Friday, May 27

feliz cumpleaños a mi!

How many birthdays has someone asked you Hey, how does it feel to be one year older? How does it feel to be 18? Do you feel different now? I can honestly say I hear it most years and I will also admit I ask everyone. The thing is.. I usually feel the exact same, apart from having a little extra attention than most days.

Tomorrow is my 20th birthday, the big TWO ZERO, two decades on earth! So if anyone was planning to ask me if I feel different, older, wiser, happier... the answer this year is yes. I feel amazing and I do feel like its a whole new year of oppurtunity and growth and experience.

My nineteenth year was really great, and not just because I had finally turned 19. I have spent the last 4 months or so of being 19 traveling around and learning so much, growing, trying new things. Just yesterday I was writing in my journal about how my trip was soon coming to an end and all the things I had gained and in a way it related not just to my trip but to my life right now and this milestone Im hitting. I wrote

[My trip is coming to an end and there have been lots of ups and downs. Even with the bad experiences, I still do not regret anything. Even if an experience is negative, its still an experience, and it still comes together with all the other things that happen in my life to make it what it is. A lot of times its the bad experiences I learn a lesson from and grow from. If I have learned anything on this trip it is that I am more brave and more naive then I once knew, that I have more to offer than I could have imagined, I am stronger and more independant than 4 months ago and I have learned its okay to be sad. I have learned that the only person holding me back is myself most of the time and when I think that its other people getting in my way, its usually myself getting in my own way, no one else controls my destiny as powerfully as I do.]

I think that the lessons Iv learned on this trip, and all the lessons in my life, will be so useful. I feel like Im entering a new part of my life, and unlike some of my friends who are a little uneasy about being in their 20s, im ready to embrace it! I am thankful for my past and all the experiences I have been through but I am so ready for what is ahead because honestly, what ISNT ahead? I feel like the things I have learned with the adventure Im on now were basically lessons preparing me for the next chapter.

It is crazy to be exiting adolescence because some days I still feel like im 14 and some days people probably think I act that way too. Im not saying that tomorrow Im going to morph into this super human adult but Im ready for whatever morphing may happen in the next few years. While on this trip I even started writing a 30 before 30 list, 30 things I wish to do in the next 10 years. I also compiled a list of things I had accomplished up until the age of 20 to motivate me.

So I guess that is all for now. Although it is not my birthday for another 7 hrs or so in Guatemala, I will certainly be celebrating all weekend. I wish I could be home to celebrate with all those who love me unconditonally, I will admit its kind of sad being so far away, but I will definitely enjoy myself here.

Thanks to everyone who has been a part of my life for the past 20 years, whether in a big way or a small way, you all contributed to 20 years that were full of good times and a ton of love. I am so thankful for every single person in my life and you all can still send me gifts, just sayin. hehe. Okay. You dont have to send me gifts but .. at least write on my wall! hehehe.

Big Love! Enjoy your weekends!. xo

Monday, May 16

a few observations.

Often when I speak to people from home they want to know where I have been and what I have been up to. I mostly just stick the basics, where I am and the major things I have seen or done. The truth is, most of my trip is made up of simple things. For example, getting to know new people and walking around and indulding in new cultures, whether it be of the place I am in or of the person I am getting to know. In doing this I have definitely experienced some things that make me realize I am pretty far from home, some good and some bad. I thought I would share a few here to give you a taste of some of the things I have experienced and learned about while abroad.

a) Pan Ladies.
The Spanish word for bread is Pan and here in Guatemalan, and other countries I have visited, baking various types of bread and then taking to the streets to sell them is a common way to make money for many women, and sometimes their children. In San Pedro especially, I personally cannot go ANYWHERE without having someone follow me shouting ´Pan de Banano, Pan de Chocolate, etc etc. At first its cute and you might even buy some but eventually, NO, I dont want any Banana Bread and I dont want your chocolate and I dont want your cashews either. Thats right, along with breads there are also a lot of people selling cashews and other types of nuts. Sometimes if you are lucky you run into someone selling chocoalte cake or other delicious delights.. and usually for pretty cheap but there is only so much Banana Bread one can eat.

b) Popcorn
And to totally back track on what I just said, i HUNT down the popcorn kids. Some of the ladies sell it as well but mostly you will see little boys running around at night selling little cheap bags of popcorn. The real kicker with this popcorn is that they put sugar in it, and it is absolutely delicious let me tell you. The one negative thing I find is that most of these little boys are hanging out in the bars because thats where most of the tourists are and I dont really like that but I know they have been doing it for a long time.

c) Tz´utujil
There are plenty a mayan language, especially in the areas I travel in, but never have I heard a language as crazy sounding as this one. The mayan language in San Pedro is Tz´utujil and it is spoken widely along with Spanish. I am lucky to have a friend who speaks it fluently with all of his friends and family, so I get my fair share of it. It is the craziest sounding language, I have never heard anything like it. Just when I think I have a grasp on spanish, they start speaking some new crazy language so I cant understand. Thanks guys.
Here is a link I found with a little boy speaking Tz´utujil, here starts in at about 35 seconds but doesnt say very much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSh4OBg_x80

d)Israel
I had never met anyone from Israel or known too much about the country or the culture until I traveled in Guatemala, specifically the lake. It turns out that in the town I am in there is an Israeli hostel, and although anyone can stay there, it´s mostly populated with young israelies, they even have their own Rabi. When I got here I learned that all of them, even the ladies, have to serve two years in the military straight out of high school. That was insane to me. I learned lots of other military facts that sort of scared me but basically the jist was that once they are done, a lot of them come travel, and apparently a good percentage to San Pedro. Of all the people I have met, I have to say Israelis are the most clicky and closed off. If you dont speak Hebrew you probably arent going to do well at Zoola. The other interesting thing I have found is that if they are traveling alone, they are so nice and easy to talk to. I guess it´s just easy to flock together when you all speak the same language, and many of them arent prime english speakers. One other thing I realized is that as a whole, they are probably one of the most beautiful groups of people I have come across in this dark, cold and hard sort of way.. their features are beautiful.

e)Massacres
Just last night there was a massacre of 27 people in Northern Guatemala. I know that there are murders and rapes and scary things everywhere, everyday, even in Canada but the violence seems so much more intense here. 27 innocent people were woken from their sleep, bound, and one by one decapitated with a chainsaw on a farm in Peten. Excuse my friend but that shit is scary. I had a close call in Honduras, missing a robbery at gunpoint by a streak of luck and that was enough to scare the piss out of me... getting my head chainsawed off, thats enough to make me book a flight home. Luckily I am far from there, not involved in any gangs or drug cartels so I feel relatively safe from things like that but it does happen, and its very scary.

f)Heat
In Honduras and Costa Rica especially, I have experienced head and humidity like never before. The kind of heat where if you lay in the sun 3 minutes, you are literally soak in your own sweat which is really disgusting. The worst part is that unless you are lucky enough to find a restaurant with air conditioning, it can be complicated to escape. To be back in Guatemala, I am thankful!

g)Cat Calls
Yeh.. not so much something I have ever experienced but the guys here be AGGRESSIVE. I get whistles, crazy stares and some downright INSANE comments tossed my way. Its not that im special, its that the dudes are loco and have no filters. Sometimes its in spanish, and sometimes I cant even understand it but you know when someone is speaking to you in that manner, thats for sure. The brave ones have learned enough english to try to lure you in with their worldly prowess but if any guy who actually spoke english said some of the things they say to me, I probably wouldnt be walking away without a few choice fingers in the air. Sometimes its nice to get a whistle when you have dressed up and you feel good about yourself but 98% of the time its semi offensive and unnessecary. Thankfully I have perfected the art of ignoring.

h)Yelling for clarity
I run into a lot of people who think that the locals will understand them if they simply YELL WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SAY IN THEIR FACES, but still in English. Note to everyone, if someone doesnt understand English, yelling english words louder than normal and publically appropriate will not help the situation 99% of the time. Hand gestures and a bit of spanish (or whatever the local language is) vocab (because you are in fact in a different country), will actually go quite a ways.

Okay. It is pissing rain and the power has already flickered so I am going to post this now but if I think of some more things, I will be sure to post! If you dont already know, Im trying (and getting REALLY close!) to get to 30 followers on my blog by my 20th birthday which happens to be May.28th. So if you are reading this and you arent a follower, become one! Its super easy, you just have to press follow and sign up quickly, it might take 2 minutes but you probably wouldnt have done anythign besides facebook with those 2 minutes anyways. So follow me!! Por favor =)

Tuesday, May 10

live from honduras.

Okie Dokie! I totally have sucked at keeping up my blog but honestly havnt been spending tons of time online. When I am online I usually quickly check my FB or skype so I dont have much time to dedicate to a well thought out blog that is good to read. I bought 2 hours of internet though so I thought I would check in and let everyone know Im alive and well and all that jazz!

I have been gone from home 3 months today, and have been traveling in Central America for just over two. If I leave on time I have a little under 2 months left down here but am considering changing my flight to a few weeks earlier for 2 reasons. Reason 1, the money is running out and reason 2, i totally miss Canada. I will be heading to see my family in Edmonton and then eventually headed back towards the East!

On an emo day I created a list of some of the things I miss about real life and home. Dont get me wrong, I am having an amazing time. Everyday I meet at least one new person and I meet amazing people who amazing stories, I see beautiful things and experience stuff I will never be able to experience at home. That being said, it is a very different and sometimes challenging lifestyle. My whole life is in a 60L bag and i carry it on my back to different places every few days and it can be exhausting physically and emotionally.

So without further a due, here is a list of things i miss from home. Some obvious and expected, some I didnt know I would miss but either way, if you ever plan to travel.. this may be a bit of a heads up!

Food =
I totally miss verns food!! Working there for 6 months makes you build up a bit of a dependance on it, I think.

Penny Candy! Its a rarity down here and its just not the same as a trip to Castalia Convenience! Is rarity a word? You know what I mean.

Regular Meals. Sometimes I only get to eat once a day because Im busy or I dont have the energy to go somewhere or I dont want to walk the streets alone. So it will be nice to get home and have 3 meals a day if I want to.

Diet Pepsi, if you know me well, you know I have a serious addiction to diet pepsi. Thanks for the rare appearance of diet pepsi down here and the fact that when i do find it, its totally stale.. I have probably had 3 cans of diet pepsi in the last three months. I do miss it though!

Comforts =
My bed!! I switch beds every few nights, sometimes only sleeping in a bed once. The beds arent always comfy or clean, so it will be nice to have clean sheets and a bed I know I can keep going home to.

Sweating. I will be so glad to be able to step outside and not instantly perspire to the point of needing to change my clothes.. which I will then sweat on again!

Clean clothes. Being able to do laundry, and even have it done for me, on a regular basis will be spectacular. I usually get to do laundry about every 2 weeks and believe me, by that time, my clothes are getting pretty disgusting. I could try really hard to do laundry a few times a week but I have to pay to have it done and its just not convenient down here.

Clothes and Make up. I cant wait to have everything in my closet and in my room and be able to wear any of it any day I want. I wear one pair of shoes down here and that can get a little old.. I miss my collection of shoes!! Im tired of the clothes I have, I have been wearing them for 3 months now.. its not fun. I also feel very behind in fashion.. Im going to get home and look like a total bum.

Toilet Paper! Okay. This is a bit disgusting but..seriously..sometimes its an issue. Places dont always have toilet paper and I will love going to a public bathroom that is a)CLEAN! and b)I dont have to pay for toilet paper! Yes, literally, people stand outside some public bathrooms and make you pay for toilet paper.. its hellish.

Smells. I cant wait to smell the ocean and the smell of summer on Grand Manan!

Funds. I cant wait to be working, and be productive, and have a steady flow of money flowing into my pockets!!

Electronics. I miss my laptop so much, I hate having to pay everytime to use a computer or bug a friend to charge my ipod or what have you. I just miss my things!

Social =

Parties! I miss grand manan parties. I get to party with alot of new, interesting people but I do miss home and seeing people I know and enjoying myself in a comfortable Gm setting.. like a bait shed or a beach aha.

Pre drinking with the girls. Some nights when everyones status says they are hanging out together having drinks.. I get pretty jealous! I would give anything to fly home for a weekend and be sitting around Michelles table being rowdy and stupid, playing card games we will never finish because we get to tipsy to focus.

Phone calls with my nephews, I love picking up the phone and hearing Will blab onto my father about something or hearing Rusty mumble nothingness to his nanny.


Texting. I miss having a phone and things just being a phone call or a text away, its
so convenient! I wish I could fire random texts to friends while down here just to say hello or get a question answered.

Working. I loved all my coworkers so much at verns, i miss chilling with them or going up to Sheris and watching movies. I miss dancing in the kitchen with Cassie, making Monica crazy.

Fitting in. I meet lots of people and have been really lucky but sometimes its hard to fit in with groups of travelers. I have been the new girl more times than I can count and have thrown myself into groups of people that scared the shit out of me. It will be nice to go to a place with lots of people and be able to travel around and talk to different people, knowing that they are nice and they know me, etc etc. Sometimes I get tired of pútting myself out there to be honest.

So.. Im running out of internet time. I think I wrote quite a bit though, I probably sound like a complainer. That isnt the aim, I just thought Id share some of the difficulties of traveling long term because it isnt always amazing. It is definitely amazing sometimes though, as you can see from my pictures and stuff.. I am having the adventure of a lifetime. I learn things that I would never learn at school or at home. My eyes are opened every day to new places, new people, new ways of life, culture...everything, its impossible to keep your mind closed.

So anywho, thats about it from me. For those of you wondering Im currently in Honduras and am heading back into Guatemala in about a week or so where I will finish my trip! If anyone wants me to write a blog about something in particular or you just have a question, fire me an inbox on facebook or just write a comment here. if you liked, disliked or have a question about anythign I wrote, make sure to leave a comment. i really like to know when you guys are reading and enjoying and even if you arent.. i want to know what i can change! also, become a follower! that would rock as well!

hope everything is good with everyone. miss you all and i will be seeing you pretty soon! big loveee.

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