Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 18: Challenges

I couldn't have asked for a better start to my trip than what I experienced on Kona. Not only was I able to focus on training, but everything else was relatively easy. I had Bree to not only show me around but she also chauffeured me around. And I really felt supported by the Kona community. I was in paradise. As I flew out Tuesday morning, I missed Kona more than I thought I would, and I felt so grateful for not only the people I met, but also grateful to the people back at home who made this trip happen (thanks Linda, Duane, Godwin, Leah and the rest of the College-Prep community). But I was also ready for the next adventure, Australia. Australia, to say the least, has posed some challenges. First off, I lost a day flying to OZ (if you're in Cali, just add 18 hours and that's the time in OZ). Once I flew in, it was only 7:20 PM, so I got to socialize a bit with my friend Scott and my new roommate John. They ordered the best thin crust pizza I have ever eaten (Sven's in Coogee if you're ever in the area)--hell it was the best pizza I've ever had, even better than Zachary's you Berkeley/Oakland folks. I didn't get to bed until midnight or so, thus I was only 5 hours shy of being up for 24 hours straight. I think I romanticized living abroad, and well, in reality, living abroad is a bit challenging. When I unpacked my bike the next day, my seatpost and seat were missing. I was not calm. In fact, I'm quite disappointed at the severity of my panic attack. I had no internet connection, no phone, and no car. I took a cab to the airport and spent the next 6 hours at the airport trying to locate my seatpost. Turns out TSA forgot to repack it after checking my bike box, and they noticed it and sent it on the next flight out to Sydney. My seat and seatpost was in a holding bin for wayward luggage and it took me nearly 6 hours to track it down. I told myself that living abroad would be different. For example, there are no Trader Joe's and Jamba Juice; and everything is opposite like driving and riding on the left side, even right down to the swirling action of toilet water. But I wasn't truly prepared. I panicked at the grocery store when I couldn't find almond milk, a balsamic vinaigrette, coconut flakes, flax seed, and carob nibs. But this is also why I wanted to live abroad. As I've gotten older, I've become less flexible, and a creature of habit and routine. I wanted to shake this up a bit. Since arriving to Sydney, I've lost a lot of my focus on training, and instead, I am focused on everyday survival. I've not biked or swam in four days, but I have managed to run a 7-miler and a 12-miler (thank goodness for running, it's so easy and you can do it anywhere). Thank goodness it's also a recovery week. The runs I've done are amazing and I will bring my camera on the next run and share it with you all, you're going to be floored. So, for the rest of my time here, my challenge is to better react to adversity, be more flexible, and try new routines. I'm realizing spelt is quite popular here so am going to try and find a recipe. It's also more expensive than I thought to live here and well, unless I better manage my finances, I will not be able to stay here as long as I had anticipated. Alright, wish me luck. Here are some final images of Kona as I close that chapter. The video is of my teammates Jeff and Scott out on the Queen K on my last day. I wish they had come earlier. And more pics from my amazing stint in paradise. Next time, I will share Australia in pictures with you.

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