2010 Year in Review

I usually don´t have new year´s resolutions, but the last few years, it has been a generic “make this year better than the last”.  Whether that be traveling to 15 countries or graduating from college or working for Kiva, this year has been both un-forgettable and equally hard to top. Here are some highlights!

January. I´ll bring this full circle. Last New Year I spent in Frankfurt, Germany with Sandra Nymphius lighting off bottle rockets. A subsequent trip to the glorious dutch nation of Holland to visit Shamir, eat herring, and see Amsterdam make January 2010 equally unforgettable.

February-March. Columbia with Devin Dvorak. This whorlwind tour of Medellin, Cartagena, Santa Teresa, and Bogota involved a lot of beach side eating, mojitos, salsa dancing, and monkey chasing.  Never forget that day in Cartagena eating Ceviche… And back at Pepperdine for Songfest! Half the time I think I hated doing the practices, but at the end (and KTD´s almost win), I wouldn´t trade it for the world.

April. Wine tasting for my birthday. Getting the Kiva Fellowship. Graduating from college. My favorite month / memories of 2010…

May-June. Cruising the Mediterranean with Princess Cruises with the parents. Highlights: seeing Venice, quads in Mykonos, the spice market in Istanbul, Florence, Rome, and going back to Barcelona (easily one of my favorite cities in the world).  Road tripping up to San Luis Obispo with Hallie. The 24 hour drive out to Houston for Andy and Trudy Smith´s wedding.

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July-August. Kiva Training. Visiting with the cousins in San Francisco. Moving to Guatemala City to start my fellowship. Getting robbed on Roosevelt in Guatemala City (not a highlight but definitely memorable).  Moving to Aldea Nimasac in Guatemala. Visiting Lago Atitlán.

September-October. Kiva Vacation in Nicaragua (one of my favorite vacations of all time). Kiva Vacation in El Salvador. Surfing. Visiting with Devin Dvorak in Costa Rica. Seeing the Kite Festival in Sumpango.

November-December. Visiting the U.S. My weekend in San Diego. Moving to Cusco, Peru. Finding the meeting place. The near miss with a Machete Robbery. Having Marc Capule come visit. Exploring the Incan Culture and Ruins. Christmas with Peruvians and brunch in San Jeronimo.

Pura Vida, Mae

First of all, shout out to Devin Dvorak: Pepperdine Graduate, Fulbright Fellow in Argentina and one of my best friends, for being the only person to come visit me here in Central America.  The best part of travel is the adventures that are shared and it is awesome catching up with old friends in new countries on one of those.  Unlike my last blog, this: this is a travel blog.

The destination was Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.  Picked on a whim (one of his friends from Buenos Aires is moving there in the spring), we were headed to Disfrútalo Resort on the beach.  We met up on the flight from Guate City to San Jose, but little did we know that the 5 and 1/2 hour bus won´t leave until 3 hours after we got in and would take close to 7 hours.

We arrived late to the beach, and tried to settle into our Villa despite the fact that our Italian host was quite angry to have been woken up. (Ok, maybe not woken up at 9pm, but something got him bent out of shape).  The next day, we chilled on the beach, drank some Flor de Caña, went body surfing and planned our weekend: renting quads, surfing, good food, and a lot of down-time.

This was a tourist or extended tourist spot. We spoke more English than Spanish, and ate meals closer to what you would find in California than Central America (Burgers, Fish and Chips, Falafel).  We spoke to far too many Argentines and far too few Costa Ricans, drove quads to waterfalls and down creeks, surfed waves that were far to big and blown out, and woke up and went to bed with the sun.  It was the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Guate City, and the perfect opportunity to catch up and trip plan for our future adventures in Argentina.  All to be topped off with an awesome Argentine dinner in San Jose!

Pura vida, mae. My Costa Rican adventure is one to remembered for some time to come (at least until we put the first km on the rental car in Argentina).


So this last weekend, I headed out to the beach in guate.  Black, volcanic sand. Kicking surf. Coconut palms all around. A pair of six hour bus rides to get to and from.

Sipacate Beach Intro

Sipacate Sunrise Domingo

Boat Ride from Sipacate Beach

And such was my weekend. To and from, I took chicken buses which are always full: three people to a seat in a school bus from Rhode Island (really, still had the tags). Made for kids and people that are under 5`8″.