little sarah Big World

Tag: small pleasures

Passing Time

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I am enjoying my quiet alone time lately. Funny, because I was once so scared of being alone that I stayed in a relationship for way too long (five and a half years in total), just to avoid the terrifying prospect of being on my own.

Now I can’t get enough of it.

I feel guilty sometimes, because I’d rather read in bed (or practice guitar, or bake, or go for a run…) by myself than hang out with my friends. I mean, I like my friends, but it turns out I like me more.

I can’t get enough of these quiet little moments, drinking a hot beverage, reading. Pausing to take a photograph. Listening to podcasts while I run, and the view is breathtaking, and I have nobody to share it with. Just me. Little Sarah.

And that’s more than enough.



Haven’t Slept a Wink


I’m So-oh-oh Tired

Because I am just going with it, living in the moment and going with friends to late-night bars, where we indulge in late-night bar food, juicy secrets, and the honest truth.

And because I work an early morning job now, all coffee and sunrise, so I am up and at ’em by 7 at the latest, sometimes as early as 5:30.

And when I’m not staying up late with friends, I’m staying up late baking, and doing laundry. That’s life, I guess–it can’t all be chicken wings and beer.

But I am also very calm, which is a new and strange thing for me. It’s partly due to exhaustion, and partly due to something else, unnamable. Some sense of grace that I’d so long hoped for, and I am feeling more grown up of late. I feel prepared for 26, whereas I dreaded 25, didn’t think I’d earned it. Wasn’t ready to grow up.

Not that I’m ready now. BUT, I am calm. And strong. The days pass by in little slivers and I appreciate most everything. Making a salad for work…

…how delicate and tart and fresh and pink an apple can be…

…and taking a moment to snap a photo, even in the middle of a whirlwind-busy day. Because it’s the right thing. Suddenly the right thing seems so obvious, if I only slow down enough to listen. Today it was: buying a little gift for my Dad, just because, and baking bread for the staff meeting.

It’s strange, because last week I was feeling so dis-jointed, so distant and isolated and irritable. (Probably also due to lack of sleep). But…I just let it go. I let it go, and I think things are going to be fine, and everything else is out of my hands, so I will probably just eat a salad and bake some bread and read in bed ’til I fall asleep about it. What else can I do?

Last week I felt like I just didn’t care anymore, about anything. I didn’t freak out about it, I just let it happen, submerging myself completely in the feeling. Like swimming through a lake, and now I’m on the other side. Not sure where this is, exactly, but it feels new, and real, and good, and calm, and utterly blameless.

The world is quiet here.

A man just came to the desk where I’m working and donated the remainder of his clementines from a meeting in one of our public rooms. I have been craving citrus lately.

Artwork by a young patron. A gift. Okay, it was a barter.

Life Goes On


“Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”

Last night I was yelled at by a cab driver. He said my card was denied, that there was no money, and called me a liar, when I said I was certain that it was just a mistake. He refused to run it again, said that running a different card would waste even more of his time than I’d already wasted, yelled at me “What are you do?! Why you call a taxi if you have no money?!”

I stayed calm, repeating “What do you want me to do.” He screamed at me, threatened to call the police.

“Belligerent,” I believe, is the word.

Finally he ran another card, which of course worked. I slammed the door on my way out, and he rolled down his window to say “Attitude! You do not need to have an attitude.”

I staggered to the porch, fell into a plastic chair, and sobbed. What else could I do? How can people be so irrational, so needlessly cruel and harsh?

(Some days I am still little sarah, and it is a Big, Bad world).

But then…then there was my Stephanie P. friend, who rushed over, with hugs. Kind words and the promise of a brighter tomorrow. She had never seen me cry before, but I am not embarrased, and anyways, that’s what friends are for.

Today I made salad with bean sprouts, bloomed simply and magically in Sister Natalie’s kitchen. I like sprouts. I like eating a salad for lunch, and the way the sunlight comes in through my kitchen window. I love the little gifts and tokens of affection that my loved ones give to me, something green, and new. Like a bit of hope.

*       *       *

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full
How could I answer the child?. . . .I do not know what it
	is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful
	green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we
	may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . .the produced babe
	of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow
Growing among black folks as among white,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the 
same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

--Walt Whitman, Song of Myself




Snow Day


No Work and All Play Makes Sarah Want to Stay

Woke up to soft flakes gently falling. Ran outside in my long johns and rain boots to bring in the ol’ mountain bike, lest he catch cold. Blackberry-buckwheat pancakes for breakfast and a long snowy walk to the grocery store and back.

Toasty toasty in my little apartment, with a new down comforter and new bedding. The place is cleaner than ever, from right before I left for Spain. I’ve been baking nearly every day, reading in bed, listening to music, dancing around.

It’s hard to leave a place where I feel so comfortable. But not every day is a snow day; I can’t just stay in my cozy little apartment. There’s work, and friends, family, obligations, people I’d rather not see and situations that I’m ready to get out of.

It’s hard to leave, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right.


~Friday, January 6th, 2012~

11:14 am – Drying laundry above the radiators all night has steamed up the windows while we sleep; flowers from Kevin still thriving

10:02 pm – Paul has a 6-hour layover in Madrid; we go out bar hopping in Sainz de Baranda: good beer and fried potatoes

Let’s Get Turtles!


Man, This Alternate Title Thing is Getting Hard I Dunno ‘Let’s Get Turtles’ is Already a Pretty Awesome Title It Refers to a Beloved Book From My Childhood

Yesterday I talked about going to the train station to buy some tickets. I failed to mention that there are turtles in the train station.

There are turtles in the train station here, friends. Turtles. Friends. FRIENDS: there are turtles. In the train station.

I spend 5-10 minutes watching them and freaking out every time I go there. They do this thing where they flutter their little turtle paws in each others faces as a sort of mating dance. Go to Google, search “turtle mating dance,” and you’ll see.

Just don’t search “turtle mating,” because that’s a whole ‘nother ball game.

It’s a Small, Small World



There’s more to the US than New York and LA, and there’s more to Spain than Madrid and Barcelona

All this “world traveling” has created in me a sweet appreciation for the peculiar localisms and particular uniqueness of any place, no matter how big or small. It’s certainly changed my perspective on Utah’s cities and towns. Traveling brings everything alive, all the details you might otherwise have overlooked. It shows us a new place in its best light, makes things seem exciting and prescient. But you can have that at home, too. And you can have it in a small town just as well as a big city.

In my last few days before I moved back to Salt Lake from Madrid, I extended an invitation to my roommates to come visit me any time, stay in my house and let me show them around Utah. Little María told me that, no offense, but if she were going to go to the US, she’d rather go some place like New York or maybe Los Angeles.

And I see what she’s saying–that she’d rather go somewhere “bright lights big city,” some place she’s heard so much about–but I disagree.

Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. In fact, I’m taking steps right now to be legitimately living and working there within the next few years. But is New York the best representation of the United States as a whole? How could a place so vast and so diverse as our 50 states ever be exemplified by one single city, even a city as amazing and eclectic as New York or LA? And how can staying in a cheap hotel (or even a fancy one) in a foreign place and sight-seeing and eating at restaurants compare to sleeping in somebody’s home, eating at their table, meeting their friends and having them show you around the way only a local can? It can’t, is what I’m saying.

I’m really grateful that my first experience with Spain was in Oviedo, which is no small town but a city in it’s own right, the capitol of Asturias, and with a population greater than Salt Lake. But it’s certainly not the place most people think of when they think of Spain, while planning a vacation or shopping around for study abroad options. Most people think Barcelona or Madrid, and then maybe some place like Seville or even Valencia. But Oviedo is unique, it’s unexpected, and I stayed in somebody’s home, and nobody spoke to me in English. And I think there’s a lot of value in approaching any new place with the same level of interest and enthusiasm that you might normally reserve only for big-name capitals.

Yesterday I went with Kevin to work, in Rivas-Vaciamadrid, an urban development and municipality within the community of Madrid, situated to the south-east of Madrid City Center and boasting 70,000 inhabitants. We taught a Facebook/Christmas-themed lesson to his middle- and high school-aged students, ate lunch in the cafeteria, took a long walk up to the hillside, and strolled through the main part of town, where the town hall and library are, stopping to have a drink and a snack, and of course to snap photos.

On the metro ride back into the city, we bumped into one of Kevin’s students–an American girl named Kaley from Colorado, on a year-long study abroad in Rivas. I think a lot of people might wonder “Rivas? Why Rivas? Why not Granada or Cordoba or something?” But all I could think was “How lucky.”

Wait, Sarah, What Are You Doing in Spain?

– Eating about a tin of olives per day

– Drinking claras and picando things in little bars and cafés

– Forcing Kevin to reorganize his room/buy basic home furnishings

– Suffering tremendous, sharp, stabbing stomach pains (unrelated to olive consumption)

– Getting my sleep cycle all messed up up so that my most awake/alert time is right now, bedtime

– Making facebook pages for Santa, Rudolph, and the rest of the gang with my chicos in Illescas

– Watching YouTube videos

– Getting tear-inducing, almost painful giggles with Kevin every night when we’re supposed to be going to bed

– (Bedtime is not our forte)

– Eating tortilla and hanging out with my compis, just like the old days

– Baking Cookies and drinking wine, just like the old days

– Missing Laura

– Searching for a way to stay

Holiday Travel Madness


Guess who made it all the way to Salt Lake International Airport without her passport yesterday? That’s right! Me!

Oh, man, but that’s not even the half of it. First, I packed the morning of my flight, because I was up LATE the night before, celebrating with Eric and Co. after our ridiculously successful (previously mentioned) performance. I call it ridiculous, because we’d never even rehearsed all together before, let alone had a dress rehearsal, and some (Eric) thought it might be a total mess, but instead it was great and the room was packed and there was a line of 20+ people out the door and it was magical and Eric stood bathed in a halo of golden spotlight playing the accordion, but no I don’t have any pictures of it, sorry.

Then a long time of congratulations and people giving us money and packing up, and then free Indian food happened at the staff party for Salt Lake Film Society, plus free Epic beer, and then on to Eric’s folks’ place, where there was wassail and home-made caramel and staying up late chatting with Eric’s mom at the kitchen table.

So, yeah–I got home at, like, three or something, and stayed up an additional hour, determined to finish The Poisonwood Bible before leaving for Spain. Because I’m crazy like that these days. Crazy addicted to books.

THE PLOT THICKENS: So I packed this morning, finishing just in time for Natalie to pick me up, but my suitcase felt WAY too heavy. BUT GUESS WHAT? Natalie is a genius, that’s what! She suggested that we stop at her house (which is right on the way to the airport) to weigh my bag and take things out. BUT WAIT! She doesn’t have a scale. So we used the WiFit. We had to make a little Mii for the damn suitcase and everything. BUT THE BAG WON’T STAY BALANCED ON THE SCALE! So I stood on the WiiFit, holding the bag, and then we just subtracted how much I weigh. It was 10 lbs. too heavy. We took some things out. BUT WAS IT TEN POUNDS OF THINGS? SHOULD WE WEIGH THE BAG AGAIN? Naw, we’ll just weigh me, holding a bag with all the stuff we’d taken out, subtract my weight, and see if that’s 10 lbs. worth. AND IT WAS.

All of that was Natalie’s genius, as I was basically in a stunned stupor and she’s a quick thinker.

Then after all that we got to the airport, realized I didn’t have my passport (inflatable neck pillow, yes, but passport, no), raced back to my place, thanked the Universe that I had a spare key on me, since I’d given mine to Natalie and we’d left it at her house (!!!), zoomed back to the airport and made it an hour and ten minutes before my flight OMG.

The best part is, we weren’t even too freaked out. It was actually kind of fun, and there’s nobody that could have happened with besides Natalie. Thanks, Sis. Happy birthday on the 18th, also.

*       *       *

Then my second flight was delayed, so instead of a 50-minute layover in Chicago, it was more like 3 hours. No worries, Friends! Remember I already learned to make the best of traveling delays? So I visited the urban garden they have right in the terminal.

*       *       *

Now today I’m in Madrid, with Kevin. What a world. Anyways, Happy Holidays and safe travels to those of you who are flying, driving, apparating, etc. May you have fewer shenanigans than I!