No Me Marcho

"Que Marchas?" My Spanish host mother used to ask me. I loved this verb, Marchar. It was probably my favorite Spanish verb that I learned in Spain, after Comer, to eat. They are both verbs that I learned by living them. Often they would go hand in hand: "Me marcho a la tienda por mas galletas y helado a comer." (I am heading out to the store for more cookies and ice cream to eat).

Six years later, I think I finally burned off that last scoop of lemon gelato at the gym last week.

More importantly, six years later, I feel like certain parts of me, the right parts of me, have let go of Marchar.

It's hard to describe colloquially how marchar is different from walking or leaving. It's sort of like, walking with purpose, or walking as a function. In my heart, it sort of implies a certain mindset, to be constantly on the move, lest anything become stale or purposeless. The Spanish surely don't approve of this interpretation, but this is 'Merica, and we love to misuse other people's languages.

I think some of my current coworkers may read this, so I don't want to dilly dally around. I got a job offer somewhere else, recently, and it was a really neat job for a really awesome company, and it was five minutes from my front door. It would have changed everything, and I am sure that I could have had something really amazing and happy there. But I turned it down. For the first time in a long time, I feel content to stay. 

Don't get me wrong- I've got lots of Marchar left in me. I just want to use it more abstractly. I feel less compelled to run away from my literal circumstances to create new purpose or adventure, and more compelled to maintain my environment and enrich it. The purposeful walking is the sort that must be done down the long corridors of thought, of passion, of intent, of creativity. And amazingly, by staying in place for just a little while at the job I have now, I have had so many new doors opened that can only come from long term commitment and the gradual building of trust that comes over years, and I've never had that in my career. Staying, in fact, is the most foreign journey in the world for a girl like me.

I have been walking for a long time. I'm ready to meditate in place.


How To: Nashville in 48 Hours

I present to you a smattering of photographs intended to guide you through 48 hours in Nashville, about 16 of which was spent in a conference, 10 spent sleeping, and maybe 2 hours collectively in my hotel lounging/getting ready/packing or unpacking/bathing.

First, you must get in a plane and leave behind these:

and this:

In exchange for this. Oh Tennessee:

Then, you must go to the Marriott Vanderbilt, ask for a Northwest facing room. Check into said room, and open your curtains to reveal this:

Take a shuttle to Music Row, find the tourist nature of it a little bit overwhelming and depressing, and walk to the waterfront, where you will see this: (and feel instantly better)

Then, realize that you passed the Ryman Auditorium without knowing it, and go back and get a picture:

or two:

Succumb to the touristy nature of Music Row and snag a stool for a modestly good country cover band at The Stage:

Cruise around to a few other venues including one made to look like a trailer park, and then wearily stumble home to bed in an attempt to be alert for your symposium the next day.

DAY 2:
Wake up at 6:15 and don't think about what hour you went to sleep. Just throw on your clothes and follow the sun through the fog, which will lead you here:

And eventually to this:

Sit here, and enjoy the morning for a bit. Leave when you get cold:

Attempt to be artsy for the sake of your travel blog, if only because it brings you joy:

Be a civil war nerd for about 10 seconds, and don't fret that the Parthenon doesn't open until 9am. You still have tomorrow:

Arrive at your symposium at 7:58, and if you're lucky, someone saved you a seat.

After symposium, ride the coattails of the smart people who found real bluegrass off Music Row. On the way, stop and stare in awe at the Lucchese store:

Then head to the Station Inn, hosting real music and excellent cheap pizza. Thank your lucky stars when you are the 4th-to-last person in the door before it hit capacity:

You'd have gotten there sooner, but you probably stopped at Two Old Hippies to buy a certain someone special some Martin Guitar Strings:

Walk into Station Inn, and Marvel at the vintage bluegrass festival posters spouting off the name of every legend your father once forced you to listen to, and then weep openly a little in gratitude that your father taught you who Bill Monroe is:

Enjoy some of the best live Blues and Bluegrass you will ever hear, courtesy of some Nashville legends. (Jack Pearson on steel guitar)

(Jim Lauderdale on guitar/vocals)

(Randy Khors playing every instrument known to man and then a few he made up himself)

(Bluegrass Child Prodigies the Moore Brothers)

After all the awesome, attempt to walk home before realizing you're an idiot, and hail a cab. But get a picture first:

Take one stupid picture of yourself in the Hotel Room, to prove that you went out in your cowboy boots and didn't watch the marathon of Real Housewives of Atlanta that was on:

DAY 3:

Go Back to the Parthenon instead of going to lunch, and admire the 7 ton brass doors:

Turn around and realize you were being watched:

 Have someone handy to take this picture for bragging rights, as well as for the sake of scale:

Go back to your symposium. No really, just do it. You will learn something. Or at least you will write things down that you intend to learn later.

With your last hour in Nashville, go wander the Vanderbilt University Campus, which really is the gem of Tennessee, especially in the fall:

Admire that there are dead people buried on their campus with books on their graves. BE JEALOUS:

Get back on a plane and come home, but not before eating at the Gibson Cafe in the Nashville Airport, where the tables are shaped like guitar picks:

Finally, spend the next several years of your life wishing you'd had more time in Nashville, until eventually you go back, make it big, meet Brad Paisley, do a killer hit duet together, and buy a pair of Lucchese Boots with all your country star money.

THE END. (for now.) 



I'm standing in an unbelievable line in Lehi, Utah to vote for president. My polling place is an elementary school, and I was standing next to a 3rd grade classroom as they recited the pledge of allegiance. Damn if their sweet little voices didn't make me teary as I stood here taking stake in their little futures.

How lucky are we? How cool is this? Oh it's riddled with problems, and I still deeply regard democracy as a great experiment still finding its legs. I think we've lost enormous rights as a people, not to government, but to giant conglomerate companies, investors, media outlets. But daily we are playing ideas out against each other, with each other, for each other.

I'm a lone little liberal in a sea of conservatism, and I love these people. I love that they are here. I love that they are excited to vote for a Mormon president. I love that we can all just do this and leave crazy comments on ksl and then grocery shop together.

I worked for the Civil War Preservation Trust, and the most important thing I learned about the war in my time there was that people were willing to fight and die for principles that today, for better or worse, we merely vote for. Human rights, human dignity, federal encroachment, state rights.

I am really grateful to stand in this big long line. Is all I'm saying.