I drive across town to see friends and movies and try new restaurants, and suddenly I’m staring at four zero’s on the dashboard.
I remember in May that the 0 on the odometer meant possibilities, and the ability to get there, wherever it was (such good gas milage, I had). I suddenly could take road trips, wanted to take road trips, to get out and about and hurtle up the coast and back down. It feels mildly depressing that in this time, to earn these miles, the furthest I’ve ventured in the little white car is to San Diego and back. Apparently, I have wracked up my 10,000 miles simply by running in circles around a very big city.
Within a week of my arrival to Playa Gigante—a small fishing village of 500 people on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, where I moved to teach English—I already have a friend. Jamie, a wiry, energetic Nicaraguan, offers to teach me how to surf if I teach him how to speak English.
A deal is made. We head to the beach.
“Ready!?” yells Jamie as he runs to the water and back-flips into an incoming wave.
A whirlwind of two weeks, and we’re down to two days until home. I am tired, bug-ridden, and learning, visiting places and meeting people I would never be able to see, to access. Oh, and I’ve been writing a lot. Too much to summarize here, but I’m so inspired by these people, by these projects and attempts to change. It’s all here.
In a curious way, age is simpler than youth, for it has so many fewer options.
And a happy 2011 to that, to a new year of not-simple options: the blessing and the curse of youth, and all that can, could, will be. To the year of 24 and the possibilities of 2011. It seems like this time of year commands reflection and resolution—everyone else is doing it!. So much of this time of year is about being with the people that make up your life, which leaves little time to make goals and be pensive. In any case, my current resolutions were made sometime in the hazy middle of 2009, and I’m thrilled at where they’ve led me: where I’m starting this new year. I feel like I have less options this year than last, but this is a great thing, an aging thing: on the right path.
I ended 2010 in a blurry of food and home. We had two Christmases this year, because two special family members weren’t present on real Christmas. So, some of us made enchilades and mole on the nacimiento de Cristo, and more of us had stuffing, meatloaf, and pie on a random Thursday thereafter—second Christmas! Really, Christmas is less a holiday, a specific day, than a collection of moments over a season, a collection of people acknowledging each other, that they care for each other. I went shopping on 3rd St. Promenade at dusk on the eve of Christmas Eve and affixed to the roof of Ye Old King’s Head Pub was a snowblower, whirring fake snow into the warm night over an ocean view.
I’m off to Guatemala and Belize tomorrow for two weeks. I have pulled the backpacking backpack out of its hiding place, washed and folded my dry fit clothes, and I’m thrilled to be off to that narrow peninsula that has offered me so much. I’m going with Green Living Project (a production and marketing company that documents global sustainability-related initiatives, with whom I visited lovely New Mexico last month) and my sole function on the trip shall be: writer. After a year of wearing so many hats—coach, teacher, tutor, assistant—I love such a simple distinction (the only one I want, after all).