Thursday, September 22, 2016

Transitioning Back

Well hello there! Sorry it's been a while since I've posted anything. Kenny and I have recently relocated to Columbia South Carolina and just settling in.

And, to be honest, I'm still settling back in to the US after my year in Guyana. Some things are easier to transition back to. Like eating meat, cheese and drinking good beer which has allowed me to promptly gain back all the weight I had lost. Maybe not a good thing but it tastes good. And it gets people off my back about looking to skinny. NOBODY is saying that any more.

Less easy is the waste that I see so prevalently here. After a year of running by burning trash and piles of waste on the beach, I came to appreciate the need to conserve and reuse. Coming back and being exposed to disposable waterbottles, individual sized servings of EVERYTHING and the overabundance of K-Cups everywhere made me worry about where all our trash is going. Obviously I cannot fix the problem, nor do I intend to preach about it, but I do my little part by brewing a pot of coffee(added bonus: definitely HYPED up each day), using my reusable water bottle and trying to buy things in bulk so there's less waste. Although admittedly, I have gone back to canned beans instead of dried ones-those just take soooo long to cook.

Another difficult transition is the ubiquity of cell phones. It has become somewhat of a third arm for many people. I know usage hasn't changed that much in a year, but my expectations have. I can certainly say that first time hanging out with Kenny and her phone (seemingly) constantly going off was not a pleasant return home. She's been kind enough to appease me and we both shut off our phones fairly in the evening to ensure we can actually spend time together. Which is nice. I'd recommend it if you haven't done it in a while. Like maybe instead of looking at this blog lift up your gaze and see what's going on right now. Maybe something really cool. Trust me, this will be here when you get back. Go out and enjoy.

Speaking of enjoying things, I've had a great first couple weeks in South Carolina. Due to the lack of sidewalks near where I live, I have been running almost every day at a local State Park which happens to be on my way home from work. It's been nice. I actually haven't yet had a full weekend to explore(I was back in NH last weekend for a bachelor party) and won't for another few weekends, but I can say for sure that there is plenty to do in Columbia. I'm  pretty excited to share it all with you.

Until next time,

Danny

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Life Is What Happens When Making Other Plans

Well hello!


This is likely to be my last blog posted from the lovely state of New Hampshire. I leave for South Carolina to meet Kenny tomorrow. This month home after Guyana was great as it allowed me to see my friends and family but also tough because it felt somewhat like a false start. Kind of like I was in a hovering pattern before starting back up with my life.


But an often over-quoted aphorism is fairly accurate here: life is what happens when you're making other plans.


It would have been easy to be so preoccupied with the move that I lost sight of all the good experiences that I was able to have this month while home. And I am sure that I did miss some opportunities and wasn't always able to remain present in the moment. But I was lucky enough  to be able to step back and see [at least some of] the forest through the trees.


For example, these past few days I've been staying with my parents and my nieces. Even when I was living full time in Concord, I didn't really ever spend the night over there and definitely not multiple nights. It was a nice and relaxing time and great to see my parents and fun to play with the girls. It is/was a time I will definitely look back upon fondly. Especially tomato picking with the girls, playing scrabble with my mom, and riding into work with my dad. The small things that happen are often the most meaningful.


I am excited about creating a bunch of new small things that make up life down in South Carolina and I invite you to join me on this next journey.


Until next time,


Danny

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Goodbye Concord!

September 1st, 2016

The bay window that attracted us to this apartment so many years ago
 After nine years living in the same apartment on South Main Street in Concord, NH. I have finally moved out of my apartment. That was the longest I had ever lived in one place before. It was definitely bittersweet. Some loved ones left my life too early but others came into it to fill that place in my heart. Even my roommate changed over the years. So many good (and some bad) memories, but all of them helping me become the person I am today. From that new-graduate with a still developing brain [male brains don't fully develop until 27-29 y/o(if at all)] to today seems to have happened in a blink of an eye. Yet with a lifetime of experiences.




Strange seeing it so empty

Last meal in the empty apartment




For all the people that have come into my life some to stay and some who left as abruptly as they entered, all the races, faces and places: thank you. It has been a wonderful time and I am grateful for every moment.


As I closed the apartment door of my now vacant apartment for the last time it felt like I was saying goodbye to a good friend. And like with a good friend, it really isn't so much a goodbye as a see you later.


Until next time,



Danny



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Amber 4th at IM Mont Tremblant-1 Month After Crash!

It has been almost three months since my scooter accident in Tobago that derailed Kenny and my running careers. I am barely back to running and still feel very choppy and uncomfortable-definitely not my normal stride. My training has become nearly non-existent-partly due to discouragement about loss of fitness and only partly due to how busy I've been preparing to move to South Carolina.




I wasn't too busy to notice Amber finished 4th at Ironman Mont Tremblant. Yes, the same Amber that got in a bike accident a month ago that required an ambulance ride, and hospital stay.

Always smiles

 And yes, Ironman Mont Tremblant a race comprising a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a marathon to top it off. And here I am struggling to do a 4 mile easy run.




I am so impressed not with her physical ability to do it but for her mental fortitude to get back on the bike and start training. That must have been so difficult not to just relive that crash. I know I'd be struggling if I had to get on a motor scooter again so I don't know how she did it. And then to push through the pain that I'm sure she was suffering from as she healed. Just amazing.
Amber and her sis prepping for the race


Granted it wasn't all raindrops and kittens. I just spoke with her and apparently she finished the race and passed out. Blood pressure something like 50/30! So she may have dipped a little too deeply into her reserves. But still such an inspiration and I'm glad to see her back racing. I cannot wait to see what she can do when she's fully healed.




Until next time,








Danny

Sunday, August 21, 2016

America's Funniest Video Syndrome

I saw my sister the other day and she handed me a 12 pack of beer and a journal. This is for when you want to express yourself but shouldn't on your blog.

Point taken. 

It's really easy to get caught up with the social media craze of sharing every little bit about the minutiae of our daily lives. And for the most part it's harmless. But I do think there is definitely some negative connotations of seeing the details of our peers' lives.

I call it the America's Funniest Videos' Syndrome. I am pretty sure that I haven't come up with a single unique thought in my entire life so I'm sure that someone else actually coined the term and I'm just poaching it, but if I don't remember stealing it, am I stealing it? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

Anyway, the premise of my theory is that when we are exposed to others' pain and suffering we, by extension, are made to feel better about our own lives. We seek out these instances of pain and suffering just so that our lives can become more tolerable. Definitely a reason, in my honest opinion, why people gossip: to deflect their own suffering and sadness.

However, it's only when we see through this ineffective and inhumane coping strategy of building ourselves up by bringing others down, will we ever find true happiness. 

After all, there is no finite limit to happiness. Just because you are happy, doesn't mean I cannot be as well. So I wish you health, wealth and that white house on the hill. Because you can have that and I can still pursue my own happiness.

Until Next Time,


Danny


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Danny returns home

Well hello. I would like to tell you I am home right now but cannot for two reasons.
One reason is that my dad doesn't know I'm coming home early and I'm surprising him as he boards the deep sea fishing boat he thinks he's doing with the other children.

But the second reason is more authentic.  I'm not yet home. Despite the fact that it is now 2am on Monday and I left 12pm from Guyana on Saturday is not lost on me. Or my rapidly depleting energy as I have not slept in this time either. Nor will I sleep at least until Monday night (still a merciless 19 hours from now).











So when I post this it means I waited til after that day (Monday)  due to surprise and authenticity.
So why am I sitting in the Atlanta airport at 2am? Unlike Quentin Tarantino,  I think the beginning is the best place to start so let's go back a few months when I booked my trip home.
Sorry, I think I may have nodded off for a minute there.

Where was I? Oh yes. So a couple months ago when I had finalized my departure date(but not yet knowing I'd be moving to South Carolina), I had wanted to make sure I saw my brother in Atlanta. Because of. His work schedule, I checked with him to make sure he was free when I'd arrive and then I booked my flight. The thing is to fly from Guyana to Atlanta is very expensive so instead I flew Guyana to Panama. I'd  have a half day in Panama to explore then continue onward from Panama to Miami. From Miami the plan was to rent a car and drive through thd night and arrive at Drew's place mid morning, catch up on lost sleep and then hang out for a day or two.

Well they do say SOMETHING about best laid plans. Andrew had forgotten that he actually did have something that weekend (my nieces birthday and dad's deep sea fishing trip) so he wouldn't be around.  Which was fine since I could change my flight from Atlanta to Boston from Tuesday to Sunday... But no the price of the flights on Sunday were prohibitively expensive so I had to settle from a 5:45am flight out Monday morning.

Which then left me with two nights of no sleep.

So here's how it went down:
It started out good enough with the Peace Corps driver picking me up within an hour of on time and me getting to the airport early enough to spend my last few GYD on a latte which I subsequently spilled all over myself as I embraced my friend Joel who I had not seen since I had moved from New Amsterdam back in late January. He was heading home (Cuba) and was on the same flight to Panama as I was. In fact he was sitting, purely by chance, one row behind me. We were able to catch up and after finishing it on the flight I gave him my copy of Dharma Bums.

Helping another escape samsara must help your own karma right? Well if it does, it must do so in mysterious ways. I arrive in Panama to find it enveloped in cloud and pouring rain. Since my plan was to walk around the city and as I had donated my umbrella prior to leaving Guyana, that was out. So instead I just settled in and ate my leftover cook up (or as my brother in law calls it:glop). Not quite how I was hoping to spend my time in Panama, but oh well I expect I'll be back at some point.
From Panama, I flew to Miami arriving a little before 2am picked up my rental car and started my trip north. It is amazing how reliant we become on our phones. Not having one now (or more correctly not having a data plan) I wasnt able to access GPS so ended up running two tolls (they didn't have options for a physical payment) be for getting on 95. NOT looking forward to that bill.
Being used to Guyana,  I was expecting sunrise around 5am thinking I would then find a little secluded beach and take a couple hours nap. Instead however the sun didn't make her appearance until well past six which meant I was well past the beaches I knew around the Southern Florida area. I finally settled on St Augustine beach (more on the history) around 8am. By 8:15am after having sand fleas bite and beachcombers step on me, I decided sleep was out of the question. I jumped in the ocean which invigorated me enough to go from a run along the beach. Which lasted probably three quarters of a mile behind my tender feet couldn't tolerate the shells slowly gouging out small chunks of flesh like a microscopic Shylock.   

I got gingerly back in the rental (a ford fiesta, by all counts but one a wonderfully efficient car. I only needed to fill out the tank 1 1/2 times for the whole 700 miles!)  I opted to follow the brown signs.
NOTE:always follow the brown signs. They will lead you either to a historic landmark or a some form of natural beauty. Either way you will be pleased.

So anyway I followed one to historic St Augustine which, lo and behold, was really nice. St Augustine is the oldest European settlement in the US that is still inhabited. Established all the way back in 1565. Meanwhile Native Americans settled Cahokia slightly less than 1000 years earlier.

After looking around and visiting the fort, I continued onward pausing only momentarily in Jacksonville but cutting across I 10. This is where things got interesting. Really only because I opted to drive backroads through Georgia to Atlanta rather than on the highway. I came to some little towns that I was sure would be playing the Deliverance theme song and also a few cool little state parks. It was nice to get off the beaten path a bit. In all definitely was worth the detour. I still arrived in Atlanta with several hours to spare so hung around for a bit before making my way over to the airport. Not exactly the most restful few days but surprisingly not too bad.

Except the next day, I would still not sleep as I was to head out deep sea fishing with my family. But that's enough for now.

Until next time,

Danny