Monday, April 18, 2011

The Generosity of Strangers

It always surprises me how wonderful people can be.

Today I arrived home to a package on my front porch. At first I was a little suspicious, as I was not suspecting anything. But after some pondering, I remembered that back in January I signed up as part of a traveling box called the Luggage (based on the Luggage from Terry Pratchett's Discworld), through an online knitting site/forum called Ravelry. I just put my name in, and was told to expect the Luggage at some point. Of course I promptly forgot about it.

Imagine my surprised when I opened the box. Inside the shipping box was a bag, and inside that back was a beautifully painted shoebox, made to look like the Luggage from Discworld.

Inside that box... well, wow. I had no idea people were so generous! The whole premise of the Luggage was to put in what you take out, but still. The contents were practically magical. Gorgeous yarns (I picked out a lovely blue sock yarn), treats (Kendall Mint Cakes- yum!), and various knickknacks and postcards. It just astounds me that people are so generous, putting in handmade yarns and stitch markers, expensive chocolate, and other beautiful items, all for someone they have never met. I feel exceptionally proud that I can participate in this kind of swap- I replaced the sock yarn with a skein of Merino superwash, and the Mint Cake with some chocolate. I also took a postcard, and put in a card with a pretty horse head on it.

There's also a notebook that goes with the Luggage, in which we're supposed to record what we took out, and just general thoughts. I didn't say how amazed I was by the generosity, but I hope it was still evident. Sometimes, people just make your day, even anonymously.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

On Being Part of A Team

When I say "I row crew", the responses are usually:
1) Are you crazy?
2) Wow, that's intense.
3) What's crew?

So, to answer: yes, yes, and crew is rowing: fast, hard, and intensely (yes, this is grammatically correct- I checked). It's a completely crazy, hard, fun, passionate, team sport. It's also full body and will put you in the best shape you'll ever be in. Trust me on this. It's also the most intense team sport I've ever encountered. Each and every person has to give their all- when someone takes an off stroke in the boat, it's that much more work for everyone else. If someone doesn't lift the boat up, the other people have to take more weight. If you don't respect the coxswain, you'll crash.

For me, being on a team is a new thing. I've never been into the "team sport" thing, mostly because I've never liked the sports involved. I tried- and rejected- soccer, tennis, swimming, basketball, track, field hockey, and softball. I chose instead horseback riding, which is an individual sport on a very individual level. Crew, on the other hand, is something I'm fairly good at and a team sport, something previously unexpected for me. So far, it's working out, and I love it.