Monday, February 18, 2008

on the crème de la crème

So, life as a nanny. It's different here than it was in Mass. At least there, I was also teaching preschool, and the neighborhood where I worked was just a normal part of town, and James and I did normal things like walk around town, go to the library, and get ice cream at Bart's. Well, it's not like that at all here. And it's especially different taking care of a 4 month old versus a 4 year old. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE Gavin, and my job. I can't help, however, but laugh at the whole scenario. The neighborhood where I work is a gated estate community which houses the crème de la crème. It consists, in large part, of very well-to-do retirees. This particular neighborhood is complete with golf course, country club style, pool house, hot tubs, tennis courts, and any other service you may require, including golf carts and towels on hand so you never have to bring your own. As I push Gavin around the neighborhood in his stroller, I encounter a million nosy neighbors who stop me to coo at Gavin in hoarse high pitched voices and no respect for the fact that he's sleeping. I hear older couples at the pool whose biggest dilemma in life is whether they should take a half hour tennis lesson or an hour golf lesson. It's just impossible to decide. And I guess very few people work in this community, because, besides the obviously retired folk, there are tons of people out golfing and swimming everyday, in the middle of the day. It's interesting. It's a beautiful area, but it's so detached from the rest of the world. It's almost like working at a resort. I find myself constantly amused by this, and while I adore working there, I know I will never have the means nor the desire to lead a life such as theirs. I'm a different species of human being. The house where Gavin lives is incredibly nice. Huge, clean, beautiful, and complete with all the amenities. They have a pool with a waterfall, patio furniture that's nicer than any furniture I've ever had inside a house, outdoor kitchen area, etc.... My Saturday job is quite the same. Gated community. Large house. Pool. Incredible everything. It's a really interesting experience for me to work in places that are nicer than anywhere I have ever or will ever live myself. It's a taste of a life immensely different than my own, where no one ever has to do without. I am grateful for the opportunity to experience these things, to see life from this perspective. Most importantly, it makes me appreciate my own position much more. Here, where I work 6 days a week and still just barely have enough to pay my bills. Here, where I eat cheap and sit on camping chairs. Here, where I dry my clothes at the laundry mat and buy my ramen noodles on sale, I am grateful. It's easy to appreciate the little things, here where I don't have to struggle over decisions about golf lessons. I wouldn't trade my life for theirs for anything in the world. That is what I am learning, here in the desert. Where the weather and the plants and the scenery are a drug to me. This place gets inside my blood and shifts my perspective. I am full of sunshine and gratitude and the joy of having a little baby in my arms everyday while still having the nights all to myself. :) Oh, happy day.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

on living in the desert

So, here's to living in Tucson. The days are warm sometimes bordering on hot, and the nights get cold. There are cacti taller than houses everywhere. The houses are adobe; there are alleys in the backs of all of them; there are mountains in all four directions. The days get lazy and life is hazy. It all feels like a dream, but I love it. So far, my time here has been spent in many wondrous ways.

Last week, there was a Brazilian Carnevale celebration just down the road, so we (Court, Jenny [his sister], and I) made masks. The process was wicked fun, and here's what I got:
Then we got all dressed up to go to this thing because it's supposed to be a costume party. It's Carnevale, ya know? There was supposed to be a contest and everything. But, we get there and are the only ones dressed up. Fine, there were a handful of people wearing masks, but no costumes. Seriously. I was rather disappointed, I mean where's the spirit? To make matters worse, there was zero room to dance, much less stand. I tried to squeeze my way in there, but kept getting shoved around. Needless to say, we didn't stay long. But at least I looked awesome: :)
A couple days later was Mardi Gras. In honor of fat Tuesday, we had a pancake dinner, and then Jenny and I danced. I'm teaching her some bellydance stuff, and very glad to have the chance. She's a fast learner.
So, when I'm not making masks or dancing or writing about how much I feel like I'm living in a dream, I actually have time to explore! The other day brought me to Sabino Canyon, which is like this amazing place with forests of Saguaro cacti in the Catalina mountains, with a golden river running through. It goes so far, there are actually trams to take you the whole way because cars aren't allowed through, and to go on foot would take forever. It's full of wildlife and other "inherent dangers."

We walked for a couple miles taking in the beauty. We saw bats and birds, but no mountain lions yet. The whole area is breathtaking, and as we were walking out, the sun started setting, and the whole place turned even more magical with all the silhouettes.
With other bits of my time, I help fix up the house I'm staying in (free of charge) because it's a little under the weather. We cleaned out the whole basement yesterday, and discovered that the floors we thought were gray are actually red only you couldn't tell because there was so much dirt and dust. There's still a lot of work to be done.

Today's sun, warm breeze, and 75 degrees brought me to the park. It was quite relaxing and beautiful and lovely. There's this amazing tree, and kids everywhere. We played frisbee for a while......until I heard beats in the distance. I listened closely and was convinced of the sound of drums, so I (the snake to these snakecharmers) followed my ears only to happen upon a drum circle just on the other side of the park. To my great pleasure, it was in full progress, and I danced my little heart out on the grass beside them. I even got kudos from a guy who looks like Santa Claus and dances like he's happy (something few people actually are).

Anyway, other than all these little tidbits of my life, I've accepted a job taking care of a 4 month old boy named Gavin (which, ironically, is the name of one of James' good friends). Anyway, he's precious, and I dig hanging out with a baby all day.

Next in life, I intend to find some dance classes and get some of my poetry sent off to these contests I'm entering to try to get some money or some publishing so I can then apply for the grants I want in order to write my novel. Desert life makes these things easy. I love it here.