26 December 2012
I am sitting next to the fire once again, here at my family’s camp in the Adirondacks. I have been home just about two weeks. The transition from life abroad to life at home has been interesting, but has been introspective as well.
The largest adjustment is going from a large group to just yourself. Not being surrounded by those whom you have confided in and experienced three different Central American countries with is a large change. You become a lone duck, but continue to experience your life and the life and reality around through a different lens than before you left the United States. In the recent days and weeks, I have come to find that my friends from the program have been experiencing the same; missing one another was inevitable, now the task is to keep in touch.
This past weekend, my brother and I joined my cousin up at Jay Peak Resort in northern Vermont to help him promote his new snowboard company, Thrive Snowboards. It was interesting being home for one week and packing a bag once again to travel. In a way, it felt normal to me.
The Hotel Jay makes it presence known upon arrival. There is a large overhang for guests to unload their cars; bellhops are at hand to assist with luggage and transporting that luggage to the guest’s room. The interior is decorated in a modern yet organic fashion. Globes that look to be made of sticks of some sort glow blue and hang from the ceiling, lining the large glass windows that face out into the overhang from the lobby. We go up to our room, unlocking the door with a wrist band that doubles as our lift ticket for the weekend, to find a one-bedroom suite with a full bath and kitchen. Dark wood cabinets, tile and carpet flooring, a pull-out couch, foe-cabinet Murphy Bed, and fireplace that lights with the flick of a switch. There is also something unique about this room. There is a small side room that is made for one’s ski and snowboard gear. The Hotel Jay knows its customers.
The hotel houses a number of restaurants and bars, as well as a small supermarket, and an indoor water park. For those who don’t ski, there is almost no reason to have to leave the hotel.
The weather conditions proved difficult to erect the inflatable tent that my cousin had brought to help promote his snowboard company. My brother, cousin, and I showed up at the mountain at 08:00. We begin to set up the tent in a flat spot near the lift and lodge. It is out of the way of ski/snowboard traffic, and looks to be the most appropriate spot for this edifice. The winds are gusting, just as they apparently had been the day before. We struggle on. At times, timing our actions to erect the tent with the gusts of wind. We get one leg staked down. Then another. We begin to work on a third. Now the wind is stronger than it was when we started. We continue to battle it. I am serving as an anchor while my brother continues to fully inflate the tent’s legs, and my cousin works on the next leg at hand. We decide that perhaps if we put a wall of the tent on it would allow us to battle the wind easier. Zipped up, we find that we were wrong. My brother is now at the third leg, beginning to inflate the bladder. Swishhhhh. A gust of wind snaps the stake at the leg that my brother is standing on; I immediately grab on tighter to the tent, allowing it to drag me where ever it happens to be going at that moment. My cousin attempts to hold on to the tent as well. “Hey guys, let’s deflate the tent,” we hear our cousin say. Close, but no cigar. The tent is rated for 80 MPH winds, but today the winds at Jay Peak got the best of us.
We decide to promote Thrive from the picnic tables in the lodge for the weekend. The winds did not let up on Sunday either. Still though, we were able to make an attraction, skiers and snowboarders alike slowing their gaits as they passed by our table. They looked intently at the stickers, the snowboards, the vibrant graphics on the boards. Thrive Snowboards was launched in August by my cousin, Doug. After having worked in the snowboard industry for over ten years, he felt that it was his time to progress the sport through education and community, as well as progressive snowboard design. To this date, Doug has design three boards, as well as one women’s specific snowboard. Thrive also sells t-shirts, hoodies, snowboard bags, and outerwear. Additionally, Thrive offers educational videos to help each rider improve their riding.
Yesterday was Christmas Day. A day filled with family, love, and gifts. For my niece, Skylar, it was an explosion of toys, books, and clothing. For me, I got what I wanted—a few shirts, some toiletries I needed—and that’s all. As my mom said, “[I’m] going the minimalist route these days.” I often ask myself, what do I really need? Usually it’s not much. The morning of opening presents with the baby, was followed by a nice dinner at my grandmother’s home. Of course, we watched the Christmas classic, The Christmas Story. The day was low-key, quaint, and relaxing.
And here I am. Waiting for a snow storm to come in, and see what sort of conditions Mother Nature offers us for skiing tomorrow. Will it be a pow day? Will it be a bust?… Furthermore, I am beginning to think about my next semester abroad. I’ll be headed to Argentina. In Central America we learned of reality. Each person has their own, each country has their own, and my job is to be present in it. Buenos Aires will surely be different than Central America. I will be more independent. I will be in a modern country. I will be without a group. But change is good, and adaptation is built into our DNA. My departure for Argentina is February 24. That is just under two months away, which gives me time to plan a little mission of some sort. I am currently thinking of road tripping West, or heading back down to Nicaragua. Out West I can ski and visit my friends from this semester; in Nicaragua I can speak Spanish and living is cheaper. It’ll all come down to money. I’ll keep you updated.
Globe in lobby.
Gear room in hotel suite.
Promo cards and stickers.
Two Renegades and an Accomplice.
Doug dialing in a Prestige.
The Christmas Story.
Travel book for Argentina.