The theme of my last blog post over three months ago is that I survived my first and last year teaching, and I had no idea what would be next. Here’s the Sparknotes version of Summer 2018. I do have a legit blog post below, so if you have a short attention span, spare yourself and scroll to the meat.
I was not prepared for the barricaded wall of police officers as we followed our taxi driver down the sidewalk and out of the confines of the fenced Cusco airport. As usual, I had done just enough research to be a step above ignorance upon touchdown in Peru. First, we had written a skeletal 6-day itinerary on pace with Speedy Gonzales, the necessary reservations booked for our transport and lodging. Second, I watched a blurry copy of a National Geographic documentary on YouTube exploring the engineering and mystery behind Machu Picchu. That was it.
If we’re friends on Facebook or you follow me on Instagram, you know that, after an incredible year living and studying in New Zealand — one of the most adventurous, beautiful countries on the planet — I did not settle right into the working life of most young adults.
Since I returned to the States in the middle of the school year and needed to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to be certified to teach in South Carolina, I devoted the spring to re-grounding myself in American culture (I love this country more than ever), spending time with dearly missed family and friends, obtaining my teacher licensure, and finding a job before August. I realized any leftover time was an opportune window of, as Mariah has coined, funemployment. For the last two months, I have continued to travel and enjoy some of nature’s most precious gems — first hiking among the towering glacial mountains and gale-force winds of Patagonia, then on to swimming in Havasupai’s crystal blue waters and camping in Joshua Tree’s dinosaur rock desert.
A few weeks before flying to Hawaii, I was FaceTiming one of my best friends, ranting on about my preparations and how excited I was getting.
“And you’re going all by yourself?”
“For that first week, yes!”
“That sounds terrible. Like that would be on my list of top ten things to never do.”
The last four weeks I have been on full time placement student teaching. It has been a rewarding, fast-paced month that kicked off the day after I returned from my packed two week trip through the North and South Island over the autumn holiday. I managed to write briefly about Wellington and the Tongariro Crossing, but I slacked off after that. I wish I could write it all, but there are some priceless video recordings that really do more justice to the main highlights. It started with wanting to share the main recording – the time I went irrationally ape shit on my sister and she happened to pull out her phone halfway through my ranting. When I had finished, she calmly responded, “Hey, wanna hear something funny?” and then proceeded to play the recording back.
I made it to the end of term!! Which means I have a two week holiday before full-time placement at Lincoln begins…which means I spent hours on hours the last couple of months researching, seeking advice, booking tickets, and drafting very detailed, very packed one week itineraries for both the North and South Islands. If I had my druthers, the North Island alone would be a four week trip. But like Americans in the corporate world who fly all the way to NZ for a two week vacation, this is all the time I’ve got. So I am efficiently jamming in as much as I can into a very condensed schedule. Georgia is afraid I’m going to run her ragged. By her standards, this is no “holiday” – just a helluva lot of high intensity activity. I am more energized than I have been in weeks.
First stop: Wellington. Continue reading “You Can’t Beat Wellington on a Good Day”
I finished off winter break last year with a packed five-day trip to California, meeting up with my two study abroad friends, Tracey and Mariah — the same ones who joined me in Seattle this past November. Last spring semester was a whirlwind from the beginning, and I never wrote about Calitalia, one of the most memorable, transformative trips I have experienced yet. A year later, it has finally been recorded.