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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Island Living

Sooo...getting back into the daily grind is proving to be a little difficult. I was gchatting with a friend, and she calculated her hourly wage based on her salary, which turned out to be a pretty depressing figure. And I make less than her per year. This naturally caused us to question our career choices...why are we trying so hard (well...sorta hard) to climb the corporate ladder to afford our metropolitan lifestyles? Is living in the city THAT worth it? Obviously we needed to consider an alternative: community island living.

The scenario I have in my mind is a collective of about 50 really cool (preferably attractive) people ages 23-35 pooling together all of our savings or even just emptying our checking accounts and building a huge commune in, say, Bali. It would be helpful if some of these people had family money to help start us off, but it's not a prerequisite. Once we've established ourselves and done a Costco run (is there Costco in Bali?), then we will figure out how to become sustainable. Obviously we can fish and grow pineapples for sustinance, but we will need a means to pay the electricity bill and the cable bill (I still want to be able to watch Vampire Diaries, ok? It's my new favorite show).

So far my friend and I came up with cocaine and pies as a way to generate income. I think that part of the plan needs about ten more minutes of solid critical thinking. The point is, we will find a way to support ourselves without relying on corporate America. At this point, the real living can begin.

Our days will begin with group yoga, followed by a brisk run across the island and back (um how big is Bali again?). Then everyone will make breakfast (fish and pineapple) and head to the beach for a good 6 hours of sunbathing. We'll return to the commune for siesta, followed by book club. Then we'll prepare dinner (fish and pineapple) and get ready for the nightly party. Yes, there will be a party every night, and we'll play our own music and dance as we sip homemade rum. Finally, we'll drift off to sleep under the stars.

I get that I'm not the first person to have this vision, but really I'm wondering why more people don't go this route. We made a list of pros and cons and the only cons we could come up with for leaving society for good were:
  • no happy hour
  • no Sephora
  • no restaurants
I can't believe it either, but these are the only things that motivate me to be a member of society. Obviously I won't need happy hour on the commune because I won't need to unwind since I won't work. Restaurants I'll miss, especially on a diet consisting solely of fish, pineapple and rum, but it's not a dealbreaker. No Sephora...this is a problem, I'm not going to lie. However, if I'm really tan, which I undoubtedly will be after sunbathing for 6 hours a day, I won't need much makeup.

The writing is on the wall...I'm actually surprised it took me this long to come up with this plan. It's probably because I was scarred by small town living for 18 years. That's totally different than island living though. I'll just have to be really careful when selecting the 50 members of my commune and make sure that everyone is really interesting and fun so that I don't get sick of them. Does it sound like I'm starting a cult?

Never mind...who's with me???

Monday, May 17, 2010

Eat, Walk, Party

Focus for a moment on the images above. Notice how one of these things is not like the others? The first picture is of Opium, a breathtaking nightclub on the water filled with beautiful people in Barcelona. That is where I was Friday night. The second picture is of Bay to Breakers, San Francisco's annual massive race/street party aka the greatest event of the year hands down. That is where I was Sunday, in my warrior costume. The third picture is a cubicle. In a climate-controlled sterile office. That's where I was today.

Is it just me, or does life have a way of leaping from one extreme to the next? A week ago I was in Paris eating creme brulee and now I'm glued to the couch going through a box of kleenex (it was basically inevitable that I would get sick considering the amount of germs I've been exposed to in the last two weeks. That doesn't sound right but it stays). Anyway, you may have guessed that I've been traveling in Europe--Germany, France, Italy and Spain to be exact, which explains my absence. It's really annoying because if I don't write for a while I start blogging my experiences in my I'm experiencing them. It's incredibly cheesy.

I don't want to go into full detail about Europe because, let's be honest, hearing about other people's trips is kind of boring. I could tell you how amazing this:

or this:

were, but really its not the same unless you experience it first-hand.

And no, I didn't hook up with any European men. That seems to be what most of my friends really want to know. Ok, I may or may not have made out with a Parisian in a nightclub. But making out isn't the same as "hooking up"(it's 2010). Besides, only God can judge me, and I visited a LOT of churches on this trip so I'm golden.

There is one thing I absolutely have to discuss that was discovered on this trip, however. It is the French hot dog. I'm not even sure where or how I procured one of these, but it was around 6 am on Sunday morning after a long night out and it was mind blowing. Imagine a fresh baguette shelled out with not one, but TWO hot dogs inside, smothered in melted cheese. This description doesn't even do it justice. I would show a picture, but the picture REALLY doesn't do it justice; it just looks gross. You'll just have to take my word on this definitely would give the bacon dog cart a run for its money.

So did I have a great trip? Yes I did. But I'm not going to sugarcoat it...there were some challenging moments. Traveling isn't all hot foreign men and amazing food. There is also lugging a 40 pound suitcase up and down the stairs of the metro station, and searching for the Catacombs for 30 minutes only to discover that they are closed. Oh, and not to mention Spanish boys at Opium who act like they want to dance with you but really just want to pickpocket you.

I think because being in a foreign country brings you so far out of your element, you have no choice but to adapt and in turn grow stronger. Still, my favorite memories from this trip were the moments when I felt at home even though I was so far from it. Stumbling through the streets arm in arm with my new friend Nevena to McDonald's after a night of drinking and dancing in Munich, or sitting on my old friend Nikole's couch in Italy listening to her strum the guitar and sing Michael Franti...these were the moments that made all those hours in planes, trains and buses worth it.

And as always, every time I leave I'm reminded of how much I love San Francisco upon my return. There could have been no better welcome than the always-epic Bay to Breakers with my "tribe". So, as much as my nose is running right now, I guess I really can't complain. That is precisely what makes life beautiful...the lows make the highs that much better!

xoxo Jess