Jeremy and I are fixing the Head Gasket in my Honda. That is the first big project of the summer. I am hopeful that completing this project will lead to the next step of the summer (buying a moto and GOING!!! Port Townsend, Washington via Tetons, White Springs Montana,Hells Canyon (Joseph) Oregon…and of course Hood River and Portland for a friendly Hello!)

Jeremy is guiding me through the process (bless his soul, how will I ever repay him!?) So far, Its fairly simple its just a process of extreme patience. You have to undo bolts. BUt the amount of patience you have to excercise is incredible (almost more than trying to manage a classroom of wiggly, amped up 1st graders) Some bolts are rusted. Some bolts are stuck, Some bolts are IMPOSSIBLE to get to. Sometimes you have to undo 5 frustrating bolts to get to the one you couldn’t reach. Some bolts whole purpose in life is to PISS YOU OFF! I’ve got a couple battle wounds on my arms. I find it so strange to be scrubbing down with grease releasing soap, so I can slide into my dress for the evening ShaNaNiGaNs!

So far, overall, I’m amazed at how easy it has been! (knock on wood, I hope I’m not jinxing us, the hardest is yet to come) Compared to fixing a head gasket and entire engine for a sailboat in Malaysia this is a cake job. Being in a culture we understand is huge! Today, I found a good machine shop to shave the head in about 15 min. In Malaysia, that process took us about a week. involved taking a taxi to a machinist shop, talking to the people realizing that they wouldn’t do the job that we are talking about even though they are adamantly suggesting doing another job and for an ubelievably high price. When we are finally able to tear ourselves away to go to another place, the guy ha suggested 10 other places that we need to try…….and on and on

Machine Shop in Malaysia, Ford Tractor Engine on the floor

Even finding things as simple as bolts was challenging. if you go to a little shop that is selling nuts and bolts (which in and of its self is SUPER hard to find) they say they don’t have what your looking for……….but they probably do, they just don’t want to look for it. So Johnny (our captain) goes behind the counter and starts looking for things (and thats fine) and my presence as an American woman, gives it an importance (something I didn’t understand while I was there and I am only just beginning to understand)

Jeremy and are working on my Honda head gasket project together. We were raised together. We understand each other and our work ethics. This is easy. In Malaysia, we we’re woking on the project with an Indonesian, and a Fijian …….. (Indonesian a slippery little guy, you never understood what was going on or why certain things were taking so long but in end some innovative creative amazing solution would appear) (a Fijian who was all about a party and a good time and favorite saying was “go with the flow”….run into a problem? stop, chill, listen to some music, laugh, later man, later) (and an American (my brother) who was work, work,work,work,work,). An added dynamic was all the yatchies, who were looking over our shoulder, with awe and curiosity as they sipped their red wine over ice, waiting to see if this strange hoodlum group could complete the project. For us, it was about doing the impossible. Things would come up and we would work around them in the most creative ways imaginable.

At the Machine shop today, I had to take a picture. It reminded me so much of Malaysia but the whole experience today was woven with optimistic thoughts about HOW EASY THIS IS! When you speak the same language, they know exactly what you want. And when you understand and can navigate the culture you can easily figure out what you need.

I am struck by machinist. They seem to embody a zen quality I seek. (I could go deep into Robert Pirsings Zen and the “Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” book here but I’ll save that for when I write a book! They are so calm,focused, and their quality to detail is inspiring. Though they ‘re people skills aren’t necessarily fantastic, they are wonderful with people because they’re attention to their work is what come across and all that needs to come across.

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