Friday, September 30, 2011

life and Austin

The novelty of living in L.A. has almost worn off and, predictably, I'm itching to travel again. It's the kind of thought that takes root in your mind, in a small space, and grows slowly until you can't take it anymore. You're in class searching for airfare, or googling photographs, or daydreaming of hopping a plane tomorrow, destination unknown. Not that I don't love school. Or what I'm studying. But there is so much of the world to see, and it's constantly changing. And I want to see it all.

Instead, I thought that I would take the more mature route and finish the second post of my road trip, now almost two months in the past. Maybe it will remind me that, yes, I actually do cool things sometimes. I actually make progress on my list of things I want to accomplish. I really shouldn't be complaining since I had a field trip to the Getty this past week, so life could definitely be more rough. But there's something about knowing that the whole world is out there, waiting to be seen, and I'm staring at a pile of books to read and a list of projects to do that entail me sitting in a computer lab while the sun is shining and the beach is calling.

So about that road trip...I left off before we arrived in Texas. Austin is seriously one of the greatest places, even with the insufferable heat of July. We stayed at a hostel on the river, and watched the sun set over the city. We met interesting people, visited eclectic neighborhoods, and ate amazing food. I think that Austin has some of the best food on the planet, really. And every place is unique. It reminds me of the Bay, but hotter. And cheaper! sigh, so much cheaper. I have to go back.

See this is the problem: it's not about going everywhere once, it's about going to all of the places that will change your life, and then going back. It's a never-ending cycle, always wanting to keep seeing, experiencing and changing your perspective. And as for the places that affect you most, it's about going there again and again.

(Just a note: In case you're confused, the photo of the eatery was taken on a previous trip, around Christmas)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Lost Summer

I have spent most of this summer experiencing various states of losing and lost.  I have been lost in a mind-numbing plethora of reality television options, lost in my own head and lost in mazes of job applications.  I have been lost for words when trying to describe Rwanda, while simultaneously I have been losing my Kinyarwanda, my Rwandan mindset, and my Rwandan sense of purpose and belonging.

This was a summer spent trying to navigate my impermanent present in a town I thought I’d left behind for good at 18.  I’ve discovered that being lost has little to do with lack of familiarity with a place and has everything to do with lack of familiarity with a stage of life.  Lost is what happens when your old skin doesn’t quite fit anymore and you’re left lonely in the place that used to house your whole universe.

It’s not all bad though, this “lost in my one horse hometown” phenomenon.  While I continue to crave and plan out my next steps away from here, I thought I’d pay photographic homage to a few pieces of my hometown, my lost town.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

late summer

It's been forever since my last post. Sorry, but I've been completely immersed in my new, L.A. life. And tomato season. I've become obsessed with tomato season, which could actually last a more few weeks in my new, warm climate. And given my new, intense love affair with the Mar Vista Farmers Market, I've been basking in the benefits of late summer quite well, thankyouverymuch.

On a separate note, the other day I was on my usual (amazing, highlight-of-my-day) bike ride at the beach and I caught this guy hang-gliding. Probably as close as a human can get to being a bird. Very cool, and now on my "to do" list.

And just to rub it in, nothing quite beats a late summer day at the beach.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Spring was very good to me this year.  Not only did I return from Rwanda just in time for artichoke season, but I also got to spend some of that hard-earned Peace Corps readjustment allowance on a month in Central America.

First stop: Guatemala

Beautiful Antigua
I spent my first few days in Guatemala in Antigua and the Lago Atitlán-adjacent town of Santa Cruz.  In Antigua, I spent my days strolling, shopping, eating and reading in a hammock.  I did take one break from vegging out to hike Volcan Pacaya, an active volcano yielding incredible views and pant-ripping lava rocks.

Volcan Pacaya Views

Lago Atitlán is a hot spot for spiritual tourism, and although I didn't have a chance to hit up any of the area's yoga camps, it’s not hard to see why.

At peace.
Sunrise Volcan San Pedro
After a sunrise departure from Santa Cruz, I was on to Huehuetenango, a highland region of the country home to one of my dearest friend’s Peace Corps site and lots of coffee.  I spent an incredible and peaceful few days here indulging in home made tortillas, getting on a first name basis with rogue neighborhood pigs and experiencing a bit of the Peace Corps Guatemala lifestyle.

Journeying through Huehuetenango
San Martin
Todos Santos
Todos Santos
Todos Santos
After Huehuetenango it was off to Tikal, aka the reason Guatemala has been on my "must visit" list for many years.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I love ruins.  The older, more elaborate and telling of ancient societies, the better.  That said, Tikal was a definite highlight for me.

Ruins as far as the eye can see

Don't look down

Feeling small