The Things You Can See When You Open Your Eyes

I know, I am bad blogger. I have not posted for a reason though.  A reason I still cannot say.  But, I realize that is no reason not to update!  So, I am back in Cali Colombia.  Maybe to stay for a while.  I finished my TEFL certificate and just need to get the number.  I have started an English group for kids a nearby park, and two yoga classes a week too.  One class is for kids and one for women.  My Spanish is improving leaps and bounds and I feel I am really starting to understand the culture more. But, the more I see and learn, and the longer I am here, the more realize the culture different and the more I realize it is the same.

I mean, when will you see a sheep in need of shearing head butting a pet dog on a very nice patio with the door open and both goat and dog wandering freely?  In the middle of the third largest City in Colombia?  Just as frequently as you see the chickens hopping from patio to patio in search of some food.  Or horses pulling carts to haul away rubble pulled up by expanding the sewer system and fixing the streets.  Oh, and don’t forget the horse or goat that is “mowing the lawn.  I t probably isn’t even their goat or horse, they just shoo it in and let it out when they have eaten their full.

The City is so full of contradictions.  Poor, but dressed nicely.  Modern, but antiquated.  Friendly and open, yet protective and wary.  Incredibly conservative, but incredibly promiscuous.  Simple yet complicated.  Eager to learn yet unwilling to change.  Hardworking and yet lazy or drunk.

It is an enigma waiting to be explored.  I have not taken any pictures yet, but I will be soon and I have tons from Peru and Ecuador.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  I did.  I made baked chicken quarters, biscuits, Mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, and something similar to an apple crisp on the stove top. I invited some friends over and it was a big success.

Saying Good-Bye

House Sitting…Again

I have been staying at my friend Kathy’s who you might remember from the Boney James concert or from my House Sitting page.  I was house sitting when I first got here Wednesday, her  family was in South Carolina visiting their families.  They have a little chihuahua, a black cat, and…a pool.

What time I was not spending going to the doctors to get some last-minute checkups since I still have my health insurance until the end of the month I was spending sleeping, sunning, and writing.  Good news though, I already have Hepatitis B shot in my blood so I do not need any shots!  Just had my tetanus shot a year or two ago so that is good.

Well, I was also trying to keep peace between the cat and the dog.  The cat would go over to the sleeping dog and jump attack and would chase him around when he came in from a walk.  Then at night the cat would come and try to chase the dog out of the bed and then try to sit on my face.  When no one would pay attention to him, he would start tearing at the blinds.  It was interesting.

Saying Good-Bye

The day before Kathy and her family came home I went to the store looking for a birthday gift for Kathy’s oldest daughter Helen.  We have been best buds for five years.  I was her first sleep over that was not family.  I took her to Disney to get her Princess Makeover.  From birthdays to Christmases and Thanksgivings we were all a family.  Her mom has been like an older sister to me and she is like my niece.  Her mom’s last presents were tickets to see Boney James and Chris Botti but I had not found something for Helen.  Normally, I like to give her presents that are something we can do together.

As I walked around the store, an entire flashback montage came back to me starting five years ago when I moved to Winter Haven for my first job after I graduated from college.  From buying my first curtains and my nice living room and patio furniture and plants for my garden where I threw many dinners.  I used to sit out on my patio on my swing that converted to a fixed, flat bed with a fire pit and watch the stars and listen to the crickets.  I would cook with my fresh herbs on the grill.  Jack would dig up every pineapple I tried to grow and ate my cinnamon basil if I left him outside.  I met Kathy and her family, who lived one building down in my apartment complex, and then every night Jack and I would walk to Kathy’s house.  Almost every night.

There was the time Jack got out from the patio when I was at work and Kathy’s husband found him sitting outside of the gate barking at people who went by.  Or the Halloween when the stray kitten I tried to adopt ate my bird, Sunny and Kathy and her husband came and cleaned the entire mess up. Including the mess the dog left behind because he shaking in the corner scare. The bird was friend.

Or maybe the only Thanksgiving I spent living in Winter Haven when I went down to Kathy’s house and used her girl’s wagon to haul a load of beer and liquor from my apartment to her’s, with the then two-year old girl in the wagon (there is a picture somewhere).  Hours of sitting and talking gibberish with said two-year old.  Experimenting with so many recipes.

So many memories.

So, I was walking through Wal-Mart trying to find a fitting present and trying not to cry.  I thought about a scrapbook but I already bought her one of those.  Then it hit me.  I should get her something we can interact with while I am gone.  So I bought her a picture album with pages you can organize pictures in any way possible (not just 4×6 slots) in a binder.  I also bought some stickers and matting pages.  The premise is that everywhere on my trip I can send her postcards, currency, map pages, paper momentos etc. Hopefully along with Google Chat and Google Voice we can stay in touch.

Then on Monday the family came back.  We have been just hanging out all week.  Cooking great food with the now seven-year old and trying to entertain the teething 18-month old with Disney Jr. games on the computer has been fun.  I still cannot get the baby to say my name but she calls my computer Kicky (Micky) because we watch Micky on my computer.

For dinner two days ago we had corn on the cob, asparagus, beef and chicken kabobs with my renowned (thanks to Alton Brown) marinade, picked cucumber and onion salad, and milkshakes.  It was amazing.  Tonight we had bow tie pasta with pancetta, peas, corn, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese, herb and cheese stuffed mushrooms, garlic crostini with some of the stuffed mushroom filling on top, and grill pineapple and bananas with white chocolate sauce (which I did not partake in) and pineapple syrup over vanilla ice cream.  I have never made either sauces or grilled fruit but they turned out pretty good.  The kid was a great sous chef.  She husked the corn, mixed ingredients, stuffed the mushrooms, and in general was a great kid.

The First of Many

I realized this week how many good-byes I am going to have to give this weekend.  And I do not know when I will be back to Florida.  So, I set up dinner and dancing and yoga and trail dates with friends throughout Central Florida.  I also set up a massage appointment with the guy at Ananda Kula who helped me get into yoga seriously and taught me how I needed to heal my body from over use injuries and

Yoga

On Friday I found a yoga studio in Downtown Winter Haven called Groundwork Yoga.  I went to the 6 PM flow class with Jody so I went back Wednesday.  If you want the full story (including headstand prep with chairs) please read my post about the yoga in Winter Haven coming up shortly!