That time again

Those who know me well are familiar with my two year streak.  Other than growing up in Palau, my high school years on Guam and college in Boston, I haven’t live in one place for more than two years at a time.

On October 12th, I celebrated my two year anniversary in Costa Rica (and what a celebration it was too!).

Needless to say, the two year itch is here and I’m scratching the hell out of it! Come December, I’m off to Colombia to spend two weeks traveling with a friend and another three weeks doing a work exchange somewhere in the Caribbean coast.

After that I’m heading to Brazil–that’s right, BRAZIL–for…..

Wait for it……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

carnaval.gif

It’s been on my bucket list forever and now that I’m in such (relatively) close proximity AND have a Brazilian friend going too, there’s no way I’m going to pass up this opportunity.

After Carnaval I plan to do another work exchange in a small village by the beach just outside of Sao Paolo. If everything works out, I’ll be teaching English to the locals in return for room and board for about a month.

From there I’ll head to Peru. Specifically, the splendid city of Arequipa. Except for eventually seeing Machu Picchu, I don’t have any solid plans yet for what exactly I’m going to do. I may do another work exchange or perhaps try to get an English teaching job.

So that’s the general blueprint, for now anyway. I may have to tweak some things as I go but therein lies the fun and excitement, right?!

My pants would be on fire if I said I wasn’t the least bit nervous.  Although this is the first time I’m actually doing this without a proper safety net like a secure job, I’ve done the travel thing long enough to know that it comes with risks and challenges.

But then again, so does any other path any of us choose to take in this life.

My tickets are booked and the countdown is on!

58 days

 

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On age, aging and moving forward

For some time now I’ve believed that age is an arbitrary concept that doesn’t necessarily define a person’s behavior or level of maturity. In many ways, it’s yet another social construct that puts people in boxes and dictates how we should act, think, and feel.

This past year I’ve certainly started to “feel my age” physically. Sadly, my metabolism isn’t as fast burning and, even sadder, I can’t drink as much as I used to without suffering for it the next day. Fine lines are starting to appear under my eyes, and just yesterday I found (gasp!) two gray hairs on my head! Reluctantly,  I’m accepting the reality that my body is aging and I’m trying to honor the change.

But in terms of the traditional expectations imposed on women in their 30s, I wouldn’t exactly say that I “reflect my age”. I’m unmarried, have no children or a permanent address. I have a job but not a career, a house but no mortgage. This is exactly the opposite of what most societies today expect and often even demand from women.  Believe it or not, I still (disturbingly enough) often get asked the question: when are you going to finally settle down? 

One of the best things I’ve learned this past year has been to answer that question with an honest: Maybe next week, maybe never. I don’t know. 

I may have completed another year around the sun but there are tons of things I still don’t know–and may never come to know. But I do know this: ever since I made the conscious decision to break from the mold and to follow my curiosity about this world more, I have been much happier.

So as I gear up for another trip around the sun, I also want to further open my mind and embrace my wandering curiosity. I guess my birthday is as good a time as any to make it official to my friends and family that I’ll be leaving Costa Rica in December. It has been an incredible ride, these last two years, and it’s time to move on.

Where to next?

Find out in my next post. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Day 31: Why I blog

It’s hard to believe I made it–but I did!

Full disclosure: It took me MORE than 31 days to complete this challenge. The truth is, I got veeeery side tracked and didn’t write for months. Shameful, I know.

But, I’ve made it to 31 days and here are a few things I’ve learned in the process:

  • Blogging is hard! It’s so much more than typing out the thoughts that come into your head. Having the prompts definitely helped but even then there were certain pieces I was hesitant or just flat out afraid to write!
  • Procrastination is not bad. Because I had no real deadlines, it was okay to leave some posts in the “Draft Box” until I was ready to finish and/or publish them.
  • I matter. At least to a few good friends and family members. I’m not going to lie, it did feel good to get some positive feedback from people who actually read what I wrote.
  • I don’t matter. At the same time it was nice not to have so much exposure because I do still have a lot of insecurities about my writing and my voice.
  • I’m not going to be a professional blogger. At this point there are so many players in the game and let’s face it, it’s just too damned time consuming! I’ll definitely continue blogging for my own personal benefit, but as for monetizing it? Forget it.
  • I’m grateful. For completing the challenge, and I know my future self will thank me for doing this.

So what’s next?????

While I can’t promise to write every single day, it is my goal to write as much as possible. Also, I have an even bigger, life changing challenge coming up which I’ll share very very SOON!

Happy first day of October, my favoritest month of the year!

31 Day Blog Challenge

 

Day 30: What’s in my makeup bag? or I didn’t like this prompt so I’m actually going to write about something important to me

Besides, I’ve already written a post on Whats in my handbag and as interesting as that was, it’s not an exercise I care to repeat. Instead I want to write about something important to me: yoga.

Long before the hype around cultural appropriation was a thing, I felt a sense of ickyness about practicing an ancient sacred tradition that wasn’t my own. At least in the way it was taught to me by white teachers in commercialized Western studios. There was something inauthentic and fake in all of it.

So I did my own research and began to realize how much cultural appropriation real yoga has undergone.  Western yoga, the fad, leaves out the integrated parts that are the essence of yoga. The yoga that is taught in hundreds if not thousands of studios across the Western world often lack the depth and profundity rooted in the authentic practice. That was the yoga I was doing and I felt ashamed.

As a minority who was raised on a U.S.-colonized island, I felt very uncomfortable participating in the colonizer’s bastardization of a very sacred and spiritual tradition. So for many years I stopped going to yoga studios and instead threw my money down the gym membership drain. Yeah, I know. I traded one ideal for an even shallower one.

Yoga, however, kept reappearing in my life. Aside from its commercialized presence, I encountered numerous people whose practice went beyond the physical and seemed more deeply grounded in the spiritual tradition of yoga. I became curious and asked them many questions and also did a lot of research on the history and evolution of yoga.

What I found was both beautiful and disturbing.  As a healing and unifying physical and spiritual practice dating back thousands of years in Southeast Asia and even East Africa, it’s a tradition that uplifts and promotes overall well being–individually and collectively. However, within many of Southeast Asia’s caste system, certain groups of people were excluded, even forbidden, from practicing yoga. Then came Western colonization and many aspects were altered or suppressed in order to conform with the colonizer’s dominant culture and religion. This, as we know, is the fate of nearly all Indigenous cultures under Western colonization.

Now that I had the information, I felt even more conflicted. In and of itself, the practice certainly has its benefits. But true, authentic yoga, as practiced by it’s originating people is rigorous and strict.  I understand that people have felt the need to adapt it to modern life and I don’t condemn my friends who have gotten certified to teach yoga. I just feel that 200 hours of “training” doesn’t do justice to an over 2000 year old tradition, and personally feel a sense of disrespect when practicing a watered down version of something so sacred.

I don’t mean to sounds like I’m on a high horse. This is my opinion as of writing this. I may find information or inspiration somewhere along the way to change my mind. But until then I’m going to abstain from yoga classes and put the idea of getting certified on the back burner.

Day 28: What I look forward to

Soooooo many things but the most immediate has to be next year. Yes, 2018 is going to be a whirlwind of travels: Colombia, Brazil, Peru and maybe Bolivia and Ecuador if I can squeeze them in. I’ve enjoyed my time in Costa Rica and have learned oh so many lessons about life, myself, and being adrift. Now it’s time to drift farther and experience other adventures.

Here’s the general plan:

A month in Colombia. Three weeks in Cartagena, one in Medellin. I’ll be doing homestays to cut costs and more importantly, to fully immerse myself in the culture and among the people.

Six weeks (or more?) in Brazil. My coworkers (one of them Brazilian herself) and friends are going to be in Brazil and I’ll meet up with them for Carnaval. That’s right: CARNAVAL!!!! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Then I’m going to do a work exchange in a town just outside of Sao Paolo where I’ll be teaching English to kids in exchange for room and board at a school in a quiet beach side village.

Six months (or more?) in Arequipa, Peru. I’m hoping to find an English teaching job and have sent out some feelers. If I don’t land something before getting there, I can teach online to support me for a few months.

I have to admit it’s a little scary thinking about how I’m going to pull this all off. I have some savings but it’s really not a big cushion. But I can’t let that paralyze me. With the way things are going in the world, now is the time to make leaps. The cliche is real: Tomorrow is not guaranteed. We only have now.

Day 27: My fave recipe

I’ve been living a “semi-paleo” lifestyle for almost six years now and my favorite recipes are all paleo friendly. But before I go on, I should explain what I mean by semi-paleo. It means I try to adhere to the 80/20 rule, which means I follow the paleo diet pretty strictly on weekdays and on weekends eat whatever I want.   Emphasis on try because these days, really I eat whatever’s available and when I can afford to and have the time to dedicate to it, I eat paleo.

Having said that, I do paleo-ize my favorite foods, which if you know me by now involve a lot of chocolate and desserts! Paleo brownies are a guilt free pleasure I absolutely love. Almond flour and coconut flour are very hard to come by (and very expensive) in Costa Rica so I only make them on spacial occasions*.

*Special occasions include rainy days, stressful days, happy days, feel good days… I guess I make them all the time! 

paleo brownies

paleo brownies instructions

And voila! 

paleo brownies

So good and good for you!

Big thanks to Oh Snap! Let’s Eat for this recipe!