Last night, I saw a guy on a bike in a busy intersection at night and he had a flashing light on both the front and the back of his bike. I thought of how useful this is. At first, I thought that the light didn’t need to flash, but as I thought about it more, I realized that it does. He is so vulnerable on a bike and just a steady light could be a street light, a car, or store sign. The flashing light brings our attention closer to him and helps protect his vulnerability.
Riding a bike brought me back to the days when I lived in a small town in Germany and used a bike as my primary mode of transportation. My bike was so basic and had no lights. Riding a bike was so fun. I would jump on it and scoot into town from my apartment to visit friends. When I would think about my journey, I knew that the bike would get me there so much faster than walking. With this knowledge, I was always much more energetic to make the three mile trek.
It’s been over fifteen years since I lived in Germany, but the friendships I made in that town still last today. I think about how the bike helped me to facilitate and then solidify relationships that I would have never made by sitting in my room alone.
Just last week, I was laughing on Skype with a friend who would meet me four to five nights a week when I arrived with my bike. He is a global leader in Google Analytics these days and who knew that he would go down this path when he would tutor me in German on those evenings.
It was also on those evenings that I talked to him about the U.S. and introduced volunteer programs to him in Boston where the following year he would go to work on his English. He certainly wouldn’t be a leader in an American technology if it wasn’t for that bike and our friendship.
I think of these times today when I sometimes find myself staying at home and not reaching out to friends or “getting on my bike”. So much of my life has come from relationships that I’ve built with people over a conversation. With these thoughts, I look forward to again meeting people in town and seeing what comes of it.
Yesterday, I had to laugh. I was just about to leave to take an entrance exam for graduate school. For the past few days before, I had been telling my husband how nervous I was, but how I traditionally do well on the quantitative part. He, on the other hands, hates these exams and although he is very smart and works with numbers all day, never looked forward to taking these exams.
Every day, we exchange information about things we do well and not so well, but as my nerves were getting the best of me, I perhaps had commented a few times about how I hoped to do as well in math as I had in past similar exams. He tried to reassure me towards my goals, but I knew it wasn’t a favorite topic of his.
Then, just after I put my shoes on to leave for the exam, I scoured my bag for some last minute facial moisturizer. I felt slightly dry and didn’t want any distractions. I couldn’t find the one I usually use so I grabbed a new one. I didn’t read the directions, but thought that if something said “oil”, it must be moisturizing.
As it turns out, I put the wrong type of oil on my face. I used peppermint oil and as my husband watched me, he immediately knew that I was in trouble. My face started to burn and my eyes started to sting so bad that I couldn’t open them. How was I going to see the computer screen for my exam? How was I going to drive to the test center?
Very quickly, my husband poured some milk into a dish and had me put it all over my face. Within minutes, the burning stopped and I could see again. If he hadn’t been there, I would have had to cancel my exam, delay my application process, and lose $200.
This whole episode makes me laugh. Just when my ego thinks it has a piece of the universe, the universe knocks it down on its knees. It’s not that I was rubbing it in that I was sooooo talented at math, but one or two comments probably could have been skipped.
Last month, I received a pair of gel insoles in the mail and it made me very happy. I’m not one to sit around the house and thus I also need a good pair of walking shoes. This is not to say that I don’t spend lots of quiet time alone, but very often I am out walking my dog, hoping around town to teach yoga, and doing errands as a new wife.
Every couple of months, I try and look at my schedule to see if I’m getting a good balance of all important items. Am I eating right? Am I getting enough exercise? Am I spending enough time with my loved ones? I feel this self-evaluation is important because it makes me aware of something I am missing and/or something that I am overdoing. Everything in moderation, they say.
Last December, I could see that I was working long hours on a consulting project, spending lots of time taking care of pre-Christmas tasks, and not getting enough time for my personal yoga practice. In January, I took out a one-month membership at one of my favorite studios and I went every day. I loved it. I discovered new teachers and I felt stretched, fit, and more like myself.
At the end of the month, I decided that this part of my life was satiated and I didn’t have to go everyday. I still loved to teach, as well as practice, but I was happy to prioritize my personal practice less and let something else fill it’s place. Since then, I’ve been walking my dog more, going on vacation with my husband, and blogging more.
My husband loves survival tools so today I tried out the Lightload Towels that start from the size of a half dollar and end up a full size towel for washing, cleaning up, or whatever is useful. He was drooling over them because he thinks they’ll be great for backpacking. Here is my Hyperlapse video of them (with music):
This year, my mother will be 6000 miles away on our special day. Not only is it Mothers’ Day, but I was born on her day, so we often celebrate together. I love retelling the story of how when they wheeled my mom into the hospital at 7am on that Sunday, they already wished her a happy Mothers’ Day although I was still a few hours from arriving.
This year, my mom and my step-dad are headed to their hometown for the summer and are trying to make it before all the tourists arrive. They both grew up in Prague and now that I live in California, we often spend many months a year living nine hours in time difference apart.
Fortunately, with the use of technology, we are able to keep in touch. We email four to five times a day and use it like a conversation. She also has an iPhone so she’s able to check for messages even when she isn’t at her desk. Lastly, I also sent her a present early and I think she’s going to love it. It’s a picture made into a puzzle by Piczzle Picture Puzzle (Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/