One more yo-yo

11/24/16 

León, Mex to Queretaro, Mex 

194.1 kilometers ridden. 

I knew today would arrive but had clearly been holding back and pretending. I could feel myself not completing work so that I might have to stay longer but it was past time to go since everyday was getting harder and harder to think about leaving León.

I awoke when Montserrat got up for work and had a somber farewell as she prepared to leave. I was able to keep it together but only just. I slept for another two hours before waking myself to shower and pack the bike. 

While I folded laundry and prepped my bags I talked to the leadership of my home league. I had been letting my concerns fester for long enough that they had grown out of proportion. The result was that I had managed to get very butt hurt about a deserved comment from a league member and chose to respond in a very snarky way. When that was brought up as being an inappropriate response I only made things worse by editing it. 

The reality is that I was in the wrong and having a bit of a hissy fit for no real reason. It made no sense and was not how I should have handled it. The end result was a productive conversation and my realization of how childish I had been. I apologized privately to the person I had been short with/about but took a written tongue lashing from them in the group dialogue. It wasn't undeserved but stopped any further productive discussions. I finished my talks and shut everything down to load it on the bike. 

Montserrat's parents were arriving in town and made it to the house while I was half way through loading. They were incredibly nice and asked me to stay for lunch. My limited Spanish and their limited English made communication a bit slow but we still had really a really nice conversation. They asked me if I would come back to León on Sunday to help celebrate Montserrat's birthday and I agreed to make the return trip. 

The ride to Queretaro was nice and rather relaxing though even with the lowered pegs my knees and hips hurt over time. I alternated back and forth between silence with time to think and listening to my audio book. I didn't make any photo stops as it was mostly just bland highway. I arrived a bit past five to Alex's home and got the bike unpacked and secured. 

We opted for some food before practice and went to a nice empanada place near his house. I had two and a salad and talked about the area. After food we went and picked up Tita and headed for practice. The drive was nice and I enjoyed the views of the city at night. Practice was great and the whole group was a blast to work with. It was a full three hours and we used every minute of it. After practice we went for Tacos with most of the team at a local place that was very good. After dinner Alex and I went through photos and video of the trip and talked till almost 3 am.

It felt good to be back on the road and coaching again, but was still hard to leave Montserrat.

I spent the day of the 25th exploring the city with Alex and taking tons of photos.  


We enjoyed the local foods and walked the historic town center. 


I had been looking for a good wallet that would survive my rather harsh working environment and we found one at a small shoe shop.  The price was said to be $180 pesos but I thought there might be more so we moved on. There really were not any that were of the quality from the shoe store so we went back and the clerk then told us it would be $190 pesos.  Alex was angry for me before I could even realize I had been gringo priced.  We left and Alex told me I could easily find another wallet like it in Leon when I went back.

I was able to see the historic aqueduct that served the city, and even spotted a fun Café bike build parked at an overlook.


We finished out by going to what I would best call Portland in Mexico.  


It was an open-air bar with permanently parked food trucks surrounding it in the enclosed court yard.  


Each truck had different types of food and the bar had some good local beers on tap. 


Not a bad way to spend thanks giving abroad.


And they had the best fish taco I have ever eaten!


The afternoon was so tiring from the sun and walking the streets that I fell asleep as soon as we got back.  I was so out that when Alex came to get me for practice I was non responsive to his knock or him coming in to the room to check on me so they let me sleep.  That made for a second missed follow-on practice due to needing to sleep.  Even without turkey the thanksgiving nap is required.

11/26/16 

Queretaro, Mex to León, Mex 

197.7 kilometers ridden. 

Early start to pack around 7:35 am, I opted not to shower and just get packed up. 

Loaded the bike while talking with Alex about bikes. Grabbed breakfast from the Oxxo, my liquid yogurt, a white monster, and some instant oatmeal. 

The ride itself was pretty simple. Though I had intended to take non-toll roads, I didn't get that loaded into google maps properly so it left me going down the main toll roads. It took me about two and a half hours to make it back to León. 

I was somewhat surprised when I stopped myself right in front of Montserrat's house even when google maps was saying to keep going. I guess I have spent enough time here. 

Montserrat's mother and father were both home and let me in without issue. I spent most of the day doing computer work and even chatting with Montserrat on-line. She thought I was in Mexico City and there was no way I was going to ruin the surprise. 

At a little after 6 pm Montserrat's Mother and I took an Uber to where Montserrat worked. The plan for the night had been that the two of them would go for pedicures so the arrival was expected. The guard said he would get her and I crouched beneath the concrete half wall below the guard shack window and waited for her mother to draw Montserrat out. When she arrived and began talking I stood up and moved into her peripheral vision. She turned and looked right through me. Her face was contorted in confusion as she did the mental gymnastics to account for me being there. It took a full two or three seconds before she accepted what she saw and embraced me in a hug. She choked out a few sobs amidst laughter as she buried her face in my neck and shoulder, hugging me tightly. 

After a moment of the half-crying half-laughing she finally said something. "How are you here? Why are you here?" she asked without pausing between sentences. 

"For your birthday, of course." Was my beaming response. 

Wordlessly she hugged me again and then turned to look in disbelief at her mother. They conversed for a few moments in Spanish too fast for me to follow before walking towards the gated parking area. After unlocking the gate Montserrat handed me her keys and asked if I could pull the car out while she went back inside and finished her work. I was elated to see her again and didn't even bother to adjust the seat back for my height before moving the car to the street. 

Montserrat's mother and I waited in the car across the street. It was a slightly awkward time as I was excited to see Montserrat. Plus the limited shared language between Montserrat's mother and I made for a very choppy conversation. After what seemed an eternity, people began to leave the building and Montserrat came out. Her mother and I were introduced to a handful of her co-workers before one climbed in that was on the way home. 

Montserrat and I spent the rest of the evening talking and catching up. Even though I had only been gone for two days, she had spent that time telling herself she would never see me again. I could understand her desire to protect herself, but it hurt to hear she thought that was the case.

The next several days were spent enjoying my evenings with Montserrat and my days working on the bike and school work.  As her Birthday came we went and I helped her to fit and select her first motorcycle helmet so that we could go for rides.  While at the time there were not bigger plans in the works, the helmet would turn out to be a huge factor in the trip.

We also spent an evening searching the leather district of Leon, which is the shoe capital of Mexico, and spent many hours looking through streets of vendors. I never found anything even close to the wallet I had seen in Queretaro but we both tried on many motorcycle styled jackets.  It was a fun night just to wander the town with Montserrat.

From Cat:

The days and weeks that Zack spent in Leon was definitely a growing experience for me. I could tell that his and Montserrat’s relationship was growing stronger each day and while I was happy for him, I was also admittedly still quite hesitant. My brain was still very much trying to wrap my head around being capable of polyamory. How can you care very much for two people at the same time and even in the same way? How can he care for me and Montserrat and not let it affect how he feels for either of us?

When I first heard of Zack going back to meet Montserrat and surprise her for her birthday, I was admittedly jealous. I was missing him and yes, I knew he missed me too, but I could tell he was upset and sad leaving Montserrat. Yet again, my brain was trying to compare. If he missed her, does that mean he misses me less? If he is excited and elated to see her again, does it mean he isn’t as excited to see me? What if he wasn’t as excited to see me? What if he wants to stay there more then he wants to come back home?

These were the questions floating around in my head. How was I going to deal with them? If I let them just sit there, I knew they were going to fester. And that certainly wasn’t healthy. So I began to process the questions, break them down one by one, and really get to the root of what I was thinking. Were these questions weren’t always logical? No. Were some of them were just pure emotion? Yes. And you know what? That’s okay. I once again began the slow, but necessary process of accepting what I was feeling and not diminishing it. It was important for me to recognize that no matter what I was feeling, that feeling was valid. And once I began to accept that, I was able to begin breaking down why I was feeling that way.

It was the night Zack surprised Montserrat and showed up at her work that I had my first moment of complete understanding. She had tagged him in a post on Facebook and was clearly very excited and happy. I quickly began feeling envious. To help myself understand, I began to put myself in her shoes. And immediately, my view began to change. I remembered all the birthdays I had that no one to surprise me and all the birthdays no one who went out of their way to me feel special. I remembered all the lunch dates that Zack surprised me with, the random flowers he brought to my office, and all the times I felt like I was most special person in his life. And I felt happy. Happy that Montserrat now had someone in her life who cared enough to do this.  Happy she had someone who made who made her feel wanted and appreciated. I spent so many years feeling unwanted, unappreciated, and not cared for that I truly understand the joy and happiness that comes when someone makes you feel special.

I began to relate to Montserrat on a personal level.

It was in that moment that I understood. I understood her happiness, her shock, her pure joy and her elation. And I was happy for her. I was actually happy for her and for Zack. I was happy for the time they were sharing together. And I was beginning to understand polyamory a little bit more. I still had questions, I still had fears. My emotions were still taking over at times. And yes, I still needed a whole lot of reassurance. But I was also healing and more importantly growing. I was stepping outside my preconceived notions, stepping outside society’s definitions of what a relationship has to look like. And I was realizing that maybe it was okay. Maybe all these worries and fears, even if some weren’t logical, didn’t mean that this was wrong, maybe just different. And there is nothing wrong with different.

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