Some Updates: A New Year

I’m really looking forward to the new school year. This summer has been wonderful, but long. I’m ready to get back in the classroom, and I’m especially looking forward to curating the SFSU graduate reading series, VelRo, with my good friends Dirk and Sofia. We’ve been hard at work exchanging ideas and beefing up VelRo’s social media presence (as pretentious as that sounds) in preparation for our tenure this year. I’m most excited about creating an archive of the series, hopefully making it more accessible to those outside of SFSU. I’m also really excited about stretching another artistic muscle, creating flyers for the series. I love linocut and block printing, and I hope to refine my eye for design.

I’m also happy to report that I’ll be a teacher’s assistant for CW 101 in the fall semester. It’s an undergraduate class that draws students from all majors, 100 of them in fact, and covers fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and playwrighting. I feel lucky to be TAing in the fall, because I’ll be leading my own class in the spring! I’ll be able to rework my 15 week syllabus as I go, and I’ll be able to step into my own lecture hall with (hopefully) more confidence than I would otherwise have.

Over the past month or so I attended a workshop and practice session with Beyond Borders Storytelling. I performed at my first Story Jam last night at the Darkroom Theater in The Mission, which will soon be closing its doors. I spoke about the misadventures of my first night with my host family during Peace Corps Training in Ukraine, and the terrifying email I sent to my parents that basically read like a ransom note. My poor parents. I was pretty nervous and forgot some of the finer points of my story, but it’s one I’ve told time and time again, so I think I was able to recover. The rest of the performances were wonderful, and I’m really grateful to Beyond borders Storytelling for organizing these great events. I’m very slowly becoming more involved in RPCV organizations here in San Francisco, and intend to do more! The event was taped and photographed, so I’ll post my story here when it’s available.

In June, my friends from SBGGYC and I went on a short supported tour from Arcata to San Francisco. Our Dear Leader, Sam, has since moved to New York for his PhD, and this was our way to send him off (aside from the massive party in San Diego a few weeks ago). I joined them on the second day, taking a Greyhound bus up to Garberville. it was a lot of fun, but strenuous as well, pushing through heat and the occasional separation of the group. We rode along the coast the entire time, and it was really interesting for Nick and I to retrace the steps from our grand bike tour last year, this time on unloaded road bikes. Obviously, we went much faster and covered a lot of ground very quickly this time. Still, it made me realize just how much effort was saved when we rode very slowly and steadily with our mountain bike gearing. I found myself much more tired at the end of every day on this trip when compared with last year, though that might speak to the fact that when we covered this ground last year we had nearly three weeks of riding every day under our belts.

In other bike news, Nick is training for a double century (200 miles in one day) in October. It’s something he’s wanted to do for a while, and he’s turning 30 in December so he figured that this was as good a time as any to do it. I’ve been riding with him on long weekend rides, and this past weekend marked my fifth century (100 miles) and my longest distance. We rode about 125 miles from our house in San Francisco to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It was an incredibly hot day, the sky smoky and hazy from all the fires east and south of us. The road to the lighthouse through farmland on the Point Reyes National Seashore was really poorly maintained, full of potholes and rough patches. it really reminded me of the Lost Coast, which, if you’ll remember, was the absolute worst part of our trip last year. We did catch glimpses of the cliffs ringing Drake’s Bay, but mostly the road ran up and down, steeply, through cow pasture. The ocean breezes were a welcome change from the oppressive heat as we’d climbed Mt Tamalpais earlier.

When we finally arrived to the parking lot for the Lighthouse, we had to navigate the seemingly hundreds of cars that were trying to find parking. My right knee was really bothering me, (at the end of our last century it had felt like my left knee gave out) and when we stopped at a bench for lunch I couldn’t walk it was so painful. There was still a quarter mile to go to get to the lighthouse, where we’d have to slowly weave through the throngs of people making their way. I considered not going, since I was so worried about my knee and worried about getting home, but after a sandwich and more water, we climber once more. We weren’t able to get to the lighthouse itself as it was on a rocky outcropping and accessible only by a steep set of stairs, but we were able to grab a picture.

I was so tired by the time we hit Lauginitas, and slowed down significantly. one of my biggest fears is falling because I wasn’t able to unclip from my pedals, and I’m still not used to my new pedals without a platform on the other side. I used to rely on an early unclip when I was nervous, so I’m learning to handle my anxiety and my bike in slow situations, like crossing the Golden Gate bridge. because of the smoke, the sunset over the Marin Headlands when we crossed was absolutely gorgeous and the most vivid blood red. My worst fear was nearly realized when a bunch of pedestrians blocked the exit on the bike side of the bridge (oh, how I resent tourists on the bridge!) and I almost fell–lucklily I was next to a pylon and managed to hold myself up before unclipping.

We took a lot longer than we expected because of a late take off time due to mechanical issues, so we were riding through Golden Gate Park in the fading light without bike lights. Someone shouted at us from their car “Where are your lights, assholes!?” Which is a fair question, but I was in my last ten miles of the ride rage mode, where I’m starving and exhausted and hate everyone and everything which crosses my path. I wanted to turn around and get in this guy’s face, but my exhaustion won out.

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