Spring Grove, MN
I have just spent the night in my hometown. Today is the first of August, and it is a tradition of mine to write letters in August more than in any other month, because for me August is usually a month of change, and a month of recovery from automobile or motorcycle accidents. Luckily, this year, I did not have any difficulties of that sort. And I have only a small red scar on my chin from the June bicycle accident in Ireland. I have successfully hidden that from the public domain with a patch of facial hair that I am growing quite attached too, and so are my friends, so I think it will stay until curiosity kills the cat and I shave it off to find out how bad my scar really is. At least I have reasons and intentions, some summers they are hard to come by.
My recovery is almost over concerning the second set of six stitches that was recently removed from my left hand, right below the crease that begins my pinky finger, and was a good excuse for not typing to anyone over the last two weeks. News of this injury will also tell you what I am now doing with forty hours of my time each week. I am a cook at Cafe Deluxe, one of my college towns nicest cafe's, and my favorite place to eat. I started that three weeks ago as a part-time job for the entire year, and they need me all the time now, so I work 5 days a week, usually from 3 PM to 10 PM on Monday and Wednesday through Saturday. I am just starting that regular schedule now after my time off for the injury, which happened two Saturdays ago when I was closing up the restaurant and packing away the meats and cheeses in a cling film wrap, which is stored in a large box with a sharp serrated knife blade on the side, which is very handy when it comes to slicing off a sheet of film wrap, but dangerous when lifting it down from a shelf high above. That is how I cut my hand, a deep slice that healed nicely, and will leave on my body another attractive long scar, but not as nice as the six inch scar on my left arm, I'm sure I could never reproduce that puppy, at least I hope I never do. The new one is only one and a half inches.
My work has brought me to live in Decorah, Iowa, my college's home town. I live on campus during the regular school year in a seventh floor door room, but for the summer I live in an apartment in the down-town area of Decorah with two students who lived with me in Nottingham named Kris and Rebecca. We don't always run into each other much, because we all work lots. Kris works 65 hours a week in two jobs, Rebecca varies somewhere around 40-50 hours with two jobs, and I will work a little over 40 hours. I think I will just stick to one job. It's not that I'm lazy, I'm just not crazy.
I like my new job a lot. The people I work with are funny and very nice to me, it is like a family. Right now, though, I don't appreciate the people at work who treat me like they are my parental figures, I have already got two of those who I visit once a week at least. They are doing fine, and are very fun to see once a week.
I don't think moving back home would have been something I could handle after living abroad with so little. Coming back to so much, so many memories and boxes that are like wrapped up unwanted presents is hard. My mind keeps saying "Where do I put all this junk?" whenever I enter my old room. It has remained virtually the same since I left high school. Unfortunately, so has my wardrobe, if you have ever seen the way I dress. Hopefully I will do something about that someday. Old clothes are comfortable for me, and now after traveling around Europe I don't care much about how I dress, so I usually look like I am still traveling.
I also came home to a growing family. My brother Chris, who is ten years older than me, moved from Idaho back to Minnesota with his wife and two children, Christina and Andrew just before I left for England. If you saw me last summer, you would have seen me covered in soap and paint as I cleaned up my grandmothers old house, rest her soul. It is half a mile away from my parents house, out in the country on our large picturesque farm. I love the area, which is another reason why I come to visit at least once a week. The problem is that I never have time to walk around and roam the woods like I did in my younger years as a farm boy. Now my time at home, if not talking to my father at the computer or my mother in her perfect sitting room is spent playing with my niece, three years, and nephew, recent one year old, over at there house. They are soon moving to Decorah to a nice house five miles out of town, so I will get to visit them more often and even do some baby sitting if I feel up to it.
After England, I can't help but let the pub-life be my life. Their is actually a place in Decorah that is called "The Pub", and it is nothing like an English pub, so I can no longer say "I am going to the pub" and still be respected by my group of friends. We have a favorite bar instead, with live music four times a week at least. I play billiards and darts there when I get a chance, and it is a great place to cool off with a Wisconsin beer called Linenkugels or a fine selection of imported beers like Bass, Guinness in bottles. I have started brewing some beers now to get a taste of England again, and sixty six bottles of stout will be ready tomorrow. My friend and roommate for next school year, Sam, is celebrating his birthday today, so I think we'll see if the beer is ready tonight.
I have found a few friends in Decorah. Most are new to me, and I haven't seen many of the old ones who I parted from last year. They will come in a month with the new school year started at the beginning of September. I will therefore be in a state of anticipation until then. Decorah did just celebrate it's big event, Nordic Fest, which draws thousand more people to the streets each year from all over the country and world. It brought many of my friends and acquaintances from both college and high school back to the bars, and it was quite a reunion each night until four in the morning for me, after I finished work at ten. And I was working each day at eleven over the weekend, so that was a little excessive for my body and liver. But it was great to see them again, and surprise those who hadn't seen me for a while with the new look I have acquired over the year.
Well that is it. It is not as exciting as my European travels, but it gives me back the freedom to enjoy some of the things that give me simple pleasure. I have my hobbies back. I have my guitars, my tenor sax, a nice stereo in my apartment and my Mitsubishi Montero. I've got my mountain bike, and as I always have my writing, which is going slow at this moment, but hopefully I'll have some more time and inspiration when I get adjusted to my new busy schedule. I'll use all these hobbies to keep me alive and happy about being where I am after being where I've been.
We spent Sunday morning at Chris's house, working on wedding plans, enjoying a lovely breakfast, and otherwise relaxing and getting better. My stitches hurt far less than other days, and we plan to spend the whole day here in the house.
Rachel is in Wabasha at her mom's house, working herself ragged all week, and I decided to stay over in Decorah at Chris's. I'm listening to a book about the world after an EMP and virus attacks as an act of war, and the focus of the whole book is how great horses are. It is turning out to be one of the longest, however interesting and fun, book I've ever listened too. I'll feed the cats and maybe go straight to sleep, however I wouldn't mind playing some video games as well on the PS3. There is less here for me to get distracted on, so I should be able to relax and not feel guilty about not cleaning the house. I've nearly gotten over with my summer cold, which is still being blown out of me kleenex by k. Perhaps I'll find a nice movie to watch as well, and just relax downstairs the rest of the night. This house is the most restful I've ever known.