Feeling guiltily good


When I first got to Santa Cruz, Nick, Hugo, some rich government guy, and I were all sitting outside the house talking and I was asked why I am traveling the world, I replied that I think it is a good experience to see many things before one settles into doing that which he or she will do for his or her life (or something to that effect), and they replied “all I hear is American guilt – can’t you just enjoy a vacation?”. The thing is though, I really don’t view this as a vacation. Sure, some parts of it are going to be a lot of fun – but it’s also going to be hard to “throw yourself out of your comfort zone” (quoted from a friend), every moment of every day. You may like pizza, but what if you had to eat it for every meal of every day for many, many, many months. My case in point is that yeah, I am having fun, but in all honesty, that is not my intention so much as wanting to experience as much as I can experience (be it good or bad).

With that being said, the past couple weeks have been a wonderful vacation of doing absolutely nothing – and I have loved every minute of it. Traveling takes its toll on you and you never really get bored, but sometimes, getting bored is the best therapy you can get. I used to be like this – able to take things really slowly. I liked moving slow and having time to think and take everything in. But then I had to move really fast for a year and a half. Between work (I think I had about 5 part-time jobs to save up for this thing) and my last few quarters at school, if I wasn’t working, I was studying, programming or sleeping, with not much of a social life beyond school. I pushed myself to the point of breaking and just now, after two months of traveling, I have finally slowed down again.

I go to my Chinese tutoring for an hour a day and the rest of the day I either read, study Chinese or Spanish, watch TV, or go outside and think. There is a huge mango tree out back and the mangoes have become ripe (and man do I love mangoes) so I eat quite a few of those a day as well (the maid made a comment today, haha). I also have a pretty comprehensive library at my disposal in the study room here at the house and have been trying to read as much as I can before I set off to the vast book wasteland that is much of South America.

I don’t know. Maybe if I wasn’t leaving in a few days, the prospect of doing this for an undefined period of time would cause me to get bored, but thankfully, that’s not the case and I am loving this. I treated the Spechars out to dinner the other night at a fancy dining establishment and we gorged ourselves. Appetizers (snails and squid), our main course, dessert, and two bottles of wine for six people came to a whopping $115 bucks. Ah yes, the things we can do with a strong dollar.

In other news, Thanksgiving is coming up! No, they don’t celebrate it here (uhhh, where was it the pilgrims landed?), but that doesn’t preclude us whiteboys from doing it. Of course, I think were just going to have some badly cooked turkey and beer – nothing more; But that will have to do.

And I leave for Peru in 6 days!

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