It has been a bit since I’ve talked about what’s happening day to day so let me remedy that.
As you might’ve guessed, I’m still in Louisiana. It still feels like a bit of culture shock. It isn’t always in a bad way though. There are differences that are pleasantly different as well. For example, everyone down here who doesn’t know me (so service people, the security guards at work) call me Mr. Todd. It was odd at first but after 3 years of working down here off and on I’m getting used to it.
This morning I was up pretty early – 5:00 AM. My brain is still on Eastern Standard Time. Though breakfast wouldn’t be completely ready until 6 (5:30 on weekdays – workers start early here), there is coffee available 24/7. I said hello to one of the folks who take care of the breakfast and then heard happy singing from the kitchen. A few minutes later a woman came out and apologized. I told her it was no problem. It was nice seeing someone so chipper in the morning. She then said it was because she had the spirit and sometimes you just have to sing praise. I can’t say as I’ve ever felt that way but I was glad to see it brought her so much joy.
In other news, I feel like in a lot of ways I’ve been using the Internet more productively since leaving Facebook. I’ve been writing more here, and am more engaged in the moment. But lately it’s been especially good. Over the past few days I’ve been writing more people at Conversation Exchange. The site uses an elegantly simple model: Pair up people who want to learn one language and speak another well with their opposites. So I am working with folks who speak Hindi well but want to improve their English. Mostly I’ve been emailing but today as I had a bit of time I did some Skype chats and even Skype calls working with people on English and Hindi. It takes me back to the early 80’s when I remember watching the commercials and news stories about home computers that talked about how they would connect the world and we’d be playing games online with people on the other side of the world. It might’ve taken a decade or two before it really became widely available but we’re well and truly to that point technologically speaking. So may all of us improve the languages we’re working on. (especially before February!).
I’m also finding hilariously that I’m learning more about my own language. I studied grammar in High School even diagramming sentences (anyone else do that?) as part of English class. I loved doing that – I may be the only person on the planet who did. But today I was finding that I didn’t always know the exact rules or good ways to explain how to know just what grammar rules (or exceptions) applied.
I made another trip up to Baton Rouge today. It was time to pick up more meals and snacks. The weather today was stunningly beautiful – 26C and humid. Yeah, I know, that’s not for everyone but I was really enjoying it. I also made a stop at Starbucks. It’s easy to feel pretty isolated on the weekends here. I’ve done most of the touristy things of interest and shopping isn’t really my thing. But just being around people feels good. (Back home when I don’t see people for a long time, just riding on the subway for a bit feels great). So I stopped at Starbucks, got a drink (On Starbucks this time because tomorrow’s my birthday!) and read my book.
So I was originally reading The Golden House by Salman Rushdie. A great read but the main character is a thinly veiled version of Donald Trump. And really, I hear enough about him already. A few days ago I was talking to Sage and she could see I was feeling a bit down about being here and she asked what I was reading. When I told her she laughed and said “Of course you feel that way. Try something else!” As I had just been talking about Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City she suggested I buy it right away for my Kindle and start re-reading it.
What a great idea that was. Visiting the 70’s and the characters in that book was like going to see old friends. It is so entertaining. I’m devouring the book with abandon and it is lifting my mood a lot. And if I get through this one there are several sequels. I’ll come back to Rushdie later I’m sure, once I’m back in Canada.
As for running, I haven’t been doing so great on that front. I seem to have a finite amount of will power. I’ve got work under control, I’m studying well, eating really well and so running is slipping. Running on the streets is kind of dangerous here with traffic (and drive through Daiquiri Shops where you can order an extra shot just like at Starbucks don’t help I’m sure), the construction outside makes getting somewhere else to run a hassle – a good 30 min ride. I have used the treadmill but the room smells of rubber – outgassing mats or something, no doubt. In previous trips I’ve used this room a lot. I seem to be OK there for 30 min but end up with a headache after 60. One night I ran 90 minutes and the next day ended up with one of the worst migraines I ever had. So I’m thinking that running there isn’t the best choice. On the other hand, not running is also not a good choice either. I’m going to have to think of something. Surely I can do better.
Sage and I have been having a terrific time lately. Over the past few days we watched all of Stranger Things with Daegan which was ridiculously fun. There were things that were a little disappointing (more for Sage than Daegan and I) but the ending was good and the relationship between Steve and Dustin was fantastic. We always liked Dustin’s character but he keeps getting better and better. Sage and I have also discovered a few of the board games we play at home as well as a few new ones in an online form here. As you can see, in many ways, physical presence aside we’ve figured out how to keep up our same routine. I just need to learn to cook remotely. That said, I have sort of done the next best thing: I took someone with half my DNA and cooked with them for most of my life. And so Daegan cooks while I’m gone. I’m told he made some excellent biscuits yesterday.
Oh – and one other update: due to project delays I’m likely here for at least another week. But really, working at a client I like with expenses paid isn’t torture by any means. And once I get back to Toronto I will be using up some vacation time I can’t carry over by having three day or longer weekends for the rest of 2017. I’m pretty pleased with that.
And now, as it is getting a little late, I will be off to read my book a bit more.