4/17/10: Mendoza, Argentina
I am like Superman. No, I can’t lift cars, chase down comets or look good in spandex, but I believe I’ve officially crossed into superhero territory. I too now lead two separate lives: there’s at-home, routine-based, Mundane Kevin and then there’s… dun da da da… Travel Kevin! Who can shoot (pictures of) lions, thwart robbers, change clothes in bathroom stalls, fly (in airplanes) and jump over canyons.
Travel Kevin is cool, meets lots of people, sees lots of iconic places and is envied by many others. Mundane Kevin enjoys waking up to the TV, nights in watching TV and weekends off watching TV. He is not envied. And soon, Mundane Kevin will rear his ugly head. (This is just a saying – in actuality Mundane Kevin’s head is much less ugly than Travel Kevin because MK cuts his hair and shaves with some frequency.)
Zhou and I have officially planned our return date, and therefore the start of our PABRL (Period of Adjusting Back into Real Life). We’re returning on, drumroll please… July 1!
What? That’s it?! I thought you were traveling for close to 11 months, and by my math that’s not even ten!
I wish you wouldn’t be so quick to judge. September 10 – July 1 is actually exactly ten months. It’s 295 days, which is the equivalent of four non-leap-year Februarys, a March, April, May, June, July and September. But yes, although we will no longer be able to travel until July 31 as planned, we will officially have taken exactly ten months for our honeymoon when all is said and done. So how will things differ once Mundane Kevin returns and Travel Kevin as we know him is gone forever? I’ll use our day off today as an example.
The plan this morning was to go visit a lovely park about an hour’s walk away from our hostel. We had heard many great things about the park and the weather was beautiful – it seemed like a perfect day to go. We were almost halfway there and we stepped into the post office to buy some stamps for our much overdue postcards. After a long wait in line we found out that this post office (which was as big as a gymnasium) had run out of stamps. Our spirits crushed, we decided to instead go home and take the day off. We had lunch with a nice couple we met in our hostel (they had made too much soup and we were out of food), and then we spent the afternoon on the computer. At 8:30 we boarded a bus that we’d ride for the next 18 hours before connecting to another bus that we’d ride for another eight. It was a pretty boring day for Travel Kevin.
This time next year, assuming it’s a weekend and he’s found a job by then, Mundane Kevin’s office-whitened skin will probably have become too sensitive to light to do anything outdoors. Whereas a beautiful Argentinian park isn’t good enough for Travel Kevin, MK would give anything to have that experience. Come to think of it, MK would probably even love going to the post office for stamps. That would mean he had something worth mailing to someone else. But one year from now, he definitely won’t.
For lunch, MK and Grad Student Zhou will probably eat alone while watching episodes of Jeopardy! from the week. No one will offer them soup. MK would then kill time by blogging, but nobody wants to read a mundane blog, so instead he’ll sit and stare at the wall while GSZ does homework. MK wouldn’t ever consider boarding a bus for an 18-hour ride – that’s something only his superhero alter-ego would do. Besides, MK will have to get up early tomorrow to go to work. Before he goes to sleep though, MK will look back on the day as one of his most exciting in quite some time (there was, after all, an eight-day champion on Jeopardy!).
The moral of the story: enjoy Travel Kevin while you still can. I sure will.
PS – For those of you curious why we’re coming back so soon, Zhou accepted her offer to get her PhD in economics at the University of Virginia, where summer classes start really darn early. Congrats Zhou!
Puzzles for Postcards
Where Am I? Name the country.
Picture of the Day: Look at how excited Mundane Kevin was in the Zhang family kitchen on September 9, 2009. Travel Kevin would have never found that room worthy of taking a picture.