Saturday, May 31, 2008

Round 2- Cuzco

I left New Jersey the morning after the wedding. My time in NJ was very busy. I was with Jess during the day and stayed up till 3am everynight working on my dissertation. I continued to work on the paper in Peru. We spent the night in the airport while waiting for our flight to Cuzco and I was able to get a ton more done. I ended up sending it out a few days later before heading to Machu Pichu. It felt really good to push 'send'!

This was the main square in Cuzco. The town itself was colonial style and was very charming. We stayed at Los Aticos, which was a bit removed, but worth the savings. This city was very busy, with shopping, tourists, street vendors, bars and tons of restaurants. Heather and I were very careful about eating during the first few days of our trip because we didn't want to spend our day at Machu Pichu in the bano!
My explorations in alpaca fashion.
We ended up in the shopping district, which was not near the tourist attractions. It was cold in Cuzco, but not cool enough to be leaving ra meet out. Along with these lovely noses, we saw a woman eating raw frog legs, some sort of large animal male anatomy, guinea pig dishes, etc. Heather and I were starving before we entered the shopping district, but had no appetite when we left. Even now I can remember the smells as if I were there.

We visited some Incan ruins that were just outside of Cuzco named Sacsayhuamen pronounced “sexy woman”. These ruins were not very complete because 80% of the stones used in their construction were taken removed to build homes in downtown Cuzco. Nonetheless, they were cool!

We found Baby's twin in Peru! I had to take pictures, not realizing that the dog had an owner and they awkwardly asked for money for the pictures I had taken?!? It didn't take us long to figure out that we had big tourists signs on our head encouraging everyone to ask us for money. Good times.

This is a picture of one of our taxi drivers. He looked like a Peruvian Danny Devito. Oh yeah, that is the Christo Blanco in the background. Not as grande as the one in Rio, but still a very cool JC.Heather and I with Cuzco in the background.

Round 1- New Jersey

I have so much to share from my trip, so I will have to do this in several posts. I will go in chronological order, starting with Jess's wedding and the rehearsal night-

Walking through the ceremony

The church was stunning

Smiling bridesmaids

The rehearsal dinner was at the Cape May Lobster house. The food was amazing and the company was even better.

Most of my pictures from the wedding are from the reception. The wedding day went off unhitched. It was a bit chilly and overcast during the ceremony, but as we headed to the shore for wedding photos, the sky opened up and the sun came out. It was perfect. The reception itself was the best one I have ever been too. I think about 4 people left and the other 167 stayed for hours dancing the night away. Jess really knows how to throw a party! I'm sure Cape May will be talking about this one for a while! Cheers Mr. and Mrs. Miller!

The Groom and his new Brother-in-law Dave enjoying a drink!Cake anyone?

Party time!!

This was the perfect wedding and I was so happy to be a part of Jess and Rob's special day!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Back in Seattle

I'm home. It kind of feels like I have woken from a wonderful dream. Reality bites. I spent time with the family last night after several hours without sleep, but it is always recharging to see the siblings and their children. I will drive home today and get ready to get back on the horse.
My goals for the next few days include:
-getting back to Portland
-getting my body clock back on track
-going back to work without resigning
-getting a jump on my dissertation powerpoint for my defense meeting
-grade assignments for my online class
-figuring out how to free space on my computer so I can download the rest of my trip pics
-catching up on my blogging (this will take a while!)
Goals for the next few months:
-defend successfully (fingers crossed!)
-figure out what I want to do when I grow up
-train for the danskin
-estudio espanol
-learn how to knit
-pick up the guitar again
-read fiction books!
-go camping. A Lot.
-buy my OR fishing license
(the last few on this list were generated while travelling)

I'm tired, but rejuvanted. More later. Now, I have to get back to washing the Amazon schmutz out of my clothes!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mancora, Peru

Just a quick post from Mancora, Peru. We arrived yesterday and will be here until the 26th. It is beautiful. The coastal fishing town is also a popular surf destination with a left break right in front of our hotel. I surfed for a bit today. Just long enough to realize how out of shape I am. No wetsuits required. The water temp is perfect and I will have a lesson tomorrow morning. Can´t wait to share more when I have access to my pictures.

This trip continues to get better and better. We have met wonderful people and seen so much. The only casualty so far has been my Leatherman. Yes. I was stupid and forgot to take it out of my carry on and we were late for our flight. So, it´s new home is Cuzco, Peru.

More soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Just a few pics....

WOW! Machu Pichu was Amazing! I am having some camera/computer problems and can´t download all of my pics, but these are a few from our visit to Machu Pichu yesterday. Peru is beautiful and our short four days have days have been full of new experiences. We are back in Cuzco and off to the Amazon Jungle on Saturday. I will post more pics and descriptions when I have a better computer connection and free up some space on my hard drive for more pics.

Peruvian children in Olytantambo village, a stop on her way to Machu Pichu.

We hiked up Wayna Pichu, which is a mt. next to Machu Pichu. They only allow 400 people per day for safety reasons. Heather and I were the first two to enter! It was amazing and very scary as evidenced by the next picture of my foot over a ledge. Seriously, it was really high and one stumble and it is all over.

This is by far my favorite picture of all the pictures we took. Just looking at it makes my stomach uneasy..... again.

The large peak behind the village is Wayna Pichu. It was a very steep climb and the following pic is what Heather and did after our long day, which started at 4am!

More pics to come!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A perfect wedding

The last few days have been insane! I just wanted to post a picture from this amazing day. The wedding was perfect and I'm so happy for Jess and Rob!! I will post more pics after Peru. Now it is late, time to pack and get ready for the next leg of my trip! Be well all!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Best surprise I have EVER been a part of!

Two and a half weeks ago I flew to the East Coast to surprise my friend Jess for her wedding shower and bachelorette party. It was really difficult to not say anything and luckily everyone involved was great about keeping the secret, including the bridal store where all the dresses were purchased. The shower itself was a surprise for Jess, so she was overwhelmed from the beginning. I waited patiently after flying out to see her, renting a car and staying at her sister's house the night before.
Finally, it was my turn to come downstairs and give Jess and appletini.

I was so nervous I was shaking and when I finally got to see her, we cried a little bit.
Then we posed for cheesy pictures, and I was still shaking out of excitement! It was the best surprise I have ever been inlvolved in! After partaking in the shower activities, we all headed East about 40 minutes to Atlantic City, New Jersey.

We even had the tank tops that said 'Bridesmaid' and Jess wore her Mrs. Miller to be tank. It was a blast! Turns out, there were about 37 other bachelorette/bachelor parties, which was cool but definitely influenced our free drink quota by the end of the evening.

Eventually I was able to get back into the East coast groove! The booty-shakin dance floor was a bit different than the swanky SE Portland hangouts I have been frequenting.

Looking forward to shaking my booty again this weekend at the wedding! Off again to New Jersey first thing tomorrow morning. If I don't blog much, it is because I'm either finishing dissertation details, in a wedding, or in Peru.
Adios Amigos!

Monday, May 5, 2008


What is stress really?

Today was a very stressful day for me....getting things settled at work, so my staff won't be left stranded in my absence; worrying about how I will get my dissertation in tip-top shape amidst my cross country and potentially international travel(I might be bringing my laptop with me to Peru-ugh!); waiting for my camera lens to arrive via FedEx so I can take wide-angle shots of Machu Pichu; making sure I pack the right shoes for Jess's rehearsal dinner; explaining to my Mom that I won't be to her place till LATE tomorrow evening, cutting down on our time together...... Stress.

Holy Cow. I'm so lucky that this is the stuff I stress about. seriously. I will finish my dissertation, I am going to Peru- for the love a God! I have a fantastic camera and my Mom loves me no matter how much time we spend together.

I have been reminded on several occasions that stress is the physiological response that I know my body listens to in order to complete a task. It is not at all enjoyable, sometimes even sickening, yet there is still this wierd high I get from pushing myself and accomplishing my goals. This is an exercise in self-discovery and I'm feeling a deja vu coming on. I think it is so funny how while we are experiencing something, it can be the worst thing ever. For example, during my graduate education in Delaware, I was instructed to take Statistics on videotape. Big Mistake! I was in tears, crying to my Mom on the phone, thinking I would drop the class and never be able to get back on track. This caused me so much turmoil! Then I hired a tutor and finished my assignments and all that pain was gone like that! I only vaguely remember how horrified I was, because I found new things to focus my anxiety on. Is there a way to avoid the adversity freak-out part and still grow from our experiences?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Finally! Softball!

I couldn't have asked for a better day to play a game of softball. My friend Seth (a coug by the way. oh and a Kentwood Conqueror-we go way back) asked me to play on his team to fill in for a female player who broke her ankle. It was so much fun! Love to get my hands dirty, give some high fives, and eat jalapeno salsa sunflower seeds! Good times had by all!

the "can't do withouts"

I really am leaving for Peru soon. I can't believe it!! My schedule is a bit complicated. I have three big things that are kind of being combined into one flowing timeline. I actually planned it this way..... As most of you know, I have been furiously working on my dissertation, which is now being edited and corrected by my professor, and two friends (shout out to the friends- You Rock!). I'm hoping to have these corrections on Monday, making the changes throughout the week and out to the committee on Saturday. Here is where it gets complicated. My friend Jess is getting married next Saturday, in New Jersey and I am in her wedding. I will fly from Seattle to the East coast on Wednesday. Then I will be making corrections and helping her with wedding details, rehearsal dinner, etc until her wedding on Saturday. Fingers crossed- my paper will be gloriously edited and a beautiful version will go out on Saturday, giving my committee one full month to read through it. Then, on Sunday, I will fly to Peru for about 17 days. So, I'm working on monday, leaving Portland on Tuesday, hopefully with a clean apartment, happy pets (Thanks Mom for petsitting!) and everything I will ever need in my big ol' back pack. For now, I am focusing on the things that will keep me alive. Malaria pills, first aid kit, protein rich foods, super strong bug repellent, etc.

Yes. I actually purposely planned to have a schedule like this. What was I thinking? I know. I was thinking about how much of a procrastinator I am and how I probably would have not sat down and typed out my dissertation if I had not had a goal to work for. Some things never change I guess.

Friday, May 2, 2008

photo inspiration

It has been a long week, or a long month, actually it has been a very long last 9 months. Friday night on the couch in my jammies never felt so good. I hit REI and their anniversary sale today after work. I had a list of items needed for Peru and spent the evening picking up; deet bug spray, bug clothing spray repellent, clif bars for Peru, polarized sunglasses to protect my new eyeballs, malaria pills, and antibiotics for if and when I get travelers diarrhea. Yep, my future may be filled with upset stomach, vomiting and loose stools. Not my favorite situation to be in--in a third world country feeling like crap-- but at this point I don't even care. I keep thinking about the photographic opportunities I will have while I am traveling around Peru. So tonight I will sit on my butt and catch my breath. I will also continue to look at a site I found while perusing other blogspots.

This professional photographer (Jakob Schiller) posts pictures he takes for his various photographic journalist commitments and I am addicted to almost every shot he snaps. Amazing photos filled with life and meaning. I'm a fan.