Monday, September 12, 2016

Resparking My Sense of Adventure

For those of you that know me or have been following my blog, you know that I have been in Chile for over six and a half years now.  In that period of time, it has been easy to fall into patterns and habits and not really try things that are new or different.

Well, I had a reminder about how long I've been here as well as some inspiration from a podcast I listen to.

The first thing that happened was that my BIP card has stopped working.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the public transportation system in Santiago, you load money onto a plastic card the size of a credit card.  When you get on the bus or subway, you hold it up to an electronic sensor, and it automatically deducts the cost of the trip from your balance on the card. Given the name, it's no surprise that the reader produces a loud pitched beep after scanning your card.

I've had my BIP card since the day I came to Chile.  It was given to me as a part of my welcome packet with TeachingChile, and I had never had any other card until that point.  As the woman told me that it was no longer working to reload it with money, it made me think about all of the travelling I'd done all over the city with the card.  I bought a new one but  have saved the old one as a momento.

That made me think about how I'd lost my sense of adventure this year.  I'm not talking about the travel to another part of Chile or another country and see amazing sights kind of adventure.  I'm talking about being spontaneous, exploring new parts of the city, and taking the time to just do something different from my routine kind of adventure.

This made me think back to a podcast that I had heard the week before.  In her podcast called Happier, Gretchen Rubin spoke about going on an errand date as a way of having an enjoyable afternoon and evening, and she told the story of running mundane errands with her husband but taking their time and then deciding to stop and get drinks at a nice bar they had often passed by before but never visited.  It turned out to be a really nice afternoon for them, and it made the errands that much more enjoyable.

Lo and behold I'm single, but I needed to run some errands and had the afternoon free.  I decided I was going to make it an enjoyable experience and not rush myself as I usually do.  
Before even starting anything I stopped and got a strawberry smoothie.  The weather was warmer that usual today in Santiago, and it put me in a good mood to get started with the errands.   After going to get the details to mail a package, I then went to the bus station to check out prices on tickets for a trip I was planning.  On my way there, I found the packing materials I needed for my package, and then I decided to walk to my next errand instead of catching the bus or subway.  As I walked along, I stopped in some shops looking at bags that I could use to get back to the gym.

As I took the bus home, I decided I wanted to give myself a spontaneous treat.  I called up a Peruvian restaurant near my apartment that prepares meals for pickup, but they weren't open that day.  I then remembered that a former student of mine told me about another Peruvian restaurant near my apartment, so I decided to check it out.  6:30 is early for dinner in Chile and it was empty, but the food and service was great.  I left with a full stomach.

Aji de gallina, my favorite Peruvian dish.
It's chicken in a yellow pepper sauce.
As I walked back to my apartment, I passed by a small music school.  In high school and college I played the bass, and they advertised that they offered lessons.  I went inside to check it out.  They didn't have any basses to rent, but they suggested a business not too far away that probably did.  I explained how I used to play, but I was concerned with storing a bass in my one bedroom apartment when I came to a realization.  I had always wanted to pick up the viola, and it looks like this is the perfect opportunity for me.  The price for classes fits into my budget, and now I'm just waiting to see if the professor and my schedule coincide for classes.

Since then I've also gotten back to the gym.  I've gained about 20 kilos in the past few years, and I've finally prepared myself mentally to start the adventure of getting back in shape.  The gym is high tech (Each piece of equipment has a button which you can press, and there are trainers wearing smart watches.  When you press the button, it signals for them to go to you and help you with whatever you need.) and has an upscale feel to it, and I really like it.  On my first visit I was given a routine, and it's easy to follow.  Next month they will review it with me and give me a new one.

In past experiences at the gym, I became turned off by it not being open at the hours it was supposed to, rude and incompetent staff, and other factors.  Rather than approaching my return to the gym on the lookout for things to go wrong, I'm telling myself that it's going to be a positive experience and remind myself of the excellent personal trainer I had back in California and how I was able to manage a gym routine and how I was in great shape then.

I've been to the gym twice since I joined 3 days ago.  In the words of Linkin Park from the song Waiting for the End, "The hardest part of ending is starting again."

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