My Travel focus mode.
My grandmother sometimes wrote daily travelogues when on vacation. This morning, my mother scanned and sent one from a trip to Israel in December of 2000 when my Uncle Erwin passed away and his estate needed to be taken care of.
I teared up when she wrote,
For me, it was very difficult to say “shalom' to my cousins Ahuda and Arelka - Inwardly, I feared never seeing them again, especially Ahuda - who has not been well for a very long time.
In June 2008 my sister, my grandmother, and I went to Balfouria together, and she was able to see her cousins again. It was the last major trip my grandmother took anywhere. I’m glad it was to see her family in her once home.
America— where your prize for caring about something enough to dedicate time and effort into becoming an expert means you’ll be mistrusted and therefore struggle to have an impact.
New political email filter just dropped.
We spent a little over two months in Mexico City this winter. Here’s what I learned:
Unsurprisingly, environment matters. Being far further south, sundown is much later in the winter than it is in Baltimore. Pretty much skipping that part of the year where I’m working until full dark even when I’m not working late was great. Sunlight really does impact my mood and happiness.
The weather is real hard to complain about– the coldest it got at night was in the mid 40s, and most days we were in the mid 70s by afternoon. It’s great to live somewhere where the difference between outside and inside blurs. This is helped by the total lack of nasty insects.
My lack of Spanish made my world smaller and a little more isolated. Over time my comfort improved, but being totally unable to engage in small talk or effectively overhear conversations was a real challenge for an extended stay.
Living somewhere that is completely walkable with a high density of restaurants and cafes and parks is an absolute joy. Mexico City is far more car oriented than most of my favorite cities, but density and great weather combine for magic if you’re in the right neighborhoods. I adored never once thinking I need a car, though inexpensive Ubers were a help for some kinds of travel that didn’t quite align with public transit.
We’re into month 2 of Letters, and I’m already pleased with this project. I want to work on a dedicated page to this project– that’s something I’ll try and get done in February or March I hope. I’m booked through September, so there are still three slots left if you want to participate.
A Break from Movement
I focused on my rebuilding my relationship with my body for a solid year, focusing on eating well and moving often. My appendectomy put stop to that in October. We got to Mexico essentially as I was fully cleared for physical activity again. Despite that, I decided not to work out or watch my food in Mexico. I needed more time for healing. I had knee, wrist, and finger pain (really) from playing so much volleyball with little break. After my surgery, a lot of my body was recovering, and I decided that it was time to give my whole body a little bit of time. Ideally, I would have been back at it in January, but it’s hard to restart routine, especially when you’re rebuilding it in a new place.
So I cut myself some slack, and I’ll get back to it when we return to Baltimore in mid-February. I’m looking forward to building back the muscles I’ve allowed to atrophy with some fresh energy. Any other time I’ve “fallen off the wagon”, it’s been hard to get back going again. For the first time, I have no concerns about my ability to rebuild my habits. I finally have achieved a lifestyle change that feels permanent and a part of my identity. I have no question of my success, and no concerns about the progress that was lost. I’ll start again, enjoy it again, and pay attention to when it’s too much.
January has historically been the month I read the most. This month I finished no books. In another sign of growth and changes, I don’t seem to find this concerning at all. I will read again soon, when it feels like the thing I want to do, for as much as I want to do it.
I never did rewrite my resume like I planned last year. I want to do more to write about things I know this year instead of things I feel. Part of working on my own self-image includes getting over the part of my that places my professional knowledge under the category as uninteresting because it’s unimpressive and not novel. Of course, that’s true of literally everything I write in public, yet it doesn’t stop me when it’s not about work.
I haven’t gotten there this year. Maybe something will come to me soon, but I’m not forcing it. I think being away from home and far off routine has kept me in a kind of stasis that makes it hard for me to decide what I want this year to be all about. It’d be worse to push it than to not have something in mind. Maybe it will take facing my first clear choice to reveal what I’m focusing on.