little sarah Big World

Month: July, 2012

Long Days, Long Rides, Long Walks, Long Talks

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What Passes as Life These Days

After a post about too many pictures and not enough words, I offer you a picture-heavy, verbally sparse post.

And what can I say? It’s been a hell of a weekend, and sometimes the words just aren’t there. Tears, yes. Blood, yes. Words…

Plus lately I’ve been drawn into myself, and I’m okay with that. Lots of long walks, long runs, long bike rides. Alone. I find myself enjoying socialization less and less, though I do still appreciate the time I spend with friends, just talking and talking for hours.

All of these photos are from weeks ago. They’ve just been hanging out in my computer, saved to a draft on WordPress. In limbo.

I, too, feel like I’m in limbo, but it is not an unpleasant feeling. Because it also feels like I’m on the verge of something, something very important.

All I have to do is slow it down, take a step back, and listen.

And wait. Always the waiting.

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A Writer, in South America

This blog used to be an outlet for my writing, with maybe a few occasional photos thrown in. As examples, or proof, or to illustrate my words. Photos were the compliment to the writing.

Now photos dominate, and sometimes it feels like this space is a relentless, oppressive, compulsive documentation of my every waking hour.

Don’t get me wrong, Friends–I love capturing the small, gentle, simple moments of every day life. I like being able to communicate visually.

But maybe this isn’t the outlet for that?

We’ll see. In the meantime, some long-overdue words. A feast of words, Friends.

(from my travel journal in South America, mostly unedited, but with parts left out)

Friday, May 4th, 2012 – Day 1
(airplane: SLC – Houston)

I have to say, I’m excited to be traveling again. I think I must be one of those rare birds, because I actually ENJOY traveling–cramped quarters, strange people, random and bad snacks and meals…I love the little routines I’ve developed, after years of traveling solo. Never getting to the airport too early, always bringing socks, buying trashy magazines that I read cover to cover…I always board with my left foot first and disembark with my right, saying “Left for Lenore” and “Start off on the right foot.” (Lenore is my father’s mother who died when I was about 5). I like to think that grandma will watch over me and protect me.

I guess flying by myself to visit Cousin Em when I was 12, 13, 14 years old I always felt so grown-up, so mature and independent, and I’ve never lost that feeling.

There is no time I feel more littlesarahBigWorld than when I travel alone. I like that feeling.

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While You Were Out…

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With the Grown-ups Away, Part-timers will Play!

(for Deanna, Debbie, Patrick and Paul)

This is what it looks like when all the “real librarians” go away, together, at the same time, to a Symposium, leaving a skeleton crew of 20-somethings. Plus Robyn, who was wearing pigtails. Totally not a grown up. Inspired by the ever-popular Stuffed Animal Sleepover videos, we decided to give you a glimpse of what happens when the “children” are left in charge of Children’s:

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The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

So we’re back to the present tense, more or less, or at least my present location (Salt Lake City), with a hazy, somewhat disconnected focus on a frame of time spanning about a month in either direction, with the possibility of South America reappearing for one last gasp at any moment.

And what can I say? Time and meaning have blurred in my life, coinciding intriguingly with my current novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife (by Audrey Niffenegger). I stretch my days out by doing less and less, reading in bed, dreaming of a daughter named Calliope, of a relationship breaking apart, and severed limbs, and prose.

I’ve often described myself as an “intensely chronological person,” yet recently I find that falling away, like snakeskin. There’s more chaos this way, more confusion, and yet somehow it’s simpler. More real.

Turns out time does not march steadily forward, like a tin soldier, but rather spreads out, like a release.

Like a long sigh.

Street Art in Lima, part II

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Dopeness, Personified

Out for a walk in Lima, Peru, and I come across a mural, which–as a lover of street art–peaks my interest. So I get closer…

…and closer…

…and it is just the coolest thing ever, Friends. The mural went on for about a mile, I’d say, running along the east side of Campo de Marte, the park where I went for my runs.

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Some Photos I Took

Salt Lake Alternative Press Festival 2012

Just werkin’ as usual

Street Art in Lima, part I

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Redemption

Hey, guess what, Friends? Lima wasn’t all bad! There was lots of walking, remember? And while I walked, I ran across beautiful graffiti. Along the side of the road…

…on school buildings…

…in the park…

…and even a work in progress:

I wanted so badly to chat with these girls, but couldn’t work up the nerve. Partly because I was so lost in my solo reverie, and partly because they seemed cool as hell, and I didn’t want to be the dorky gringo tourist. Next time, though. Next time.

Lima, Peru

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The Good, The Bad, and The Hungry

So I got my alone time. A day and a half to explore Lima on my own, and parts of it were so satisfying–running in the park…

…buying trinkets and drinking fresh sugar cane juice in the artisan market…

…going for long, long walks on a dreary but not unpleasant day, just to check out the city, its people and plazas…

…admiring the architecture…

…and enjoying the city’s beauty, stopping to eat a churro or snap a photo, because I could. Because I was alone, at last.

On the other hand, Lima is also where I was snubbed by my couch surfing host, walked around for hours (literally) trying to find something to eat, and was openly sexually harassed (the ol’ ass-grab) just outside my hostel.

That was while I was on my way in just to grab my pack and catch a taxi to the airport.

I have never, in my entire life, been more ready to leave a city, more anxious to get back home. I was just done.

36 hours in Lima was more than enough. For me.

Creature Comforts

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A Room of One’s Own…in Peru

Early on in the trip I decided that I would like to finish things in comfort, or at least relative comfort–in a private hostel room. I just figured that after all the buses and taxis and jam-packed dorms and ever-changing couch surfs–not to mention constant “companionship” from B & J–I’d want some privacy and relaxation for my brief stay (1 night only) in Lima. So I booked it, weeks out.

Then I second-guessed myself, as I’ve been known to do. “I’ve spent so much money already, and why wouldn’t I want to couch surf and meet someone who could show me the best of Lima since I’m only there one night, and I am so anti-social and lame, blerg!”

So I found a couch surf (with a girl, which is rare), cancelled my reservation, and felt I’d done the right thing.

Guess what, though? My original, non-exhausted, non-panicking self was right. The couch surf turned out to be a bust. The girl wasn’t even home, and I was supposed to stay in the care of her little sister, but then lil sis had to go to class with her house keys, which meant I needed to stay in their filthy, piss-smelling apartment in a shady part of town until the older sister (my couch surfing contact) came home. Six hours.

PANIC.

You don’t need to hear about The Panic, though. Let me just say that after several frantic phone calls, emails, and a quick escape via taxi, I was able to reclaim my previously-reserved room 1900 Backpacker’s Hostel, where I spread out and relaxed to my heart’s content.

(Big sigh of relief)

Seriously, though, I was so giddy at having my own space for the first time in nearly a month that I lied down on the floor and made something like snow angels. Then I went for a long run while listening to Adele. Then I danced around my room in joy. Then I had food from a vegan restaurant (!!!) that was just down the street.

Then I watched bootlegged American movies on the hostel’s big TV, drank beer, ate snacks, and went to bed. Happy as a clam

Moral of this story? Trust yourself. Trust that you know yourself, and do as you please.

Goodbye for Now

~OR~

It’s been real, it’s been fun, but…

Anyways…after the whole Macchu Pichu experience, we went to some hot pots.

By the way, am I the only one who calls them hot pots? I guess you say “geysers” or “hot springs”? But I like hot pots; I think it’s the most descriptive.

On the way back we ran into some Utahns and chatted them up for a quick minute. They assumed Brett and I were honeymooning.

It is shocking how often I am assumed to be married to the man/boy/dude that I happen to be out and about with. Especially since I see myself like Sandra Cisneros–“nobody’s mother and nobody’s wife.”

After the hot pots, a long train ride, and much hullabaloo, we made it back to Cuzco, found a cheap(ish) hostel, and settled in. Then I woke in the morning, showered, packed, and left without saying goodbye.

All that remained was Lima, then home, which is true for our purposes here on this blog, as well.