So, we left off in Mexico. In San Gil at the Water’s Edge where I swam 1900 meters in 37 minutes!
And then, things started to get hard. Friends came back to Mexico and it was so so wonderful to see them! But they were all headed back to school. I wanted…I needed something to do and I knew it wasn’t school, but I didn’t know how to start what I wanted to do…and I found myself in that negative cycle of…but if I open door number one then what if door number two won’t open and then I’ll be stuck again and in the same place that I was before, and then there’s no point and… down the rabbit hole. I was completely stuck.
So many wonderful places to go and things to do, and I felt like all the stuff that I had spread all over the room that my friends were kind enough to let me stay were boxing me in.
All My Bags are Packed, I’m Ready to Go
It’s time to leave, Mexico. I heard the voice over and over again say. No, no. Not yet! Just let me figure this out. I pleaded back.
And it wasn’t until I wrote an email to a friend thatI thought I wrote from the depths of my soul that I got a wake-up call. “Sarah!” he wrote me back. “Stop feeling sorry
Alexa (teammate), Mike (coach), and Me in Veracruz
for yourself. You are an independent smart woman. Do something about this! You are not happy. I tried to justify his statements. “Maybe YOU don’t like what I’m doing, but I’m perfectly FINE!” I snapped at him in defense. But I wasn’t.
I spent the weekend at my ironman partner’s Paloma’s house with her and her family.”Go home.” she encouraged. “You’ll see.”
Paloma’s children watching for the dinner guests
Indeed it was the only place that came up over and over again…home, I know, ultimately is where the heart is, but in this case home…meant my mom and my dad.
And so I booked my ticket; . It goes without saying I hope, that I savored that time with the good friends and community that I was lucky enough to have in DF. Here’s a short list of activities:
got in a couple more walks/talks/and healthy food exchanges with a friend whom I’d been running with since arriving in Mexico three years prior.
accompanied a friend wedding dress shopping
held a “see you later party”
attended one more yoga class, and of course
trained for one more triathlon, Veracruz in August.
It was a wonderful weekend, reminding me of why I had started with the sport in the first place. I spent the weekend, laughing my head off with athletes from both Endurance and Fortia,
Endurance and Fortia Together at Veracruz Triathlon
and my coaches, who had become good friends.
Coach Mike, Me, Coach Luisen, Coach Alejandra in Veracruz
Before my final departure in late August, I visited my acupuncturist one last time. “I can’t believe I’m going home.” I told him. “Well why are you going?” he asked.. “I don’t know. Something in my heart tells me that’s where I need to go.” I responded. “Well,” he said. “Go home. Relax. And you’ll get the email or phone call you need in two weeks.”
I’m sure my eyes widened at his words, hopeful and skeptical at the same time. “Could there really be something to this whole follow your heart thing?” I thought. And with that I bid him farewell and headed to Massachusetts on the early morning of August 26th.
Anyone who knows me, reading this entry, knows that the birth celebrations start on November 1st and last the whole month. The festivities take many forms. Here is how I have welcomed thirty-two into my life:
October 27th-Olympic Distance Triathlon in Acupulco with friends. I was so focused on the triathlon I forgot we were going on a mini-vacation!
Training hard the day before!
The triathlon itself was so much fun. There were a few things that made this triathlon different. One, everything was in Spanish. Two, I didn’t have to wear a wetsuit. The water was such a beautiful temperature. Three, it was HOT. By the time I got to the run I was an oven. One of the highlights was as I was on the bike, I caught up to a woman to ask her a question. Hearing my accent she asked me in Spanish, “Oh, do you work at the American School in D.F? My daughter’s in first grade there!”
First time around on the bike…didn’t quite have the same grin on the next round
October 31st: Haunted House Halloween Wedding Celebration in San Francisco
The year I moved to San Francisco I was introduced to the Haunted House in the Outer Richmond in San Francisco. This is not just any haunted house with orange and black streamers with scary masks. The planning for this haunted house starts in August and takes place in a store’s basement across the street from my friend’s house. Not too long after I moved, the founder of the House found the perfect person to run it with him. This year, the Haunted House community (or the Undertakers as they call themselves) came together to
welcome Alex and Kirsten officially as a couple. It being a water theme, the bride and groom were dressed as sea-horses and their incredibly talented seamstress friend (creativity just attracts more creativity!) had made the outfits for the wedding party: silk, satin with fins at the bottom to represent the sea. The couple had gotten a block permit, and in true San Francisco fashion people were dressed: in costume, wedding attire, and jeans and a t-shirt.
November 1st-November 2nd: Spend a whirlwind 48 hours catching up with beautiful San Francisco family and friends.
November 6th: Obama is elected (even the U.S. voters recognize my birthday!)
November 9th: Go out to an amazing tapas restaurant, Broka, 5 blocks from my house with three nearest and dearest that I met in August, 2011, moving to D.F.
November 10th: When I move somewhere, I joke that I do not leave the 10 block radius around my house. It is good, then, to have friends introduce you to fabulous spaces that might be a little bit further away. When I got to D.F. last year, my friend Tricia introduced me to her boyfriend’s pizzeria, Chinirindoguería Antojería Pizzas Pastas,
simply by taking me there. It is located in “El Centro” hidden in a little alleyway. It is comfortable, fun, cozy, and yummy. November 16th: Huasteca Potosin
The wonderful thing about traveling during Thanksgiving in Mexico is that any place you go is virtually empty! A friend recently moved to the state of San Luis Potosi. After making the decision to visit him, friends of ours told us, “Oh well then you have to go to Huasteca Potosini:
We drove three hours, first to the Cascadas de Tomosopo. Puente de Dios, we were told, was the cascada worth going to. It is actually possible to go under the waterfall here. Once we got into the water we held onto a rope that led us into a cave. Keep holding onto the rope, slide through the cave opening that has just about enough head space to get through and there you are holding onto the rope while swaying back and forth with the current. Keep holding on and moving and then you are under the waterfall. Every place we visited was as magical as here.
Puente de Dios
Sir Edward James Crazy Idea
A crazy artist, by the name of Sir Edward James decided that he wanted to build a surrealistic castle in the middle of the jungle. It is a surrealistic castle that has the illusion of no end and no beginning.
And of course it is surrounded by waterfalls and natural pools that are perfect for taking a bath.
Waterfalls of Xilitla
Waterfalls in Xilitla
Besides the exquisite natural beauty of each of these places we also encountered incredible kindness from the locals. We traveled next to the Cascadas de Tamul. I did not take pictures for fear of losing my camera. Upon arrival to the shore, a local guide greeted us and helped us into an old rickety canoe…and life jackets. No motor boats here…keep the waters clean! As we are turtling along I am dying to jump into the sea-green water. “Soon, soon.” And we stop at a rock where we can jump in the water and then let the current take us back (until we get tired and then we hop back into the canoe. Before heading to shore, we stop off at another place to swim. We are walking to the sounds of the rushing waterfalls and I am wondering where we are going to swim when suddenly I see a giant cave with dark blue water. We jump in and the only other sounds around us are those of the water and bats flying above us. On the way back, our guide asks if we are hungry (of course we’re hungry!) and he takes us to his friend’s restaurant where there is no menu…only fresh fish.
Children playing in the street.
Before finding a place to stay, we must, we are told, see the Golondrinas. We drive down a muddy, rocky, road to a tiny pueblo, where children stare at us, and some young boys are eager to help us park the car and watch it for us while we are gone. A young girl takes us and
another couple down the stairs. And at the bottom, we see where the golondrinas will fly. It’s about six o’clock pm. We sit on a rock and suddenly hear the flapping of wings and see a group of birds circling all together and then “VOOSH!” in the cave they fly. The pueblito is so small there is not even a place for us to stay. As we are driving back on the dark, muddy, rocky roads with no homes in sight it is then that I start realizing how lucky we are to be in such a place and also how scary it would be if something happened to one of us being in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
We drive to the closest town and park ourselves at the only hotel. In the morning we go to what I like to call “Abuelita’s”because when we walked in the elderly woman in the rocking chair served us Huevos a la Mexicana.
Our last stop, Thanksgiving day, before heading back to the city, San Luis Potosi, we stopped at Media Luna, a large park with a river flowing through it. Although there were no waterfalls to speak of, the water was so clear and as we were driving in we saw a guy swimming along the road.
I am continually amazed at the natural beauty that this world has to offer. I am also continually surprised at how differently people live, and yet distance-wise they are so close.
Coming back to a city of who-knows-how-many-millions-of-people was quite a rude awakening. And transitioning back into the every-day schedule was definitely not easy. However, the wonderful thing about living in such a huge city is that there is always something to do.
On the last night of my birth-month, November 30th, a friend invited me to a party. Her friend had converted his apartment into a store in which they were starting to sell Mezcal. The store/apartment, so tiny, that people were tunneled onto the street laughing, talking, dancing, and drinking. I swear, waiting in line for the bathroom has never been so fun!We were packed in so tight (Mexico City) but surrounded by such interesting, creative,people. I met a guy named Aristotle who studies philosophy…I’m serious!
And so, in conclusion, although ups and downs are always part of this crazy roller coaster, what a joyous way to welcome another year.
There is a trampoline in the corner if you look closely…
A local restaurant near the trail.
Saturday: My friend Ellen had read about the “hiking meccas” around Mexico City from the New York Times. So we took the metro to the last stop on the green line and then hopped in a taxi and told the guy “Ajusco.” We didn’t want the main park entrance, however, and we didn’t know how else to direct him (Ellen said that it was very popular with mountain bikers). So the taxista dropped us off basically in the middle of nowhere, warning us first that there were no taxis that came this way and we would have to walk quite aways back. We were both fine with that. So we set off (watching the sky as it was turning a dark shade of grey). The path, as it turned out, was pretty much straight up and there were no mountain bikers! We passed a couple on our way up (they were on their way down) who said we had quite aways. Ellen started to get altitude sickness, and I was getting nervous about the time of day and the rain clouds forming. So we sat down and ate something and decided that it would be enough of an adventure to walk down the road to the taxis.
Thankfully we did, because it started to rain. Not hard, but it was cold! We were in a pretty good mood, but still I was wondering how long this walk actually was. I wondered aloud, “Why hasn’t a car stopped for us yet?” and really and truly was about to recommend the old thumb trick when a car stopped in front of us and put on its flashers. Out from the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat were the couple offering us a ride!! The girl had just been thinking of us and wondering how we were fairing in the rain. We climbed into the back seat with two of their friends and they gave us a ride back to the city!
It turns out that they sell roller-blades (I think?) and also give workshops. They gave us their card and said that anytime we want them to show us how to climb to the top or go to a roller-skating (in-line skating?) workshop to contact them. Maybe my dream of becoming a Roller Derby Girl will come true!
Sunday: I met up with another new friend, Elaine (Ellen came to) for an aaammmaaaazing brunch. It’s this mediterraneanish restaurant that has a buffet (that’s mainly vegetarian) on Sundays from 11:30-2:00 for like $15.00. All the products are mexican (or most of them) but it’s with a nice zing (Delirio’s, it’s called). And then Ellen and I took a very long walk around our neighborhoods getting a sense of where we live.
There’s a wonderful Saturday morning market right around the corner from me! I can get anything from fresh fruits and vegetables to a vegetable peeler to clothing to anything fried (I’m sure they’d fry the clothing if I wanted them to)!
I have a morning workout buddy who is fabulous. We take a cab for less than $3.00 at 5:45 am and either run around the track or swim. We found a gym called…The Body Factory. Hmmm…. soon I will be a proud member.
Wednesday: Today was the first day of school. What is going through my mind:
1)Second graders are soooo cute!
2)I have an assistant (AN ASSISTANT!)
3) My desk is clean and I know where everything is.
4) First day hazing ritual: bus system. There are 70 buses just for the school. Little second graders walking to hopefully the right bus. The kids just know where to go. Okay…please make it home safely, and maybe text me when you get there?