The New Adventures of Bandit and Cricket

Trip Start May 21, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, May 5, 2013

Yes, I am going to write about my cats, again. Feel free to stop reading now if you have no interest in a detailed and thorough description of my adorable cats and their adorable lives.

I thought so. Now that the true fans are still left here - don't worry. I'm not going to write an entire blog about my cats. This isn't "Catpod", its "Travelpod". (Hmm, there's an idea though...imagine how many crazy cat ladies would love to blog about their cats?!) So, I'll start with some recent ponderings. 
I consider myself truly lucky to have complete control over my life right now. Not many people have the options that I have; tied down by spouses, children, or simple inability to pick up and leave. I remind myself of this daily – even though I am missing out on family and friends at home, I feel a certain contentment and freedom here. I keep writing about being torn between two coasts. Then I began to wonder if it's possible to split time between them? 

There is no logical option for choosing one or the other. Each has its pros and cons which I feel like I have gone over in my head thousands of times. I spoke with another traveler who put this idea in my head, though I haven’t spoken with our boss yet to see how feasible it would be. She told me that she goes home to Africa every summer for 5 or 6 months, and then returns to work here at our hospital for the winter – when they are most short staffed. This sounds like a pretty brilliant idea to me, though the details could get complicated. I could spend the warm summers at home with my family and friends, given that I could find a temporary job there, and spend summers here in California (or elsewhere on the west coast) staying away from the cold. Well, it’s a thought, anyways. As the end of my job extension is creeping up on me (a month and a half from now), I suppose I’ll have to start making some decisions. Still, I’ll try not to complain about having too many options. I am grateful for it.

In another amazing gift, the boys (my cats) are getting along amazingly. I am glad that I took so long to choose which cat to adopt – it ended up being so worthwhile and its clear I chose the exact right one. The beauty of it, against all odds, is that this boy has some uncanny similarities to Jinx. I hadn’t seen them before; they are just little things that are starting to show. They are so strange that I know it’s not simply coincidence. He loves to play with my hairbands – and my hair itself. He gets a huge kick out of walking on my computer keyboard. He purrs like it’s his job when I pet him. And he is almost as acrobatic as her! I don’t know of many cats that can jump and flip with the same agility.

The irony of it is that I originally went to this specific shelter because they had a female cat with Bengal markings similar to Jinx. And at the time, I thought that was what I wanted. The more days that I went and spent time with her, and the other female cats (they separate them by sex and age), I realized that I didn’t want any other girl – no girl would ever stack up to Jinx. I hadn’t really thought of getting another boy, because I figured he would be another Bandit – a sweet and playful cat but not a cuddle buddy and not much of a lap cat. After being sort of disappointed with the girls, I went over to check out the boys room. (The beauty of this particular shelter is that they pretty much keep all the cats in communal rooms, unless they really have an attitude problem. So you know they are mostly going to get along with another cat, much better than the ones kept in cages all day.) The first day this little black and white cat snuck up to me ever so cautiously, and finally got the courage to rub his head into my hand. There were definitely other boys that reminded me of Bandit – running around chasing each other, their tails, whatever they could find – but this guy was different. Then I tried to pet him more, and he ran away. Haha. But each time I came back to visit, he would come over a little quicker and stay a little longer. I asked one of the staff girls about him, and she said "Oh him? Yeah he’s a sweetie, but he’s a little weird." She said he was so shy that some days he didn’t want to be petted, like he was playing hard to get or something. I think in my head I was thinking “Oh that’s great! Bandits a little weirdo too, I bet they will get along perfectly.” Little did I know how right I was.

Now, only a month later, they groom each other, take naps together, chase each other around, and generally have a ball. They are not even ashamed of their bro-relationship. Ok, well maybe a little. Every time I try to take a picture of them napping together, they break it up. And I am pretty smitten myself, for it turns out this little dude is a total cuddler. Maybe a little bit too much – he likes to get under the covers with me at night! Adorable at first, but then he won’t stop rolling around and purring and chasing the strings on my pajamas, at which point I throw him out. Don’t worry, his feelings aren’t hurt. He just goes over to Bandit.

I am slowly starting to come to terms more and more with my single-ness. I think it’s more about being happy with your own life and the moment you are in. Certainly, the more I see people in relationships (or separated from them) and the pain they are in, I remind myself that the grass is not always greener. With a relationship comes a myriad of new problems. This is not to downplay the happiness that I know a committed relationship can bring – just to remember that it takes work, too. So, I appease myself with my contentedness with my job, the joys of coming home to my cats who are pretty easily satisfied, and keeping in touch with my family and friends back home. Also, I have always felt in some way that I do my job better when I am single. It really gives me the ability to care and be more compassionate, especially to the patients who themselves are still single or are cat ladies like me. I like to think it helps me focus on others more than myself.

Above all, it gives me the time to focus on self-improvement – my health, my faith, my goals. And I have the freedom to travel where I like, when I like. If there is ever a time that I feel most blessed, it is now. That just makes me want to share my happiness around with people who don’t have it!

Finally, it has been so fascinating having the ability to go to so many different churches, admire their beauty, and meet so many interesting people. In each area I have lived, I have found a parish that I truly felt accepted – even when I didn’t know anyone. Where I am now is no different – two weeks ago I found a great church in Hollywood with an African group, a Spanish group, and a Filipino group, and last week was the parish picnic. The food was incredible! And the people are super friendly. See, not everyone in Hollywood is a messed up child star, hoity-toity producer, or actress wanna-be. (TV just wants you to think that.) 
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