“The Hard is What Makes it Great.”

Hello Everyone!

Well the last time I left you I was finishing my first week of vacation classes which consisted of many fun activities, my favorite being the battle presentations between Virginia and North Carolina. Which were pretty much like…

cute-fight

North Carolina won that round but I have a feeling it’s not over yet.

Well the second week of camp was definitely a little more exciting than the first. I had two different volunteers come to help and since it also happened to be rainy season here in Celica, my classroom flooded! Twice! The first time it happened we were like…

point and run

And then when it happened again we were pretty much like…

shrug

So after that we had to cancel our afternoon classes and only hold them in the morning since it usually rains in the afternoon/evening. Flooding and landslides continued to happen all around, it was much worse than last year and at times the roads going in and out of Celica were totally blocked off. When I traveled during this time I was pretty much like…

shocked

However, they’re used to this weather and they usually had a bulldozer quickly at the scene to clear off the road (or at least one lane) so traffic could come through. I must say, this was a unique experience for me but it became the norm for that month or so.

life

Regardless of the flooding and landslides we still were able to have a very successful last week of camp. That week I had three different volunteers come to help! We did kindness activities and our last activity (and my personal favorite) was an Easter party! I taught the kids about how we celebrate Easter in the States. Then we made bunny ears for the kids to wear and Easter egg baskets and then we had our own Easter egg hunt!!! It was sooooo much fun! All of the kids were like…

fangirl

And the adults were like…

cheering_minions

It was a perfect way to end the classes and I am so happy that I was able to hold this final vacation class with my fellow volunteers!

Well after my vacation classes I got to go help some volunteers that live close to me with their summer activities. I had so much fun hanging out in their community, getting to know their kiddos and harmonizing all day and all night! (Ba da dummmm…)

seal

I was very happy that I got to participate and hang out with those volunteers in their element! Many memories were made!

Then after that camp my parents came down to visit!!!!

We conquered Quito in a day and then moved on to Peru! After spending a few days in Cusco, taking day tours to various Inca ruins and exploring the city, I took off on my own adventure to hike the Inca Trail!

proud

The Inca trail is usually a 4 day hike but because of raining and landslides (sound familiar?) they made it into a 3 day hike so we had to walk even more each day than normal to which I was like…

what have i done 2

The first day was the easiest day and by the end of it I did NOT want to know what the hard days were going to be like. The weather was sunny and hot, I was sweating like crazy and trying hard to stay hydrated and not get sunburned. We passed by two Inca ruins and walked a good hour or so uphill before getting to camp. When we were done I stretched, changed out of my sweaty clothes, ate and then was pretty much like…

Monsters-Inc-Boo-nap-gif

Just so you know, when you hike the Inca trail you’re required to go with a company and that company hires porters to carry all of the food, tents etc. These porters also cook all of the food, set up the tents etc. (the food is amazing by the way). Sooooo these local Peruvian men carry these HUGE packs that are about the same size as they are and they literally RUN past us on the trail. It’s truly impressive and whenever they passed us I was just like…

seriously

Well we got up early the next day with room service. They brought us tea to our tents which I promptly spilled and had to clean up with some of my clothes…

ug

I was carrying all of my stuff on the first day but our guide recommended that we hire a porter for the second day so I took his advice and I’m glad I did. On the second day the climate was more transitional and a lot colder than the day before. We hiked 3 straight hours uphill up to an altitude of around 14,000 ft. at Dead Woman’s pass. Needless to say, I was pretty much like…

breathe

While we had some quick hikers in our group, I was definitely of the mindset, slow and steady wins the race. I wouldn’t stop and instead would just slow my pace to about like this…

slow-down-i-wanna-get-there-alive_786

Because I knew if I stopped, it would be much harder for me to get started again. After we finished with Dead Woman’s pass, we then had to hike 1 ½ hours downhill to eat lunch then 2 more hours uphill again. During the 2 hour hike up, it started pouring down rain and OF COURSE my rain gear was in my bag with the porter.

bang head

So for the second half of the hike I was just soaking wet and freezing. When we finally got to camp I changed out of my cold wet clothes, ate and was like…

fall over fail

That night was soooo cold that I actually used the mummy part of my sleeping bag and tucked myself in only to wake up later in the night and have a panic attack because I couldn’t get myself out of there!

Once I made it out of my sleeping bag alive I was definitely like…

laughing

The third day was pretty much all downhill…

Can_i_get_a_hallelujah

I was back to carrying my pack again and since everything was soaking wet from the day before, it felt like it weighed twice as much as the first day. I was definitely pleased that it was all downhill until the pressure from going down all of the stairs for so long started to hurt my knee. The views were spectacular and I was kind of sad that we were almost finished but my knee was ready. For the last 2 hours of the hike I had to go very slowly which made me feel like I was doing this to everyone…

bean-old-people-o

At the very end of the hike, before you make it to the Sun Gate (where you first see Machu Picchu) there are steps nicknamed “The Gringo Killers”. While there aren’t that many of these steps, they are definitely a little terrifying. They are extremely steep and you almost have to climb them like a ladder. I felt like I was going to fall backwards a few times with my pack. But once we were over those final steps we were like…

fist pump

We got to the Sun Gate and it was over! We were finally there! It was definitely an amazing, once in a lifetime, experience and I’m glad that I did it.

After we arrived, we hung out at the Sun Gate for a little bit and then made it down closer to Machu Picchu where we took some group pictures. We looked around for a minute and then headed down to Aguas Calientes where we spent the night in a hostel! We got showers but unfortunately most of us had to put back on dirty clothes to which we were all like…

gross

The next day we went back up to Machu Picchu, had a tour and I said goodbye to my group. My parents (who were playing around in Cusco this entire time) then met up with me at the entrance and I took another tour with them!

Fortunately, my parents brought me clean clothes and dry shoes so after our tours I was able to shower and change!

The next day we went back up to Machu Picchu and even though I had hurt my knee, I climbed back up to the Sun Gate with my Dad.

regret-nothing

Once we were done with the hike we walked around a little more and then headed back to Cusco.

On the train back, we got to see a fashion show of Peru Rail’s clothing line. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip because it was an entire production with music and everything. The female employee was definitely model material and confidently walked down the aisle. Then the poor awkward male employee walked briskly down the aisle ready to be out of the spotlight and it was obvious that he was like…

uncomfortable

I felt bad for the guy but it was hilarious and he was such a good sport about it.

Shortly after my parents went back to the States after our grand adventure, my Omnibus (training group) had our Close of Service conference. It was great to see everyone all in one place again but it was crazy to think about how quickly two years passed by! I now only have about 2 more months left in Celica and then I will be moving to Quito. On the one side I’m like…

feelings

And on the other I’m like…

change

Well during our week long conference together, we definitely made a lot more memories involving a lot of karaoke and dancing! Then afterwards a few of us stayed for medical exams which aren’t so fun but the company was great! I ended up staying a few extra days and then got sick so then I was forced to stay a few more and then I finally made it back to Celica and was like…

dead

Honestly, it’s hard to imagine continuing for another year without the rest of my Omnibus here to support me through it. It’s definitely going to be hard but in the famous words of Tom Hanks…

hard makes it great

So I am looking forward to wrapping up my current adventure and moving on to the next one in Quito. I am also looking forward to coming back home for a month BEFORE starting my adventure in Quito. I will be keeping you posted on the official dates!

So for now I am meeting with community members and letting them know that I will be leaving soon and I am planning a going away party for my kiddos that will hopefully be…

amazing

Don’t worry the adventure is not over yet and I will keep you posted on what’s to come!

Well that’s all I have for now! Hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!