As the world has kindly greeted us into the new year (by not ending), I'm taking a moment to look back at the rollercoaster that I've been riding this year.
WOW, so the first time I started writing this I actually started writing about 2011...2012, you sure have happened in a quick flash!!
The year started off bittersweet. I went on a quick border-hop to Chile to renew my visa - some delicious food, beautiful and HOT beaches, bank issues, and playing music and vending jewelry to alley-strollers made a thrilling adventure. Returning from this trip, I had the stark realization that I was in a relationship that was completely uninspiring and unfulfilling. Measures were quickly taken to end that. My life quickly began to transpire into more positivity, meeting new friends and having new adventures. I lived with a really fun and interesting couple and their cats. A more meaningful work situation transpired and soon I was teaching 4th graders in English and Math...this was quite a challenge but also super rewarding. I miss those little punks.
|From the plaza of the desert-beach town of Arica, Chile.|
|Natural dye from plants!|
|Me and Rafa at a concert|
The school months kept me very busy - classroom time, report cards, and silly planning documents (darn, I guess they exist everywhere). From this experience I learned that being a full-time teacher is really a full-time commitment and I don't want to pursue it, at least at this point in my life. I also learned what it's like to have 28 kids and I'll do great with just having a few when the time comes :)
|Ausangate Bilingual School, 4th grade class. See me??|
After much anticipation, my parents came to visit in May! We went to Machu Picchu and to several other archaeological sites, the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, an awesome family home-stay on a farming peninsula - all in just 10 days. We really packed it all in, from trying new cuisine (including cuy and granadilla) to taking the combi (just to have the experience). To have them there was like showing them a jewel of my heart. We even hiked Wayna Picchu and my dad flew home with a charango (to add to his instrument collection).
|A night of dancing with the local children with our home-stay in Luquina Chico, Lake Titicaca.|
|Touring the sites of Cusco, Peru|
Fast forward a few months, spending time with Rafa and working, lots of working. But I began to fit work into my life by meeting with friends and doing fun things during the week, definitely essential to well-being...I was also really glad to be connected to a yoga class, a type of kundalini which also incorporated chanting. It was new for me but became a weekly spiritual practice and positive self-time to look forward to.
|Kitchen window view|
August came along, and with it, a long awaited adventure with my friend, Megan. Since the day she arrived we literally started out on a 5 day trek to the ruins of Choquequirao - more about it here (links to my old blogsite)
|One of many, many jumping pictures|
|Our awesome couchsurfing friends in Bogota, Colombia on our last night.|
|Scoping out the Flower parade, after buying hats :)|
At this point Rafa and I had been together for awhile but were still having to travel across town to see each other. So we found a great place to move into together. we were excited to be able to be with each other often in our funky bright colored flat. He found an in to a TV station and began a new chapter in his career life, which I was glad to witness and be apart of. I continued my hobby of jar collecting and a few craft projects. If you're interested, check out my tutorials: learn how to wire-wrap objects or create a crafty recycled wallet.
|Me and Rafa on the Golden Gate Bridge Look-Alike|
Thanksgiving came along and we really cooked a feast. Read more about it here:
|The plethora of food. Preparation time: approx. 4 hours.|
|Diane's mulled wine and strawberry sauce (which was the closest to cranberry we could get).|
In the last few months of the year I found more adventuring buddies! On weekends I would go to visit my friend who works with plants to learn and laugh. With other girlfriends we explored ruins and went on some treks, which I'm getting hooked on! The hiking (especially in high altitude) can be challenging but the thrill, nature, and people make it special and worthwhile. On one trek we decided on a theme. It goes along the lines of this quotation by Ralph Waldo Emerson: ”Life is a journey, not a destination.” Basically, who cares if we don't end up in the exact place we imagined. The best part is to be with good people and experience every moment as it comes.
Thank you 2012 and everyone who was apart of it. Cheers to another year!
|The mother vine|
|Playing carnavales on Sundays around Easter|
|Celebrating birthday parties|
|Visiting the Sacred Valley for the day|
|Sacred Plant Spirals|