Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let the madness ensue!

Spent the better part of the last week and a half in the mountains of Colorado, Keystone specifically, with my family, reunionizing. Good times had by all, if not the greatest reminder of my life to never have children. Don't get me wrong here, I love the nieces and nephews(seven in total), I'm just ever so glad to leave them and have my days free of children throwing fits over not having chocolate cake, and the like.

If anything was worth it, it was the classic one-liners. Things came out of the mouths of these children like, "I like nightmares"(yeah, right!), "I want the needle!"(spoken upon sliver removing), and "Mom, how do you spell PJ?". And when told that there was no peeing allowed in the hot tub, a response of "Why?!" by my six-year-old niece was truly classic. There were so many others, but most went the way of the dinosaurs as it's hard to remember something when you are laughing so hard you can't see.

Being in the mountains, I thought I'd be on my bike every single day. But then I remembered that the weather in the mountains is "cold", and I only rode once. I, however, had a very important job of staying in my pajamas all day, holding couches down, feeding nieces and nephews candy and cookies all hours of the day, and making sure the hot tub didn't feel left out of the family fun. Plus my family has a knack for putting off haircuts until they can see me. Honestly, it's something I enjoy. I got to give my 3-year-old niece her very first haircut of her little life. Yay!

Another hilarious, unexpected happening, was the regression back to one's childhood years whilst amongst all brothers, sisters, and parents. I found it to be so funny that myself and my siblings acted as if we were all kids again. The ever present sibling rivalry included, but was not limited to, name calling, shit-talking, hair pulling, teasing someone while they were sleeping or napping, fighting over what to watch on TV, and the best part, poking someone if they bent over in front of you. All of the previously listed events were followed by running to the parents and telling on the offending brother or sister. Sounds normal amongst actual children, but we are all older than 25. Good times.

We ate like kings, if kings eat like they haven't eaten in a year. Everyone had a day or a meal or whatever that they had to cover, giving a surprisingly good variety. And naturally, the last day, we ate as many leftovers as we could shove our already over-full bellies.

No major fights, no major injuries, no pooping or peeing in the hot tub(at least that we were aware of). Family reunion 2009: Deemed a success.

I can wait until next time.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pedal power.

As I ride myself to death every single day here in Denver, I notice something. Surely some of the drivers in the passing cars are a bit envious and would love to be on their bicycles as well. I mean the weather has been amazing. I can tell by the way they look at me(maybe they are just staring at the spandex). However, whilst riding, I never find myself wishing I was in a car. Ha, ha, suckers! Hope you enjoy getting fat and mad in your car as much as I enjoy laughing at you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

How a day can change a lifetime.

It is so very good to be home. The weather is about perfect, in fact, it is perfect. I forget how amazing Colorado is! I have been riding my bike every single day, which is to make it sound like I have been here some great amount of time already. I'm working on my fourth day. . .

Really, though, I have been in USA barely more than three days, and it might as well be three since I write this in the morning. Considering all that has happened for me since arriving, I feel like I've been here for two or three weeks.

Upon arrival on Friday night, my bicycle did not arrive with all my other luggage from Miami. I had picked it up in Miami to go through customs, but it did not arrive in Denver. Strike one! No big deal, it was still in Miami and scheduled to arrive the next morning. The best thing about lost or late luggage is that it is delivered directly to your house. Fine by me, they can lug around that 60lb. box, making me feel like I got my $112 worth for the extra luggage fee.

On Saturday, I promptly woke up(whatever that means)and rode to meet my friend to attend our friend's memorial service, the whole reason I arrived early anyway. In a stunning setting in the mountains of Colorado Springs, we all remembered our friend whom died a tragic death on his mission to disappear in the mountains of southern Colorado to starve himself to death. The reception following was equally as beautiful, if not extremely trying as I was one of the few to see the very last video he made of himself before he died. Seeing someone you care about make a final goodbye to all after forty days of not eating is heart wrenching. Needless to say I did not sleep much on Saturday night. I am comforted by the fact that he died in a beautiful setting, on his own terms. He taught many people many things, was brilliant, talented, hilarious, and unfortunately, troubled. You will be missed Branko.

Upon arriving home on Saturday night, I was informed that things with my sister are totally up in the air with her Peace Corps service due to violence in her country. What this means for me is that I am now likely taking another solo trip. This trip I have planned to Africa was to visit and travel with her, but if she is removed from her country due to dangerous situations, I will be traveling alone. Just another major life change all in one day, no big deal(!!!).

Still on Saturday. Barely back 24 hours at this point. Late at night, I met up with somebody whom I was very close with last summer before I left to do this whole Guatemala thing. As I was away the past eight months, I realized how strong my feelings are for this person and we met up to talk it out. I had been holding these things in for a while and was very excited to see him and to get it off my chest, finally! Well, an hour later, I walked away, with tears in my eyes, heart broken. We had been in very close contact while I was away and I was certain he felt the same way. The last month before I came home he suddenly became very distant, and confirmed to me that yes, he had felt the same way, but things for him had changed, and he was moving on. I guess that now I also have no choice but to move on.

Nothing like taking care of business all at once though. All this happening in my first day back is overwhelming, but prevents it from being dragged out. There is something to be said for that.

In light of information about my sister, I'm thinking to b-line it to Spain upon arrival to Morocco. Kinda had my fill of third world countries right now, and hey, I speak the language. Woo hoo for Spanish! Really, though, the last thing I want right now is to wander a Muslim desert country in the middle of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, where everything shuts down. I know more details than I am dishing, out of respect for my sister's request for privacy on this matter.

I have never, ever, ever, had a trip go as planned, and the changes almost always come right before I leave. This is nothing new for me to deal with, and honestly I am excited. I am looking forward to spending time alone, believe it or not. And I am totally stoked to go to Spain. I have always wanted to go, but Europe is so expensive I have avoided it. This is some fateful way of getting me there anyways. Maybe I won't come back ;) Who knows what will happen for me as a result of the life-changing day I went through upon arrival last week . . .

Until then, however, I am enjoying time with my family, friends, and road bike. I have a family reunion coming up in Keystone the last week of August, which I am looking forward to immensely. I will desperately try to maintain a relatively low profile to avoid any more major happenings. I've been here three and a half days, I have three weeks more to go, I already need a break.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Parting words.

Well, another photo-less post. Old school!

I am leaving San Pedro tomorrow, paid way too much for a private shuttle to shuttle me and all my crap(including my bike)to Antigua for the night then on to my flight on Friday morning. I changed my ticket, for a small fortune, to attend a friends memorial service on Saturday.

It has felt totally like a whirlwind the past few days, and especially today as I am packing up my room I have lived in for the past eight months. I am ready to leave, something I did not think I would ever feel about this place. When I arrived I was so desparately in love with the lake and the mountains, I did not know if I could ever leave. I am grateful to be feeling totally at peace with this decision.

I have barely had time to think about all the things I will miss here, certainly there are plenty. But there is also many things I will not miss about this place, including the unsafe feeling I have every single place I go. And I will never, ever miss being ripped off for being a gringa. I cannot wait to shop in places where the prices are marked, and the same for people of all races. Yay! I shopped yesterday with two of my girlfriends that are here visiting, and by the end of the day, I was exhausted from yelling at merchants for quoting the most obscene prices. But we sure got some good stuff.

I packed my bicycle up earlier today, my biggest stress, and am kind of taking a break from finishing off packing the other things. Really it is very strange. I feel like I have been here for one month, not eight. I also know that after some time reflecting, many things will make more sense to me. I know I will learn the most from my time here as I reflect on it, and travel on to other cultures. I have no regrets, I am very grateful for my time here, I have learned so much!!

Traveling with my brother for a few weeks away from San Pedro gave me a more centered perspective than I had shortly after I was robbed and so upset. This place is not completely bad. It is real, like every other place. People arrive here, myself included, and are so charmed, thinking we have found the most tranquilo place on Earth. "How could anything ever be bad here, it is so beautiful!!!" is what I used to think. Then after a while, you just realize it is a normal town, and one with a lot of poverty.

I guess thats what I have to say as I try and focus on something for more than six seconds. There is really too much to try and communicate! This life change is not something I have ever gone through, and as usual, came very unexpectedly. I would have it no other way.

I will be back in United States on Friday, feeling like I went through a time warp. See you then!