Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sabbatical and Improvisation


There's nothing like sipping a soothing cup of Nescafe 3 in 1 with an English-speaking friend while traveling across the continents... is there?

Yet I have to say the best coffee I've ever had is right here in Denver at Kaladi's, a coffee shop close to downtown. I never seem to go there anymore. So when I was thinking about items to add to my menu of tasty ideas for things to do on sabbatical, I added "go to Kaladi's!"


I'm not much of a shopper, but am not immune to the mild stimulation of browsing in shops, especially small, independent ones where you don't know what you'll find - so that's on my menu of ideas too.

When I lived in Central Asia I remember a secret feeling of delight in strolling slowly past the market near my house known, in Russian, as the "miracle bazaar." You could get anything there - maybe.

In Colorado the equivalent would be hitting the garage sales on a Friday morning. With office hours and staff meetings I've never been able to do it, but now I can. So maybe some morning I will.


When people ask me about what plans I have while I'm on sabbatical, I've had a hard time putting such things into words. I think they expect me to share something more impressive than that I'm two-thirds of the way through The Three Musketeers.

But the fact is, this season, I don't want to make big plans.

I want to do small things.

And I want to make them up as I go.

This is a long way of apologizing for not posting my response to the book The Vertical Self yet, something I said I would do. I believe I'll still get to it. It got pushed back a bit. Even though I'm not busy. And haven't gone to Kaladi's or hit the garage sales. Other things have come up. For example, Friday morning I babysat for a friend, then joined another for a trip to the Western Slope to hook up with a couple families we know there, both of which are on the path to getting themselves overseas.

Life can't always be lived improvisationally, but giving myself permission to live this way, now, has certainly reduced my stress levels.

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