Two weeks ago...(Part 2)

So - if you’ve read Part 1, you know that we’ve had a crazy few weeks with Chip.

And now, here’s Part 2…

As Bryan and I were dropping Chip off for his surgery (I was really nervous for him, and freaking out a little bit) my mechanic called. 

I had decided to drive for this three week tour through the midwest and Colorado, so that Chip could come with me. Bryan was going to be away for part of the time, and we didn’t feel comfortable asking anyone to take care of Chip with his medications, cone, potential surgical complications, etc.

Chip and I hitting the road together was the best option.

Chip and I are not new to the road trip. He’s been on many tours with me, and has come to a lot of gigs. 

Since my Corolla was 12 years old, with over 205,000 miles, and I was going to be adding another 4,000, I brought my car in to my mechanic for a once over. (Which I always do, and I love my mechanic...Southport Automotive, ask for Rich, tell them Kristen sent you…they’re awesome.)

You can probably guess where this is going.

Rich called me as I was walking out of the vet. I was pretty shaken up, and Bryan and I were discussing our options for Chip.

It wasn’t the perfect moment.

It was nowhere near the perfect moment (though when would be?) to find out that my car needed more repairs than it was worth. And that it wouldn’t make the trip. And in fact, he wasn’t even sure that it would make the trip to the dealer to buy a new car.

Not great news.

On the list of things that I love, my car was just below my dog. (And both are below Bryan and music…I’m not that crazy.)

But I LOVED my car.

I bought it after college. It was my first real adult expense, and I was so proud to have it.

It safely brought me to 2,000 shows, weathered storms, survived Chips teething puppy months, and I had a perfect Tetris-like understanding of how to maximize and pack trunk space.

With mere hours before I needed to leave, I went to buy a new car.

I’m not going to go into the boring details, I will just simply say this: My experience of buying a car as a (gasp) woman, was not great.

I was talked down to by two different salesmen, and it was suggested multiple times that I check in with my husband to make any decisions. I even heard the phrase, 'happy wife, happy life', used in jest.

This is another conversation, but when men speak in a condescending tone to women, what are they hoping will happen? That the woman will swoon with gratitude that the man has explained why it's important there are four tires on a vehicle?

I speak with snark, but really...REALLY...

Anyway, I kept my cool, I was polite, and got the heck out of there as quickly as possible.

*As a word to the wise for my friends who happen to suffer the terrible coincidence of being born female - speak clearly, and when necessary, speak sternly, and you’ll be fine.*

It all worked out.

The experience wasn’t negative enough to turn me away from Toyota forever, and so…I traded in my amazing, wonderful, irreplaceable Corolla (which I lovingly referred to as the ‘Rockin Rolla’) for a new, beautiful, nicest-car-I’ve-ever-owned, Rav4 Hybrid!

I bought the car, and the next day Chip and I packed up for our adventure.

So far… 

- It has a few thousand miles on it, it will soon have many more.

- It is very clean, and I’m trying so, so hard to keep it that way.

- It has that ‘new car smell’, which I actually hate, so I’ve been driving with the windows down and the sunroof open as much as possible. (That’s right…I have a sunroof...I’m fancy, y’all!)

And, I’ve taken my years of trunk-packing experience, and developed an organizational system for the back of my car that is quite incredible. In fact, it might end up being its own blog post one day.

The Corolla and I had a great run, and I’m looking forward to the next decade or so with my Rav!

This car has no idea what it’s in for…

The hubcap-less 'Rockin Rolla' on our last day.

The hubcap-less 'Rockin Rolla' on our last day.

The new tour bus!

The new tour bus!





Nicaragua - Day 10 - Nagarote farewell

Today was full of more music, more tours, and a good-bye to Nagarote…

The morning started off with a visit to SosteNica, Eco-Center, which is an amazing project in Nagarote, working to make farmers and small family gardens more sustainable and more productive.

It’s an incredible project, and you can check it out here.

One of the coolest things they showed me (besides the kitchen stoves, compostable toilets, and water capturing system) were these seed balls!

They’re little pods that you can just throw anywhere and things will grow! (You can also be organized and plant…but it sounds like so much fun to just throw seed balls everywhere.)

After that - I got a chance to see how people in Nagarote make quesillo - a traditional dish. I even tried a little.

It was awesome seeing tortillas and quesillo made right in front of my eyes. And it was made my serious professionals - these women learned from their mothers, who learned from their mothers, etc.

And last for today was a little thank you show from the kids at NicaPhoto. They gave us a performance - they danced, sang, and recited poetry. It was really beautiful.

To finish the show- my new friend, Katharine presented me with this beautiful necklace. I’ll be wearing it the next time you see me!

Tomorrow- a meeting with the mayor of Leon, and concert in Ruben Dario park (I’ll be singing a setting of one of his most famous poems!)

Quick reflections...

Just some quick thoughts from my first European tour!

- if all cheese tasted like French cheese, I never would have become a vegan

- Europeans have awesome shoes and beautiful scarves

- you can get a SUPER DELICIOUS glass of wine anywhere in Barcelona for about $2

- pretzels in Frankfurt make pretzels in NYC seem like they taste like cardboard

- it's super frustrating being somewhere and not speaking the language

- smiling at someone and saying thank you in their language can go a really long way

- Europeans don't judge you for drinking at lunch (in fact, they may judge you if you don't have a beer/glass of wine...)

- walking everywhere is really fun, and allows you to see where you really are

- you can make friends everywhere

- The Just Be Nice Party is now international!! (too bad Repubs and Dems can't say the same!)

- fall is still my favorite season...regardless of what country I'm in