So! I have now been home over a week and am happy to report ITS WAY BETTER THEN WHEN I LEFT IT!
No but really. Having gotten out into the southern hemisphere, or I think just out of the U.S., has *cliche warning* given me such a new, good perspective on everything. Everything?! Yes! I think the coffee I just drank is manifesting itself in an abundance of exclamation points. Sorry.
So let me elaborate. I feel like upon graduating, I was finally released from a world of structure and mandates. For example, I knew I had to go to college after high school. I knew I had to go to class and get good grades. There was hardly ever any questioning of the what and why. Growing up in Lafayette, you go to college, dammit!
Finally being released from this 22-year cocoon of predictability and routine I found myself somewhere between terrified and excited.. totally bamboozled. And I think maybe all college graduates feel this to some extent. And if you don’t you’re lying. Obviously, there are escape routes from this state in the form of grad school or the entry level job that is fabulous for things such as healthcare and paying off student debt or paying rent. However, I respectfully argue that traveling was the best thing I could do at this time and place.
Getting out of here and meeting people who were involved in the present experience at hand rather than the judgements and expectations of everyone else (especially at Berkeley, Jesus) was so empowering. It validated a belief that got trampled all over at Cal: that while hard work is valuable, if you’re not working for something you’re passionate about, something that you love, then why do it! Even though the daily grind of paying bills and providing for your family etc. can drag you down, it should never drag you down to that bad place. Never!
And I feel like so many people trap themselves in places that make them miserable in order to remain respectable to whoever. That we limit ourselves to these higher paying, sometimes totally lame, jobs so that we can say we are grown up and responsible. I think I’m responsible. And I refuse to do that. I think it’s irresponsible to dedicate your life’s precious time to something that has no substance! And of course that is up to you to determine.. what has substance and what doesn’t.
So while I loved the time I spent up at Capay Valley, working at the property of a fantastic and inspiring landscape architect, the 3.5 hours I was driving every day was utterly soul-crushing. So I’m not doing that. Likewise, working at Nordstrom’s was good easy money. But getting dressed up all fancy and consorting with shoppers all day was miserable! Talk about lacking substance. So I’m not doing that either.
Traveling also illuminated so many options for how to live. I think it was super cheesy Rita Golding Geldman who said “there must be more than one way to live a life” in Tales of a Female Nomad. I didn’t like her book. But I loved that! I could be a landscape architect, or dedicate my life (or 3 years) to a Peruvian orphanage. It’s all possible with enough tenacity and will.
I just applied to a job I think I would love. Not jinxing it by telling you what it is. And although it might not work directly toward my “career goals” I think it will be a wonderful way to be an active and contributing member of my community. And that doesn’t mean I’m not going to become a landscape architect, America.
And all this is possible because I can live at my parent’s lovely house and Cactus Taqueria makes delicious $4 burritos.
Title courtesy of our wonderful little hostel, that if we get tempting business propositions in town, they cloud be a swindle! They remind us of this through nuuumerous signs everywhere.
Monteverde is great! Matt is here, which is also great!, and we have been exploring for the past two days. We went back to the frog pond, went on the Original Zipline, which was AMAZINGG (video and photos to come),
ah! shuttle is here, deets forthcoming
Costa Rica.. I always thought we´d like each other. You, with your ecotourism, biodiversity, and laid back persona. Me. With my like of ecotourism, biodiversity, and people with laid back personas.
And guess what! I LOVE YOU!!
After a DEBACLE in the airport in lima (read: I had to have dr. ben moonshine, my travel dr. that gave me my senegal shots two years ago, fax me my vaccination record for yellow fever. Apparently you need that card if youre coming from South American countries into Costa Rica, who knew? Possibly ben moonshine. That´s not his name but he seemed sketchy enough that that is what I will call him. Faxing to Lima airport. Stressful. Thank you mom and dad!) I made it to an overcast sunset in San Jose, Costaaa Rica.
Upon arrival, i realized i had not done the appropriate research for entering a country in which you don´t speak the language. IE I had no idea what the exchange rate was or the currency, for that matter. Fortunately, at the baggage claim there was also a money exchange with the rates displayed, but Janet you should have seen me trying to convert 500,13893471 colones to dollars. i ended up putting an amount in the atm that they were unable to give me because it was too big. In my post flight spell, I forgot the commas were periods and vice versa. Bad move. so then i went really small and ended up taking out only 8 dollars worth and having to stop at another atm on the taxi ride to my hostel. Hilarious. Don´t judge me whoever is reading this. I was really tired.
The hostel was great, I went to the grocery store and was incredibly impressed by the amount of things I found that I had been missing (snapple peach iced tea, delicious thick yogurt, more almond granola bars, a chocolate muffin) and proceded to eat the things i had been missing for dinner. Then I consumed the costa rica guide book and learned all the things i didnt know (and then some! including tico slang which will make me sound incredibly cool. pura vida. oh es muy feo.)
Anyway boring boring, I shuttled up to monteverde today and it is AWESOMEEEE. I knew it was good when there were mangos literally falling off the trees along the road on the way up. Streets paved with Mangos. Its like An American Tail, except with mangoes instead of cheese and i am not a mouse. After reading Ange´s fabulous recommendations, I headed out for a loooong walk. To nowhere in particular. But i found an amazing Frog Pond (that is what its called) it was like a center with 26 typos de rana! Including but not limited to poison dart frogs, glass frogs, and costa rica´s emblem, the green tree frog! Check those links. These frogs were frickin sweet.
And I have a free pass to go back to see them at night! which i will do tomorrow when matt gets here!!
So. then I wandered for about an hour up the road toward the Monteverde reserve, stopping at random places to inquire about horseback riding, yoga, and of course coffee ice cream from the monteverde cheese (and icecream) factory. Dennn I went home! and ate a delicious meal of free mac and cheese from the hostel in san jose and frozen peas! I had my bug repellent on the table with the mac and cheese and it made me laugh to wonder which was more toxic. These jokes I have to put on the blog because I have no one to joke with right now. But don´t worry! I made a lot of friends in Lima and in San Jose. People like me. Just not in this hostel in Monteverde because they are all over 45 and grumpy.
Tomorrow morning I´m going horseback riding for three hours. So STOKED.
See you tomorrow Matt!
See you in a couple weeks the rest of you!!
I think Celine Dion says it best. As is most often the case.
Jansbear left me roadside yesterday, STILL here in Mancora (is it possible to get sick of the beach?) where the beds are so uncomfortable I find myself waking up at 7:30 to write on my blog. I am bussing down to Lima tonight (18 hours. WOo!) and have splurged on my first CAMA seat. As in bed seat. As in fully reclinable. So it better be a great bus ride.
What else… I am meeting up with Jenna, the kiwi we met in Uruguay, who also flies out of lima on the 7th. We are going to stay back at HQ Villa, the place Ethan, Jans and I stayed the first time in Lima. I´m going to have a little less than 24 hours in the city so probably won´t manage to do much more than grocery shop (hello magical Wong´s grocery store with your goldfish crackers and the first cheddar cheese i have seen this whole trip) and eat. What else is new.
Then on the 7th I´m flying up to San Jose Costa Rica! Spending the night in the city and getting a shuttle first thing in the morning to my hostel in Monteverde. Then I have a day of frolicking until Matt meets up with me! And thennnn after explore the rainforest time we are going to the Caribbean coast (Cahuita) and staying at a sloth sanctuary. It will be good to be reunited with my kin.
PS my new lonely state warrants an increase in communication from YOU. so email me :)
A man. A legend. Thank you, excessively tan Kevin Foley (not to be confused with Antonio Banderas or normal Berkeley Kevin Foley) for hosting us for the Grammys, letting us abuse you for your computer and, of course, last but not least, for getting robbed with us. Whenever we need to explain how one could be calmly mugged, we use te example of you keeping your sim card from the robbers. Real smooth. Kevin, you’re great. Let’s do this.
Now choose a law school and post the pictures!
After over two months of travel, we have finally found a flexible and interesting enough volunteer project to commit to, for all of TWO hours!!
We went this morning to an AMAZING center for abused and neglected children with special needs, kiyasurvivors.org.
More later, there are angry people waiting to use the computers. But it was so inspiring and fabulous, I can´t wait to tell about it.
Janet, Idun and me in San Pedro de Atacama, freezing our butts off. Except for Idun, who is Norweigan and therefore prepared for an Arctic winter at any moment. So much fun!