Thursday, December 30, 2010

The end of an eventful decade

I haven't been the best in keeping a journal. Nor have I been good at scrap-booking... but I guess that is what I use my blog for! As 2010 draws to a close I have been spending a lot of time reflecting on my life thus far. You know how some novels are divided into chapters and then the chapters are divided into even bigger sections called books? Well I feel like the end of this decade is the end of book two of my life. Book one was the '90s... growing up in C. Springs. The 2000's have been some of the most formative years of my life (Ages 15 to 25).
I have had a lot of ups and downs and there have been a lot of lonely and hard times. However, after time passes all of the negative memories lose their sting. They serve as important memories of lessons learned. On the flip side, I am glad that my positive memories are like wine and cheese, they grow in value and have better flavor with time.
If you are here bc I tagged you, tt is because you were part of some of the best parts of this last decade. I wanted to let you know that I am so happy you are in my life and that we were able to have good moments together. Our memories will always be important to me.

For record's sake here are some of the happy chapters of BOOK TWO, the 2000's.

I moved home from Guatemala,

This is a picture with a lot of friends from my high school in Guatemala. I loved that place!

I graduated high school,

I started collage,

This is from one of many prank wars I got in.... I feel like it is a very fitting representation of the early college experience.

I had some amazing adventures during my semester on Vashon Island (off the coast of Seattle)

and my semester teaching English in China.

Me on the Great Wall of China

A picture I took while we were backpacking the holy Buddhist mountain Emei Shan

I went on a mission to Argentina and lived among some of the most amazing people I have ever met.

Here I am in my favorite area. With two of my favorite girls from that area

My family away from home
(mi segunda familia)

I found the perfect major and fully enjoyed my classes and made some great friends with classmates and professors.

I got to take some of my closest friends back to Guatemala for some of the best 10 vacation days I have ever had.

We went zip-lining outside of Tikal

me and the best friend I have ever had kayaking in Rio Dulce

The water was amazing. We swam all day.

I was able watch my sisters go through major life changes as they got married and had THE MOST AMAZING CHILDREN ON THE PLANET. I love being aunt! My family is amazing!

The Pulsiphers

The Cherrys

The Palmers

I was able to work at ILP and made some lifelong friends.

I had the blessing to teach Spanish at the MTC. I will never forget how happy I was there!

This is a district I taught. They were so great!

I was able to get a grant and do research on my own in Bolivia.

Typical clothing for Bolivian women

Copacabana, the location of my ethnography

The extended family that let me spend the majority of my time with them

I went to Machu Picchu

Hannah and I met in Bolivia. She and I clicked right away! We had an amazing time at Machu Picchu

I Went to Italy

Andrew my LITTLE brother and I ;) on a Gondola ride in Venice

Mom, Dad and I in Sienna. Very Charming!

My new paradise! The Mediterranean coast. I LOVED IT!

I finished my capstone paper and GRADUATED COLLEGE!!

my parents took me to the Broadmoor to celebrate

I moved to the most amazing city, made some AMAZING friends and got a GREAT JOB!

Just a few of the amazing friends I have made here in D.C.

The next decade (Book), will definitely have a different feel. By 2020 I am going to be 35! I am going to make sure that it is full of adventure. I am excited to see what happens :)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Do you see what I see?

Here are some pictures I took of my nephew Henry

I know, I know.... I have Aunt syndrome pretty bad.... but its hard not to when I have the cutest nieces and nephews in the world!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Roadside attractions

While my friends and I were driving through Kansas on our way to Washington DC, we saw signs for "the largest prairie dog in the world". When I was younger we took a couple of road trips out east. That meant taking I-80 all the way through Kansas. I remember passing these signs and wanting to stop. Its not that I REALLY wanted to see the worlds larges prairie dog... it was more that I had cabin fever from being in the car and I was really bored because Kansas is so flat. However my dad would never stop. So this time around I realized that I was in control and could stop if I wanted. So we pulled into the dirt parking lot and entered the most foul smelling building I have ever been in. It was filled with animals that were dead and stuffed. However we didn't see the largest prairie dog. For that we had to pay 8 bucks to go out back and check it out. In my mind the prairie dog was going to be some dead stuffed animal that was super fake, but boy was I wrong.... It was an incredibly simple cement statue.

I mean I knew it was a scam all along and I knew I was going to get ripped off, but I didn't think it was going to be THIS bad. However, other attractions out back were other live animals. The nastiest was a 6 legged cow. Unfortunately that image will be with me for a while. Dad, you were right not to stop.

So do any of you have funny stories about unusual road side attractions?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My crush on Bernini

Freshman year of college I remember taking a humanities class. Our teacher would show us a lot of different photos. I remember when he showed us the picture of Bernini's David. I said out loud to the girls sitting next to me..." wow... that statue is hot!" My friends laughed and my teacher overheard. He then told me that Bernini had made this statue as a self portrait. That is when my crush on Bernini started.

Every once and I while I get in an artistic mood and crave pencil and paper. I was in this mood a lot the semester I took my humanities class. So I decided to draw Bernini's David. Ever since then I always paid attention when some one mentioned Bernini and his art. When the book and movie Angels and Demons came out I loved it because Bernini was mentioned a ton.
My family and I just went to Italy and had an amazing time. While we were in Rome I was amazed at how Bernini's work was EVERYWHERE. He truly was the most amazing sculptor. When we took the tour of Vatican city

I was pleasantly surprised to see Bernini was everywhere. He lived the majority of his life in Rome and left Vatican City covered in his art and architecture.

Before we left I made a sure that I could see the David statue in person. We went to the Borghese museum and I had an experience that was more than I had hoped for. They had many of his sculptures there and my feelings went from crush to love. I mean look at some of these statues. Aren't they AMAZING?

This is the Statue Apollo and Daphne. She is turning into a tree. It is beautiful in person.

The Rape of Proserpina amazed me... these pictures explain why.

Here are some of my other favorites

we saw this in St. Peter's Basilica

So yes he is a man of genius and yes I am in love... too bad we were born several centuries apart. Oh well... at least now I know what my answer will be when people ask "if you could spend time with anyone from history, who would it be?"

A: Bernini.
Of course I spent the most of my time in the Borghese museum in the room with David ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Culture shock

As I have mentioned before, I have lived in Latin America for about 5 years of my life. I always tell people that is where my heart is. I have gone back and forth between my life in white suburbia and Latin America more than 7 times.
When I went to live in Guatemala for the first time I remember how much it changed me. I was 14 and I had no idea what real poverty was. But then I found myself walking the streets of Zone 1 with some sister missionaries among the humble people of Guatemala. It was hard for me at first. I didn't know how to accept that dirty glass of juice that was made with water I knew I shouldn't be drinking. However, I always kept myself going by thinking about how I had a nice carpeted apartment with warm yellow light waiting for me. The cold cracked cement floors and florescent light was foreign to me and it made me uncomfortable. I hated myself for feeling that discomfort and so I pushed myself to get over it. I sought out opportunities to feel uncomfortable.
Little by little I was able to glide between both worlds and easily feel at home in each. When I lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina it was easy for me to live in that tiny apartment and take bucket showers.

I was able to eat what people offered me without being completely grossed out. But my family and home were still in my mind and I knew that I would be able to return to that comfort.

My trip to Bolivia has affected me in a deeper way than I thought. For the first time I was able to completely throw myself into Latin American life. This time, I didn't bring America with me. I was on my own. But I wasn't on my own.

The dear Barrigola family took me in under their wings and gave me some of the most genuine and pure love that I have ever had. I have been home for a month and I still miss them SO MUCH. I keep on thinking about them and their lives. How Eli had to work 15 hours a day and that her husband was hardly ever able to be home because of work. I think about how they had to send their son to live on his own in the city at age 12 so he could get a better high school education. Then I look at my blessed life and I feel guilt and sadness. Why me? Why not them? You'd think by now I would have learned how to deal with these emotions, but it is quite the opposite. Now I feel the tables have turned... now I feel uncomfortable in my privileged life and I keep on telling myself that I have a home in Latin America waiting for me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back in La Paz

I have been having so much fun watching the world cup! Aguante ARGENTINA! I am glad I got to serve my mission in a country that ROCKS at soccer! I hope they go all the way.

I am back in La Paz for a week or so. I went to go watch the Argentina vs. Mexico game. Here in the Plaza del estudiante. It was so much fun.

There were hundreds of people there. It couldn't have been better.

the other day we went to this huge fair that they have in El Alto, and we wanted to get a fruit salad. We decided to get the one for 8 Bolivianos... we hoped it would be enough to share....I mean its only a dollars worth... but in the end, had more than enough!

now that school is out, my little brothers and I like to take it easy and watch movies on my laptop. Here are Jovy and I. We won the lazy award and Elvis lost. So he had to make us hot chocolate.