Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Off we go.

Woo! Super shuttle picks me up in an hour and a half, and I'm, well, ready to hit the road. My backpack is packed, I've got all my identifying information, a couple books for the plane, my camera and...hey, what else do I really need, right?

I took this somewhat hilarious photo of me trying this baby on for the first time. It's like...twice my size. But I'm pretty pared down I think. As for clothes, I really only have pj's, some tank tops to wear under my salwar kameez, a pair of capris, and the clothes on my back. Everything else is stuff that I'll dispose of throughout the trip - to-go toilet paper, hand wipes, shampoo, etc.

My backpack is a genius of engineering by the way. Instead of a detachable fanny pack like most have, it's got a piggyback backpack that zips off, which I'll be carrying on board. There is a panel that folds up under the bottom, that zips all the way over the shoulder straps, so that I can check it easily without things getting caught everywhere. It goes on and's much bigger than what I'd planned to buy, but it's worth it for the features I think.

I've got about an hour to kill, so I think I'll hit up that meme.

1. Apropos: I used to be terrified of flying. I rarely flew as a youngster, but when I did it included a) a take-off during a ridiculous mountain lightening storm in Colorado Springs. If you've ever flown from or through the Rockies during one of these, you know what I'm talking about. I was about 11 and was alone with my younger sister flying back from a basketball camp at the Air Force Academy. While we were on the take-off strip, lightning struck next to the plane and we immediately smelled smoke...and then half the plane (kids from the camp) started crying, including my sister. We waited for the storm to pass, except it passed in front of us, so then we flew through it. Or b) a short flight from Santa Fe to LAX, where my ears didn't pop for 72 hours. Listen. That shit is painful, and it's a Catch 22. If you can relax, they'll pop, but it's so painful you can't relax. So anyway, I ended up going out of state for college and spent the next two years training myself to turn every single emotion off. I supposed you'd call it meditation, but that sounds so spiritual. I just taught myself to completely shut down nervous energy, and eventually, it worked. (Here I come British Airways!)

2. I went through a weird piercing phase in college. Rebellion or boredom, I suppose, but I had quite a few at one point, including a tongue piercing. This was a common story: I was in Ohio during Easter weekend one year, cause it's too short to travel home, but my roommates had driven to their local residences. I was bored, sitting outside drinking a beer and thought, why not? So I drove downtown and got another piercing. I've ditched most of them over the years, and the few I have left are only because I can't actually unscrew the bars, ha. Eventually I'll have to go to a piercing guy and have him take it out and cross my fingers he doesn't take my flesh with it.

3. Most of you know (if you've read the title of this blog) that I'm a big astronomy buff, and that I minored in Physics and Astronomy in college (I started out majoring til I realized there was no future in it). So, for three years I actually ran the Student Observatory on campus. I was the only one who had a set of keys, and taught the weekly astronomy lab there. The 9.5" refractor was all mine for awhile, including the spare room downstairs which I started using as my personal storage facility. I also cleaned out the disgusting basement, turned it into a darkroom and taught classes. We planned to get a camera attachment for the telescope, but we never got around to it before I left. I miss that place.

4. So, I kind of joke about having OCD, but I was quite the little Monk back in the day. I never really counted things, but I'd watch where I stepped and if I stepped on a crack I'd have to step on another one. Everything had to be even, you see. I've mostly grown out of it because it's pretty, no, TOTALLY ridiculous. However, the only place where I can't give it up is - yup - on airplanes. I think it's part of my personal calming routine. It's only important when I'm boarding, see, I won't ever, EVER step on the edges between the terminal and the plane itself. I will wait for the person in front of me to be completely inside the plane, so I don't accidentally take my large step forward and then be stuck there if he stops. I know, I'm a huge freak.

5. I won a cross country race once. It's tougher than it sounds - it's not a six-person track race, these are usually 80-300 person races, and I was in one of the fastest regions in the country (a girl from our county won Nationals every year I was in high school). When I started CC in high school, boy, did I suck. I placed #104 in my first race at a whopping 28 minutes (for 3 miles). But as they say, I could only go up from there, and so I soon found myself finishing with a personal record in every following race. Just 10 seconds here, 30 seconds there. Pretty soon I realized that I fucking love running. It makes you feel like you can conquer the world. Eventually I got pretty good and was running in the top five (out of the 60 girls on our team) for our JV League Championships race. So the starter pistol goes off and I take it easy, I don't sprint out ahead of the pack cause that's a great way to burn out early. Slowly, over the first mile I was overtaking girls one by one, including my teammates who said, "Go Heather" under their breath (you always cheer your teammates on...btw, CC is a team scoring sport, in case you didn't know that). By Mile 1 it was me and a girl from Dos Pueblos in front. Fucking Dos Pueblos. About two miles in I started to pull ahead. Our coach was a wonderful maniac and he was running to every leg of the race yelling and screaming at me, in a good way. So I'm definitely leading the race, but I can FEEL this girl behind me and I'm completely stressed and feeling the rush of leading and fearing I'll lost it, and all my teammates are cheering everytime the course wraps back through base, and I get to the last 500 yards. Coach yells, "Sprint ahead!! Sprint ahead!!" So I do what we call a strider, basically doing a sprint that I can recover from, for about 300 yards and totally pull away from this girl. As I approached the finish line I was running faster than I'd ever run before, my heart was pounding, and I feel this...thing. But my adrenaline was pumping too hard to figure out what. I cross the finish line a good 45 seconds before little miss Dos Pueblos, get a personal record of over a minute, and realize about an hour later that I tore a muscle in my back doing it. Heh. Oops. I got better and started running Varsity (and my personal best is two minutes faster than the time in that race), but still, this is like my one big high school victory story.

Okay! Guess I should go scan the house for forgotten things. I should find an internet cafe pretty easily in Bangalore, but you won't hear from me until at least Friday, since that's how long it'll take me to get there. I talked to Chai earlier, who says she bought me a sari already! I can't wait to see it, and go get fitted for my other outfits before the wedding.

Take care everyone!


At 4:50 PM, December 20, 2006, Blogger Matt said...

Cross Country, w00t! You're making me want to start running again.

Have a great trip! Bring back many stories and pictures.

At 9:11 AM, December 21, 2006, Anonymous the g said...

double w00t w00t! have a grand time, and happy holidays.


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