Thoughts on biking and Czech life through the Eyes of an American

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Year, New Bike, Same Old Day-To-Day Thing... but Closer to the Downhill Thrills

2008 found me enjoying a nice peaceful seafood dinner in Maine. A few years ago, if I could read this sentence which revealed my New Years for 2008, I would have said, "geez, do something different! Mix it up! Go skydiving at night when the clock strikes 12... or some crazy ski adventure... SOMETHING different!" (Note: I have learned in the past 2 or 3 years that the previous sentiment might be do to my astrological sign.... hmmm... who taught me that?)

Probably the sentence describing my 2008 New Years would not mean much to me a few years ago... but one must not forget the context and circumstances that lead themselves to all of us sitting at that table, white cloth or not. For the first time in two and a half years I enjoyed the privilege of going home to relax with family. Being away for so long makes you realize how relaxing it is! Knowing everyone, the place, the language, the situation, what will come next, where to go, what to do.... all advantages that you can use to maximize your experience. However, always knowing "what comes next" is not entirely bliss. For some, experiences outside of their own national domain will never be known. Even fewer will experience the feeling of being outside their national "comfort zone" where they feel in command and enter into a different culture. The latter has been my life for the past 2.5 years. It is not "better" or "worse" but entirely different that what many are use to.

In a tone that was somewhat confident, happy, sad, free, and humble, a beautiful young woman once told me, "live in a different culture for a while and it will change you." The words are scribed into my mind like an Etch-a-Sketch that has lost it's magic sand. I remember the conversation, riding in the car, and the ackward 2 seconds of time where I digested the statement before I could reply. For a young American, I was pretty well traveled with parents who valued world geography, different cultures, new experiences, and... vacations! Seemed great to me! She almost sounded like she had lost something in her travels which made me feel a bit sad. Almost 3 years later, after experiencing it for myself, I realize that you gain so much that you realize how sheltered and naive you were before. The effect can be quite humbling. However, in the broad sense, the experience is invaluably positive; making you stronger, more confident, and more knowledgeable person. This effect is sometimes not perceived until you venture back to your homeland.

We returned to CZ and I continued my MBA studies in Prague that I had started in October. The program is through DePaul University and is setup as a weekend program so I do not have to quit my job to obtain an MBA. Weekend or night MBA programs are very popular since most students are already successful upper or mid-level managers. These "Part-Time" MBA programs are actually outnumbering fulltime (unemployed student) programs in recent years. DePaul's part-time program actually ranked #9 in the US this year so when I saw that they offered a satellite campus in Prague I knew it was great program and an even better opportunity.

Enough boredom, this basically means that my Fridays and Saturdays include zero biking miles for the next 18 months. But 18 months is definitely finite with a sizable reward of an MBA degree waiting at graduation.

Since my time on the bike will be limited, I decided that it should be as fun and comfortable as possible! So I purchased a new Scott CR1 Pro carbon fiber road bike, by far the most amazing bike I have ever ridden. If you own a steel, titanium, or even lightweight aluminum bike, throw it out and buy a carbon frame. You will never regret it!

Just 15 months to go now... the finish line is getting closer. Better stretch those legs for the sprint.
That is all for now.. more later

2 Comments:

Blogger Soulamouse said...

I don't remember telling you but I do stand behind the statement.
It does not change the care, it allows you to define yourself (differently), to shape your views or palate...yeah, a good experience.
Which country is the next><

April 10, 2008 at 4:29 PM

 
Blogger Soulamouse said...

the core I wanted to say

April 10, 2008 at 4:29 PM

 

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