I've intended to write this post since I became a blogger back in May of 2013. Now is the time.
I have been incredibly humbled by the number of people who have been keeping up with wherever "The Journey" has taken me during the past 5 months. I also find it very kind of people to take time out of their lives to read not only my blog but any blog. And I say this because I don't read blogs, or at least not faithfully like so many of you have.
And so, this is a shout out to some of my most faithful readers... all of my mom's friends: "Share Group", "M&M's" and "The Best Small Group in the World". (I made that last one up but it seems an accurate name considering how much mom and dad have loved being a part of this group during the last couple years.)
I know there are many others who have been so kind to tune in from various parts of my life: family, life long friends, friends from the Valley, traveling friends, Eagle Valley friends, Bible Study friends... the list is long. Know that I'm thankful for each of you in my life and I've been blessed by your support during this past year.
In other news...
I'm LOVING life in Peru!
I arrived in Lima a few weeks ago and spent a full day seeing the sights: Plaza Mayor - very well manicured, Changing of the Guard at the Presidential Palace - humorously the most elaborate such ceremony that may exist in the world, the Catacombs - creepy, and the views of the Pacific Ocean from Larcomar at Miraflores - a shockingly upscale shopping area... the likes of which I had not seen for months and caught me quite by surprise. (Check out the Magisto clip here: http://www.magisto.com/video/OVQfJEgaB2A7WEVhCzE)
And then it was time to move on to Huaraz. I took an 8 hour bus ride to my home for the next two months. The bus was nicer than many planes I've been on AND served a meal! Apparently this is how they roll (pun intended) in South America for long bus rides. Sweet. Although the 15 minute delay because of a flat tire and then 30 minute delay because of running over the left behind tire jack were not so sweet.
I arrived on a Friday evening and it was so great to be greeted at the bus station by Lacy Rammuno. Lacy was born and raised in Eagle County. She graduated from EVHS ... a few years before I got there. And I've taught with her dad, as well as taught her younger sister and brother over the last ten years. But I got to know Lacy when she was working on a landscaping crew one summer with a guy I was dating. Our encounters were few but I remember thinking we would be good friends if we had the time. Well, now we do! She moved down to Huaraz a years ago to be with her boyfriend, Matt. Matt moved down here a few years before to help start the local brewing company Sierra Andina. I ran into Lacy at the EVHS graduation last May and caught up with her real quick. When she told me she was living in Peru, I told her of my plan to spend time there. She had great things to say about Huaraz, a place I had never heard of but would continue to be raved about by fellow travelers. I decided this would be my spot to plant myself during my longer stint in Peru.
So I've made my home at the Albergue Churup in Huaraz for the past week. It is a gem of a hostel. I have an awesome private room, with a fabulous hot shower.
And there is a beautiful living area on the top floor with almost 180 degree views of the Cordillera Blanca... minus the 4 story brick building right smack dab in the center of the panorama windows.
Bummer. But the awesome fireplace with a huge semi-circular couch makes up for it.
La Doña Nelly gave me a smoking deal when I told them I'd be here for at least a month. $7 a night includes breakfast! Yes, please!!
Over the course of the past week I've found a church (Allianza), checked out the work Lacy is doing with a local non-profit called Seeds of Hope, went to a Monday night Bible Study (all in Spanish...and followed almost all of it), got out for a couple hikes with some incredible views (a short glimpse is captured here: http://www.magisto.com/video/b0IBZ1tSSjw1DkxiCzE), met my new best friend Dan from Jackson, Wyoming / Boston whom I've spent most if not all of the last 3 days with, found the best coffee shop in town at the California Cafe... and the best "Menu", a fixed price 4 course lunch of soup, main course with rice and French fries, salad, dessert and fresh juice for $3 at El Fogon. And yesterday we met up with Katherine to learn more about a local non-profit running a soup kitchen for kids, caught an awesome game of ultimate frisbee with the kids from the California Cafe, and then a much needed nap, and ended the day with Trivia night to benefit the non-profit we had visited that morning. Of course, our team of 2 Peruvians, 2 Americans and 2 Frenchmen was victorious! Competition was stiff amongst the 30 or so people present, but we did manage to beat out the smarty-pants Peace Corps kids at the table next to us. ;) And today was spent organizing and resting up for a 4 day trek known as Santa Cruz that we take off for early tomorrow morning. We found 2 Canadians, a Frenchman (from trivia night) and 2 Brits to join us. Should be fun! I'll report back with some great stories and amazing pics once I return.
In the meantime, blessings to you all!!
(Sorry about the long hyperlink. Blogging on an iPhone had its limitations...)