One of the highlights of my year was the return of my friend Florencia from nearly two years abroad. Flor is one of the most interesting people I know. I’ve never met anyone so passionate about so many disciplines. She’s determined to master all kinds of things including cycling, running, rock climbing, acroyoga, nutrition (especially vegan and vegetarian), astrology, reiki massage, Buddism, Hinduism, Thai massage, foot massage, and the traditional yoga that she immersed herself in at an ashram in Rishikesh last year. Other than cycling and running, we don’t really have all that much in common. This, I think, is what makes our times together interesting.
One day several years ago I went to watch her do acroyoga in Meridian Hill Park. Afterwards she took me aside. A normally upbeat person, she started telling me how unfulfilled she was in the relentless grind of DC life. “John, I am so unhappy.” She is openly loving of her friends here, but it wasn’t enough to compensate for the hole in her spirit. I could see by the look on her face that she was dead serious when she told me she was quitting her job and moving to Thailand.
And so she left and began an incredible journey that she chronicled in her blog, The Impermanent Resident. It is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it. The title refers to her plan to move around, never staying in one place for more than a year. Other than a bit longer stay in Thailand (which she grew to regret) she has kept to her plan. When she returned to DC early this year, I thought that she’d finally settle down. In short order it became clear that settling in DC was not to be.
She sold her studio apartment overlooking Rock Creek Park and the National Zoo (she could hear lions roaring). She said she didn’t own things, things owned her. She wanted to be unencumbered. And so she is. Today she flew to Argentina to spend summer with friends and family.
I haven’t seen her since our hike on Sugarloaf Mountain in October. So I didn’t have the chance to say a proper, in-person goodbye. We said our goodbyes via email which seems like a pathetic way to end a great year. I am going to miss her a lot, but our conversation continues via the interwebs.
I try not to think about the quite real prospect of never seeing her again. It makes me unhappy. DC won’t be the same without her.