Monday, May 20, 2013

Happiness Floats

Psssst, I'm going to share something with you all:  I'm happy.

Those of you who know me best know that I've had some personal hardships during the past few years.  I didn't really know who or what or where I wanted to be.  Or rather, I knew who and what and where, but I wasn't being true to myself..

Ever since I picked up my first National Geographic and saw all of the photos of people and places around the world, I knew it was in my heart to travel everywhere I possibly can on this amazing planet; to get to know the different peoples and cultures; to help those in need; and to taste the many flavors of the world.  It's been a long journey getting where I am today, but each day I realize more and more just how freakin happy I am.  

*I clearly have not used MS Paint since I was 14

I won't go into another long blurb on how much I love Colombia and why, but I seriously love this country and find myself filled to the brim with happiness being here.  To witness first hand it's beauty and kindness - when all I've ever seen portrayed in the media is a drug filled, violence ridden country - is indescribable.  I'm happy that I get to experience such an amazing place with such amazing people.  I'm happy that I am surrounded by new family and friends whom I have come to love very much and that I am with a man who shares my passion for life, travel and grilled cheese sandwiches.  And I'm happy that I get to share this experience with you all.

I'm happy for the success my family and friends are having.  New jobs, new houses, new life and new experiences abound, and everyone seems to be where they want to be.  This makes me incredibly happy - because no matter what any of you are doing with your life, you're doing what fills you with joy.  Whether you're reviving an old time tradition that is seeded deep in your roots, giving a new business venture a go, or joining a new band, as long as you're loving every moment of it, I am deeply overjoyed for you.  And if you're not, then I hope you get started!

This is from 2010, but an old tradition that my cousins, brothers, uncle and father have brought back to life in recent years: Syruping.  This makes me especially happy :)

Dear Mai: after tasting this magnificence I have absolutely no doubt that you will be a huge success ;)

 Bad Bacon.  I am super proud to say my dad is a rockstar :)

I'm happy that I get to see my friends and family back home soon.  Also my cat.  I feel like a giddy 12 year old who just got a puppy.  It's all I can think about these days and I am looking forward to the next two months with complete and utter glee.  Six months really isn't a long time in terms of not seeing each other, but it's the longest I have been away from home and, while I am super happy and content here in Colombia, the fact that I know I get to see my homefries soon makes me want to run in happy circles around the apartment.  

 The Guapster

 Shut up, his paws are beautiful

Excited for our adventures in Ghost Pirate Land

 For our giggles

 For our make up hugs after arguing about Little Big Planet and the fact that ice cream is not a proper breakfast food

 For our rounds of games and 4-wheeler rides

For our "Girl Days"

For our slumber parties

I'm happy that I found a job doing what I've been wanting to do for a while now - to teach others.  To share creativity and knowledge and to inspire others to be and do their best.  From the private lessons I've been giving I have learned quite a bit about myself - that I am capable of teaching others and, well, I enjoy it.  It may not pay as well as my old office jobs, but it's what pulls at my heart strings.  And that's what matters.

*Since I don't have any photos of current students, here is me with some of my students in Poland (2010)

 This is Hubert.  He was so adorable!

I think we were doing the Hokey Pokey?

I'm happy for my health and well being.  It's definitely something I've taken for granted before and now that I am actively doing things that will keep me healthier, I feel great.  I do not go to the gym or run marathons or comply to a completely strict diet, but I do choose to make healthier decisions and so far I am doing pretty good.  I walk everywhere, I dance in my apartment to Reggaeton when I'm home alone, and I attempt to do yoga and random exercises in my living room though I am sure I look slightly ridiculous doing so.  I am also making it a habit of cooking every single meal at home, and I forgot how much I love to cook (I think it may run in the family).  With a plethora of fresh produce to choose from (another reason I love Colombia), there is no reason for me not to prepare meals at home.  And the best part is that Camilo eats it all.  Chuckle all you want, but it's become one of the main reasons I love to cook - it makes me happy that he enjoys the meals I create.  I'll leave being a chef to my sister (she is amazing!) but I do enjoy cooking and I think it's an important part of living a healthier, happier life.  

*I don't have any photos of me exercising or cooking, (I know, sad) so here is a photo of a MinPin wearing an orange striped shirt and what appears to be a bomber-style vest.

I am happy.

I'm happy today because I am finally where I want to be.  I am experiencing life in the ways that make me happy.  And my heart is content.

In ending, a poem that pretty much sums up this crazy emotion:

So Much Happiness

It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
A wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
Something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change. 

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
And disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
And now live over a quarry of noise and dust
Cannot make you unhappy.
Everything has a life of its own,
It too could wake up filled with possibilities
Of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
And love even the floor which needs to be swept,
The soiled linens and scratched records…. 

Since there is no place large enough 
To contain so much happiness,
You shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
Into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
For the moon, but continues to hold it, and to share it,
And in that way, be known.

~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

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And now, PHOTO DUMP!  These are more photos from the trip to Medellin.  Sorry for any repeats!

This is El Penol, the giant rock we climbed