Summer has always been my favorite season–its part of the reason why I loved Dar es Salaam, the land of endless summer! I love warm weather, sunshine, pools, oceans, and being outside. In Indiana, thanks to daylight savings time, summer also means that it is light from about 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., which, for someone who loves the outdoors like myself, is totally rad. Spending summer in Indiana is pretty normal–every year, even while living and working in Tanzania, I would fly home to Indiana for the summer to work at Summit City Bicycles & Fitness, ride bicycles, and hang out with friends–and, of course, enjoy summer break! As a teacher, its really like I never graduated from high school–I’m just as excited about summer break as all of my students.
Apparently, schools here in Indiana are starting in just a few weeks, which means that summer is coming to a close. (My university classes are starting in less than three weeks!). But, because I’m not teaching this school year, maybe I can prolong summer a few more weeks? We’ll see. Either way, I wanted to give a short update on what summer looked like for me, now that I’ve started to settle into it a bit.
Like every other summer, I’ve been working at Summit City Bicycles & Fitness, selling bicycles and all of the cool gear that goes with bicycling. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Its a good (well, great) thing, because I enjoy my job, have awesome coworkers, and have some kind of an income. Its a “bad” thing because I tend to spend almost as much as I make on bikes and bike stuff for myself. Oops.
I’m also doing a bit of photography on the side, which is really just an experiment. For years, I’ve said that I don’t want to take my hobby and transform it into a business because I don’t want to lose the joy of taking pictures. But, I’ve been coerced into trying it out, and have managed to get a pretty steady stream of one to two photoshoots a week. Most of what I’ve done so far is couples, either engagement or anniversary photos, which, honestly, isn’t my strongest suit. I much prefer candid or sports photography…but its hard to get gigs doing that. So I’m learning a lot–how to pose people so they don’t look awkward, how to interact with people so they don’t feel awkward while I’m taking their pictures, etc. I’m still not sure how much I like it, but I’ll keep at it for at least the rest of this year and see how it goes. Plus, the extra cash is convenient.
2. Riding bikes
Do you see the trend? Selling bikes, riding bikes… Because working at the bike shop is one of the few things that has been consistent for the last four years, my friends here in Indiana are mostly cyclists. So, if I’m “hanging out” with my friends, I’m probably riding bikes. Which is totally cool with me. Road rides, mountain biking, greenway rides, whatever, I’m usually down. I have also been attempting to commute to work by bicycle at least three or four days a week (though this week, I think that will be a big fat zero), to save on the fuel consumption of riding my motorcycle (also technically a “bike”) to and from work every day.
3. Racing bikes
Yep, more bikes. The first (and last) bike race I did prior to moving to Tanzania was a criterium, a race where a group of cyclists go as fast as they can around a short course through an urban center for a set period of time. I loved it, and for the last four years, have been wanting to get back to racing. This summer, I finally got that chance, and last weekend, raced at the Muncie Crit. I rode well, and have already starting thinking about racing more frequently next summer. This coming weekend, I am also trying my very first mountain bike race. Supposedly, its an easy course, which is reassuring, as I already have plenty of scars from mountain bike crashes. I’m excited though, and think it will be a lot of fun!
4. Building community
This is mostly true only because of the transition process that I’m in, but it is a part of my summer nonetheless. I’m very grateful for the old friends who have reached out and the new friends I’ve made this summer. There have been a number of fun surprises, like meeting for coffee with a former middle school youth group girl (who is starting college this fall!), being invited to join an early-morning Bible study (HUGE answer to prayer), and “random” encounters with some really cool people.
Did I mention that I have a new nephew? I really only saw him when he was less than a day old, but that’s still a pretty cool fact. It also means that I’ll probably have to make a trip out to PA sometime in the near-ish future… But, because I’m living with my parents (yes, I know, I’m 28. But its cheap. And convenient. And fun.), I get to see my family almost every day. My parents ride more miles on their tandem than I do on my bicycle in a week, and occasionally our schedules work out so that I can join them, which is fun. I also love riding motorcycles and adventuring with my brother Josh–who is in the middle of some SUPER AMAZING AND AWESOME dreams coming to reality, and I’m SUPER EXCITED to be here and be a part of what he’s doing to make a difference in our city and love people like Jesus did. But more on that another time. Just know that my bro is my hero. Moving home as an adult has not been nearly so weird as I thought it might be, and being home alone all weekend actually sounds a bit lonely (not that I will hardly be home between work and the bicycle race, but still).
So yeah, that’s summer. And a brief update on life. So in case you didn’t notice, the transition is going pretty well. I’m adjusting to life in America. At least as long as it is on two wheels. I’m still not sure about winter… =D