South America – Whats Up

Hello again! It has been awhile.

I’m currently hanging out in Cusco Peru, studying Spanish for modern language credit. I’ll be here until the beginning of May and then I’ll hit up Chile and Bolivia before I catch a flight back home at the end of May. I’m super stoked to be here- everything is so colorful and alive and wonderful!!! But I thought I’d update everyone on my first week (ish) because. You guys. It has been a journey.

So I arrived a little over a week ago after traveling TWENTY SEVEN HOURS and dying a little bit inside. We flew from KCI > Houston > Mexico City > Lima > Cusco. We had doable layovers at every airport except Lima. We were there from 10 pm to 4 am which would be fine except there was nowhere to sleep or even sit and we had all of our luggage with us (2 big suitcases, 2 hiking backpacks, and carry ons). Everyone lined up against the walls of the airport to sleep on the floor, and when we eventually found a free wall spot, we ended up getting yelled at by an airport employee and had to move. It was the longest layover of our lives. I guess I should also note that when I say we, I am referring to my friend from college who is studying abroad with me.

Anyway, one thing I will say that the Mexico City and Lima airports are like really confusing to navigate. We had to lug our baggage around in all sorts of directions because we kept getting pointed in the wrong direction and the airport signs were super misleading so DISCLAIMER: If you ever find yourself trying to get a connecting flight from these airports, prepare to be frustrated. (Either that, or maybe we were just to tired from our travels to think straight. Not sure we’ll ever know.)

But yeah, after our long layover, crying baby on our Lima flight, and an airport scam in Cusco, we finally made it. I think the first thing we noticed was that it was chillier than we expected. The altitude is around 11,000 ft, so even though it’s South America and right next to the equator, it always feels like fall weather here WHICH consequently is my favorite month so no complaints.

Anyway, throughout all the trials, I have to say that it all turned out to be worth it. I’m having such a bomb time here and time is already flying by so fast with how many activities we have through our school and of course- classes.

So yeah! Peru is great but there are some things that just completely caught me off guard and I just wanted to note a couple of quirky Peru things that I’ve learned about since I’ve been here because there has been:

  1. You usually have to pay to pet the alpacas. It’s a form of income for a lot of local families. 😦
  2. A lot of times you have to grab your toilet paper before you enter the stall because there is none inside. It’s a way of creating less waste.
  3. The street dogs are really friendly compared to Central America. Except at night when they form packs of like 20, then they are kind of scary.
  4. Tortillas are not really a big thing here. Staple foods have mostly been rice, meat, beans, and bread.
  5. And….NO ONE WEARS SANDALS. Or shorts really outside because of the altitude it’s easy to catch a cold so everyone usually covers up, even in the house they never go barefoot or without socks.

Of course I’m sure some of these things might be specific to Cusco or maybe just my host family, but those have been my inner shocks so far. Anyway, a lot has happened since the first week, and I have loads more photos but that will have to wait until I have enough time to upload them with an iffy wifi connection.

I’m not sure how to rearrange these pictures into the right order so they are a little all over the place but nonetheless-





Not even sure which flight this was but I will always be a sucker for plane photos



Yet another.






Taken inside our ISA building – where we take classes.



San Pedro market – like a real life rainbow. Look at all the colllloooorssss. MIRA



Val sporting an alpaca hat. Classing things only pls.



Sleeping on the floor in Lima ft. fat toes.



Our view from the gym.



So this is sheep meat for sale in the market. Not pictured, there was also a jug of sheep collagen juice that Peruvians drink to keep their joints healthy. To each their own :)))))



Your typical Peruvian dinner- rice, veggies, and meat. Super simple but super good and also very healthy. A concept



I will always take pictures of market fruits. Cheap, local, and so yum!!!



On a less yum note, a pig head. A little vom.



All estas cosas are hecho de mano (hand-made) at the place where I bought my first alpaca sweater.



Omg everyone ok this is Bob, our house dog. He’s a Peruvian dog which means that he doesn’t have any hair, except on his head and his tail. We have a love hate relationship but he’s kinda cute.



Being touristy and taking pictures of arches.



More touristy things. This was taken at a church during an ISA activity.



Val and I stood and contemplated this mural for a good 10 minutes like the true Anth students we are.



This is the street that our house is on. It is quaint and everyone is old






Another market photo – pretty sure they were selling freshly squeezed fruit juice.



This is the machine they make all the clothes on – super intricate.



View from the Temple of the Sun. BELLEZA.



In the garden area of our house! Everything is so GREEN HERE



Reading up on our Peru National Geographic.



I mean. Come on. This is awesome.



Stephanie. A wholesome gal in a wholesome city.



Artsy bag photo in my new room!



A street in San Blas – right after we bought some choco banano bread.






Another room pic. Aw.



Just a woman and her alpaca Paulito! Ya’ll I am still obsessed with this animal. Peep the next picture.



hAvE yOu EvEr sEEn something so PURE!!!!



White Christ. What is up my dude.


Apprecitating all the nubes and the montañas.



Val en route.



One of our first pictures in Cusco. Look how pretty!! Oh also look at the city!


La Plaza de Armas. Tal vez my favorite spot here.




Two Homes

When people ask me how Guatemala was, my go-to reply is: “It was really good.” Then they say something to the equivalent of ‘im glad you had a good time’ and then we move on to another topic completely.

Good. It was really good. Sometimes that’s all people want to hear. Sometimes it’s the easiest response. Sometimes it’s the only way you can sum up and put into words the most substantially profound experience of your life.

In truth though, this time in my life deserves so much more than being classified as a ‘good’ time. Even so, I can’t seem to find words to express myself in this instance. Great? Amazing? Life changing? Magical? Time stoppingly awesome? Nope. These words don’t come close to any sort of explanation I’m seeking.

And with that, I’m stumped. The love I feel inside for this country and my time in it, will never be able to be truly communicated. While this frustrates me, I guess it’s also what makes the experience so special.

But where there’s a lack of words, there’s an abundance of photos, and these are the closest things I have to communicating everything I have felt and am feeling.

So, pictures.


Walking through the market in Santiago- had to snap these delicious looking fruits.



A stunning view from the top of Cerro de Oro- a hike that almost killed me.



Without nature, there’s no life.



My roomie, Josie, getting a confetti egg cracked on top of her head during Semana Santa.



One of the highlights- day trip to the pools of Quixaya. 



Crazy intricate and beautiful ‘carpets’ for Semana Santa.



My absolute favorite Semana Santa carpet. Photo creds to Gato!



View from the top of our sunrise hike.



The 3 amigas! Alex and Heather, I love you two. 🙂





What did we do to deserve sunrises?



Minor, Heather, Alex, Josie- the gangs all here!



First leg of our Semuc Champey trip- getting up at 5:30, riding in the back of a pick up truck to receive our 10 hour long shuttle ride!



By far the coolest part of Semuc Champey- the cave tour. The whole thing is a candle lit tour.



Before or after I skinned my knee on an underwater rock?? Idk.



THE VIEW. Pretty pretty waterfalls.



Ignore the fact that I look like a 5 year old boy in this picture and just look at how much fun we are having swimming under the waterfalls.



River floating with the beer salesmen, ft Alex’s feet.



Literally the only picture I took inside of a tuk tuk. Aka: Guatemalan uber.



Thank you Dylan, for the bed-full of confetti. Happy Semana Santa! 



The amount of Quetzales I spent on bottles of pop is probably sky high and I have no regrets. Not a single one.



One of our favorite taco shops in San Lucas, with the central park in the background.



I originally posted this picture on instagram with the caption ‘my love for ice cream knows no borders’ and then my mom instantly texted me to express her concern about my fingernails. Just a little side note about doing construction for 3 months in Guatemala- your fingernails along with the rest of your body never seem to be clean. Sorry mom!!!



St. Patty’s Day beers with the ladies at Casa Vieja.



We had to scavenge for green food dye for this, but worth it.



The infamous chicken bus ride to Chichicastenango. Nothing says Guatemala like overstuffing transportation systems!



Semuc Champey!!! Such a magical place that I will never forget. Featuring lady picking her wedgie right smack in the middle.



This is my buddy Renee. And my other buddy, dog that I never learned the name of. Renee and I would do yoga together down by the lake in the mornings and this dog would always want to join in. Maybe her name should be Yogi.



The last picture I took in Guatemala: the view from our roof, clotheslines and all. I already miss seeing this on a daily basis.



My view every morning at yoga. It honestly can’t get any more beautiful than this.



Just because I love artsy yoga pictures. (This was a floating dock and was very hard to pose on.)



Just one more 🙂



This picture was taken on the day we learned how to cook Chili Rellenos at the women’s center. The aesthetic these chilis have deserved to be photographed.



La jefa, doing what she does best: working it in her fedora!!!



Kayaking in San Pedro!



Josie’s birthday cake- definitely as good as it looked. Felicidades!





One of my favorite pictures EVER. The serenity is unreal.



I’ve been home for a little over a week now, and while the transition back was a bit strange, I seem to be falling right back into the swing of things. It’s nice to be back in the land of air conditioning, flushable toilets, english speakers, and most importantly….free refills!!!

Thanks to everyone who prayed for me and kept in touch during my travels- it means more than you know. Until next time!



What It’s Like Being a Homebody and Adventurer

I have two great loves in my life.

One is sweet, loving, welcoming. Has the warmest hugs. Comforting, a shoulder to cry on, supportive no matter what. An embrace so familiar, a love so captivating that it fills me up and almost swallows me whole. Such vivid happiness.

The other also brings happiness, but in a different form. Daring, spontaneous. Irresistibly intriguing. Always pushing my limits and encouraging me to grow tall but to also dig deep. Never boring. Only passionate, freefalling love. The kind of love people write books about.

These two loves are a part of myself. One is called Homebody and the other is Adventurer. The two couldn’t be more opposite, and at times, it’s difficult for them to both co-exist within me.

If anyone knows me, they know that I hold traveling very near and dear to my heart. The first time I knew I loved being abroad was my very first trip to San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala- my freshman year of high school. Oddly enough that’s exactly where I’m sitting at writing this entry from; back where it all started. Traveling is compelling to a lot of people for a lot of reasons, but if I had to pin it down I think it would be this:

TRAVELING IS A FRESH START. I’m not sure if other people will understand this idea but to me, it makes perfect sense. A lot of people have things at home that bring them down, stress them out, and ultimately steal their happiness. But personally speaking, when I’m in a new place, none of that stuff matters. Sure, it might be a physical break but it’s just as much a mental break too. A new start can bring new friendships, experiences, and new perspective upon return.

TRAVELING IS KNOWLEDGE. Not the institutionalized mandated knowledge that I love SO much but the kind of knowledge that can only come from first hand experiences. Honestly, learning on my own terms is something I get really pumped about and especially in a new culture, learning is endless. In a good way. A word I learned as an Anthropology student is “ethnocentric,” which means “comparing another culture to your own” and basically thinking your way of doing things is the RIGHT way. It’s kind of amazing how much we can learn from opening up our minds and learning from other cultures.

TRAVELING IS A RUSH. Obviously I’m not the only one who gets excited for a trip or vacation. Most people I know also love seeing new places like me, so I think this sensation is pretty well known. Nothing really makes me as happy and excited as making travel plans.

So like I said- if anyone knows me, they know I live for this stuff. But the people that know me will also say that I hold something else just as near and dear as traveling: home.

Home is, of course, where my heart is. And as much as I love all of the excitement and newness of traveling, I seem to love being home for the almost opposite reasons…

HOME IS WHERE IM KNOWN. I mean this literally and figuratively. Literally, because everyone knows each other in Weston. But figuratively because my life that I have in my home town is a part of me. I don’t have to try to be someone I’m not. I don’t have to worry so much about “finding myself” because I’m already known for who I am as a person.

HOME STAYS THE SAME. Sometimes life can be so fast paced, especially in college, and it can be exhausting. Things are constantly changing, whether it’s friendships, relationships, jobs; but home always seems to stay the same. Sometimes it’s nice to know that some things will never change.

HOME IS COMFORTABLE. As much as I love new experiences and trying different things, coming back into my comfort zone is always something I look forward to. Home is a routine and I know how to follow that routine like the back of my hand, falling right into place as if I never left.

No matter where I am, whether it’s at college or in Guatemala, I’ll be thinking about home. My family, my pets, my friends, my room, my town…all of it. Maybe not at all times, but these thoughts are definitely in the back of my mind. And no matter how awesome and life changing my time away is, there’s always a little part of me that longs to be home.

So where does this leave me? How can I love 2 things for completely opposite reasons? These are the questions I end up asking myself. And while the answer is still a little unclear, I feel like I’ve found a good enough answer for the moment.

Something I have always seemed to struggle with internally is my inability to be decisive. I had the hardest time trying to decide what college to go to. And if I should break up with my boyfriend. And if I was ordering the right ice cream flavor..(or should I have just gotten the chocolate?) Every decision, big or small, seems to be difficult for me to make. I always want the best of both worlds, and when I’m forced to make a decision, I often second guess myself. I’ve always considered this to be a weakness…

…but in this case, is it? I’m so hard on myself because I don’t want to be a “the grass is greener” type of person, but in this scenario it actually works out. I don’t have to choose between being a homebody and an adventurer because I’m both. I love being away because of the fresh start, knowledge, and the rush. I love being home because I’m known, it stays the same, and it’s comfortable. All of these reasons are opposites, which is why they balance each other out. They aren’t comparable because I love them in different ways. I don’t have to compete with these different parts of myself because they can both coexist peacefully in my life. They fill all my gaps, lighten all my dark spaces, pick up each other’s slack, and make me capable of happiness at all times in my life.

In this way, I think it’s possible to be a homebody and an adventurer. I think if you have enough love and passion for both, then it works perfectly.

Side note: I made this realization this past weekend while writing in my daily journal. I was feeling really home sick after skyping with my family, and really started to struggle with this inner battle of “what am I doing” and “how can I miss home so much but also not want to leave here” It literally eased my mind to address these thoughts and come to the conclusion that I don’t have to be one thing or the other and that I could start using these excuses to be sad as excuses to be genuinely happy. I hope this helps anyone else who is feeling the same way sort through your own thoughts!

Peace & Love


Mi Vida Guatemalteca

I’ve been living in Guatemala for almost a month now. My mom has been asking a lot of questions about my when my next blog post will be and when I’m going to post my pictures, so I figured it’s about time I do both. These are for you, mom!



My neighborhood in Xela, where I attended Spanish immersion school. Miss it!!



The view from my 2 hour hike to the tip top of Volcano Chicabal.



I’m a sucker for some pretty flowers.



1 million stairs. Or at least it felt like it.



The view from the hike. The flowers were left over from a Mayan ceremony- obviously a kodak moment.





One of my first outings in Xela- the cemetery. Almost everyone is buried above ground in these colorful graves.




A very fancy grave sight.



This was the view on the walk to the Fuentes Georginas. Just the right amount of spooky.



This picture doesn’t show for it, but these waves were gnarly.



Beach side view from a stunning black sand beach.



I stole this coconut from a friend just to get this picture…worth it.



This dog might have been mangy, but friendly nonetheless. I named him Arthur.



A night out of karaoke and shots with my Celas Maya friends. I miss you people dearly!!!



A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. Captured this pic while in the bathroom at a bar in Xela- loved it.



Spanish scrabble on my last day of class with my dear teacher Carlos.



Countless women with countless stories from Trama in Xela.



First sighting of Lake Atitlan. It’s good to be back!




The swinging bridge to Nueva Providencia. Beautiful but a little scary…I’m lying, a lotta scary.





Sweet sweet Jennifer snacking on some tasty watermelon. Love this little one!



A couple of awesome kiddos from one of the stove sights. Adorable!


Ok- sorry it’s not more but that’s all I have to show for this month. I have been really busy doing construction work with the mission and taking pictures often slips my mind. Next month I will try to post again with more photos. Anyway, for those who are wondering, I am absolutely loving my time in Guatemala. I have been truly touched by the people, culture, and work I have been involved with in my short time here so far. (to make a long story short) 🙂

Thanks for reading once again. I hope everyone is well at home. Until next time!


Happy Insta, Happy Life?

Can we just be honest about something? Like the fact that everyone makes their life seem as bomb as humanly possible on social media, regardless of whether or not it’s actually bomb? I’m guilty. Sometimes I will literally think to myself ‘What can I post on social media today?’ It’s sad to openly admit, but it’s ok because I’m bouncing back with an HONEST post about why everyone seems to do it and how I’ve learned to merge my virtual life with my real one.

So let me just start off by saying that the new year has treated me really well so far. I feel like I am finally bridging who I am and who I want to be. I say finally because it seems like for years now, through the process of “finding myself” and whatever comes with high school graduation and the beginning of college, I have seen who I am and who I want to be as two completely different people. For me, I think this led to a lot of low self esteem which I would make up for, of course, on social media. It’s easy to rely on social media to bring you that fulfillment you don’t get in real life. I did this for so long, feeling completely detached from myself but DANG my Instagram feed was looking A1.

This brings me to yesterday. Since I’ve been feeling so at peace with myself lately, I decided that I need a new look to go along with my newfound confidence, so I decided to cut my hair and dye it pink. Yolo, new year new me, and all the terrible cliches that I use on a daily basis had me ready to go. Long story short, my hair was accidentally dyed hot pink. A year ago today I would have hated it, but this year, I dig it. It’s kind of punk rock and that’s something I can get behind.

So that brings me to this morning. Bright pink hair and an attitude to match it, I arrived at the airport at 4:30 am to ship off to Central America. My parents were really emotional, and it was sad to leave my support system behind and conquer traveling to a third world country by myself. Buuuut, I was so stoked for this adventure that any sadness and nervousness I had took a back seat.img_0024

Flash forward to my arrival in Guatemala City. I somehow managed to find my driver in the huge sea of Guatemalan families waiting outside the airport, which personally I think was a miracle of its own. And then came the drive to Xela, the school where I am taking language classes at for the next two weeks. The drive was remarkable. It’s 70 degrees outside and sunny, I’m riding shotgun with Adrian, music blaring, the city bustling, mountains in the background, and all the while chit chatting in Spanish. How is it only the first day and I’m already this tranquil?

Currently, I am sitting in my room, in my host family’s house, thinking hard and blogging like a boss. I have never felt 100 percent sure about a life decision, I’ve never been completely at ease, I’ve never felt like I was exactly where I need to be, until today. I’ve been to this beautiful country before but there is something about traveling by yourself, on your own terms, that is so liberating.

Really the past couple months, but especially today, I have had such an overwhelming feeling of confidence and peacefulness and just every good feeling someone could have. Everything I have done in the past few months has been completely for myself and it’s really starting to take a positive toll on my life in general. I’m starting to rely less and less on social media for self appreciation.IMG_0029.JPG

So, moral of this long, rambling story: Creating an alternate life on social media is such an easy way to trick ourselves into thinking we are where we want to be. I struggle with it and I know a lot of others do as well. But I can guarantee that it feels ten times better to take the steps in real life to becoming that version of yourself you’re striving for. Social media should be a reflection of who we are, not someone else entirely. It’s something to work towards but I think being genuinely happy and doing things you love is a good starting point- that’s where I’m at.

This post might have been a little messy but I was really anxious to get all my thoughts down before I pass out from exhaustion. Thanks for reading! XOXOXOXO