I am writing from my 86th flight this year….I think. On some flight recently, I tried to count how many I was on this year, which was—not surprisingly—rather full and crazy. Sitting in first class while Matt slums it in coach on my way to Denver for holiday festivities with the fam, skiing as much as I can, a new Peruvian visa, and a little face time in the Denver office. 2009 is almost over and I’ve had my fair share of time on planes recently to think about this year and the ten years of this decade. 10 years ago I was on my way to Madagascar to study for six months, everybody thought the world was going to Y2-implode and I didn’t have a cell phone. I now live in Lima, the proud owner of a free iphone that I have used in four continents in the last few months. Oh, how the times have changed. I talked to my family twice in the six months in 2000 and now skype with them multiple times a week. I spoke French then and Spanish now. I had an appendix then. I don’t now.
The 2009 recap….or at least what stands out.
• Passed the 12 month ticker for being married in the seaside surf town of Mancora. Went to surf and chickened out because of the huge swells that weekend.
• Cusquena came out with cerveza de trigo –wheat beer- and a tasty surprise to the tastebuds
• Learning that my health insurance works the hard way with an emergency Peruvian appendectomy.
• Feeling the earth move under my feet for the first time…in a hospital bed awaiting said appendectomy
• Carnaval, Bolivian style
• Straddling the Eurasian continents in Turkey
• Matt having to use a sword to start one of his meals in Turkey
• Driving some random Turk’s car across Turkey
• Sleeping in a luxurious cave in Turkey
• First hot air balloon ride over Cappadoccia (I know, a lot about Turkey, but it was really cool!)
• One night layover in Chicago celebrating my golden birthday with my whole family
• Semana Santa with Cybele, Steven, Machu Pichu, and Gringo Larry
• Leah! Turning thirty with my best friend in the whole world, laughing until we cried for days straight in Bolivia. Can still get into trouble like we did when we were 10; just wait til we’re 50!
• Looking at 400 toilets in Bolivia (only a sani-phile like myself would include this here); but so cool to see people making money out of shit
• Multiple daily cups of Ethiopian coffee for a week
• The swine flu…only because it cancelled a conference in Nicaragua so I went to the beach with Leah for three days instead
• Standing up on surf board in Costa Rica and watching my Dad get up, too
• A wee bit of calm in Lima between trips
• NYC for the weekend, my freshman roommate’s wedding, Matt’s parents 40th (!) wedding anniversary and lobster
• Narrowly averting sure death by a crazed Andean cow on the outskirts of Huaraz
• The passage of new transport laws in Peru that make KILLING someone while driving drunk a steeper fine; this set off a week long transportation strike that had us end our trip to the mountains a day early.
• Matt’s birthday dinner in a pre-Incan mound-turned swishy restaurant; only to be followed by me projectile vomiting three times on the walk home. Bad hummus earlier that day.
• Huaraz. Mountains. Feliz.
• Site visit to Arequipa, where we will move next year. Sits at 8000 feet at the foot of 19,000 foot El Misti and a beautiful classic Peruvian town. Can’t wait to make the move!
• Trip to the States for lots of goodness: Kevin and Rachel’s wedding, Greg stomping the Leadville hundred, Peanut Butter and Blew-ah moving to Denver and more! Had stomachaches the first week there adjusting back to processedandtired American food, but all in all, really fun.
• The Tour de Jackie begins…Vic and Jackie came to Peru and Chile for a week. Vic tried raw fish –ceviche and sushi!-; hiked to Machu Pichu, tore up the Chilean ski slopes, and drank way too much carmenere.
• Began my eight-week in a row of straight work…..
• Finished first phase of WFP’s Peruvian registration-this is not a work blog but it’s been such a nightmare getting registered that I add this
• I literally worked the entire month of October. Lots of WFP highlights but this is a WFP-free blog entry
• I assume Matt 1 and Matt 2’s mustache tour of Europe was a highlight; I was leading a group of 7 volunteers and three photographers in the Peruvian highlands, which was a trip in and of itself.
• Still working…..
• Quick trip to Arequipa and Colca Canon. Running at altitude and an unsuccessful attempt to see the condors. Altitude hurts living at sea level!
• Matt started making dinner reservations and calling taxis all by hiself in espanol…holler!
• Patagonia. See other blog.
• Fogelberg one-piece ski suit fashion show at Winter Park. Photos forthcoming.
On the docket for 2010:
• Finally try this blog’s namesake quaff and see what the fuss is about the leche de burra.
• At least one Latin American marathon in preparation for something over 42km
• Dust off the crampons we brought down here and haven’t used yet
• Get our salsa on-the dance, not the condiment.
• As is my goal every year, visit at least one new country. I blew that out of the water this year with five and Matt takes the gold with seven.
• A better blogger….Matt linked this to his facebook page with the promise to at least write one…vamos a ver
That’s it-since moving overseas a year and a half ago, my expectations in things have dropped dramatically. It’s much more fulfilling to finish a few things than feel disappointed that you couldn’t do ten things because the accountants were on strike, the line at the bank was two hours long, or you have to go to three different offices in person to pay your bills. Stay tuned for 2010 stories from the land of hot donkey milk and prospero 2010 a todos!