A new chapter: life in the big city

Hello!

A number of changes are currently underway within my life! Wanderlust has kicked in again.

I spent July wrapping up my job as a barista, spending time with friends, dancing, swimming, having old friends visit from out of town, enjoying bonfires, and preparing for a new chapter in my life.

Back at the end of June, I applied for a position with Planned Parenthood. I was interviewed. A week or so later, I found out I was accepted to the position! I will be working as a Call Center Receptionist in the Twin Cities.

After finding out the good news, I had a few weeks to find a new place to live and wrap up my life in Wisconsin for the moment. I took a tour of two apartments in Minneapolis in July. I decided to move in with a roommate in a two-bedroom condo not too far from my workplace. So far, I’m really enjoying it! My roommate Alex and I spoke several times before moving in together. We are quite compatible in terms of cleanliness, sleep schedules, hobbies, etc. I feel as though I made the right decision to live with a roommate. I lived alone in Japan for nearly four months and I felt as though it was too isolating for me.

My job will be starting mid-next week! I plan to bike or walk to work up until the Minnesota winter creeps in and I don’t want to slog through piles of snow, at which point I will navigate city driving (which honestly terrifies me a fair bit, it’s taking some getting used to, all though so far I’ve been avoiding it).

Now that I have unpacked and settled a bit, I am looking forward to exploring the Uptown area and seeing what the Twin Cities has to offer! I miss my friends from back home, but I know they are only a few hours away by car, and I can go back and visit on a weekend sometime.

20292665_10154751245172727_1840970567637818566_n.jpg

Until next time,

Sarah

 

Advertisements

Reflections on 2016

A quick mention- Today is the 2nd anniversary of my WordPress page. Two years ago I found myself wishing to document my study abroad experience in Oaxaca, Mexico. Last year I was making my way to the East Coast on a road trip with my boyfriend. This year, I’m in my hometown, with no plans currently to travel anywhere for a while *sigh.* I’m saving up money, but I don’t know where I’ll be heading to next.

     2016 has been an interesting year in all senses of the word. I won’t get into the politics, social issues, and other events of the year- that’s too broad and lengthy to cover (and would be exhausting and depressing to be honest). (I am still in mourning over the loss of musicians such as David Bowie, too, but that’s another post for another time.) I will try but fail to keep this a brief post. It’s more of a way for me to remember what happened this past year, and for those I haven’t spoken to much in the past year.

     2016  was the year of the monkey, and the monkey is my zodiac sign. I went into 2016 after a fulfilling 2015, fully expecting a great year ahead. I wanted seize the day (carpe diem) and make the most of the year. In some ways, I did. The universe did pull some strings and make things possible for me, as did hard work (I fulfilled my dream of visiting and working in Japan!)

At the beginning of the year, I spent two weeks on the East Coast with my boyfriend in upstate New York and Maryland visiting his friends. It was my first time on the East Coast. We visited Washington D.C. and played tourist during the off season of snowy January. I attended a Bernie Sanders rally at the end of January. I didn’t have a job for a couple of months after graduating in Dec. 2015. I allowed myself some time to relax and recover after burnout at the end of my undergraduate career. I began job hunting online in February. At first, I looked for work in Wisconsin and Minnesota, but then I branched out and looked for jobs teaching English in Japan. I tutored English online briefly at this time.

In the spring, I harvested maple syrup from the trees on our property (I live with my parents and brother on 22 and a half acres of land in rural Wisconsin). I purchased a Nikon d3300 and began figuring out how to use a proper camera. My family adopted a very sweet old dog, who is half German shepherd, half Australian shepherd. By March, I was accepted to a position teaching English overseas. Within about a month, I was on a big jet plane headed for Tokyo.

I spent three and a half months teaching English in Japan. I grew a lot as a person, and began to mature, learn life lessons, and adjust to living on my own.

Kyoto 379.JPG

My best friend and I. Fushimi Inari Shrine, Kyoto, Japan. Aug. 16′

Kyoto 213.JPG

A shrine in Kyoto, Japan. Aug. 16′

It had been my dream for nearly ten years to visit Japan. I was fortunate to receive the opportunity to teach overseas. I enjoyed my experience and learned many life lessons, had the chance to experience a new culture and way of live, and had the chance to learn a new language. I networked and made several friends and strengthened existing friendships in Japan. On the weekends, I took advantage of my time to travel and sightsee in Yokohama and Tokyo. However, my time didn’t go quite as I had expected. I was scheduled to work for one year, but due to job stress and unforeseen health issues, I returned home to Wisconsin.

I made my way back to the states feeling like a complete failure at first. I felt good for about the first day, (I was excited to see family and friends) but I was mentally struggling after that. My extreme highs turned to extreme lows. I didn’t know what to do with myself after my lifelong dream had been fulfilled/shattered (depending on how you want to look at it). I didn’t know what I would do for work, where I wanted to live, and so forth. I was having an existential crisis (an ongoing on, if that’s possible) about what I wanted to do with my life, and what my true purpose is. I walked a lot when I came home from Japan, as a way to both be with my thoughts and to escape them. I would walk for three miles at a time, once or twice a week. While I still don’t have the answers to purpose in life, I can assure you I am better today than I was when I returned home.

Two weeks after returning to the US, I applied to a barista position at a local coffee shop in my hometown. I was hired and began working shortly thereafter. Working shortly after my return home helped me readjust to American life and reconnect, or create new connections with people in the area. It took a while, but I began to make new friends and create new bonds. I enjoy having a moderately fast paced job that keeps me busy, but allows for a good work-life balance and isn’t too stressful (it’s the least stressful job I’ve had to date, actually).

The future is uncertain, but I’m not necessarily scared for what lies in 2017. Well, maybe a little bit. The rise of a bigoted, xenophobic, racist, homphobic president scares me (okay, this is my one political blurb of this post, I’m done now). I will continue to do my best to grow as a person, help others, learn new languages, visit new countries and states, and make new friends. If one thing is certain, it’s that there is no certainty in life (I sound like a cliché).

I hope 2016 was kind to you. If it wasn’t, (I’m guessing it may not have been) I look forward to a different 2017 with you. See you next year.

13925276_10153771052427727_575839494761126155_n

Best,

Sarah

A journey to Kyoto

If I had to boil down my Kyoto experience into just a few favorite moments: I would remember the incredibly friendly shopkeepers we met, the beauty of ancient temples and shrines, and singing while walking through Fushimi-inari with my best friend. Mari and I hummed/sang the Princess Mononoke song while walking from the top of Mt. Inari through the beautiful forest-covered mountain lined with orange, fading torii gates.

My best friend Mari and I sat down on her bedroom floor with her laptop in front of us.

“Where should we go over Obon week?” Mari asked me.

“I’d love to see Kyoto. It’s been a dream of mine for almost ten years. It’s gonna be a bit expensive though, as well as hot and crowded” I told her.

We started to do some research and make a list of pros and cons. We discussed a few options aside from Kyoto; such as Hokkaido, Okinawa, and even Nagano. We almost selected Nagano Prefecture as our destination. I wanted to see mountains and have a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life. How my heart has been longing for nature recently and missing my quiet hometown in Wisconsin.

Mari and I finally selected Kyoto, and I am happy we did. Mari sorted out all of our travel details (it would have been more difficult for me as I don’t speak Japanese fluently) as I finished up a hectic week of teaching. I asked that Mari find us the cheapest way to enjoy Kyoto. Mari booked a night bus for around ¥18,000 round trip (about 180 USD) and found us an Air B&B motel located near Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto. Her senpai’s friend owns this apartment and rents it out for about ¥2000 yen a night ($20).

The bus departed Yokohama Station at around 11:50 pm on Wednesday, August 9th. We arrived at around 8 or 9 am on the 11th, tired from a lack of sleep on the bus. The seats weren’t the most comfortable, but we couldn’t argue with the price. With tired eyes, we hopped off the bus, carrying our luggage with us to Kyoto Station.

The first priority was to find a coin locker to store our bags in for the day. We also picked up some snacks, bought water, and so forth.After some searching (the station was filled with people jostling to find a locker to store their bags), we found one for about 500 yen. It is a great idea to put your bag in a coin locker, you will end up regretting carrying a heavy bag with you all day. Tuck your suitcase away from just a few hundred yen until you can check into your hotel or wherever you stay. You can thank me later.

On our first day, we visited Tenryu-ji, (the name means “Heavenly Dragon Garden,” which is pretty neat) a temple with a Zen Garden and spectacular views. According to my research, the garden dates back to the 14th century. There weren’t a ton of people, so it was possible to sit and enjoy the view, relatively undisturbed.

Kyoto 041.JPG

Tenryu-ji

After visiting Tenryu-ji, we took a bus to Arashiyama. This area has a beautiful bamboo forest, with lots of opportunity for taking pictures of the scenery. I found it to be very peaceful despite other people being there. Seeing women wearing yukata brought back to mind old Kyoto, catching a glimpse of the past, if only for a moment. Glimpses of the past could be seen whenever we ran across a stunning natural backdrop, an old temple or shrine, or when left to wander traditional streets near Gion, the area famous for geisha.

Kyoto 068.JPG

The serene Arashiyama bamboo grove

Mari and I walked around and did some shopping in the Tenryu-ji area on our first day as well. There are many opportunities for buying omiyage, or souvenirs from Japan. Many shops sell ice cream, traditional candies, and other delicacies that should be tried while in Kyoto. Mari and I stopped for ice cream at a shop overlooking Tenryu-ji midway through the day to recharge and escape the heat for a while. Later in the day, we visited Togetsukyo Bridge and stopped to take in the scenery. This bridge is iconic and has appeared in the media. It is stunning and best seen in person. I wanted to live in this area- it was so beautiful and postcard-picture worthy!

Kyoto 109.JPG

Breathtaking view from the Togetsukyo Bridge

At around 3 or 4 o’ clock, we returned to Kyoto Station to pick up our luggage and check into our apartment where we would be staying for two nights. We were pretty beat after not sleeping well the previous night and having walked around a lot, so we decided against doing too much more sightseeing the rest of the afternoon. After resting up for a bit, we walked around the area where we stayed near Kinkaku-ji to find dinner. We settled on a restaurant that serves okonomiyaki (Japanese style “pancake” that varies, but is made of flour, cabbage, sometimes meat and various veggies) and yakisoba (buckwheat noodles, ours came with meat, veggies, and ginger). The restaurant owner, an older woman, chatted our ear off as we ate our delicious supper. We  were happy to consume calories we had burnt off during the day and to have made a new friend.

Mari and I woke up bright and early our second day. We headed to Kiyomizu-dera, which has breathtaking views of Kyoto. Kiyomizu-dera is one of the most famous places in all of Kyoto (it is a UNESCO World Heritage site). Enough has been written elsewhere on this spectacular Buddhist temple. Let the photos speak for themselves.

Kyoto 182.JPG

Kyoto 170.JPG

After visiting the temple, Mari and I shopped on one of the streets near the temple. I got caught up in buying omiyage for friends, as well as myself. We met many kind shopkeepers and clerks as we shopped. One of the shopkeepers we met was the 6th generation to be in the same shop in Kyoto. The shopkeeper, a man in his 60’s or 70’s, was very kind and talked with us for a long time. He’s met a few famous people, and has been in a TV commercial (back in 1993 it was an advertisement promoting Kyoto tourism). A singer (I don’t recall who) from the famous group EXILE featured a photo of himself taken in front of this store because he loved the shop so much – that was before he became famous, but it was put into their first album artwork. The shop has been featured in guidebooks, photos, and even in children’s manga. As we were leaving, the shopkeeper gave me a 5 yen coin necklace. “For attracting money,” he said. He also gave me a small charm, and a postcard, and did the same for Mari as well. I feel I made a grandpa and a good friend after talking with him.

Our next stop of the day was a smaller temple we stumbled upon while exploring. We also wandered the streets, poking our heads in other shops along the way. I visited a store selling Studio Ghibli items. We went out for lunch in the late afternoon. At the end of the day, we decided to visit a public onsen, which was more of a bathhouse than actual hot springs as it was indoors. This was my first time at an onsen, so it was quite the experience for me. I actually enjoyed it, and felt no shame being naked with other Japanese women. We’re all human, and in this case, all sweaty and ready to bathe. At onsen, you rinse off at a shower first before getting into a pool/tub area. Some onsen might have a locker to store items. We brought our own towels and shampoo.

Kyoto 221.JPG

Mari in the streets of Kyoto

For the third and final day, we had a packed itinerary we tried our best to get through. We didn’t get to Ryoan-ji or other places we’d hoped for, but we still managed to visit several places. Our first stop was a short walk from the place we were staying in- Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavillion/Golden Temple! It was beautiful to see. There’s not a lot of walking to be had as the Golden Temple is the only thing to really see here, aside from the pond and garden area, which is fairly small. It’s still worth the entrance fee. Unfortunately, visitors are not allowed to see the inside of the temple, which is unfortunate as each floor has a different architectural style.

Kyoto 261.JPG

Kinkaku-ji

The stop at Kinkaku-ji didn’t take long at all. We had time to go back and check out of our apartment, and put our bags in a coin locker again at Kyoto Station. From there, we made our way to the place I’d been looking forward to the most: Fushimi-inari Taisha! I had dreamed of walking through the bright orange torii gates of Fushimi-inari for nearly ten years, and that dream finally came true. Fushimi-inari is actually on Mt. Inari, which being a mountain takes some time to climb. I believe it took us about an hour and a half to make it to the top. I was surprised there wasn’t a view from the top, but the walk is still well worth it. Crowds thin out the higher you climb, and the torii gates are older and weathered, and the woods on the mountain are beautiful. The writing inscribed upon the gates are actually the names of businesses and people who have donated money to the shrine, which I wasn’t expecting. Kitsune, or fox spirits kept an ever watchful eye over Inari.

Kyoto 386.JPG

Kitsune at the top of Mt. Inari

Climbing Fushimi-inari is a very peaceful, and even spiritual experience, albeit a sweaty one (wear good hiking shoes). This was definitely my favorite place I saw in Kyoto. On the descent, Mari and I hummed the theme songs from several Studio Ghibli songs. The woods here felt like something out of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. I was expecting forest spirits to be just around the corner, watching, waiting. Spirits were around I am sure as it was obon week. Ancestors were likely making their way back to their homes as we hiked the mountain.

Kyoto 364

Fushimi-inari took over 3 hours in total. The later afternoon was upon us, and we had time to kill before the day was over. Most shrines and temples close around 5 or 6 pm and we had until midnight before the night bus would leave. Mari did a bit of research and found a boat near Togetsukyo Bridge that would take us out to watch fisherman who would catch fish via the assistance of fire torches. We waited an hour as the sun went down, sipping a drink and taking photos before the boat cruise went out. It was enjoyable to sit on the boat and watch the fishermen use birds and torches to catch fish out of the water. They would reach into the bird’s throats as they caught fish and pull them out. It was quite a spectacle.

Kyoto 449.JPG

View from Togetsukyo Bridge around sunset

The last thing we did before leaving was to visit a public bathhouse near Kyoto Station to clean off before hopping on a bus for eight hours. I was thinking about the five yen necklace I received as I was spending money in Kyoto and definitely not attracting money my way. At the bathhouse, however, I went to use the vending machine. I wanted to grab a lemon water before catching the night bus back to Yokohama. When I pushed the little lever to get my change back from the money I just put in, it gave me an extra 400 yen!

I will treasure the photos and memories of my Kyoto trip for years to come. I hope to make a trip back again within the next few years.

My first month in Japan

Life has been a whirlwind since I last wrote. It is difficult to find the time to sit down and write, or even to find time to sit at all, for that matter. I have been on my feet a lot lately.

I am about to open a new English school in Idogaya, Yokohama. I live a short distance from my school. Starting tomorrow, I will be giving demonstration lessons to students. The school officially opens on the 28th of June. I will be working weekends for the next two weeks to do promotional work, such as handing out flyers to people on the streets and possibly putting flyers in people’s mailboxes.

So, Sarah, you haven’t even gone to your new school yet. What have you been doing for the past month? Great question. I had a week of training in Aobadai back in mid May. After that, I spent two weeks training at Motosumiyoshi. The following week, I had more classroom training in Hoshikawa. Finally, I spent a week and two days at Musashi-kosugi.

Aside from training, I have been able to find some time to get out and see Tokyo and Yokohama. It’s been quite the adventure. Training has been stressful and I have been awfully homesick lately, but my adventures make everything worth it. Allow me to touch on some of the highlights since I last wrote.

  1. I embraced my inner nerd at the Ikebukuro Pokemon Center (May 21st).13256537_10153579238537727_5941886529827482303_n.jpg
  2. I found a small slice of peace within Tokyo at Meiji Jingu Shrine (May 23rd).13267982_10153583220012727_925948059940576925_n
  3. I sang karaoke and ate home cooked Japanese food (May 29th).13327372_10153595174512727_7469379530191468320_n.jpg
  4. I reunited with two of my best friends, who I hadn’t seen in 4 years (June 6th). We took purikura photos, had lunch, and sang karaoke!13407327_10153610436467727_1137460386214499751_n.jpg
  5. I moved into my apartment where I will be living for the next 11 months (June 6th).13325682_10153610611377727_3696651919611866427_n.jpg
  6. I met my best friend Mari’s family (on two occasions now). Photo is from June 19th. Mari’s mom cooked us an awesome dinner with lots of cheesy pizza, which is one of my favorite foods!13417451_10153638612027727_1315269840838549587_n.jpg

I went to Kamakura to see the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine and to see the Daibutsu (giant Buddha) Buddha at Kōtaku-in. My friends and I even witnessed a Japanese wedding ceremony at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu!13435419_10153639537802727_1267096801897433082_n13451001_10153639615907727_617950774966733908_nMy experience has been very incredible so far. I’ve had the time of my life, have been stressed out, cried a lot, made new friends, and generally experienced a wide range of emotions that comes from starting life in a new country. I’ve been so busy that over a month has passed seemingly in the blink of an eye. Already, this is the longest I have gone without seeing my family and some of my friends back home.

I am still getting settled into my apartment in Idogaya. Today was the first day I had the chance to explore the place I live. I found a few Lawson stores near my house, and went to a park on the top of the city. It’s only about a 10 minute walk, but the view from the top of my city is beautiful. I want to hang out pictures in my apartment and decorate the place for it to be my home away from home.

Best,

Sarah

 

 

 

East Coast trip

My most recent travels brought my boyfriend (Brandon) and I to the East Coast. We spent two weeks visiting friends and sightseeing, returning two days ago after an exhaustive 20+ hours driving.

The first we we spent with Brandon’s friends in upstate New York. We spent the majority of our time playing board games, namely The Red Dragon Inn and Settlers of Catan.

During the second week, we visited more of Brandon’s friends, who live in Maryland. Together, the four of us spent a day in D.C., where we walked approx. 10 miles to see several famous monuments in the National Mall area.12512610_10153297323847727_4831431629725679030_n

12508978_10153297515742727_5552905068434905564_n12508977_10153302707637727_2721536808891168959_n1170681_10153297297317727_7274599080083656465_n12507142_10153297334007727_368102729399971432_n

Pink Pangea: writing opportunity

I have exciting news to share with you!

I applied to be a Feature Writer for Pink Pangea, a website that discusses the travel adventures of women from around the globe. I received an email that I have been accepted for this position. This will entail writing five travel writing type pieces over the next few months about my own travel experiences (to Mexico and Costa Rica). I am formulating ideas for topics as we speak.

As the articles become published, I will be sure to include a link so you can see what I’ve written! 🙂

For now, I suggest you check out some of the great articles that Pink Pangea has to offer. Their website is: http://www.pinkpangea.com

Summary of my trip to Oaxaca, Mexico!

Hello, everyone!

Now that I’ve begun a new semester of college, I haven’t found the time to blog yet about my two week study abroad experience in Oaxaca, Mexico. However, I’m finding that weekends will be the best time for me to blog, so here I am to tell you about my experience! During weekdays, I don’t expect I will blog here very often. I am in my senior year, so I’m taking my studies very seriously right now. That being said, I’m not going to be travelling again for some time, as much as I would like to. Now, I’m wondering: what might you like to see me blog about on my page? Would you like to see music and literary reviews? What I’m doing during my last two semesters of school? Do you want me to talk about places I’ve traveled to when I was younger, or write about places I want to see but haven’t been to?Something else entirely? Please feel free to send me some feedback.

Without further ado, here are excerpts taken from a paper I wrote about my experience in Mexico:

My experience in Oaxaca, Mexico, is one that I will never forget. Oaxaca was filled with sonrisas y risas, (smiles and laughs) arte, (art) naturaleza, (nature) and more. Our group (eight university students and one faculty member) also visited several archaeological sites and other popular destinations in Oaxaca as well, both inside and out of the city. However, my favorite experience of Oaxaca was working with the children at Casa Hogar Hijos de la Luna. Casa Hogar is both a school and a home for orphaned children in Oaxaca.

Initially, I was a little nervous to work with the children at Casa Hogar. Would they like us? Would the Wisconsin group be able to communicate well enough with the kids? My worries dissipated when I saw the children smiling, playing rambunctiously outside near the pomegranate tree. Even when our group was tired, we became more animated when we saw the children, who were full of energy and always excited to learn new art projects. I helped lead the group in teaching the kids various crafts/art projects (eight years of Spanish classes came in handy)! The first day we created butterflies, the second crowns for Three King’s Day, and our third time, we created tissue paper flowers.

10928819_10152585129857727_333319234111261762_n11020_10152581282422727_4524105871051679200_n

My favorite archaeological site that we visited was Yagul. While I greatly enjoyed Monte Alban, I thought the scenery at Yagul was even more beautiful with mountains serving as the picturesque backdrop. Like Monte Alban, Yagul is also a Zapotec sight, build before the arrival of the Spaniards several hundred years ago. The Zapotec people lived there for a few hundred years before abandoning the site. For me personally, I liked how open the view was; how we were able to see the sky clearly. To feel the sun on our backs, the breeze on our shoulders, and to face toward the mountains: it’s a truly special and overall amazing feeling. I rejoiced in the moments that we were there.

10392431_10152591018297727_8974807370033914266_n

While walking around at Yagul, one can find old pieces of pottery from the Zapotec people who lived there hundreds of years ago. Little bits of brown and red pottery squares littered the ground inside of the ruins of the home(s) we explored. I was able to envision, with the help of our guide, Pablo, what life must have been like for the Zapotec people at this time. The house itself didn’t have many windows; however, the center room was open, with several entrances to help let in light and people for gathering. I wouldn’t have minded spending more time at Yagul to take in the mountainous scenery, sunshine, and breeze just a little bit more.10933883_10152591004252727_1014140676146564808_n

Besides the locations we visited, (Yagul, Monte Alban, etc.) I must say that my travel group was fantastic, and I feel I can’t skip over discussing that fact. Sure, after about the first week, many of us were tired, cranky, and getting sick, (or sick of each other) but we still stuck together. Our Wisconsin group, as diverse as we all are, grew to be close in many ways. We helped each other with finding food, translating Spanish, asking questions, informing others about some historical information, and much more. When I became sick on the last night of the trip, my roommate Leah stayed up in the middle of the night to help me out as needed, even if it was as simple as checking in to see how I was doing after visiting the emergency room. I also want to thank our art teacher, faculty leader, and study abroad “mother” Kathy for watching over us. Also, thanks to Mari, our Oaxaca guide and friend, for showing us the sights and sounds of Oaxaca.

1977220_1006259729388700_7572454209530870495_n

Featured above, my good friends and I from the trip, aka “las chicas bonitas.”

10917859_922674811090854_321557863153685895_n

Above, full group photo. Mari, our guide is featured in the middle, with Kathy behind her.

I will likely write another entry that looks into the art of Oaxaca and our involvement with meeting artisans and creating various works that will soon be featured on display at our university.

Until then, wishing salud (good health) to you all.

-Sarah

Home Again

Last night, I touched back down in the states after spending two weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to blog about my experience while abroad as I had hoped to do. However, I will be touching now on the highlights of my trip. I start my new semester of college on Tuesday, but over the next week I hope to give everyone an idea of what I saw and did abroad.

10868245_10152598531337727_1404947037734148115_n

This was the last photo I took while in Oaxaca of myself. I must admit I miss Mexico already, despite its imperfections and the fact that I was sick for part of the trip.

Oaxaca, Oaxaca

This is a city that doesn’t sleep. At least it seems that way, coming from a small town.

image

Yesterday morning I would have gotten frost bite in under 30 minutes, and now I can comfortably sit outside in a t-shirt and a skirt.

Celebrating New Years in another country is something else. I had been awake since 3am on December 31st, and I stayed up until 2:00am or so on New Year’s Day. After being in and out of airports all of New Year’s Eve, I was exhausted.

Today, we walked the town, sampled mezcal made by a Zapotec man, and ate dinner with a family from the area who is friends with our trip leader/art teacher from school, Kathy. Unfortunately after our taxi ride back and a suffering a migraine, I couldn’t keep dinner down. I got sick.

I am taking credits while abroad, so I will be writing and creating art projects in a paper medium at some point. This means I will be blogging sporadically and not going into a lot of detail. I often don’t have enough time; everyday our schedule is busy here. Tomorrow, for example, we are heading to a local school to teach.

Nos vemos,

Sarah

Dos días y tengo que empacar/Two days and I need to pack

Hello,

I apologize for not posting yesterday, even though I wasn’t all that busy necessarily. My friends Lucas and Ash met up with me for coffee and brunch in town. With the rate I’m going at, I’ll probably gain ten pounds over the holiday season.

Today I have been in a mad scramble to get things ready for my trip to Oaxaca. I withdrew money from the bank for my trip, paid my internet bill, did some laundry, and started packing. The clothing I plan to bring is set aside waiting to be loaded into my suitcase. My books, liquid items, an extra change of clothes, and other personal items are ready to be placed in my carry-on. I have anti-nausea medicine, earplugs, music, crossword puzzles, two books, and a journal to help me pass the time/ease me into my upcoming flights. I also hope to buy my school textbooks either today or tomorrow for next semester, so they can arrive at my apartment in time. I hope to avoid ordering them at the last minute when I return from my trip.

image

I may not blog again until I’m on a big jet plane, or when I arrive in Mexico! I’m divided 50/50 on whether or not to bring my laptop, (it’s a bit heavy) so I may be blogging from my iPod touch and using internet cafes when I can.

Nos vemos, (see you soon)

-Sarah