Slow Livin’

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Morning stroll on Robins AFB

Here we are again, dear Reader – back from another hiatus! When we last spoke I was collapsed on the couch feeling overwhelmed, out of place, and stinking of barbecue. I’m happy to report things have improved markedly these past few months as I’ve found ways to make the most of our time in Middle Georgia.

The “Winter” of My Content
As the dog days of summer dissipated, a crispness crept into the air bringing with it a sense of home (New England). Frustrating days at my job on base gave way to far more satisfying days in my home office. Even with it’s impossible deadlines and tedious conference calls, my return to marketing was a salve for my Middle Georgia sore spot. The work was familiar and, more importantly, it was mine. Not that William minded me having my own thing: “You doubled our income and you don’t even have to wear pants!”

Work trips to Boston and DC confirmed that indeed the rest of the world was busy being fabulous without me. But these trips also confirmed that civilization as I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. I indulged in gourmet donuts, bought overpriced booties, and (sort of) happily returned to my suburban situation.

By focusing on little things, I set about cultivating my own pleasant reality. I experimented with new plant-based recipes. I found a spin class that was… acceptable. In an effort to identify with my Southern counterparts, I threw myself headlong into a study of the Civil War and gave country music another shot (this time on my own terms, easing into it with classics like Johnny Cash and Mary Chapin Carpenter circa 1990).

Life moved along with a soothing hum.

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“Let’s just look”… 
It’s Sunday morning and we are indulging in our post-yoga ritual: Starbucks. Billy reads an article on his phone (probably from Foreign Policy or The Atlantic) while I sip my coffee and gaze out of the window. Across the busy four-lane thoroughfare, a sign for a Pet Adoption Event ripples in the breeze.

Billy and I had talked about rescuing a dog several times before. In Italy, we were hardly ever home and two of our adoption attempts here in Georgia were met with (somewhat insulting) inquiries about our status as a military family: “What will you do with the dog when it’s time to move?”  Apparently being military put us just above ‘Roving Band of Gypsies’ in the grand scheme of dependability.

We stroll through rows of crated pups promising ourselves we’ll “just look.” My husband wanders off and I gingerly peek into a few crates. No one really catches my eye until…

“Who’s this?” I ask a volunteer standing nearby. My voice is almost a whisper, my eyes never breaking contact with the pup’s. The man doesn’t hear me and I think maybe it’s for the best. After all, we’re just looking.

“Excuse me. Who is this?” I repeat, louder this time and surprised by my own persistence.

“This is Mary,” he says with a smile. “She’s four months old and a little sad today because her friend was adopted yesterday. Would you like to walk her?”

No. A four month old puppy? Absolutely not.

“Sure,” I reply. Where is this voice coming from?

But I already knew… Mary was ours.

Fam Status
And just like that, William and I upgraded from “couple” to “family.” Miss Mary and I became fast friends. We both love mornings, constantly furrow our brows, and look forward to a spoonful of natural peanut butter after dinner each evening. According to the rescue organization’s records, we even share the same birthday!!

On our morning strolls she often stops to sit quietly for a moment, contemplating a horse, a new sound, or a smell wafting through the breeze. Now I, too, take pause – noting the dew hanging gingerly from a spider’s web or a cardinal flitting from branch to branch.

While I am undeniably the Pack Leader, Miss Mary adores Billy. She loves chewing his sweaty socks and passing out draped over his chest.  Tuesday nights are spent at puppy training class and every other evening is spent watching my two favorites wrestle in our living room. I find myself surprisingly content here in the bellybutton of Georgia.

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Cleanin’ Out My (Metaphorical) Closet
Also headlining in my world is my new 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. (Actually, Billy is doing it too.)

In my ten years on the mat, yoga has proven to be a safe space for me, providing zen after hectic work days and opportunities to meet with friends (before our brunch reservation, obviously). For a time, it even provided a place to grieve. After losing a loved one, I’d pull my mat to the furthest, darkest corner of the studio and cry silently as I flowed through my vinyasa – and so much more.

It should come as no surprise that “warner robins yoga” was one of my first Google searches upon hearing of our relocation. In response to my online query – and my prayers! – was Homegrown Yoga. This small, tidy studio and its unpretentious instructors offered a sense of home when I needed it most. When a flyer for a year-long teacher training popped up on my newsfeed, it was like a note passed directly to me from the Universe itself.

You see, I’ve always liked the idea of being a yoga teacher. I fantasized about living some alternative, barefoot-and-fancy-free lifestyle in the remote tropics. I could sling beers at the beachfront bar between yoga sessions. I could date more than one person at a time because I was like, so open-minded and not into possession. Heck, I probably even had a sleeve tattoo and a nose ring!

Of course, all of this was at odds with my actual Self. The Self who tires of the beach after a few days, who doesn’t care to hang out in bars, and who often struggled to find one person to swoon over at any given time. And forget about donning the carefully cultivated “effortless” boho chic trends – those harem pants in wacky prints add unwanted bulk, and the gauzy headbands printed with sacred elephants never stay put on my freakishly small head. The odds seemed insurmountable.

Sure, yoga is not a Free People spread brought to life. But there were other truths too. Truths more difficult to overcome… After all, I don’t look like a fitness model. I can’t invert with anything remotely resembling grace. And aren’t teachers supposed to inspire people? I’m not sure I’ve ever inspired anyone. In fact, I think striving to be an inspiration is a bit… arrogant.

I had nearly talked myself out of the training when a respect for yoga’s guiding principles and a willingness to get over myself won out. And how timely for this reflection to happen during Spring – the ideal season to eliminate what no longer serves us, while making room for the things that do.

Besides, why wouldn’t I make a decent yoga teacher? Don’t I actually believe in yoga’s founding philosophies? Aren’t I passionate about making it accessible to everyone and every body? Don’t I like goji berries and green juice too?! Fuck yeah! I’m totally qualified. Heck, I even climbed the mountains of Nepal with a sherpa for a few days.

With two weekends of yoga teacher training under my belt, there’s no turning back now. I’m not sure how to balance boundless compassion with my trademark snarkiness so… we’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. Maybe I’ll blog about it occasionally. Is anyone interested in that? It isn’t travel exactly, but it is certainly a journey.

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I Say What We’re All Thinking
So right now, dear Reader, I imagine you’re thinking: “Wow, Malia. That’s great you found a groove and all, but you sorta went a lil’ Robert Frost on my ass. This is a travel blog and – while I’m super happy for you! – your life (and blog) has become kinda…. well… lame.”

It’s okay. Really. Don’t feel badly dear Reader, I’m glad you brought it up. I, too, am concerned about my increasing lameness. Rest assured while I’m thriving (as best I can) here in Georgia, I often awake reluctantly from dreams of Italy’s coast or the crisp mountain air of Grindelwald. My wanderlust is very much in tact and, actually, William and I plan to celebrate our anniversary in Iceland this June. No doubt, we will have much to report.

(P.S. Don’t you hate it when travel junkies use the term “wanderlust”? Ew.)

(P.P.S. Did you notice I just snarked on my own blog? Damn!)

In the meantime, our family continues its quest for self improvement, taking advantage of our newfound stillness here in Warner Robins. Hope all is well in your pocket of the world!

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Oh. Hello.

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