little sarah Big World

Tag: bicycle adventures

Going Nowhere Fast

Monday morning I rode my bike to work, like I do, 6am and black as night. I took a spill in the employee parking lot at work, my first in nearly a year, thrown off by Tom the Roaster in his big van. Knocked my basket loose and everything. Scraped my knee, hurt my wrist, bruised my elbow, but not a big deal. Honestly, I was kind of looking forward to telling the story. I definitely thought it was the worst bike-related incident that would happen to me that day.

I was so wrong, Friends!

Because when I walked back out the kitchen door 6 hours later, my black milk crate basket was on the ground. I thought it had fallen off my bike, but then raised my eyes some centimeters to see that there was no bike. Bike gone. Bike stolen. Bike n’est pas.

Oh, Friends, oh Friends. Just the biggest bummer ever, and I had the same inappropriate response that people sometimes have when grieving–a big, shit-eating grin on my face as I told my coworkers “Somebody stole my bike.” Then I had to carry home my coffee smelling possessions in that little milk crate clutched tight to my chest, like somebody who’s just cleaned out their cubicle.

I felt like maybe there was an actual raincloud above my head.

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Just another Sunday, running errands, visiting family. Coping with life the best I know how.

A Fox, A Hen, A Bag of Grain

Some days my life feels like a logic problem. Like the one where a farmer needs to get a fox, a hen and a bag of grain across a river, but he can only take one at a time and can never leave the fox alone with the hen or the hen alone with the grain. Because, you know, the food chain.

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Laguna Cejar


Fueled by Fury

When we last left off, I was thinking of separating from Brett and Josh, and our day-trip to Laguna Cejar was a big factor in that. Example: I took the above photo after Brett pointed out that you could capture the mountains reflected in the water. He didn’t mention this to ME, of course, as they had already begun to treat me like a stray dog following, but he did point it out to Josh, who responded “That’s gay.”

Yep. This is what I’m talking about. Who even calls things gay anymore? I honestly hadn’t heard that in YEARS. So, take talk like that, add Josh’s super inflated ego, the fact that they were annoyed (at best) by my vegan diet, and constant reminiscing over drunken binges during Peace Corps…and you’ll see why I felt like I was traveling with a couple of frat bros, WHICH I TOLD THEM, and to which Brett took great offense.


The day of the laguna was the day after we’d arrived, and I was still pretty sick. But I still rose and shone for a 3 hour round-trip bike ride. Josh took his sweet time, but Brett took it out on both of us. I might have been more sympathetic to how long it takes Josh to get ready, if I’d already read Mindy Kaling’s opinion on boys taking for-f***ing-ever to put on their shoes. But I hadn’t.

And they just went so fast, Friends. It was partly to make up for our late start and partly because Josh wanted to get back in time for some other excursion. I was literally left in their dust, to fume and pedal all the way to the lagoon.

At least the sunshine felt good.

I could detail more injustices, but that would be petty. Or at least more petty than what I’ve already said.

It’s just such and extreme bummer to feel so wrong and receive no vindication or validation. I suppose there are people who face that on a much larger scale daily, so I should keep things in perspective.

PLUS…(plus), I really felt like I became such a pro at Positive Mental Attitude this trip. While the boys felt that being hungry, tired, cold, or sick gave them license to be grumpy like children and treat others poorly, I felt that I could bounce back from most anything. Like how I got up early to ride a bike for 3 hours while sick.

Do not mess with this.



Fifteen Minutes


Now I Know Why I’ve Never Been to Sundance

I’ve been busy, Friends, trading in my traditional 3-day weekend of baking, reading, running and writing for a new adventure: Sundance. The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, to be specific.

I should clarify, though: no, I am not seeing movies, and celebrity gawking has been minimal (though I did see three different members of Modern Family, separately! That was cool). What I am doing is busking, Friends. I am making money and having my photo taken about a bajillion times per hour. So are my friends:

They even got inteviewed! Check it out here. I didn’t get interviewed, though. At least not in any way that’s shown up on the internet, as far as I can tell. What I did was play viola in the freezing cold, fingers numb, with my friend Eric and Corbin, in shifts. When Eric and I weren’t playing his compositions or Bach or “Mad World,” our friend Corbin was laying down a mean Rachmaninoff. Like this:

The thing is, even though I’ve lived in Utah my whole life, I’ve never been to Sundance. I’ve only seen one Sundance movie AT the festival itself, and that was at the Tower Theater on 9th and 9th. Not Park City. I’ve never experienced the celebrities-meet-quaint-mountain-town madness, and I’ve always wanted to, to be a part of it all. This was one reason for coming home from Spain–to be able to play with Eric at Sundance and claim my fifteen minutes of fame. Haven’t you wondered what that would be like, Friends?

Well, wonder no more–it’s not that great. Park City is not even close to the quaint mountain mining town it once was and currently pretends to be. It is a land where the women wear fur boots and vests with black leggings, and the men wear tech gear, and all the locals are trying to see and be seen by celebrities, thinking they have some special insider status, and all the celebrities are trying to see and be seen by other celebrities and could give a shit about the locals. Also there are a lot of restaurants and art galleries and Sundance volunteers running around in puffy orange vests.

And then there’s us–a scraggly bunch of kids from “The big city” (Salt Lake, Friends), just trying to stay warm and make a few bucks. At the end of longer songs I can’t feel if my fingers are touching the strings or not. To stay warm we walk around, pop into galleries to “admire the art” (read: “sample the free punch and snacks”), and watch greatest hits of the 2002 Winter Olympics on a cow couch (a cowch) at Java Cow, where I ate a Rico burrito that somebody left on the table, having only taken one bite. It was delicious.

Sundance…not so much. Definitely not worth giving up a happy life in Madrid. Ah, well…this is how we learn.

Cross that off my to-do list, and on to the next adventure!

Real Life Stumble Upon

So when I said in my last post that we explored a peace garden, I left out the part about it being completely unplanned and unintentional. More like we fell into it, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. One minute we were riding along the Jordan River Parkway, asking each other “What’s that to the left? A mini-golf place?” And then we found ourselves here:

…at the International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City. Who knew? Lots of people apparently, and it’s even connected to a park that I’ve visited before, but we had no idea. What a treat, Friends! And now I will share it with you.





Each garden represents a country, and most of them were donated by their home countries, or by US foundations that represented foreign countries. Honestly, some of the countries’ gardens looked an awful lot like holes on a mini-golf course. But it was neat to see how each country had chosen to represent themselves, and peace. We liked the east asian gardens the best, but the experience of walking through the entire park was surreal and pleasant.

I want to say that you should check it out sometime, but maybe that wouldn’t be as cool as just coming across something so calm and magical and cheesy. So I will say that you should keep yourself open to exploring what’s around the corner, or down that path. Let what’s out there come to you. Go now, in peace.

Small Pleasures, Small Pains

Wow, Life has been a bit overwhelming since I came back from France. Okay, a lot overwhelming. Yet somehow I continue to find a way to deal, and to celebrate the small things in life. Like the fabric lining my new shoes (from PayLess)…

…new, expensive bedding (from Target, so I guess the “expensive” part is relative)…

…a smaller bag inside my Longchamp bag, which really IS expensive, or at least would have been, if it hadn’t been a gift from Laura, who also gave me the idea for the bag-within-a-bag, which creates pleasing organizational ease.

And while I’m freaking about whether or not to go to Spain in September (my heart says “get me out of here,” but my wallet says “probably not”), the day-to-day nonsense is not so bad. Like stabbing myself in the leg today with my bike gears, while lowering it from the UTA bus.

I mean, it hurt, but all I could do was think about how cool it looked, and what are the odds, anyways?

I may be sick of Salt Lake, and it’s “hipper-than-thou” mentality, I may be in the throngs of another friend deficit, and I may still be in desperate need of a giant rum and coke (make that a Jack and Coke), but Life goes on. Life goes on, and I enjoy what I have, for the moment, and I read some books. Wash the walls. Bake some muffins. Apply for new jobs…

…blog at work while sitting next to Lindsey, who is also blogging at work. Amazing. Shout out to A Pilgrim’s Progress!

Parisien Sandwich

Friends, getting to Italy was INTENSE. Let me tell you about it. My flight was at 8:30 in the morning, but it was at the far-out Paris airport (Beauvais), which meant that to get there I was obliged to take a 15€ shuttle at 5:30am, and to get to THAT I had to take a Parisian night bus with drunk Algerians who wanted to harass me (“My dick, in your mouth”), a number of exhausted youths on their way home, still dressed to the nines, and a junky who shook and chattered so frighteningly that I chose to stand the full 30 minutes rather than face him. All that was at 4:40am.

Bright side: I got to hang out with Gianny again! (A sweet thing he said to me in an e-mail: “I’m going to be expecting you at home before taking you out on the town.”) Because OBVIOUSLY I’m going to spend the night in Paris for a morning that starts so early. And by “spend the night” I mean “stay-up-hanging-out-with-Gianny-and-riding-bikes-through-the-city-and-drinking-hot-toddies-with-new-friends-in-an-old-apartment-and-then-walking-around-talking-world-travels-until-3:45-am-and-then-‘nap’-until-it’s-time-to-catch-the-night-bus.”

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” I told myself. Here’s some pictures, though:

graffiti @ the austerlitz train station

drinking wine with my "little sister" from Tours

out for a walk with Gianny, 3am

I forgot to mention that I rode the train from Tours to Paris with Elizabeth, who is has the same home-stay as me, and her friend Sam. Without even knowing it! (A thing I actually said to her: “What are YOU doing on this train?”) They were heading on to Nice on a night train (Harry Potter, y’all), and therefore had wine (naturally), which they shared with me. In the train station. (Also naturally).

Then, on the way BACK from Paris (post-Italy), I was supposed to have gone straight from the airport to the train station to “home,” but my flight was delayed, and then the shuttle (another 15€) had a beeping problem that called for highway-side assistance (shenanigans). So I found myself with 2 hours to kill before the next train.

I entertained the possibility of being grumpy about it, then I realized that I was in Paris, with the worlds smallest carry-on (Mary Poppins, y’all), and two hours to explore the city. ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT, FRIENDS. Or, re-frame. I walked around, ate a baguette sandwich, took pictures, asked for directions, mailed a postcard, and went to McDonald’s. Yup.

The City of Light at Dusk.

More Adventurous

Hangover: Round 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

Last night was the institut-sponsored “spectacle,” where students from the institute (where I study) sang, danced, recited poetry, played music, etc. for each other and also the general publique tourangelle. Down at the guingette. And guess what, friends? I totally performed! I totally Bached-out with my you-know-what out! AND did some jazz improv with some of the other students for “Fly Me to the Moon” (Frank Sinatra). And I was nervous! But I did it anyway!

Then afterward we all danced to “Groove It,” by Earth Wind & Fire. And the sky was like this:

I’ve been riding a consistent wave of self-confidence here, feeling more adventurous and independent than I’ve felt in a while. Last weekend I went on a 15-mile bike ride all by myself, and though I didn’t know it it to begin with, nothing could have possibly made me happier. Renting a bike here turned out to be a good choice.

It was a gorgeous day, and I was wrapped-up in a sweet solitude, making plans for the future, thinking my thoughts, enjoying just being by myself. This is from my journal that day:

“…I could not be more content. Happiness is a bubble of light and air in my chest, it is radiating out from me, filling me up, warming my spirit…Glad I came alone. I had wished for company, and then hesitated this morning, because of the overcast sky. But the ride was beautiful–miles and miles of gray clouds rolling heavily above neat rows of gnarled and bright-green vineyards, soft straw-colored pastures…”