Sunday, August 17, 2014

Walkable distances

Back to Mobile.

Never easy to come back to a life made only of work and little else, especially after spending many weeks with family and friends in places that fit me well.

I have to re-adjust to driving and not using my legs and bike as a way to transport myself between two points. The first days since I got back here, I felt I was in a I am just passively trying to adapt again. It is very hard for me to understand how people can settle for a life in which they depends from their car to go anywhere. The weather is fantastic here, it calls for spending time outside biking or walking. But this is simply impossible. There is nowhere to go to by walk and drivers are just not used to people biking, so that biking is calling for a suicide most likely....except for very few places. I miss being able to walk or bike to work....I leave 10 minutes away from work and still, I have to drive.

Yesterday I was relaxing at the pool in my apartment complex. The maximum distance within this apartment complex is maybe 10 minutes by walk, if not less. A family drove from their apartment to the swimming pool. They were not carrying something heavy. The kids were not so little. I guess they are just not used to use their legs.....and then some people complain about being overweight.....what about moving more? I understand here it is not easy, because Mobile is not walkable or bikeable, but at least for short distances and when it is least as providing a good example for the kids.

It is a very different life style. I am not used to this. It is not the US. In Washington many people bike...actually, there are so many crazy bikers, they are dangerous sometimes.

Another thing I am not used to. Guns. We had an orientation at work. They showed us a video about how to be prepared and train in the case a shooting would occur in the work place. My colleagues, a room filled with about 30 other people, mostly Americans, found this completely normal. Myself and another Japanese woman, both clearly not used to this, were speechless. I got extremely depressed after the video. It is difficult to explain. I am just not used to this.
Here you can have guns, shotguns, whatever you want, in your car or on you.
It is normal.
My students told me story of growing up shooting at snakes. It is normal. It is what they are used to. Driving everywhere and depending on cars, being used to guns and shooting.

Not an easy adjustment for an European who grew up in a small town in Tuscany and who always lived, until now, in very small towns or if not small, bike and walk friendly.

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