Saturday, November 24, 2007

Quote for the Day

I just came across this quote and thought it was something that even the most confident among us could relate to. I don't know anyone who hasn't questioned at one time or another if they were good enough.

"Is it possible that you're just not good enough? That you (or your team ) just don't have enough talent to be the best in the world? Sure, its possible. In fact, if your chosen area is the cello, or speed skatinmg, then I might even say its probable. But in just about every relevant area I can think of, no, its not likely. You are good enough. The question is, will you take the shortcut you need to get really good at this?"

-Seth Godin, author of The Dip.

And totally unrelated to this quote - This holiday week has a whirlwind, at times fun and at times stressful. The first half of the week Michael and Jenny, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, and my 3 nephews came to visit from Northern California. The boys who are 8, 6 and 3 years old are all brilliant balls of neverending energy.

We spent Thanksgiving at my Mom and Jon's house in Southern, California and got home last night, totally and completely exhausted and ready for a stress free day today.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Washington, D.C.

This is a little late, but better late than never!

The weekend before last I had the good fortune of spending this weekend in my new favorite travel destination (and possibly future home), Washington, D.C. Paul was recently appointed to a position on the national YAF (Young Architects Forum) and had a leadership retreat in DC this weekend to meet all of his fellow committee members and get planning for the year ahead. He was able to get Friday off from work so we decided to make it a mini vacation.

What really struck me was how much I enjoyed Washington DC. I had been there before so the intensity with which I liked the city and everything about it took me by surprise., The rich history and beautiful old historic buildings made with red brick and stone, the energy of the people on the streets, the leaves putting on their red and yellow fall coats the never-ending supply of cultural activities and great little shops and markets and small, cozy bookstores. One great thing I discovered is that contrary to my old opinions I actually think that I would like to live in a walking city. I used to be petrified at the idea of living somewhere without a car. Cities where I had to rely on the metro or the subway or something out of my control gave me a lot of anxiety. Being mugged while I lived in Spain had a profound effect on the way I feel about my personal safety and need to control my environment. However, stepping out for a walk into the nation’s capitol wearing a scarf and jacket to fight off the chill made me feel strong and alive. I wonder if it was the five and a half weeks on the Camino that did it, but I seem to have radically different sentiments now about walking as a mode of transportation. There is something zen about the continual motion and the freedom, not restriction as I previously thought, that comes with being able to get anywhere I want to go without a car.

We were there for 3 be continued with more details about the trip.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Retracing My Steps

Its amazing how someplace you lived during one stage of your life can change by the time you return to retrace your footsteps there. Or perhaps its just the lens we see it through that changes our perception of it.

The bridge over the Rio Urumea in San Sebastian that I crossed everyday to get to school

This summer before we started the Camino, I wanted to take Paul and show him around San Sebastian, Spain, the gorgeous northern coastal city that had been my home during my junior year of college. San Sabi, as the locals affectionately call it, boasts the most bar per square meter in the world and is the only city outside of Vegas that I have called home during my adult life.

Being there stirred up a lot of old memories. The sand and the waves, the bridges that connected my apartment with Parte Vieja where I would spend the nights with friends in the bars or disco and where I would catch the Benta Berri bus to go to school with all of the dirty Basque men who smelled a lot worse on Friday than they did on Monday.

As we walked through Parte Vieja, the sights and smells brought back memories of my younger days. It was strange to go back to such a familiar place, but without any of the familiar faces. All of us were temporary residents of San Sabi who passed through for a semester or 2 and returned back to our home is Vegas or Sweden or Moscow, ID. I started to reflect on how much my life had changed since those days. San Sabi seemed to have changed the same way I had. The basics were still the same. The same rio Urumea running through the town, the same Kursaal, the same beach filled with blue and white umbrellas. Buen Pastor, the ornate old church was right there in the center of town like a sentinel, unchanged since the days that Matt and I ditched Basque folkdance class and shared a bottle of wine on its steps. 33 Zabaleta, my old apartment, probably still houses International students.
Me in front of my old apartment building, ah memories!
Yet, some things had changed, evolved. New movie theaters and botiques and supermarkets had moved into town. The beaches were packed with travelers and students, but they were a new generation of students. It was familiar yet distant. It felt a little like returning home after being away at college for a year, familiar and comfortable, but a little distant from who I had become. Although, San Sebastian will always in some way feel like home, the San Sabi that I hold so dear exists now only in my photo album and somewhere in my memory. I guess the girl I was when I lived there also exists frozen in time in those memories too.

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