Friday, October 19, 2012

I'm Still Here


I doubt anyone is reading this, seeing as I haven’t posted in well over two years. But, a fellow blogger/former high school cohort/all around great guy has inspired me to pick it back up.

So… what’s been going in the meantime? Plenty. And very little. It’s been over two years since my household became car-free, which is not easy in this state. From what I can tell, Californians are married to the automobile: public transportation is a cruel joke, everything is spread out and most people have at least one car per adult in their household (this is based on what I’ve observed, not actual data). And many of the native residents I’ve met are rather dumbstruck by our lifestyle. Cultural norms aside, it’s been a great experience. There is no substantive weather in our part of the Bay Area, so almost every day is a good day to hit the road on two wheels. Raincoats and plastic pants take care of the other, truly exceptional days. Zipcar is a superlative service and has come in really handy (as well as the generosity of my in-laws, who lend us their car sometimes). My husband (Sean) and I both have upgraded our bikes – his was stolen from our garage; a few months later, he rode mine and insisted that my 18 year old Schwinn was ready for retirement – our new hybrids are sexy and zippy. Overall, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and I hope I’ll never need to own a car again.

I have a new job. Or had a new job; it’s no longer new. Not long after my last blog post I transferred, within Stanford, to the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy Office. It’s by far the best job I’ve had since I started at this institution *cough* six *cough* years ago. 

The accommodations aren't too shabby, either.

Anyone who knows my tastes and inclinations would find this a strange fit (my MFA thesis featured 70’s pornography, after all), but here I am, two years later, leading new employee policy briefings where I caution them not to grope one another inappropriately or hump their bosses (the latter being something I’ve done in the past. Oops). It sort of works, though. Our job is not one for advocates or people with agendas – we have to stay neutral and make sure the University responds to complaints, period. I cannot deny that I love how my business cards have the word “sexual” in them. It’s not a career dream for me, but for now, it’s a solid place to have landed. My next job will most likely be outside of Stanford; I don’t think I can do better here.

What else… Oh! Two of my poems were published by SpringGun Press – my first time in print. This last April Sean and I spent our birthday week in LA, specifically in Santa Monica. Well, we attempted to spend our birthday week in Santa Monica… both of us contracted ebola, so we didn’t do much while we were there and bugged out a few days early. What little we saw was great; I can’t wait to make it back down there. Anyway, my best birthday gift this year, by far, was the email from SpringGun to say they were publishing two of the three pieces I’d sent them. I haven’t actively been submitting this year (and submitted nothing last year), so this was a stroke of very, very good luck. (The poems now live here.)

I have a major trip coming up early next year. Sean and I will be spending a week in Cartagena, Colombia. This is notable, for me, for several reasons. I haven’t traveled beyond North America: I’ve seen all of the east coast, much of the west, a little bit of the middle and quite a bit of Canada and Alaska. But I haven’t been to Europe yet (this disturbs me to no end, especially considering Paris is there), never mind Africa, Asia… etc. As for South America, I was born there and spent my first four months of life there, but have not returned since (I was adopted and brought to the US, raised in New England). This was generally believed to be a good thing, seeing as Colombia was embroiled in a bloody civil war then and my hometown, Medellin, was particularly violent. Since tasting more of South American food, however, I’m starting to rethink that. 

My path, in some ways, was chosen for me and I’m grateful for the opportunities it has afforded me (and there have been many), but I was also deprived of other things, as a result, like what would have been my native tongue and culture. I am looking forward to visiting Medellin at some point, but we decided to go to Cartagena first. It’s a beach town and we’ve discovered that tropical locales agree with us (almost daily do we mourn the fact that we are not in Hawai’i). And, I’m not mentally/emotionally ready to visit Medellin yet – that kind of travel will be a unique undertaking. This time around we’re looking for a true vacation, which we define as sun, good food, good drinks, beaches, with a lot of sleep in between the other four things. 

Cartagena? Si, por favor!

And, finally, our five days in Cartagena will immediately be followed by a two-week cruise to Antarctica. Just me. And my mother. On a gigantic fucking boat for two full weeks, heading toward a gigantic iceberg full of (admittedly adorable) penguins. She invited me earlier this year. Generally, I do not vacation with her because we have vastly different travel styles. As a retiree, she sees travel as an intense flurry of “see and do every tourist thing there is to see and do.” I like to vacation, as described above, thus we are incompatible as travel companions. 

But, it’s fucking Antarctica. When will this opportunity ever present itself again? After spending three years living 100 miles below the Arctic Circle I sure as shit am not saving my shekels to go somewhere cold. I won’t even go to the east coast in winter, if I can help it. I would also never spend my own money on a cruise line vacation. Never, ever. Ever. But, I don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, either, so a-cruising to the fucking South Pole I will go. The week in Cartagena was dreamed up to mellow me out before the cruise. The reality of it all has not fully taken hold.

More about THIS shizznit, to come.

And, those are the broad headlines since April of 2010. 

Since then I’ve also acquired an adorable niece (who's my husband's mini-me, in almost every way), in addition to my bitchin' nephew who’s about to turn 3 (!), and I took an awesomely fun road trip from Lincoln, Nebraska to Fairbanks, Alaska with my fabulous friend Kate, the exploits of which I’ll talk about another time...


Josh said...

Glad you're back and posting.
Get back to Santa Monica asap...after your other amazing upcoming adventures of course... It is one of my favorite places on this planet.

Amy E. Vorro said...

Aye-aye, Cap'n!