Isang's Blog/

{December 30, 2009}   New Year New Bike

This morning felt like Christmas. Of course last night was how I stocked up on the gifts. My mother and I ventured out of Moreno Valley last week to a bike shop in Pomona, CA. Named Coates Cyclery, the bike store is a reputable one given it has been open for 76 years with excellent reviews. I took my chance driving out that far to ask for help for the charity from Cory the store manager.  Not only did I receive information on how to operate bike gear, Cory and his other employees assisted me generously in obtaining gear. I won’t share figures online, but I was pretty much sponsored by Coates Cyclery. I am ready to ride with their name on the bike:)

Now with all gear necessary to do basic training/surviving, I woke up this morning quite jittery. Jittery enough to make a few novice mistakes. I clipped my skin with the helmet clip (going a little too fast to care), forgot to fill the water bottle by the time I was out the door, and after all was said and done and I was looking down the road with a “you are mine!” mentality, I realized I made the number one ‘no no’ mistake. Don’t Wear Underwear With Your Bicycle Pants. I stripped down and went commando. Now I realize how ironic this is. I have an insecurity if someone could see my underwear in tight workout gear. Riding down the roads with cars passing me by, I started becoming insecure about not having any :(. All for the sake of not chafing. Time will help me adjust.

So we got about 7 miles in. The roads were mostly empty today. I suspect people are out riding away to holiday destinations. I focused on learning gears, finding hilly roads, trying to stand while I biked up a hilly road (definitely needs work), and overall just to relax and let the bike do the magic. She is beautiful.

Time flew as did I. 30 minutes in the saddle and it felt as though I just started. The whole city was now a playground, and I could explore wherever I wanted. Up an avenue, down a street, through a plaza, by the hills…if there was something new to ride by, I went there. I tried out the bumpy dirt roads, pretended I was racing on a curvy street, raced a car to the stoplight… yeah… this new sport is exhilarating. Next time though I’m donning the nice warmer jacket my friend Chris gave me. By the time I got back to the house I didn’t realize how cold my body actually was. My arms and fingers were numb. California weather for nothing :P. 

Bringing it back to why I am doing this, its a whole mumble jumble of reasons. But I’d like to bring one out that I thought of while riding. I have a blue jersey now and the back is ready for names to go up. So far, I have quite a few names to take with me on the ride.  A few of them are people who were affected by lung disease. I did not know them personally, but it’s an honor to represent them. Who they were is apparent through the message their loved ones want to make by sponsoring me. They are loved, missed, and have a second fighting chance against lung disease.

{December 2, 2009}   Counting down…

I haven’t felt this spirited in years. I’m so compelled to push beyond all plausible limits of existence, to reach an aspiration that too many, even at times for myself, is obscure. The question of Why is hard for me to answer. I have no answer yet for all of this. I leave a glorious city, friends and family behind for awhile to volunteer and learn Spanish within the small town of Guanajuato, Mexico. Then, I come back briefly to fix up a few more things before I leave again on my next adventure, a 3,300 mile one that is. A 7 week, “I’m not going to be with people I know, familiar places, or comfortable settings” situation. Yes, this is quite the incomprehensible adventure I’m setting up.

Friends, family, acquaintances and strangers have come forward and have generously provided me with support and inspiration. Whether it was monetary, words of encouragement or gifts, my joy soared when being reminded how much love there still is to share in this world. Moreover, I found that the closer I came to physically disconnecting with everyone, the more I gained spiritually and emotionally with them. That’s not to say I realized I should get away from it all to experience this emotional and spiritual gain. No, I have quite a bit to come back for on the east coast. Seeing everyone and once again creating a routine will not diminish this newfound spirit of mine. Instead, during this time period I realized that the more I detach from, and the more I give up, the more I actually gain. Seriously, I am planning to only have two bags with all of my possessions and a guitar! But I feel so liberated after years of wanting to fill up as much space as possible with all of my belongings. It’s like putting so many valuable objects in one room and not even realizing what each is worth anymore because you have so many. So having a singular purpose of existence clarifies what is valuable to me. Object wise,  the two bags I carry will be what I truly need at the moment, and the guitar a source of comfort and joy. People wise, the friends, family and strangers that have come forward to help me with this adventure reminded me of the other friends, family and strangers I valued yet communicated little with these days. And then, over time and with love, I’ve reconnected and redefined my relationships to a point that I now see how much I’ve looked at who was in my life but didn’t actually see. Facebook reminds me of this type of connection. Ironically, it pulls us further apart from those genuine interactions. It’s great in the networking and keeping in touch business, like so many other technologies these days provide us with. Yet for me personally, I felt disjointed in that way of being. I actually don’t want to text a friend and tell others I heard they were doing good all because I heard it via text. I lie many times to people I’m doing good or great over text because it’s the easiest and most convenient way to tell them life goes on rather than listing and describing every emotion and event that I actually experience. But do I really want to do it this way? Can I truly be a friend or loved one if I’m only seeing you as a name in my phone or friend list, or vice versa? No, I want to redefine what I value and share it in its purest form. So I’m going to give up what I’m comfortable with for awhile.

I think to the present, to how I have only 15 days left in an environment I can call home. And then I think forward, of home sickness, of waking up every morning in a place where the language is unfamiliar (I only know kitchen spanish:P), of missing people, of going on a 7 week journey with total strangers. And the big picture becomes quite clear. Whether or not Mexico or the bike ride happens, whether one even finishes something of this magnitude, if ever you really just want to do something so obscure and even irrational, it’ll bring more definition to who you are and why you are. It’s because it reminds one of limits. Once one is reminded of such limits, one realizes their existence is limited. I am limited. Which is why I’m getting a bike:).

 I already gained plenty to call this a wrap up. I’m reawakened to possibilities. I think that’s really all I wanted initially. Now, I have quite a simple, seemingly reckless challenge. It’s going to be grand, it’s going to help people, and it is going to bring me back home.

et cetera