I love my maté. Really love it. A couple weeks ago I bought that great thermos on the left. It's incredible! I put hot water in it at 7am and opened it at 2:30pm and it burned me!
Tons of people in Argentina drink maté, but not nearly as many as do in Uruguay. In Uruguay every second or third person has a thermos under their arm, everywhere they go. Here in Argentina it's a really communal activity, similar to smoking a bowl, with it's own etiquette and language. (Except that it's legal, and instead of giving you munchies it makes you less hungry, and instead of making you tired it gives you energy.) One unspoken rule is that when you're sick you don't drink from a shared maté, which means that for more than a month I've been drinking my maté all alone. This might seem sad, but I actually enjoy my little quiet morning ritual.
I've started a new ritual with myself, and I thought it particularly appropriate to share it here. I've turned into a real whiner in the last couple of months. It's hard to read and hear about all my friends starting their gardens, going on hikes, and heading off to festivals when I'm here in Argentina, at a point in my trip that's pretty anticlimactic. At this point I just live here, and there's no dirt to put my feet in. I've worked on a farm for two summers now, and I miss it! I'm really just homesick, I know, but it makes me feel resentful towards Argentina, which is wrong!
My new ritual involves writing in my journal, my real journal. I've started to keep a list of everything I'm grateful for, or that I've learned or discovered since I've been here. It' helps! I had an incredibly productive day yesterday, based on the fact that I realized the upside of having too much free time! This is the free time I always wanted! I had two fabulous ideas yesterday, and the wheels are in motion to actually pursue them!
I've decided to share some of my list each week, so here's today's bunch! It's not all significant and huge, but it all makes a difference in my life.
Big, small, profound and trivial things I am grateful to have discovered since coming to Argentina:
I can converse, more or less, in Spanish!
I love drinking maté with friends, but I also love my morning ritual
I can enjoy a beer, in a bar, with the right friends
Ceci, Steve, Ali and Ashley
I have time to knit
I got to explore the city with Mom and Paula, it was wonderful!
The list is really long, so I'm breaking it up over time.
Now, I want to know, what are your rituals? What keeps you on track? What never fails to bring you joy?
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Sunday, May 31, 2009
I love my maté. Really love it. A couple weeks ago I bought that great thermos on the left. It's incredible! I put hot water in it at 7am and opened it at 2:30pm and it burned me!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Pattern: Modified from Fjord Felted Slippers by Cathy Campbell
Size: CO 40st
Materials: 80 yds Yanabey Lana Mecha
Needles: #9, 5.5mm
Start Date: May 16, 2009
Finish Date: May 22, 2009
I realize that I blogged these slipper socks a week or so ago for WIP Wednesday, but the truth is I finished them about 6 hours after I posted that! I've been wearing them as slippers around the house. The yarn is VERY loosely twisted, so when I wash them I've found that I sort of have to groom them which is a bit of a pain. Never the less these socks are very very warm, and I'll be making more because I love how comfortable they are! I'm surprised by how soft the Yanabey wool turned out to be.
To make these slipper socks (damn, I really don't know what to call them!) I CO 40 stitches, knit a 3x1 rib for about an inch, then did a knit row, a centered decrease at the back, one more knit row, one more decrease, and then saved the 16 heel stitches, knit to desired length, knit the toe, and knit the heel! The first time around I actually knit the heel before finishing the foot so that I could measure how long to make them. I sort of followed the pattern, but not really. Super easy! Next time I'll cast on fewer stitches, though I do enjoy the loose cuff. Maybe just a few less.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009
There's a word for why I don't always want to go out and party, why if someone shows up two hours early for a get together, I'm likely to run out of steam before I planned, and why my mom is always telling me to make sure I have my own space. There's a word for why I find craft fairs as exhausting, and turn grouchy at the thought. There's a word for why I totally panicked when I realized what exactly this Study Abroad adventure would entail.
"Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?
If so, do you tell this person he is "too serious," or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?
What is introversion? In its modern sense, the concept goes back to the 1920s and the psychologist Carl Jung. Today it is a mainstay of personality tests, including the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people are anxious or frightened or self-excoriating in social settings; introverts generally are not. Introverts are also not misanthropic, though some of us do go along with Sartre as far as to say "Hell is other people at breakfast." Rather, introverts are people who find other people tiring.
Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially "on," we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn't antisocial. It isn't a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: 'I'm okay, you're okay—in small doses.'"
Caring for your Introvert by Jonathan Rauch as discovered on Barbara's blog.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Aha! And you thought all I did anymore was knit! (That's sort of true, actually.) My latest challenge is reading Harry Potter! "A challenge?" you may ask. "Yes!" I will say, because it is in Spanish! Depending on my level of concentration, it can be really slow going. I have to be in just the right mindset, or I'll either obsess over looking up every single word, or I'll look at every word as if I'm reading, but not take any of it in. Last week I had a great read, for a whole hour I just sat outside my Uni building and read. I think I made it through about 20 pages! Currently Ron and Harry are meeting Professor Trelawney, which is funny in any language. It's helpful that I already know the story pretty well, but I like to think I'm doing alright! One thing I didn't consider is the fact that most of the book is written in the past tense (woe is me!) Also, the Spanish don't use quotation marks, they often use "em dashes" (as in this book) which takes a helluva long time to get used to!
As it turns out, I was wrong about the 50 Book Challenge serving it's purpose and getting me back in the reading habit. This is only the second book I've read for pleasure ALL YEAR. NOT OKAY. Anywho, since I really can't be bothered to do anything that isn't on Ravelry (okay, all I do is knit) and Ravelry has a 52 book challenge group I figured, why not? I'll jump back on the horse. I started May 17th. So far I've read 1 and a half. I have until April 1st, 2010. Here goes!
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Monday, May 25, 2009
Is Love Enough - Michael Franti and Spearhead
Usually Memorial Day is a family holiday, a day off, a day to spend with the people I love. This year it's different because I'm far away, in another country, and I've been thinking. I've gotten a range of reactions from people when I tell them that I'm from the US. Most of the positive ones are from people who think NYC is a magical place, and they imagine that I live there and ride around in a limo and drink champagne with supermodels. Not so. Most often I get sort of an awkward "ohhh". You really reflect on your own country when you leave it behind, even if it's temporary, because you have to learn to navigate in your new environment, with new cultural norms and new social laws.
I've been robbed twice now (as I've written about) and my initial reaction is rage. Rage at a government for not employing adequate security in a HUGE city, rage at an economic structure that causes so many people to exist with so little. After fuming and storming for a while I realized what I really feel is rage at this society in which so few people extend a hand, or a smile, much less any help. Two weeks ago I started buying cookies and juice for a family of children that sits at the corner near my Subte stop. I've made friends with the business owners on my street, the man in the hardware store, the guys in the produce market, the Chinese family that owns the supermarket, the woman from Peru who sells fruit in the market on Estado de Israel. Once a week or so I visit the used book vendors near my Subte stop at school to have a chat and see what they've got. To get robbed after making these connections, after finally building a little community for myself, was almost enough to make me pull back completely. It has occurred to me over the last few days that if I do that I'll only be perpetuating the problem here. I can't fix the economy, I can't make the city hire more police, but I can show people that I care, that I am interested in their stories. I can show them that I am human, and they are human, and we are all human together. We all have stories, in that we are all the same.
It was difficult to find a song that was appropriate for today because I wasn't sure how I was feeling about the day. I'm not a political blogger, and I'm grateful for that. I hesitate to share political views because so often they shut down opportunities for conversation, rather than opening them. I'm still an idealist. I support our troops as human beings, and because they protect the rights that I have as a citizen of the United States. I do not support the global social and political mindset in which guns and bombs are necessary to secure our beliefs. I do not support the decision to bowl through other countries on the basis that we know what is good for them, without allowing them to search for their own new way of life. I believe in human connections, regardless of how we name it in our churches and temples. I believe we should bring our troops home because if we really, truly respected them as human beings we would not ask them to die for us without first trying to resolve our problems in a human, non-violent way. We are distinct in the animal kingdom because we alone have the ability to chose how we arrive at our future. I believe we should exercise that ability and speak, in memory of all who have given their one, single, irreplaceable life.
Looking for more Music Monday? *They're usually not politically driven!*
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Yum! There is nothing like second day soup! My journey of cooking for myself is ongoing, and this was my adventure last night. I set out to make this Broccoli, Onion, Garbanzo Bean soup from my new favorite food blog Farmgirl Fare but it veered off path pretty quickly. To start with, despite having about eight fresh produce shops and five supermarkets within three blocks of my house, no one had broccoli worth feeding to a chicken, if they had it at all! I subbed in some carrots instead.
I ended up using:
2 huge carrots
3 small yellow onions
4 medium cloves of garlic
1 can of garbanzos, rinsed
2 cans of water with three SA sized chicken bullion cubes (that means tiny, by the way)
1/4 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper
1/8th cup of cream
I cooked the onions and carrots in olive oil for a bit, added the garlic, then added the garbanzos, cayenne, water and bullion cubes, simmered for about 20 minutes, added salt and pepper and blasted it with the immersion blender (which I officially cannot live without.) I added the cream later when it had cooled a bit. I couldn't resist eating some last night when I finished making it, but most of it went in the fridge, and I just ate some now! I am really proud of myself. I've definitely had some failures in the past couple of months (and choked them down so as not to waste food) but this one I would actually feed to other people! Yay! It's simple and cheap and SO good. I garnished it with some Finlandia (it's like a really, really light cream cheese) diced red peppers, and tarragon.
Next time I'm going to add spinach to get some more iron in it, and roasted red peppers because they are delicious. Also, a little less cream.
This photo isn't even of all of us! I didn't realize I had my camera with me until a bunch of folks had left. What fun we had! So many people from so many places! Canada, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, USA, and I'm sure I'm missing some! Ravelry is amazing!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Pattern: Toasty by Leslie Friend
Size: CO 26st
Materials: 60-70 yds Yanabey Lana Mecha
Needles: #8, 5.0mm
Start Date: May 9, 2009
Finish Date: May 15, 2009
This is one of the simplest patterns ever, but it's effective! My hands have been freezing because my desk is right under a really drafty window, and the wind blows right in on me while I'm using my computer. I'm using this same yarn for my Quick 'n Dirty socks, and for those I'm using a size 9 needle. I may even go up to a 10 next time I use it. These mitts are really dense. They keep me warm, that's for sure!
I chose this color because our Project Spectrum color for these two months is yellow, and it reminded me of the deep gold color often worn by Zen Buddhist monks. I figure that reaction made it perfect for our direction!
Apparently it's a rite of passage. Apparently you have not lived in Argentina until you've been robbed. In that case, consider me initiated.
I was saving the first part of this story for a rainy day, so to speak, but after tonight's events I think I'll just spill. About a month ago I was bird watching with my South American Birds class, and we were sitting in a field on a nature reserve drinking mate when two young guys walked up to us, pulled out a gun, and robbed all 12 of us sitting there in the grass. I was pissed. It's a horrible feeling, to watch someone take something from you and know there's nothing you can do about it. We were by all logic absolutely safe. A large group of people, daylight, not carrying much, dressed in our grubs because we were sludging through mud. We were not flashy, we were not making a scene, but we still got robbed.
When someone puts a gun to your face your body sort of takes over (and if it doesn't, you should let it.) While in your head you obviously don't want this person taking your stuff, the fact that there's a gun in your face makes you give it up because honestly, it's probably not loaded and it might not even be real, but you've only got one brain, and you can buy another pair of binoculars. Until now I was able to find humor in the irony of our getting robbed, while in a nature reserve watching birds. It's humorous. It doesn't erase the fact that I'm jumpy as all hell as a result.
I have hardly left the house since then. Yes, I've been sick, but mostly I've been tired and afraid. I'm tired of jumping out of my skin every time someone looks at me funny or approaches me too quickly. I'm tired of clinging to my backpack, of leaving my camera at home, of exiting the ATM with my heart in my throat and my money in my bra.
This evening I went out for the first time in 5 weeks. I went to meet my friends at a jazz concert in a university. I walked 15 blocks down well lit avenues, didn't meet anyone's eye, just looked straight ahead. I had examined the map before I left so I would know where I was going. I had only a small purse, with the money I might need for the evening, a scarf, tissues and a cell phone (my new one, since the other was stolen.) I turned the final corner, off the main avenue, and I could see my friends standing outside the music hall. I walked past a young woman sitting on a step, and two steps later another woman stepped out in front of me and asked for money. I was late. I said "No, I'm sorry" and tried to pass. She stepped in front of me again and tried to grab my purse. I turned around to cross the street away from her and the other woman was behind me. They backed me into a corner and started grabbing at my purse again, yelling at me. One had her hand in her pocket. I gave them my money, $100 pesos. I gave them my Metro card with another $20 pesos in it. They tried to take my other cards but I showed them my student ID and said that was all I had. I insisted I still hadn't bought another cell phone since the last time I got robbed. I insisted I didn't have anything left. I was pissed. They were my size. I should have hit them. I should have refused to give them my money. I work hard for what I have, they don't deserve it any more than I do. Why should they have my money? Why should they be able to tell me what to do?
I crossed the street and joined my friends. I told them, through tears of embarrassment and frustration, what had happened. One told me that her profesora had been robbed on the same corner by two women, likely the same, and that when she refused to give them money they pulled knives on her. They told me I had done the right thing. They told me it was better to give up the money than to fight.
They have never been robbed. It's about dignity. It's about faith in human kind. It's about not being afraid to go to the grocery store, to cross the street, to leave the house. Why didn't I make a scene, draw attention to myself, try and scare them away? Why can't I defend myself? The fact of the matter is they have the power. It's easy to think what I might have done, now that it's over, but if you find yourself backed into a dark corner by two people desperate enough to rob someone in public, your instinct is to find the path of least resistance. If you're living in someone else's country, under someone else's laws, that means giving it up. They say getting robbed is a right of passage, that you've truly been here once you've experienced it. If this is how I'm supposed to feel living here, I want nothing of it.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Looking for the FO? It's been blogged!
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Monday, May 18, 2009
Little Bird, Little Bird - Elizabeth Mitchell
I first encountered this wonderful song by Elizabeth Mitchell over on Cover Lay Down, the awe-inspiring blog of a teacher and friend of mine. Since then I've been unable to resist an ear to ear grin every time I hear it. I hum it on my way to birdwatching class, in the shower, and pretty much everywhere else. Not only is it name-appropriate for my new blog title, but it's an absolutely lovely song!
There was no video on YouTube, and rather than just provide a link to the audio I decided it would be fun to see what sort of child-bird related items I could find on Etsy.com. I hope you enjoy what I discovered! There were so many beautiful pieces, I couldn't include every single one, but you'll see that I added the names of the shops to each photo so you can go and see more if you want!
Looking for more Music Monday? Click it!
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The ship is a cool floating museum that I don't know anything about because I've never actually been on it. Some day I'll have to make a point of visiting it.
I really enjoy this walk, even when I'm late. It takes me about 15 minutes, and I get a kick out of watching all the people sightseeing because I hear so many different languages. Along this strip there is an interesting combination of restaurants ranging from Hooters and TGI Fridays to some of the finest dining in the city. There are tons of benches set out along the river and they always have kissy-face couples and napping office workers sprawled across them. It's a people watching extravaganza!
Friday, May 15, 2009
Pattern: Storm Cloud Shawlette by Hanna Breetz
Size: 78 rows
Materials: 225 yds of The Alpaca Yarn Co. Paca-Peds HT in Green Gator
Needles: #8, 5.0mm
Start Date: April 29, 2009
Finish Date: May 9, 2009
I knit this shawl for the North season of Project Spectrum. I had half a skein left after knitting another scarflette that I'll blog about later, and after feeling how soft the first project came out I had to make something for myself from it as well! I finished it just in time, as the temp dropped over the weekend, and I haven't taken it off all week! I think I'm actually going to knit a couple more, as it makes great commuter knitting and it isn't too boring! Plus, no purling. I don't usually like garter stitch, but in this situation I think it really works.
I recommend both the yarn and the pattern! I ended up using the heel/toe coordinating ball for the last 10 rows or so, and I really enjoy how that turned out.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
You may or may not remember my Statement of Intent to keep track of what I was eating and when in order to figure out why my energy was so low. Turns out I was basically starving myself. Oops. Also, very unlike me! It's basically a result of my stomach (and I think maybe my heart)being homesick. Turns out I enjoy eating a lot less when I'm alone.
On Monday I set out intent on cooking some food that would be appealing to me and make me want to eat. Remember my new-found faith in the connectedness of all people? I stumbled across Farmgirl Fare a great blog about food, from a lady who lives on a farm:) Can't get much closer to home than that!
I went for two recipes: Use it or lose it lentil escarole soup and Slice of Toasted Heaven Lemon Coconut "Bread". I didn't follow either recipe very well, because I didn't have a measuring cup or spoon, so I did everything by ratios...sort of. I did the "bread" first, using a drinking glass (which I believe is closer to a cup and a half) as a measuring cup, and sort of eyeballed everything else. It came out pretty well but I'd use more coconut and vanilla extract and less lemon juice next time. It's delicious though, and I love it and recommend it. Toast it! She's not kidding. It reminds me of a blueberry lemon pound cake my mom makes. If I can find blueberries here I'm going to add them next time.
While that was baking (for 40 minutes instead of 60-70, because Ceci's gas oven is different that what we normally use) I started up the soup, again with no measuring cup. I also only had one tomato, and no escarole. I used two kinds of lentils, and a ton of carrots, and probably not enough liquid so it's pretty thick. I also added a little cayenne, and cooked up some hamburger in Penzey's Southwest Seasoning that Mom gave me! I threw that in after I blended everything. I don't want to brag, but lentil soup is one of my favorite things on the planet, and this may be some of the best lentil soup I've ever eaten. I am very proud of myself. It also keeps me going all day! I made enough that I can probably eat it for 10 meals, so I threw a bunch in the freezer for next time I'm craving it.
I was only on Farmgirl Fare for a short time, but I have about a dozen recipes I want to try. I can't recommend her more!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I learned a new stitch in my weaving class this past weekend, called something funny that I can't remember. I'll have to ask when I go back on Monday. At first working with two bobbins at once was a pain, but I'm getting the hang of it!
I'm really enjoying my weaving class. It reminds me of taking classes at Off the Beaded Path except in a second language in a foreign country (which is weird, because I don't know the English words for anything I'm learning.) It's nice to do something besides my uni classes because I get to meet other Argentines. I'm making friends with some ladies in one of my favorite shops!
Monday, May 11, 2009
The Be Good Tanyas - Human Thing
I love this song and the video as well. It reminds me of a book my mom has from long ago, with all sorts of beautiful, earth-loving drawings in it. I spent the day cooking in a soul-hungry attempt to eat some food that really tasted of home, and this song makes me feel at home even though I'm far away.
You can find more information about The Be Good Tanyas on their website. I hope you love them as much as I do!
Looking for more Music Monday? Click it!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
A Note: You may have noticed that things have changed around here. I've decided not to switch to WordPress after all the technical trouble I've been though already with them. It seemed more practical to keep my account here and just work with it. I still have some things to fix, such as the date to post title ratio (why is the date HUGE and the title tiny?) that so far has proved totally illogical. I'm actually very proud of how much I've learned in the last couple of days. What do you think? Is it too cluttered? I can't tell if I just need to get used to it or if I don't like it...Let me know your opinion(s)!
All that said, let's get to my fun new tradition! Fiber Friday! I have so many fun fiber things going on that I'd love to constantly bombard you with photos, but I'm trying to restrain myself. One on Friday, and maybe a WIP Wednesday... if I'm looking for an excuse.
The big pile on the left is mostly pure cotton with one chartreuse skein of cotton/silk blend. All that is destined to become a woven skirt (I hope!) In the back there are two beautifully rich skeins of pure wool, the deep gold a the gem tone variegated. The light green with the shawl pin is for my weaving class on Saturday, and it's an acrylic/wool blend. Before anybody freaks out that I went out and bought so much yarn today let me divulge, I did not spend more than U$S35. Yes, you read that correctly. South America is on my side this time!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Where have I been? Under a rock? How could I have possible missed this woman and her work!? I came across her on Cubist Literature!'s Flickr page and from there found SandraBacklund.com which you should ALL check out because it's fantastic! Her current collection is beautifully feminine, but has a strange floral/insect/sci-fi vibe to it.
I find it incredibly compelling both visually and technically. Each piece has its own structure and design that is completely unique to her work. I think that they are compelling images for any person, regardless of their level of fiber-obsession. (Who, me?) Personally I find that they lead my mind towards some sort of tribal armor, but not to the point that they're kitschy or obvious, just refreshing and powerful.
"My work is very personal to me. I improvise and allow myself to lose control and see what happens if I do not think so much about practical things."
If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I've been quite for a few days because I'm pondering the possibility of moving my blog over to a WordPress account. I've been toying with a new blog name and just generally hoping to jumpstart my enthusiasm and find some real direction in my content. My biggest problem with Blogger is the comment system. I can't directly reply to comments, and that bugs me. Additionally I'd love a three column theme, but can't seem to find one on Blogger without some seriously confusing techy stuff. That said, so far WordPress has been nothing but a pain for me, and in reality their themes are very limited.
Does anyone have any opinion? Advice on how to adapt my Blogger blog to a three column layout? I started out fully convinced that I wanted to switch to WordPress, but now I'm wondering if there isn't a way I can compromise with Blogger.
Posted by Robin Marie at 11:43 AM
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I'm absolutely hooked on weaving. My class yesterday was wonderful, and I understood a great deal of it, though the new vocabulary is a bit tricky. We learned to warp the loom and all that is involved with that, as well as a good bit of history (although I can't say I have any idea what she said regarding that...)
Weaving is a great way to utilize some of the yarn I have that I can't knit with! Cottons, silks, even acrylics... I'm so excited to finally get into some of the pretty yarns I have! The picture above is of my second project...Yes I was so enthused when I got home yesterday that I finished the class project and warped a second because I couldn't wait to use the cute peachy cotton yarn I had in my drawer!
Check out my Project Spectrum Set on Flickr for more of what I'm working on!
Friday, May 1, 2009
I have something I need to declare, and I need to state it publicly because it's harder to back out of something once you've told other people you'll do it (I hope.) Starting tomorrow (only because I already can't remember today's list) I'm writing every single thing I eat or drink in that little book in the image above (which also happens to be my impromptu knitting idea book, so the incentive to carry it around is good.)I haven't decided what to do with that information yet.
I think I just need to take stock.
I know I eat a ton of those cute high-fiber crackers with suns and wheat stalks imprinted on them.
I know I eat a ton of lite Finlandia cheese (cream cheese but a lot lighter.)
I know I eat a lot of Activia yogurts, because they have the best flavors...(unfortunately the low-fat one's suck.)
I eat a lot of tomatoes...
My energy is really low, and I'm always hungry.
I can't summon the energy to go out with Ceci and friends because I can't handle having to speak The Language all night.
My mood is swinging violently.
I can't seem to kick the cough lodged in my chest.
I think I'm sleeping way too much.
I think I'll add also that I'm keeping track of how much I sleep, how much I get out of the house and how my energy levels feel throughout the day.
Basically I want to be able to write a post like this. Or this. Or this.
I feel like with all the hustle before I left for this trip I didn't get to do my yearly self-evaluation and re-adjustment and I think now is the time. Something's gotta give or I'm going to waste this adventure away...