Nothing tastes so smooth and refreshing as an ice cold pilsner, sliding down my throat, cold can against my hot palms, after doing yoga.
From our little living room, the sounds of our neighbors, a CrossFit gym, slowly winding down from their workouts and blaring music, finally fade. The door is open, letting the night’s cool air flow in. I somehow managed a 45 minute flow from Jason Crandell on Yogaglo (with no sound) that gave the wrists and hands a break. The little spur in the palm of my right hand, base of my middle finger, is flaring up again. Probably too much yoga on odd, soft surfaces. Anyways, who knew replacing vinyasas with chair could be so damn hard.
Today felt a little bit like back to reality. Our kind hosts returned from their trip, so Jeff and I moved back to the bus. It was a glorious morning to wake up on the bus, though, like waking up outside. We’re likely the only folks in the neighborhood in their jammies, as workers start making their way to the various warehouses, whether automotive stores or shoe stores or dance studios or Dos Palmas, a Cuban diner place around the corner. This morning, in my pre-waking, pre-dawn haze, I thought a goddamn building was being demolished. Turned out it was just the garbage man, emptying the giant dumpsters and making a hell of a ruckus.
I fell back asleep. In one of my dreams, my Mom, Rick and I explored three different yoga studios in what felt like either Miami or the Keys. At the first, every one had very shiny, done-up costumes and dresses on. It was more like a dance class than any sort of joga, and I was stunned. We visited a second joga studio, and it also didn’t fit. I couldn’t recall why, but there was something else weird about it.
The third was in an odd area, a space that didn’t look like it should house a studio, off the side of the road and kind of on a cliff. As we entered, I immediately realized it was a stuidio I had seen in a movie or documentary. It was serene. Spacious, minimal, but very welcoming, and while I didn’t know immediately that I should stay there, as people began to enter, I realized that this is where I needed to be. It was slightly uncomfortable at first, but I knew, in my dream, that I would settle. I prepared to say good bye to my parents, and then I woke up. The sky was beginning to lighten out the back of the bus, warming the earth, now the neighbors’ with a lawncare service beginning to buzz about. I got up to brush my teeth and wash my face.
Over the past week and a half, I’ve faced all kind of transitions, new traditions, big changes and adventures. I braved the streets and beautiful bike paths of South Miami and Pinecrest on my bicycle. Last Friday I participated in the biggest Critical Mass ride I’d ever witnessed, my little pink bicycle and me swimming among a sea of at least a thousand other cyclists of all shapes and sizes as we took over 17 miles of road in the city.
Jeff and I took a day trip south. We went to a giant Mexican flea market with produce that reminded me of the ferias in my sister’s neighborhood in Cordoba. This afternoon we explored Matheson Hammock State Park for the second time, laying by the manmade lagoon. I listened to Jeff read the last few pages of Annie Lamott’s “Operating Instructions,” a book we started reading together when I arrived, having turned the pages while laying in the sun by the pool last week.
But today also marked a sort of closure. It was my first morning, a glorious morning, on the bus and around the League, or our compound. I pedaled to a meeting regarding health insurance, then over to Panera to catch up on e-mails. I’m finding a new kind of balance with work, but it’s a sense of balance that influences and affects all aspects of my life.
Coming to Florida wasn’t just to leave Chattanooga, or to come to Jeff, though he was a big influence on my transition. My move to Miami is every bit as much about simplifying and balancing both my day to day life and my big picture. It’s about tuning in to the obvious and not so obvious cues around me to slow down, and enjoy the “rest and digest” phase as much, if not more, than the “wired and tired” phase that has consumed my life (and caused my hair to fall out) for the past few years.
Last night after taking a beautiful yoga class at Five Sisters, the little store with a studio space where I substituted last week, Jeff and I changed clothes and hopped on our bikes. There’s a nice bike path down Dixie Highway, a bustling, busy stretch of road bordered by a busway, crops of strip malls and a ritzy neighborhood—I know I know, seems counterintuitive that I would like this place, but trust me, there’s something oddly charming about living in a warehouse district in the burbs. Especially with Jeff, whose big heart and curious nature matches and compliments my own so well.
We took off pedaling at dusk, unsure of where to get dinner. The bike path is pretty sweet—you can kind of zone out for blocks at a time, riding side by side and talking and laughing. The air was cool. We stopped at a sushi place across the road, both laughing at the thought of “leaving our bikes alone,” unsure of what they’d be up to. We sat outside on a couch and ordered a big salad and a roll of sushi. Our odd but sweet waiter, Bruno, told us about the bucket of Sapporo for $12, and we giddily accepted, unsure if we could even finish the beers.
We did, of course, and were the last patrons in the restaurant on a quiet Monday night. About a block away we stopped and watched the end of a roller hockey match on rink right along the bike path. They finished the game and we rolled on, singing in the dark, laughing at traffic on the highway, ending up at the bus, the neighborhood quiet around us again.
I’m most certainly on an adventure, surrounded in a new, stimulating environment, with sunshine and beaches and palm trees and funny accents and people with a different feel, a different nature. Lots of cars and luckily, lots of bike paths and LOADS of cyclists, when we all get together. While I’ll certainly miss the familiarity of family and friends and the closeness and comfort of Chattanooga, I’m forging ahead into another realm of myself, new discoveries, another leg of the journey. I use the same touch points to ground me—yoga on the warehouse floor, sweating in the heat of an April night in Miami; riding on my bike, ringing my bell, decked out in pink and my heart helmet; and writing, reflecting and absorbing.
But I’m here now, and I’m here to learn and grow and love and EXPERIENCE. I’m here to SEE how other people live. I’m here to learn big lessons—hell, I’m alive on this EARTH to learn big lessons—and I couldn’t be more grateful for the people who have supported me along the way. While at first the move, just like the third yoga studio in my dreams, may not have felt like the place I needed to be, with time I can see now it’s the only choice. It’s exactly where I need to be.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! Hello, Miami. I’ve landed.