Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Stop 9: Norman, Oklahoma

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
Robert Frost.

I definitely had no problems finding parking in front of my couchsurfing hosts’ house! Norman, Oklahoma is a very small town (about 100,000 people) in the middle of Tornado Alley. The University of Oklahoma is not far away. One thing that astounded me about my Oklahoma experience was that I stayed with two wonderful hosts who were married at the age of 22. This to me seemed way too young, but they really seemed happy together. I had lots of thoughts during that party of my trip about what it means to be in love and when you should decide to get married. What works for one couple may not work for other couples. Also, after a long conversation with one of my hosts, Robbie, I was inspired to read the book, Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. My dad gave it to me when I was in highschool, but I think I was too young to be pondering all of life’s questions like I am now thinking about.

There is no documentary for this section of the journey. I realized just how far I can push my brain, body, and interest in talking to tons of random strangers about my project. I reached a real low actually for these few days. I was almost doubting whether I would be able to complete my goal of driving all the way to California. My allergies were so bad, it was sweltering hot, I felt sick to my stomach from weird food, and I was antisocial and not wanting to talk to anyone. Needless to say, I spent much of my time sleeping and trying to get over this travel fatigue. I took a yoga class one day and that helped tremendously J

I didn’t realize until after I left, that Norman, Oklahoma is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for tornados! It was beautiful weather and we even went to a graduation party picnic one evening. I started to wonder why anyone would decide to live in a place where their house could possibly be destroyed by a natural disaster.

Despite my lack of interest in my project during this leg of the journey, I still forced myself to explore the city. It was awful. I was so hot and felt like I was getting a sunburn, so I escaped into the first place that had air conditioning where I could sit for a while. This place was a theater with a free performance. Sounds great, until you sit down and realize that everyone in the audience is less than the age of 5 and that the performance is something creepy involving dancing pigs, lots of glitter, awful acting, and broken props. And yes, I did stay to watch this “spectacle.” I was that desperate for rest and air conditioning…But I did end up stumbling across a cool grocery, food place called Native Roots.

Even if you’re not feeling so great, it’s amazing how the mind and the body regenerate and keep you going. Life is long and this low of my trip really made me realize that you better like what you do in life, or it just becomes a big hassle. I like my documentary project, but I was so off because I really do not like always being a nomad. I also chose this quote, because Robert Frost is one of my favorite poets. He wrote a poem called “The Road Not Taken” which my parents often referenced when I was growing up and moving into my college years. I took lots of paths not like all the other kids. Good thing I did, because now I am crazy enough to drive across the country by myself!

Explore Norman, Oklahoma now
Native Roots Market

University of Oklahoma

Tornados in Norman

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