Hayesville –> Asheville

Yesterday I moved out of my lovely home-away-from-home in Hayesville, NC and headed to Asheville.  On the way, I enjoyed lunch and browsing at the City Lights Cafe and Bookstore in Sylva, NC.

I’m in Asheville for two nights couchsurfing with David and Deanne.  I met them yesterday at 4pm and we’re already making plans to see each other again.  They’ve hosted over 100 couchsurfers!  As former teachers, they joined couchsurfing.org because they like interacting with “younger” folk.   I’ve enjoyed my time hiking, eating, drinking, and conversing with them.  I had never tried puttanesca, but David’s concoction has changed my theory that I can’t eat food tainted by hot pepper:)  Tonight, I cooked for them my signature quinoa dish.  By “signature” I mean that it’s my go-to dish when cooking for friends on-the-road.  I can get all the ingredients easily enough, and usually my hosts have the spices required.  Oh how I love to cook and eat with friends – old and new!

Tomorrow I’ll meet my friend Lois bright and early (7AM!) and we’ll take off for Kiawah Island for a week-long writing retreat.  Lois and I met in 2008 during my first class at the John C. Campbell Folk School.  This year, we’ve rented a place with Lynne (also from that first class) and Stacey (from our second writing class at JCCFS).  The plan is this: write, eat, drink, tell stories, laugh, write, critique, eat, drink, laugh over more stories, write, sleep.  We did this last year and it worked out splendidly.

As I continue on my journey, I thought I might try to update my blog each time I’m in the midst of a transition to my next step. I make no promises, but at least for the next week you now know where I am and what I’m up to:)

A Day in the Life – My Work Exchange

I used to be a morning person.  I’d wake up before my 7:30 alarm, open the small notebook next to my bed and jot down all that I needed/wanted to do today.  If the list was getting too long, I’d cross out things.  You can only do so much in one day.  I’d then hop out of bed, make my hard-boiled egg, and start to work on prepping that days lecture and lab.  I’d get plenty accomplished before 10AM, then jump in the shower and get to whatever work was ahead of me.

While at the Folk School I realized I’m only a morning person if I am getting up for me – not because I have to be somewhere at a certain hour of the morning.  I no longer woke up before my alarm.  I disliked having to be someplace most mornings by a certain time.  I missed having morning time to myself.  If I had something I wanted to get done, it took days, sometimes weeks, for me to find the time.  That change was one of the hardest for me to adjust to in my four months there.

Since arriving here in Hayesville, where I’ll be for the next six weeks (except next week when we head to St. Petersburg, FL), I have the ability to be a morning person again – to get up by my own choice for my own reasons.  I love having that freedom back.

But a couple things have changed: I don’t get up as early, I don’t list my goals for the day, nor do I have any prep work to do for teaching.

Since many of you are still unclear as to what it is I’m doing down here exactly, here’s a little taste:

I get my nine hours of sleep, but can’t seem to get to sleep before midnight, so I start my morning quite late. In an earlier life, I would have gotten mad at myself for this, and fought to get up earlier.  But I have the freedom to say, “Eh – let’s see what comes of this.”  Which is a much nicer way of treating myself.

I still write three pages every morning when I get up.  I then make a cup of chai and have some yogurt, then put on my new hiking shoes (thanks, Jeff) and head of for a walk around the block.  I return to dig into another goal-less day, and my what I’ve been able to accomplish!

Since I’m living without goals, I do whatever comes to mind.  My hostess doesn’t require my services until the early afternoon, so the morning is mine.

As you may recall, I receive room and board in exchange for helping my hostess with various tasks.  Around noon I head upstairs to check-in and see what we’ll be working on (together or separately) that day.  So far I’ve done both decluttering tasks and some personal assistance type jobs. I’ve enjoyed my hostess’ cooking, and have had the chance to do some cooking myself (tried my hand at sugared pecans yesterday, and made stuffed peppers for dinner).

Since we’re both single women, we eat when we feel like it.  Sometimes it’s at the same time, sometimes not.  It seems I’m getting ready for my days in Europe – I’m eating dinner around 8 or 9 and thoroughly enjoying it:)

My accommodations are something to be envious of.  I have the lower level of the house to myself.  This includes a bedroom, a bathroom, a kitchenette with a fridge and microwave, and a living area with satellite TV (which I’ve watched for all of an hour since arriving on Sunday – just enough to remember why I got rid of mine).  The entire living room opens out onto a screened-in porch.  If you sit on one of the rocking chairs out there, you feel like you’re in a tree house – winter’s bare branches frame a view of the Blue Ridge mountains.  Off the porch is a door to the outside, so I can leave for my morning walk without disrupting my hostess.

It is now approaching noon, and I have some decluttering to do.  Those of you that know me can see my eyes light up when I say this.