It began in Nicaragua…

After spending the last year living and working in Honduras, I headed south with my dear friend Alex to do some exploring after school got out in June. We waltzed out of Gracias in the mañanita and set our sights on Granada, Nicaragua (after a short, but still excellent, stop in Tegucigalpa). We stayed in Granada a couple days and then hopped a ferry to La Isla de Omotepe– an island in lake Nicaragua that I was ready to stay on forever. Isla de Omotepe is home to two very large, active volcanos (Maderas and Concepcíon) and we stayed at a beautifully wild place called Little Morgan’s tucked right beneath them. We got up one morning (earlier than either of us really wanted to) to hike Maderas, the smaller of the two volcanoes. The entire trek felt like being on an Indiana Jones-esque treasure hunt–trudging through thick, green jungle in the rain and mud. We made fast friends with some future doctors and shared a few late nights with them before parting ways to head for San Juan Del Sur–a little surf town on the pacific coast. If I were to move to Nicaragua, I would make San Juan del Sur my home base, passing my evenings watching sunsets on the beach with a glass of Flor de Caña in hand. I fell head over heels for Nicaragua and can’t wait to go back…

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Sunset in San Juan Del Sur

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En Route to Volcano Island

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San Juan Del Sur

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Little Ones

As my days here wind down and I prepare to leave Gracias behind, I can’t help but think of all the things in this wonderful little town that will leave me with the sting of missing. The first of many is the sheer joy these little guys brought with them into each and every day.

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DSCN3534Children are amazing. They’re imaginative, honest, unashamed by their emotions, and excited to share their wild little worlds with you. They dream of impossible things, creating whole universes with wide eyes and unbridled laughter. They learn quickly, eat slowly, and say exactly what they mean. I could never have guessed that I’d learn so much about how to carry myself in the world from 2 and 3 year olds. Not only did they teach me to speak Spanish, they taught how important it is to see the world for the fascinating, and awe inspiring place that it truly is. It has been such a gift to see the world through their unspoiled eyes, a gift I hope to carry with me forever.

Celaque

Mountains have always been my sanctuary. When things don’t make sense, and I need to sort through my thoughts I’ve always turned to mountains. They provide an escape, and a perspective that causes my stresses and worries to melt away as trivialities.  Their size and intricacy remind me that I am small–just one tiny piece of an enormously elaborate puzzle. They remind me that there are greater forces at work. That the pieces will all, eventually, fall together.
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Jungle Stream

TreeI’m lucky to have had so many incredible mountains in my life. Each one has challenged me and made me better. Celaque was no different. Honduras’s highest peak gave me the same familiar feeling that I get from the mountains back home; the feeling that everything is falling together just as it is meant to–that it will all work out so long as I just keep climbing.

With The End In Sight

BorjasMy time in Gracias is dwindling and as I feel the days slipping past I can’t help but think how difficult it will be to leave to this place. While I’m excited to travel, and go home to my friends, and move forward with my whirlwind life, thinking about saying goodbye to Gracias nearly brings me to tears. But my friend recently reminded me that goodbyes should not be easy, and that we shouldn’t want them to be. My goodbye with Gracias will be one of my hardest to date; it has been such a wonderful home, and I’ve found so much to love here. I suppose my only choice is to bite my lip, soak in every detail, and breathe in each moment knowing that goodbye is just around the corner.

Poste Rojo

Sometimes we forget to see that each day breathes beauty. I’ve found that in these blind, forgetful times the wind whispers secrets that carry us to places where we are reminded to look. Poste Rojo was just such a secret.
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Time spent here felt like a gift, a secret hideout with an ever rotating kaleidoscope of  characters, each a beautifully worn soul with mountains of stories to share. All the right pieces fell together while swinging mornings by in a hammock, and rambling late into the evenings with former strangers. I felt like myself in this treehouse, like I could have stayed tucked away in the jungle in Nicaragua for a lifetime. How sweet it is to feel at home when home is half a world away.

Wide Awake and Dreaming

Looking down my street

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Cloudscape

Most days, I wake up and question whether I’m still dreaming when I walk out my door. Maybe that’s what I love, that everyday feels surreal, hazy, softened, like at any moment I’ll be tugged out of a long sleep and realize that I’d imagined the whole thing…that this strange and beautiful little world doesn’t even exist. Then I blink, realize that it does, and feel deeply grateful for the hand I’ve been dealt.

Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?

Toddlers and Tiaras…

Life in the Minerva Preschool has been a dizzying whirlwind of preparations for the 2013 Summer Fashion Show the last few weeks. The little ones have been studying their colors and practicing their model walks in order to make the big event as perfect as it can be. As such, my day-to-day life has been filled to the brim with sheer cuteness–check these kiddos out: D

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JI certainly have a long list of complaints about this absurd, though adorable, little activity. Why are we instilling the “importance” of being attractive into toddlers? What are we teaching them by having a fashion show be the most important activity of an entire partial? Aren’t there more important things we could be doing with the 20+ minutes a day we spend preparing for this modeling extravaganza? Shouldn’t we be teaching them that they’re all smart and beautiful exactly as they are? In spite of my objections and aggravation (we’ve been forced to do weekend and after school practices…it’s gotten a bit ridiculous and I’m ready for it to be over) I recognize that it’s fairly important to the administration for whatever reason, and the kids really seem to enjoy it. So, I bite my tongue and laugh… it’s hard to be angry when you see these excited little faces smiling back at you.

In the clouds

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I’ve always been drawn to believe that clouds are much more than clumps of condensation. I can’t help but think that they’re some slow moving barrier that floats between us and things that are meant to remain a mystery. Maybe clouds carry the secrets of the world in between their cottony folds, roaming the sky to solicit our innate curiosity about the many things we can in no way explain. All I know is there’s more to them than just water and light.

…and for all you lovers out there…

People always have a lot to say about Valentines Day. The cynics will tell you it’s overly commercial; an ordinary day turned into a marketing ploy for all things pink, heart shaped, or chocolate. Maybe they’re right, but all I can say is what’s not to love about a day where we focus on love in its many beautiful forms? In this crazy, often hate-filled world of ours, isn’t it nice to take even just one day to tell your people that you care about them, to do something unexpected for someone special to you, to soak in all the good feelings that loving and being loved bring with them? Rose Pairs

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Petals I have been blessed with so much love from so many places in my life that I spend each day wondering what I could possibly have done to earn it. So, these roses are for you, you countless beautiful souls who have given me all the love your hearts could muster, even when I least deserved it. You mean a million and one beautiful and fabulous things to me today and every day. I love you, I love you, I love you!

Infinite x’s and o’s

–Sydney