Note to self (after reading last night’s post)

Do NOT expect anything you write past 2 to be coherent or grammatically correct.


Random thoughts before I drift off to sleep

This has been such an amazing semester. I honestly could not have asked for a better place, time, or opportunity. But time’s a ticking, and I know I will soon have to close this chapter of my life, get my heads out of the clouds, and lock and load for CLDT, CTLT, and one more year of West Point.

Now that the time of my departure is drawing closer, I found my thoughts drifting more and more towards what awaits me in my inevitable return. At first, I was loathe to think about it because I knew what is to follow will be very tough and a lot more “grey.” But as I reflect more about it, I think I need to prep myself up. In other words, I have to slowly but methodically find my way down from Cloud 9. If I don’t do this, I can see myself plummeting into a hole of depression when I go back to New York and the fact that Mexico really is over hits me full in the face. And that would be a horrific after story of this amazing experience. And moreover, what kind of gratitude is that? It would be a pretty lame demonstration of my thanks if I only wallowed in my sadness afterwards. I should simply be happy and grateful to hananim that I had the experience and the chance of a lifetime. Imagine how my behavior would come across as to other people, like Jacob oppa and other West Pointers for instance. If I came back all depressed, first of all 1. It would show them that I care more about having fun in another country than being with them; 2. I would get annoyed that someone who had such an amazing experience can be so depressed while everyone else suffered when “hell froze over” <aka> West Point during the winter; 3. After looking forward to someone’s arrival for so long, it’d be extremely disappointing if all she did was live in the past. And I’m also forgetting all of the wonderful things that New York and life in the states has to offer… like my friends, family, and loved ones… the Gunks, delicious food, amazing sunrises over the Hudson from my 3rd floor window, clean air (yeap, Mexico City has to clean up its streets!), motorcycle classes ::fingers crossed::, the list goes on. And even more than that, while this semester was amazing, it was too easy. I didn’t feel challenged nor developed from an institutional viewpoint. Of course, this semester had its struggles and I did learn TONS, but overall I was pampered and babied and spoiled. Too much indulgence is not good. Before I get used to this kind of lifestyle and my callouses soften, I have to get back into an environment that roughens me up. West Point was designed for that, so perfect. CLDT is just what I need after an amazing semester in Mexico.

One last thought about my inevitable return before I move on- I don’t want to live in the past. And if there’s anything that Mexico taught me, it’s certainly that life is wonderful and the world is wonderful and offers so many things for human beings to enjoy. It makes me cringe to imagine myself living in my memories, distant from those nearby me, and missing all the good things the present has to offer. How terrible would that be.

My lower lip still quivers at the thought of leaving (oh boy, this is going to be soooooo difficult), but I WILL BE POSITIVE!

~~~

In lieu of my idiotic comment over Mike Herrick’s status today: Don’t take yourself too seriously. You make a fool of yourself sometimes but you know your worth and your potential. Laugh along with the others and enjoy the fact that you’re human.

~~~

I think I know why I like to climb so much. When I go on climbing trips and climb huge rock features, the whole world drifts away and for a moment there’s nothing but me, the rock I’m climbing, and the prospect of getting to the top. For a moment I’m transported into another world, into another where everything is so simple and makes so much sense and you feel completely one with nature. I love it when your body takes over and your movements become smooth and natural as you pick your path up the rock. I love finding the perfect handholds that provide the utmost security, yet know that I wouldn’t appreciate it half as much if it weren’t for those sketchy handholds and barely existing crimps. And the relief and sense of accomplishment and gratitude for your safety that comes after a particularly difficult segment of the route where you thought it would be impossible for you to do without falling… And the constant awareness of the risk and danger the sport provides yet being certain of the fact that you’re in control and all you have to do is maintain a cool head to get through it. And you know there are so many uncontrollable factors yet you have trust in yourself and the confidence that you can deal with it. And even the defeats, those routes that are “impossible” to climb, the one move where you keep falling and falling over and over again, scraping your knees, bumping your elbows, grazing your shoulders, drawing blood… where you give your all but your all is not enough. While there is that taste of bitter defeat and uttermost frustration, there’s also the calm that comes with knowing that you still have some growing to do and things to learn… And there’s beauty and excitement that comes with it… Climbing parallels life on pretty much every level. It’s a wonderful sport that I hope I can continue to do forever and forever.

Climbing is my haven. It’s the man-cave of my inner man. It’s something I can do that completely brings me peace yet opens me up.It’s where I go to run away from the world for a little bit and regain my sanity. Yet sometimes the awakening is cruel when I do return back to reality. Uh oh, I think I have to be careful, otherwise I’ll get stuck in my fantasy mode. It’s like Maud in inception. She strayed in her dreams for too long and couldn’t function in the real world afterwards. Let’s not meet that same fate, Hyangshim. You’re smarter than that, hun.

~~~

I’m going to miss the bees outside my window that keep me company with that sweet buzzing of theirs.


Sad.

Found out peanuts are actually a “legume” instead of a “nut” and is therefore unhealthy for you. They also contain aflatoxins, which is poisonous and known to cause cancer. Which means peanut butter and peanut butter cookies are a no-go.

Depression to commence.


vurtual:

The Descent (by outsideshot)

Ropes, harness, ATC. You got those and the possibilities for explorations are endless.

vurtual:

The Descent (by outsideshot)

Ropes, harness, ATC. You got those and the possibilities for explorations are endless.


Handguns

Last night Pepe showed me the revolver and handgun we had in the house for protection. The revolver used to belong to his grandfather but now belongs to Poncho. It was a beautiful gun with wooden moldings along its handle… and I got to shoot it. Both guns, in fact. We placed a Styrofoam bust on a chair and put a few rounds through it. The best was the porcelain vase that exploded on impact. Took a few minutes to gather up the broken pieces, but it was definitely worth it.

On another note, I baked peanut butter cookies last night that were a hit with the family. The recipe only called for 4 ingredients but the cookies turned out absolutely delicious. I swear, these are probably the easiest cookies one can possibly make but are “hit of the party” worthy. Here’s a link to the recipe in case anyone’s in a baking mood:

http://www.piarecipes.com/2013/01/four-ingredient-flourless-peanut-butter.html


Made pizza today!

Arturo showed me how to make dough and we made 2 pizzas last night. There was enough dough left to make one more pizza. Toppings include: tomato sauce, onions, blend of Italian herbs, bell peppers, avocado, and chorizo. It was gone after 5 minutes :)


Brunch

For brunch this morning, I made myself a grilled ham, tomato, and cheese (mozzarella cheese and some other sharper Mexican cheese) sandwich. A plate of sliced mangoes, a glass of milk to wash it off, and perfection in one meal. Now time to get cracking on those Problem Sets. EM420 I’m coming for you!!


Last of Acapulco.


Saturday, Feb. 23.

                We got up the next morning at 11:30 and headed down to the breakfast buffet. Afterwards, we immediately hit the beach. We went jet-skiing!! It was incredibly fun going as a group. To rent a jetski for 30 minutes cost 400 pesos (less than $40), which is super cheap compared to what it costs in the U.S. I shared my jetski with Jessica. The other pairs included Jean C. and Maria Paula, Martin and Maria Camilla, John and Hugo, Nicolas and I think Juan (don’t quite remember his name), Axelle and Servanne, and Jesue and someone else. We had a great time racing and splashing each other (turning sharply with our jetskis so a wave of water splashes over them) and making figure 8s and turns in the water. I’ve gone jet-skiing before at a river in South Carolina but it is much more fun to jet-ski in the ocean because of the waves. It was the perfect way to start the day.

                After that we were pretty much beach bums all day. We watched Jean C. and Niko play a game of Batchi-ball (spl?), which is apparently super popular in France. I’ve played it once before in Vermont with my high school friends but I have to say I’m not much of a fan. All the grandpas and grandmas were pretty pro at it though. Which reminds me: Acapulco is full of old, and sadly, mostly fat American tourists.

Oh, just kidding, we visited another beach. It was about a 15 minute bus ride from our hotel. The beach we arrived at was much nicer than the one at our hotel front. The sand was softer, the shoreline had a gradual incline (the other one was almost like a trench), and the waves were much better. The kids played a soccer game: Europe vs. the Americas. Europe won but the Americas gave them a good fight. In the meantime, Jessica and I played a little bit of volleyball by ourselves and were joined by 2 Mexican little boys midway through. There was also a random guy with a snake so of course we huddled around him and pet/ carried the snake. We returned home at around 7 and ate dinner. At night the others went to a bar but I decided to stay in and got some extra sleep.


Acapulco Feb. 22-24

                Last weekend I went on a trip to Acapulco with MexChange. Acapulco is the closest beach to Mexico City and is THE place every city family escapes to for a relaxing weekend or holiday. Acapulco is very touristy with hotels and restaurants spattered all throughout the bay. The beach is not as wonderful as it was at Puerto Escondido, but that was to be expected (Puerto Escondido was seriously a beach paradise) and we still had loads of fun. Here is the daily breakdown of what we did:

Friday, Feb. 22.

We met up at the Tec at 0530 to board the bus. There were about 35 of us, the majority being international students but about 5 Mexicans who had helped organize the itinerary. I sat with Jessica and we pretty much slept the entire way. By now I am a bus trooper and knew exactly how to prepare for long rides- I brought my fleece blanket, ipod, and wore my fencing sweats and a black long sleeve cotton shirt. Was toasty and warm the entire ride despite the freezing air conditioning! We arrived at Acapulco at around 1100. The moment I stepped out onto the bus I began sweating in the intense Mexican sun. Acapulco is only a few hours away from Mexico City but it was so much warmer! We stayed at Playa Suites, which was a resort located right on the bay. I stayed in a room with the Marias (the Colombian girls who both happen to share the same name) and Syl. Our room was very nice but did not have the best view, so we would often visit our neighbors (Jean C., Jesue, Martin, and Nicolas) who had a spectacular view of the entire bay and chill on their balcony. The only drawback to the hotel was that there was no wi-fi, so my computer was pretty much a useless paperweight for the duration of the trip.

The moment we got to our rooms, we dropped our stuff off and changed to go to the beach. The trip package included every meal at both hotel restaurants. It also included a free bar that lacked coconuts but made up for it with piña coladas and strawberry daiquiris. Jess and I took advantage of this and could always be seen sipping some tasty drink on the beach.

After eating lunch at 1, we spent our afternoon at the beach. There was a really cool island and Steven, Martin, and I decided to go check it out. We swam out from the beach for about 15 minutes and eventually made it to the island. Luckily we had brought a life jacket, which Martin used the entire way. He is a huge football player and Steven and I never would’ve been able to support him if he felt too tired. Turns out, cow drowning (the swim class mandatory for all cows) has it uses! Prior to taking the class I would’ve been pretty skeptical about swimming so far offshore. If we were in the U.S. some lifeguard definitely would’ve stopped us the moment he noticed us swimming away. But this is Mexico, and there aren’t any lifeguards to stop us! Halfway to the island, a Mexican man swam up to us and warned us about the sea urchins bordering the island. He pretty much became our guide. He showed us a safe route onto the island and took us all the way up to the top. There was a narrow, winding staircase that wound its way to the top of the island. Some of the steps had eroded away and it was also pretty exposed at times. Our guide told us that the island had belonged to pirates. They would dock their ships on the side of the island, and climb up the stairs to the top where they had built houses. The houses aren’t there anymore but we were able to see the foundations on which the buildings used to stand. Got a little bit of rock climbing in too as I explored the island. I stood on the highest point of the island and was awe-struck by the beauty of Acapulco. From the island we had a 360 degree view of the entire bay. The water was the brightest of blues and the bay of white sand spanned for miles. The wind that carried the scent of the salty sea was whipping mu hair and the hot sun added the perfect bit of warmth on my damp skin. I wish I could describe the beauty and sensations that I felt at the moment but my words just seem to fall flat. Exploring that island was definitely worth the 30 minute round-trip swim. Our guide told us that we had come at the perfect time- 2 hours later and the water would have been filled with sharks. Once we got back to shore, our guide said all he wanted was a drink as thanks for his time. We got him some soda and he went on his merry way. I feel so blessed that we ran, sorry, swam, into him (haha I know, I’m so cheesy). Things could’ve been really bad if one of us stepped onto a sea urchin or fell off the steps on our way up the island. He also showed us a safe spot to jump off of from the rocks to avoid landing on sea urchins on our way back. And all for a cup of coke! Mexican people are one of the kindest people I have ever met who love their country immensely and are always willing to offer their time to show us around Mexico. Thank you Father for that awesome experience!

After our exploration of the pirate island, we stayed at the beach for about 2 hours more then headed back upstairs to our rooms. After showering, Jess, Syl, and I hit up a nearby mall to try and find a new bathing suit for Jessica. We returned empty-handed but it was still fun to explore the town a little bit. We then spent some time chilling at the guys’ balcony. By then it was already dark and the bay looked beautiful with all the lights from the hotels reflecting off of the water. I’m so sad I missed the sunset- they all told me it was breath-takingly beautiful.

Later that night at around 11, we headed over to Palladium, which is apparently the 2nd best club in all of Mexico. I was woefully unprepared for this trip. I hadn’t brought a single dress, fancy clothes, or shoes for the occasion. I ended up wearing shorts and a tank top haha. Palladium was awesome – the wall was complete glass that looked over the bay. They even had huge balloons and confetti dropping from the ceiling. But perhaps the most impressive was the shower of sparkles streaming down the windows. We all had a great time dancing the night away and got back to our hotel at around 5 in the morning. It’s too bad we left before the sunrise- apparently it’s gorgeous from the view at Palladium. But man, what an eventful day.