Saturday, January 17, 2009

Such Sweet Sorrow

I leave in less than 40 hours. The reality of it all is slowly creeping upon me and I can sense myself bracing for the inevitable emotions that latch on to times of departure. I am sitting in my childhood home surrounded by nothing except a wooden rocking chair and the weight of my heavy heart as I prepare to say goodbye to comfort and familiarity once again. This always happens, the last couple days before I depart to a foreign country or a foreign experience, I feel a sense of loss. I am losing months with friends. I am losing funny stories with my grandma. I am losing easy access to English books and Thai food. I am losing what seems like precious time. But then I slow myself down and I think about the adventure I am about to take part in. And the unknown inspires me to take the leap. It is terrifying, yes, it always is- but at the same time, I know it will be worth it. So I breath deep and pack my backpack with a couple t-shirts, a headlamp, way too many books, a pair of jeans, a dress and a whole lot of mixed emotions about the next five months- but most importantly, with a sense of belonging to an adventure greater than myself.

To you, my dear friends who follow this blog regularly or irregularly, thank you for caring. Thank you for taking the time to read my emotions and my strange stories about grocery store shopping and world travel. You are about to embark on this journey as well, through the eyes of a young girl who wants to soak up all she can. I look forward to sharing this adventure with you.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Central American Addresses: Write me!

My Friends,

Monday I leave for Central America, and as much as I would like to blog and write clever witticisms and anecdotes about the past few weeks and upcoming months, I am on a time constraint. Internet is spotty here and there is no telling when my neighbor will decide to get online and selfishly kick me off her stolen connection. Therefore, a blog is coming before I leave... too much to talk about and too many thoughts surround me as preparations are becoming real, time is quickly getting shorter and my emotions reach rollercoaster style heights. But no fears, you will get the scoop as soon as I can bring myself to type again.

Until then, here are the addresses that are in high demand. Use them wisely (wisely meaning often). There are very few things in life that I cherish more than handwritten letters. Very few things. And while I am off in Central America, I would love to hear about your lives and your adventures in your respected parts of the world. This is me, asking-begging-suggesting-admonishing you, my dear friends, to write me. Or email me ( Just let me know what you are doing because I would very much love to hear from you all.

Regular Postal Mail Addresses and Dates

Guatemala: January 19 through February 20
c/o Proyecto Linguistico Quetzalteco
5a Calle, 2-42, Zona 1
Quetzaltenango, Quetzaltenango

El Salvador: February 21 through March 29
c/o Centro de Educacion Mundial
Apartado Postal 05-181
San Salvador
El Salvador

Nicaragua: March 30 through May 9
Centro de Educacion Mundial
Apartado RP-44
Monsenor Lezcano
Managua, Nicaragua

For those who want to make the extra effort, boxes and packages can be delivered to these addresses with the same dates as above:

Proyecto Linguistico Quetzalteco
5a Calle, 2-42, Zona 1
09001 Quetzaltenango
Guatemala, C.A.

San Salvador:
Casa Los Pinos
Residencial Florida
Pasaje Los Pinos #6
San Salvador
El Salvador

Casa Jaime Mayer
de Montoya, una c., al sur, una y media c. arriba #1405
Managua, Nicaragua, C.A.

Email: OR

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Be Here Now.

I do not like blogging when it is expected because that defeats the surprise element of random entries about limeade and strange conversations... but today as I rolled off the mattress that consists of 50% of my bedroom furniture (the other 50% is my family's antique, non-working spinning wheel from the 1800s- not typically found in my room), I realized that indeed a new year has come.

At this time last year, I was on the water with 10 new friends. I was covered in mud, constantly wet and physically exhausted... yet indescribably happy and content. Outward Bound in the Everglades, one of my most treasured times. As 2008 creeped upon us, we celebrated by talking about our lives while balancing on board in a pitch black cove surrounded by dolphins from the ocean. Then we went to bed at 8:00 pm. It was the best New Year's ever. I remember trying to capture the moment in my head so that I could look back on it for years to come, and it worked. I was cuddling between Oyster and Panther, feeling no inhibitions and loving the intense friendship that arose out of our real need for each other. And as we sat in our evening circle, we knew that the new year was starting out perfectly, but we had no clue what would come in the subsequent twelve months.

For me, it was Ghana. It was teaching children about sustainability and playing with herbs and flowers. It was drinking margaritas and becoming best friends with some of the most fascinating and inspiring people I know. It was, unfortunately, directing Homecoming but fortunately developing friendships within Homecoming. It was sending my mom away to a foreign country with a man, not my dad. It was wanting to run away to Oregon to work on a farm. It was camping and roadtripping to California with a random friend I had not seen in years. It was dreading the consequences of adulthood. It was transition to the extreme. It was losing a sense of home but gaining something much greater. It was learning all the words to hip hop songs on the radio. It was riding my bike everywhere. It was accepting family, confronting problems- sometimes hiding them, and as David Bowie would say, it was all about "ch-ch-ch-changes."

At 10 pm last night, I found myself on the floor of my living room, every piece of furniture except one lone rocking chair moved out of the house that day by six tired, unqualified members of the extended Bryant-Jones-Verduzco clan. Bethanie, Bhadri and I lay sprawled in every direction on the floor covered in three or four blankets watching 30 Rock and drinking wine. It was New Year's 2009, but that title really held little significane. We just wanted to hang out and soak up our rare time alone with each other. Never expecting to make it to midnight, in fact, planning on going to bed around 11... we sang songs, danced like the excellent and rhythmically challenged people that we are, laughed uncontrollably, and talked about the new adventures we will embrace in the months to come. I will make my way through Central and South America and hopefully, Europe, in the next eight months. They will move to a farm in North America. And although these travels are important and life-changing, I do not think that traveling will be my greatest journey of the year- nor theirs. I have a feeling it is going to be something more genuine and meaningful.

Just like last year, I have no clue what 2009 will bring. No clue. And that is something that I love about not being in control at all times. Who knows what will happen! I am sure 2009 will consist of some heartbreak like the last, I am sure of that... but I think this year is going to be even better than the last. I just have a feeling about it. Travels, yes, they will be great. But mostly I am ridiculously excited about the future of my relationships... ridiculously excited.