Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Project for Awesome!

Hey everybody!

I just wanted to clue you in on a youtube phenomenon called "Project for Awesome." This project involves many YouTubers posting videos about favorite charities and non-profits in order to make the world a better place by raising awareness. Most of the videos have been pretty fun, and I just wanted to share my submission. Here ya go:

Thanks for watching!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

We be jammin'

Hey guys!!!

So, I made another Youtube video that seemed like fun to share. I'm sort of learning how to play guitar and/or bass. Except that I'm not at all. But, every time I'm near a guitar or bass and one of my rockstar friends, I ask them to show me things. So... here is a video of some of what happens:

As you can see, it's not very exciting. But still, I played actual notes. That's better than nothing. That's really all I have to say because I'm working on my thesis and textual analysis. So, I should get back to it! Laters!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I love the ukulele!!!

Hi everyone!!

So, I'm technically writing my final paper for Joel's class right now.... Which is obviously working out well for me. I'm in my old bedroom at my parents' house for Thanksgiving. I'm trying hard to get work done (the reading for the rest of the quarter = done), but it gets to the point where I stop being productive. So.... I YouTube. Not making videos this time around, although I've got a couple ongoing projects that will for sure come to fruitation, if I ever get a real video camera. :) However, I wanted to share this with anyone who might happen by my blog anytime in the near future. I'm totally loving all the ukuleles on Youtube. It's fantastic!!! One of my absolutely favorite players is Julia Nunes, who opened for Ben Folds after he saw her videos online. (This is why I <3!!) Anyways, here are a couple of my favorites from her!!


YAY!!!! Have a fabulous rest of Thanksgiving weekend!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November 4th, 2008: 11:00 PM

Although I put off much of what I wanted to accomplish tonight in order to follow the election, I felt that I couldn't go to bed without writing down how I feel, right now, at this spectacular, amazing moment. About an hour and a half ago, CNN projected Barack Obama as the next president of the United States. I spent the first few minutes jumping up and down and squealing with joy, talking to my dad on the phone, and doing my newly patented "Not a Republican Country Anymore" dance. I laughed, twirled around, and let the exhilaration wash over me. We did it!!!

As I went on from the euphoric thrill of a winning campaign well done to the contented glow of knowing I helped, I settled back in to watch CNN and other channels to watch the speeches. As I watched, I thought about what this means for America. We have struggled for so long to achieve more equality among our citizens, and although we are still struggling, we took a great leap forward tonight. Not only because we have our first racial minority president, but because America has looked around at the failed policies of previous administrations and decided to make a change. The audacity of hope, indeed. We went for a candidate who supports people even though they may not be rich and powerful. His campaign thrived on the small donations from people like me, who don't have a lot, but wanted to be a part of something great. This was such a grass-roots movement.

I can't tell you all how thrilled I am at this moment. I felt that listening to Obama's acceptance speech was like listening to the "I have a dream" speech, but even more satisfying because I was a part of this movement. No, I can't say that I completely agree with all of his politics. But I can say that I believed in him and, in my own small way, helped make this happen. That is the miracle of this campaign. So many Americans have owernship over it. There have been so many volunteers and so much money donated that they just didn't know what to do with it all. And for the first time in eight long years, I really, honestly, feel hope for our nation. It seems odd when we're in the worst economic times of the past few generations, but it's true. It'll be hard, and I don't know that the new administrations won't repeat some of the same mistakes of the past. But I do know that this is a real mandate from the people. We're not as backward and selfish as the world thought. We're ready to stand up and make a change. Ready to support a candidate who wants to help people, create a society where we hold each other up, rather than compete in a race to the bottom.

This may all seem silly to those reading it, but I have a renewed sense of faith from this election. We're not as selfish and evil as I thought we were. I hope President Obama knows just what he means to Americans and DOES something with it. I hope he takes the power of all of the community organizers out there and has us work towards this generation's New Deal. But, whatever happens, I know that I want to remember today, and this election year, so that I can tell my children what it was like to be a part of something so great.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

Hey Everyone!

I am really excited because we carved pumpkins today!!! Hurray! I was really excited because I think they turned out really well. We bought a carving kit this year, so we had little saws that made detail work easier. Sandip used a stencil, too, to make a really cool, really scary clown pumpkin. Here's a picture:
Sandip's clown guy is on the left, and in the middle, we have a pumpkin eating a smaller pumpkin. Then, there is a standard, scary pumpkin on the right. I'm sad that you can't really see all the details. There's a lot of detail work that went into this year's pumpkins because we had those little knives. We could be very precise. For example, in the pumpkin on the right, I carved nostril holes, and cheek definition. But, I guess only people seeing them in person can be impressed. Oh, yeah, I carved the one on the right and the little, scared pumpkin. Both of them were freehand, which I feel takes less patience, but more skill than Sandip's stencil pumpkin. He also carved the scary cannibal pumpkin and figured out the engineering behind making the little pumpkin stay put. Of course, if I were the little pumpkin, I would roll out of the mouth too.

In order to be in the Halloween spirit while we carved pumpkins, I agreed to watch a scary movie with Sandip while scooping out pumpkin guts. After I rejected an exorcism movie, he chose Aliens. That is a scary, scary movie. I feel like it is just the right amount of suspense and gore to really freak me out. Not that I'm particularly good at watching horror movies. In fact, I usually refuse unless it's close to Halloween. People are obligated to watch scary movies during the month of October. It's a law in some states.

Anyways, that is actually why I am still up at 12:45 on a Sunday night when I have school the next day. I'm just a little too freaked out to go to sleep. The movie ended a little over an hour ago. Sandip went to bed right after that, but I stayed up to do school work. However, once I turn the lights off in the living room, I have to walk upstairs in the dark. IN THE DARK!!!! It's just not going to happen right away. I may have to watch an episode of Friends or something to get my mind off things.

I've never been a good post-scary movie person. After my family went to see the Blair Witch Project, my brother jumped out of the hallway at me, and I screamed so hard that I cried. I think I actually started shaking after that. Greg got in BIG trouble for that business. And anyone that says the movie wasn't that scary just doesn't have that great of an imagination. That's my big problem, especially with suspense. I think of all the awful things that could happen, plus I have this empathy with the characters, so I feel like I'm really there in the situation. It's terrifying. However, I would like to say that at least I'm not as bad as Kristy... She was freaked out after we watched a scary movie, and then she picked up our cat and went to go downstairs to get something. My brother was walking up the stairs , not being scary this time, and Kristy threw my cat at him. THREW MY CAT. Just in case you didn't get it the first time. It's fun to repeat things in capital letters.

However, hurray for Halloween. Hurray for October. I have so many costumes that I want to wear that I think I will dress up all week before. Anyways, have a spooktacular October!! Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy 50th Blog to Me!!!

Hey Guys,

I love my kittens.... It's the truth. Also, my half birthday was this week. I'm past halfway to 24, can you believe it??? Anyways, I just wanted to quickly put this kitten video in for you guys so people who are at home on a Friday night can watch my cute little babies destroy the evil bubble army....

I love it, I love it, I love it!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Movies, movies, movies

Hello Everybody!!

I made this video to say hi to everyone.

Hope you're all doing well!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The curse of being Sarah

Hi Everyone,

I figure that since no one reads this anymore, now that they can just call me, I can write whatever I want... including the ickiness that has been my week. As I'm writing this, I am stuck at home because my car is at the dealership. It wouldn't start. I thought it was the battery and asked someone to help me jump it, but the guy said it didn't sound like the battery. All sort of helpful advice later, my car still didn't start and I called AAA.

By that time, my car was making the clicking noises that means the battery needs some love. So, when I called, they asked about the clicking, and I said that the clicking didn't start right away, but it was clicking now. However, I don't know the proper terms, so the lady was convinced it was just the battery. OK, whatever. So, I wait around for the AAA guy. I talk to Sandip on the phone, and he comes from Marysville, which takes forever. So, I waited and waited. Sandip got there, and he tried to jump it. It didn't work. Ten minutes later, the AAA guy came sans tow truck because it would be too big for the parking garage. He came, he checked the battery (I did wear it out with the trying to start it thing...), and then said there was nothing he could do.... he text messaged (taking a good five minutes per line...) to AAA, telling them that it was more serious (Which I mentioned to the lady on the phone the first time), and they sent a tow truck. Which took even more time. Then it was tricky to get the truck in there, and he had totally different theories about what was wrong.... Long story short, I had to get towed to the dealership. Whoo.

My car is gone, so I'm not going to school. How would I get there?? However, I am filled with guilt for not going because I could probably convince some of my friends to come get me. BLEH. However, this is not the extent of the curse. Every day something is happening.... I had someone steal some things off of my desk on Tuesday. People have been expecting so much of me lately, and I had to talk it out with everyone and their little brother.

I've been going through some really tough times, emotionally, lately. Part of it is Peru being one of those experiences that probably built my character and all that, but it was HARD. I think it was one of the hardest long term experiences that I've had. India was hard, and I was drained afterwards, but I didn't feel so wretched about myself. I guess I felt like I made a difference there, and it was really positive. Anyways, I felt so overwhelmed when I got back and didn't want to do anything. I talked to a few people about everything, and people really felt like I was being walked over and needed to take a stand for myself. So, I talked with Kendra (one of my advisors) about how I was feeling and how awful everything felt. She really understood and helped me out with things. It felt good to talk about, and she did what she could to lighten my load.

However, since then, I've tried to let people know that I'm a little sensitive right now and have a lot going on. Most of this has blown up in my face. I get 12 messages a day from people, which is nice, but it can be really overwhelming. Especially since I didn't lighten my workload THAT much. I'm still doing 3 different GGO jobs, being a TA, and taking my classes, not to mention editing my data, planning this stupid wedding, fixing up the condo, buying a couch, trying to make dinners in order to save money (think car fixing, re-buying books, and that whole WEDDING thing), and then on top of everything, I'm trying to fix my emotional health while dealing with the day-to-day existence of grad school. I'm stressed out. Argh.

I know that it doesn't sound cursed, but I keep doing embarrassing things like accidentally flashing my undies to couple kids in the class I TA for (OK, when the prof drops papers and doesn't move to pick them up, they're expecting the TA to do it, right?? Only problem, I was wearing a skirt. Sigh. I almost got in a car accident because we live off of the busiest fast road in Columbus, OH and you have to cross the right turn lane to go straight and there are a million cars. It's just all those little things on top of having someone take my $50 book and having my car break down and need hundreds of dollars to be fixed. AAAHHH.

All right, I'm done being "Woe is me." Not really, but I'm done writing about it. Anyways, if any of my friends and family do read this, thank you for the support! I really appreciate it. I can't promise to answer all the phone calls and be cheerful when everyone is looking for it. I really need to work on making myself happier inside or I'm going to crumble. That's the long and short of it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Some Awesome Politics

Hi Guys,

I know I've been super political lately, so I wanted to add more fun politics. I like this video...

Whooo!!! This is perfect. Me at age 5. Ha!! Love you, miss you!!

Sarah's gone political

Yes, the message can be both me and Gov. Palin. But I have a couple of things that I want to show you all. One is serious, the other.... not so much.

First, I wanted to post Deepak Chopra's message that I received in my e-mail.

"Obama and The Palin Effect

From: Deepak Chopra

Posted: September 4th, 2008

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the National psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week.

On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure.

Palin's pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper. She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of "the other."

For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.)

I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin's message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

--Small town values -- a denial of America's global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.

--Ignorance of world affairs -- a repudiation of the need to repair America's image abroad.

--Family values -- a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don't need to be heeded.

--Rigid stands on guns and abortion -- a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.

--Patriotism -- the usual fallback in a failed war.

--"Reform" -- an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn't fit your ideology.

--Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from "us" pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of "I'm all right, Jack," and "Why change? Everything's OK as it is."

The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good.

The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise."

I would now like to post something a little more fun, if not less telling about Gov. Palin.... I'm hoping it embeds, but if not, please go to this website:

I know, very little of me went into this message, but I feel like these two messages say it better than I can.....

Here's one of me....

There's no real point to that video, but I love how I get completely derailed by the chocolate sauce. All other concerns flew out the window in comparison to the chocolate sauce. It was a very desperate time in Peru, for me..... Later days!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Women Against Sarah Palin

Hey Everyone!

I know it's been ages, but the good news is that I am back in Columbus and ready to go back to school (well, not so much ready as having to go back anyways...). I was supposed to be working on my data more than I have, but I'm hoping some of my frustrations about how bad the transcribing is would die down. Never go through the friend of a friend for something that important to you... especially in Peru!! Then you can't complain about how they've screwed up or how they charged 3 times what a professional would have.... :-p

Moving on, I have no power. I am currently typing this up at Starbucks, one of the 4 places with power in our neighborhood. Super fun!! (This is another excuse for not working very much... this environment is not conducive to re-transcribing.) The rest of Hurricane Ike took out 280,000+ residents' power. I don't know if that number is for households or people, but I do know that the earliest prediction of when we'll get power is Wednesday. I have also heard Friday, and for those of us who are not emergency locations (electricity is a luxury! which it really is.... except we've lost our ability to do anything without it. NO FOOD!!!!), we may not have power until Sunday. However, they have said everyone will have power by Sunday at the latest. Hooray! It's like camping, but less fun. The icy showers in the pitch black bathroom are the worst.

Anyways, the whole point of this blog, beyond venting my frustration about the two biggest problems in my life (well, OK, I'll admit, I probably have bigger problems, in the grand scheme of things... but these are the two forefront in my mind), is to discuss an e-mail I received yesterday. It discusses a blog that is forming called "Women Against Sarah Palin." They are asking for a paragraph or so from every woman that wants her voice heard on this issue. Then they put them on the blog, with the name, age and location, and they are trying to publicize as much as possible. After reading the e-mail, which I would be happy to send to anyone who would like it, I was really excited to add my two cents. I have been really frustrated at the response of a number of voters who simply want to vote for her because she is a woman. Some people think that feminism will be advanced by making her vice-president. Perhaps it will, but we will also take 12 steps backwards in so many other areas, such as the right to choose, freedom of speech, etc. If we want a female vice-president, can we please have a COMPETENT woman in there????

Anyways, I wanted to share my paragraph with all of you, just for fun. I am so anti-Sarah Palin, it isn't even funny.

"While I support the idea of a female vice-president, or president for that matter, Sarah Palin is not the candidate I had in mind. As an active supporter of women's rights, I do not want to be taken in by the pandering attitudes of the Republican Party. I will not vote for her and McCain because she is a woman, just as I would not vote for Barack Obama because he is a man. I want to vote for a candidate that supports the ideals that I believe in. I want a cadidate who supports my right to choose, a person who realizes that absitence-only sex education does not work, a person who not only allows, but supports the variety of religions we have in the United States, a person who protects the rich natural heritage we have been blessed with, and a candidate who may not agree with what I am saying, but defends my right to say it (adapted quotation of Voltaire). Sarah Palin is none of those things. Not only that, but she is also inexperienced and only on the Republican ticket because she is a woman. The world is laughing at the United States for our recent mistakes in foreign policy and the economy. We would be continuing our path back in time if we allow someone whose policies seem so backwards be one heartbeat away from the presidency. Yes, I am a woman. But thanks to my mother, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers work towards gender equality, I can think for myself and will not vote for Sarah Palin."

I know, it isn't perfect. It does not even express all of the frustration I feel, but it is what I could do while hanging out at Starbucks. Also, I completely respect that families should be left out of the politics, but seriously.... her seventeen year old daughter is having a baby, but Palin still says abstinence only education works... However, if her daughter was one of the many young girls that did not have a lot of options or a rich family to support her, she would be completely out of luck. Those fabulous Republican policies that cut out funding for young, single mothers (although she and her boyfriend are being forced to get married soon....), so she would have to drop out of school, get a full-time job, and take care of her baby. It just seems so backwards to cut out options on all sides. You have to have the baby (especially since Gov. Palin is anti-birth control), but you will be given no options for taking care of her/him. Seriously?!?!?

Plus, I don't understand how the Republicans can have this argument of inexperience for Obama, but they can support Sarah Palin... Plus, she made fun of Biden having too much experience in Washington and needing an outsider to come in, guns blazing (literally!!), to clean up the corruption. What?!?! They can't have it both ways here. However, Americans are lapping it up like fat, lazy kitty-cats without giving it any thought. We are a nation of apathetic idiots. (I'm including myself, so you can't get mad!) I spoke with a number of foreigners about American politics, and they knew so much more than I did. However, one thing they kept asking is how Americans could let things happen as much as we do. I had no answers for them. The general opinion of Americans, as I gathered it from Peruvians and Europeans, is that we are all fat, lazy, stupid, uneducated, anti-environment, racist jerks. I'm serious, sadly. I'm sure I'm missing a few unpleasant adjectives, but that is just off the top of my head. Wouldn't it be so great if we proved them wrong and made huge, positive changes? Well, that will never happen if Sarah Palin has anything to say about it.... Oh, she makes me so MAD!

OK, also, she is Ms. Anti-Corruption because she stopped using her corporate jet and sold it or something else. However, she also lied and charged the government over $60,000 in expenses for herself, daughters, and husband when taking "business trips," some of which were while she was documented staying home. Also, it is illegal to charge the government for family members unless they are also employees of the government... The story was first reported by the Washington Post, but here is the most recent news article I found, It is all very fishy.

The thing about taxes is that we all wish we could have that much more in our pockets, but honestly, I am a proud tax-payer in the United States. I drive on roads all the time, I went to a public-school, and I love state and national parks. None of those things would be possible without taxes. I don't understand how the anti-tax Republicans think this system works. We have this massive deficit. We owe big, powerful countries billions of dollars that we will have to pay back some day. We spend on the military like there is no tomorrow (do you know how much a tank costs???), but we don't want to pay soldiers' benefits because we don't want to pay high taxes. I know everything is more complicated than that, but still. Taxes are necessary. Deal with it! Hurray for taxes! Well, I might not go that far. However, I do want to point out that if they want to lower taxes, they should not declare war on another country. All right, I am just babbling on with my frustration at this point. However, down with Sarah Palin and her anti-feminist ideals! I am a woman against Sarah Palin!! Hear me roar!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Livin' on a Prayer!

So, every trip I've been on, especially the study abroads, has had a few songs that have stuck out as sort of theme songs of the trip. For my UK trip, predominately it was Usher's "Yeah!," mostly because we heard it EVERYWHERE we went, but Madonna's "Like a Virgin" (one of the girls on the trip convinced this very manly performer that he should sing it to her), Weather Girls' "It's Raining Men" (sung by one of our own at karaoke!), and some others. In fact, I believe someone actually made a soundtrack for our study abroad because so many songs were associated with it.

Then, India was such an amazing experience, but so very difficult for me. Every trip I've taken has changed me to some extent, but that one was a DRAMATIC change, and I don't mean losing all of my body fat to become an unhealthy little skeleton. But, still, songs stick out, and they're happy songs that make me feel good. Katie and Brittany always said that "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles was the theme song, but I have other associations with that as well. Somehow I have this memory of my dad singing it when I was very little. Now, we listened to the Beatles growing up, but I would normally think of the Beach Boys when I think of my dad, but "Here Comes the Sun" just reminds me of being completely, 100% happy (the happy you can only be when you're little and don't really have anything to worry about) and listening to my dad. Of course, I have other memories of that song, too, because it is one of my favorite songs in the world. Anyways, the point is that it can't only be the India theme song for me. So, I would actually have to say that "Ek galasi, do galasi, teen galasi, char!" is the song that I most associate with India... YouTube it or something. Also, the song fromm Rang de Basanti whose name is escaping me right now. (Speaking of which, no one ever gave me a copy of that soundtrack!! I need to call these people up!)

So, what is the theme song of Peru, now that I am near the end? (You can never know what it is going to be ahead of time... only towards the end.) Well, it could be some of the "whine-o" that is very popular with everyone. It's a local music style that includes this singing style that is just whiney. (However, people use the whiney tone MUCH more here, just for everything... I totally would have fit in as an 11 year old!) It could even be some Hindi music, since that is fairly popular here. However, ironically enough, it is Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" that takes the cake for me. Why? Again, it's played everywhere!! But beyond that, it has sort of embodied this trip for me. I first thought that it could be the theme song when I was on Huaynu Picchu , trying sooooo hard to climb to the top (I'm pretty sure it was before I had heard it on the radio here, too!!). In my head, I just started to play, "Woah, we're halfway there...." trying to boost myself along. Then, I kept thinking of that song the whole way, "It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not." Then, later in the week, I was feeling awful about taking classes more than 8 hours a day some days, without being able to hang out with the other students and not having ANYONE e-mail/call me for like 2 days. The song came on the radio of the cafe I was sitting in.
"Woah, livin' on a prayer." It cheered me up. Then, I've just heard it so much since then, especially when I am feeling down. It just comes up. For example, on the way back from Llanganuco after almost getting arrested and feeling AWFUL about not getting any more interviews there, like the whole world was this unjust place in which nice people got continuously screwed over. Then, here is Bon Jovi, singing to me that "Weve got to hold on ready or not. You live for the fight when its all that youve got" It was completely rejuvenating. "We'll make it, I swear." When I felt like I was going to be here FOREVER and all the Limenos were being super duper mean.... "We've gotta hold on to what we've got. It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not....."

So, today, after not being able to sleep because a marching band kept playing until 12:30 AM... and then getting up at 5:45 to head up to Pitec, only to find out that the super dark clouds head kept all of the smart people of Huaraz in their homes. So, instead, I sat in the rain and got some international tourists interviews and fed my whole lunch to a starving dog. Then, I had to walk down the moutain because there was no ride. I caught a collectivo after about an hour and a half (which isn't bad...) However, by the time I got Huaraz, I was soooo hungry and food here takes 8000 years to be ready. I went and sat down at the first open restaurant (they close for siestas sometimes) and was feeling icky and cranky. However, as I perused the menu and was told that the cook had left but would come back in 5 minutes from the market (which often means like 40 minutes...), "Livin' on a Prayer" came on the radio. By the second run-through of the chorus, I was rocking out, had a cold Pepsi in front of me, and saw the cook come back. The waiter thought I was hilarious, and my food was the QUICKEST I've ever gotten it here. So, today, I decided that "Livin' on a Prayer" is this Peru trip's theme song for me, and I wanted to share it with you. I have a number of funny/cranky observations for everyone, but I can't ruin the good vibes I've got going from the song. So, until next time, here's a fun big haired video:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No one reads anymore....

So, I just looked and saw that I did 3 blogs with no pictures and no videos... That's a disaster!! No one reads these days... Who is going to go through all 3 of those posts and actually look at them?? Well, besides my mother... Nadie. So, I decided I should throw some pictures in here just so people don't take one look and decide that they'd rather watch YouTube... Speaking of YouTube, it's actually easier for me to upload videos there and then embed them here. So, here are a couple for your enjoyment!!

So anyways, if you do decide to glance at the pictures and then go enjoy the wonders of YouTube, I don't blame you!! YouTube is a great delight for all. However, you could also check out my YouTube page which has some of my videos from the trip on it. There's a link on the sidebar of this page. They aren't that interesting, I know, but at the bottom, I have 3 of my favorite YouTube videos of all time: Techno Kittens, Charlie Bit My Finger... Again!, and The Mean Kitty Song (he looks JUST like Maddy did at that age!!!!). They are all definitely worth watching, even if mine are a little dry...

But anyways, here are some pictures for your enjoyment as I continue on my quest for interviews...

This is the view during sunset from the roof of my hostel. It's absolutely gorgeous. I don't know what I'm going to do without the mountains around me... Definitely something I'll miss.
This is an older picture, as is the next one, of Sandip in front of some ruins above Cusco. Which ruins? No idea, but isn't he just adorable???
This is me wanting a picture petting a burro, but refusing to get close to the burro in case he or she decided to charge/bite/freak out. I also think my clenched teeth are saying, "Just take the picture already... JUST TAKE IT!!" to Mr. Fussy Pants who likes to zoom in and out and fuss with settings and things.
This is an Incan woman who was letting people take pictures of her for money near the ruins, which are in the background. Again, these are some of the lesser known ruins, so I couldn't tell you the name off the top of my head, but I wrote it down somewhere... Anyways, they're a bit older, but I found a memory card that I hadn't downloaded yet!! Whooo!!

So, I've got four more foreign tourist interviews to go, and I need to get on that. I've just been dreading the look (which is barely anything compared to the Limenos look), and I really don't know how much more rejection I can take... However, duty calls!!! I can be strong for another week and a half, right?? Psh, for sure!! I am woman, hear me roar... Super Sarah!! Have a good week and a half... pretty soon I'll be there to bug you!!

With a hundred soles in my pocket...

Hey everyone!!

It's been a strange couple of days both because I've been in a really good mood and everything in Huaraz has just been insane. For example, I called my brother and Amy today, which was awesome!! However, I went to pay and I had 14 soles or a 100 sole bill. The bill was just a little over my change, but she couldn't break a 100 sole bill (I've had this conversation with EVERYONE who has traveled here... How do locals get around? The ATM spits out 100s but NO ONE takes them. It's very frustrating.) So, I said I would be right back (I see her a lot, so we're friends... You know the kind of friends where one of them pays the other one for services... WOW. That sounds awful but I can't think of how else to phrase it. She's the phone lady and I pay her. Sometimes we have conversations about Hindi music or what she wants to do with her life... That's friendly, right??) So, I go walking down the street to the gas station (grifa... I learned a new word!) where I ask if that lady could give me change for a 100. She affirms that I want soles and says yes. Then she proceeds to give me 100 soles.... in coins.

That's right, coins!! And only 30 was in 5 sol coins. A good 35 was in 1 sol coins and the rest was in 2 sol coins. My pockets are absolutely bulging. It's pulling my pants down... I'm going to have to stop by the hostel to drop some of this madness off. Plus, I think I have a 10 bill somewhere, maybe in yesterday's pants pocket. The tens are much more convenient, but even those, some people can't break them. It's insanity. The whole town is insane!!!

A little boy was walking down the street with his mom, but she stopped to look at a street vendor's goods, but he kept walking. I was stopped also, and he came over and wrapped his arms around my legs because he thought I was his mother. It was adorable, but I hadn't been paying attention, so I made a surprised noise. He looked up and started sobbing. Broke my heart. His mom turned quickly and scooped him up away from the crazy gringa, but I just raised my hands in front of me, the universal gesture of "Hey, sorry, it wasn't me!"

I also had this interview with this socialist tourist guide... he was crazy, too!! I liked it, though. He was funny, and I agreed with a lot of what he said. He was really angry with the United States, and I was like, I can't blame you. You get screwed over a lot in the name of capitalism... However, he was telling me that I needed to tell my government... and I'm like, I tell them what I can, but no one cares what I think. I can't even get all my friends, who love me, to read this blog... The U.S. government is NOT going to listen to me. Especially if I talked like he did. He was REALLY angry. However, I liked him. He was funny. It's people like him that are angry at the U.S., but aren't mean to me that make this more fun. Well, they don't have to be angry at the U.S. to be fun. But the people that have really strong opinions but don't yell at me.... I love them. I liked that guy so much that I bought an absolutely expensive and useless book from him. It's about geography in the Cordillera Blanca. It's mostly stuff I know already, but high five for the little socialist capitalizing on capitalism. Of course, he said that business is WAY down this year. I felt bad. He obviously really cared about the area and saw it crumbling before his eyes.

I don't know, I'm still striking out a lot with interviews, but people haven't been MEAN this week. I know what it is!! I only went to the bus station one day and left after everyone on four buses rejected me. None of them were particularly mean, although it probably would have hurt my feelings during the first couple weeks. The people from Lima like to glare. A LOT. They just get this look on their faces like you are the stupidest person they've ever met and they hate you for bothering them. That look crushed me every time for a while. Now it's just kind of funny. Well, it still bothers me, but I've learned not to be a glutton for punishment. If I feel bad vibes from the bus station, I leave before I want to cry. It's a much better system. Rather than sitting there because I feel like I have to, I sit as long as I can stand it and then go buy another DVD or hats for someone... It's nice.

Anyways, it almost feels like Huaraz (the city as an entity...) is trying to make up for a lot of the crap it's put me through as a whole. Funny, crazy incidents, but none of them involve late night phone calls to Sandip where I try to avoid crying in the phone booth... I'm exaggerating a bit. However, I do feel like I'm just happier now than I was for a long time. I don't know if I'm just seeing things differently or they ARE different. Who knows? Either way, if this keeps up, I'm going to miss Huaraz as soon as I leave. Funny, funny people. Although, I still think all drunk men should be locked up before they bother me... But I've learned to give them a wide berth and ignore anything they say. jerks..... The stories I could tell you would shock you!!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy 30th Birthday, Greg!!!

This is just a short note to wish my brother a Happy 30th Birthday!!! Yes, I know, with all of these old people around, it must be my youth and vitality keeping the family going... Just kidding!!! Anyways, I figured a nice public forum would be a good way to wish a happy b-day to my bro. I'm trying to reach him in all forms possible: calling, e-mailing, e-carding, blogging... Now if only I can guarantee that the skywriter I hired makes it over Greg and Amy's house at the right time. Or should I say the Wright time??? You know, for how much I HATE it when other people make Wright jokes, I sure do it a lot.

Anyways, feel free to leave a comment for my brother. I know most of you don't know him that well, if at all, but those that do (a.k.a Mom and Dad), feel free. I don't think he'll mind.

I am doing well, in case you're wondering. I totally got someone else to finish transcribing. I just have to do the translating afterwards. However, I think that'll be much easier without having to listen to the words 18 times while pouring over the dictionary to see what it is. So, I'm back to simply interviewing, although I am also trying to find a color printer somewhere that works so I can print some stuff out for INRENA. I looked today, but the only place I know that has a color printer says its broken for now. Which could mean that it is just out of ink, or it could mean that it died forever. You never can tell with bees... Yes, that is a Winnie the Pooh quote, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

Anyways, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GREG!!!! Many happy returns to you, as well. I hope your day is/will be awesome!!! Lots of love from your little sister in Peru!! I'll be happy to loan you anything from my new movie collection when I get back!!! (It's reached over 40 movies now... It's almost scary, especially since I rarely have time to watch them, so I'm really just collecting them at this point...)

Anyways, love you all!! Miss you tons!!! I'll be in the same country in less than 2 weeks!!! Shoot, I have a lot of work to do first....

Sunday, August 3, 2008

We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.

Hey everybody!!

This has been a weekend of talking to a lot of people I haven't talked to in a while, which was nice!! My grandfather turned 85 on Friday, so I got to talk to him and my grandma for a while. They're doing well. Crazy as ever, but healthy. :) I made sure to wish him "Many happy returns," as he always does to me on my birthday. (OK, I've got to explain for all of you who don't get the joke. People say "many happy returns" for birthdays, but it's funny because my birthday is Tax Day, April 15th. Also, my mother is a long-time employee of the IRS... So, it's a joke I've been hearing since day 1, but now it's more of an inside joke with my grandpa.)

Then, on Saturday, I got to talk to practically everyone I've ever known... well, not really. However, I called to say hi to my brother at his birthday party. He's turning 30 on the 5th, which is exciting. It's finally getting to a point in life where I can be glad I'm the younger one!! :) Just kidding, Geg. However, it sounds like the superhero themed bash was a huge success. I'm utterly jealous of all the cool themed stuff that I heard about. I'm hoping that they will recreate the moment after I get back. They had Greg the superhero posters and t-shirts and all sorts of cool stuff. I think I need to hire Amy as a party planner. Oooh!! Better yet, I need to hire Amy as a wedding planner!!! All of the bridal party can wear superhero costumes, but I get to be Rogue from the X-men. Sandip would probably want to be Wolverine, but the two don't really go well together. I suppose that since I've already bought my dress, I should stick to the plan. Still, Amy always plans the coolest parties.

Anyways, it was nice to talk to my brother for a while. I'll probably call him on his actual birthday as well. That's the 5th to anyone who is interested. Send him an e-mail or something. He's turning 30, so you've got to get to him before his memory goes... All right, bad jokes about being 30 are done. NO! One more: My brother is 30, flirty and thriving!! (13 Going on 30) OK, now I'm done.

However, crazy of crazies, all my Columbus friends from school were at my condo last night!! I gave permission, so it was OK. However, that doesn't make me any less jealous of the party time. They used the new grill that Sandip snuck in while I've been away, and it sounded like a really good time. I'm sure they all had pickles, so you KNOW that I would've been happy. However, the really cool thing was that I got to skype the party and say hello to everyone. The sound between the two sides was terrible (they were all sitting kind of far away from the rinky-dinky microphone Sandip has), but still I could which blurry blob was which. I would say it was a success. I'm hoping to convince everyone to do it again sometime when I'm not only a few hundred pixels (in 4, black and white images... Sandip really needs a new computer). Hopefully when I get back we can have the blow-out bash of the century so I can see all the people that I've been missing.

Well, anyways, I got to talk to a lot of people this weekend. I'm not sure if I felt better or worse afterwards. It was nice to talk, but I initiated all of it... Plus, I missed 2 birthdays and 2 parties!! Lame. Who has the audacity of having a birthday when I'm not there?? OK, that's crap. But it did make me feel a little more homesick. However, the good news is that I only have 2 weeks here!! That is also the bad news, in terms of work and also that I will really miss Peru as soon as I leave. Hopefully that just means I'll come back soon.

OH! I almost forgot to explain the title. Part of it is a comment on my massive amount of purchases here and on ebay in the past few weeks. Bad Sarah!!! However, the other part is Madonna finally acknowledging her MI roots. Not even just Detroit, either!! She specifically mentions being born in Bay City or, at least, the article does. High Five to America's High Five!! She made a documentary and presented it at Traverse City. Anyways, here is the link:;_ylt=AvyzGkSGt6BIxVmso4z2mCVxFb8C

I'm going to head out. I think I have a plan to use some of my hard earned grant money to get someone else to transcribe for a while!!! Nice!!! We'll see if it works. Anyways, that means I am free to do more interviewing today... yay?? I hope everyone is doing well. I'm in the home stretch, but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good e-mail now and then. Especially if you all still expect me to bring you all back llamas. I have 8 requests for personal llama delivery service... that deserves an e-mail at the VERY least. I would say a care package, as well, but this last one is going on two weeks!! Well, instead, I will just expect to be showered in pickles when I get home.... Haha!! That's a vivid image. I'm imagining something like the scenes in movies where they throw all of their money into the air, but with pickles... That would actually be painful, getting hit with all of the pickles, pickle juice in your eye.... wow. Never mind about the showering me with pickles...

Love you all!! Miss you!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Attempting to embed a video...

Hey guys!!

I am all about the YouTube phenomenon now. I've got four videos up and more coming!!! Anyways, I thought I would try embedding one of them in my blog. Here it goes:

We'll see how that went now....

World's Oldest Joke... About Farts.

Hey everyone,

This post will be short and semi-sweet (like the chocolate chips!), but I HAD to share it with everyone!! While waiting for the super duper slow internet to let me upload another video on my new YouTube page (still waiting), I went to my iGoogle page to help me translate a phrase someone used in one of my interviews. I looked it up in my dictionary, but it's some sort of slang or something because it just didn't make sense. So, I went to my handy iGoogle translator to see if it could come up with something better. (It didn't, by the way...)

However, my iGoogle page also has news updates on it, and, of course, I got sucked in. So, I looked at some drama between Obama and McCain on the news when I noticed one of the top ten Reuters articles was about the world's oldest known jokes. The little anthropologist in me was fascinated, so I went ahead and got sucked in deeper.

Well, of course, the oldest joke is about farts. My dad will be thrilled. Well, Dad, personally, I think this means that your sense of humor is ancient history!! Or, I suppose, you could go with timeless. Either way, here's the link to the article:

The jokes aren't bad for old people... Hope you enjoy them!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Vomitorium a.k.a. Pasto Ruri

First of all, I would like to tell you that, yes, the title is "The Vomitorium." Jeff came up with it after I told him the story below. Those of you with weak stomachs may want to skip down to my other post from today. Actually, if you read them in order, it would probably be better in general.

So, this gets to the other bit of craziness of the weekend. I had been intensely searching out interviews, when I found out that Pasto Ruri (or Pastoruri) has been re-opened. Yay!! This is great news for me, because I want to get people's opinions about glaciers, so going with them to see glaciers is the perfect opportunity, right? Yeah.... sure.

On the way up, everyone I asked said that I should ask them after they saw the glacier. That way, they could give me better opinions. That made sense to me, so I just concentrated on not getting bus sick and trying to make friends with these people so that they would feel more comfortable with me later. Not sure it worked. So, we made several random stops to go potty, see water bubbling in the plains, take pictures with llamas in sunglasses, and take pictures of this crazy native plant that is about 12 meters high and has a 100 year life cycle. It was strange, but cool. The guide talked quite a bit about the importance of all of these things, so I guess I got to learn something.

Anyways, we finally made it up to Pasto Ruri, and we had a bit of a hike to the top. It was like 2-3 kilometers up, but parts were pretty steep. Anyways, it meant that EVERYONE was really, really cranky on the way up and once I was there. I actually filmed a mini-riot when someone tried to cut in front of this line to get pictures in the big ice cave. I went and got my picture in the little ice cave instead because those people were crazy!!! OK, not EVERYONE was mean at the top. People my age were pretty nice, so they are the ones who took all of the pictures of me. However, anyone over thirty was such a jerk. Plus, no one, not even the nice people would let me interview them. No one felt like they had enough time with the hike up and down to waste any of it with the stupid gringa. I guess I understand. They altitude was pretty rough on the people from Lima.

Look out, the really grody part is coming soon! I felt fine up and down the glacier. I actually felt much better running around outside than I did on the bus beforehand. I got kind of giddy, probably a little from the lack of oxygen, so I made some funny videos up at the glacier. However, I probably won't post them because important people read this blog now!! :) I did post a couple of them at the bottom, though. They're not particularly amusing now, but they saved me as everyone kept denying my desire for interviews. Instead of being mad or hurt, I just laughed and took pictures and videos of myself. I was feeling great. The other people at Pasto Ruri, and on my bus, were not so lucky.

**Vomit alert! Vomit alert!** Everyone threw up at the top of the glacier, on the way down from the glacier, by the bus station, by the food stands, by their cars, on their cars.... EVERYWHERE!!! I may have just missed it on the way up, and I only noticed someone throwing up right as I started going down from the top. However, after I saw that first person, I kept seeing vomit. Vomit was everywhere!!! People would just turn a little as they were walking down and then they'd hurl. Projectile vomiting, exorcist style, too. So, it was like playing a very disgusting video game on the walk down. Like Frogger, except it was me trying to get down the road without getting hit by the vomit. All right, it wasn't quite THAT bad, but there was a lot of vomiting going on. Plus, I think some of it was a chain reaction. If you feel sick and then see someone else throwing up, you have no choice anymore. It certainly became a chain reaction later....

So, I was wondering if some sort of food poisoning was going on and decided that I didn't want to eat any of the food from the vendors. However, one lady had popcorn, so I got a little bag of that. I've never heard of popcorn causing a vomiting epidemic before, so I thought I would be safe. However, the vomiting did not end when the trail ended. I caught a whole group throwing up outside the food stands. Then, I decided to head for the bus because all of those people had seemed reasonably healthy on the way up, maybe my gag reflex would settle down if I could get away from the vomiting for a minute. Well, our bus was parked by the bathrooms. The vomiting was never ending. I was annoyed that my bathroom experience cost the same as the lady who didn't make it to the stall. I was so much cleaner!! I left the bathroom to get on the bus, when I noticed the bus smelled funny. I was worried I knew why when I guy went running from the back to get out the door just in time for his own vomit experience. Well, that set everyone on the bus off. No less than 8 people on our bus joined the epidemic. EIGHT!!! Out of about 30. Luckily, five of them actually made it off the bus to vomit. Of the remaining three, one had a bag and one made it out the window. The eighth person, a woman from Lima, not so lucky. Or rather, the rest of us were not so lucky. And these were just the numbers I was counting!! The insanity had started before I got there!!! Plus, I didn't count anyone who had not gotten on the bus first. You couldn't even look out the window while we waited for everyone to get on the bus because everyone outside was throwing up, too. I actually tried to just stare out the window towards the part of the parking lot that only had 3 cars in it, but then I saw these kids fighting or something in the backseat of the car. However, the one in the middle was actually just trying to push his brother out of the way so he could blow chunks out the door. It was green, and I'm pretty sure he got some on his brother. Needless to say, I was trying my best to quiet my gag reflex a bit. I opened the window when the smell got too bad, even though the girl next to me was acting all cold. I just didn't care at that point. Plus, I hoped the fresh air would do the vomiters some good.

Once we left Pasto Ruri, things got a bit better. Most of the vomiting happened while we were waiting for the people to come back down from the mountain. The last group, from Lima, was only an hour and a half late. This meant that we didn't really stop long in Catac for out "lunch" at 6:30. Some people had placed a pre-order, so they got to eat, but the rest of us didn't. I didn't care, at that point, I just wanted to get away from the barfing. However, while I enjoyed the fresh air, I did get two interviews with people who were not feeling sick. So, that was a plus.

So, I am sure you are all wondering, what caused Pasto Ruri to become the Vomitorium of Doom?? I don't know that I can give you a definite answer. However, I think I can give you a very educated guess. After a while, I thought it might be the elevation plus the fact that all of these people were only here for the weekend. They came up 5000 meters in a very short time and then hiked up to the glacier. That's gotta be tough. However, here comes the very educated part, Jeff explained that the night before I went was the biggest party night in Huaraz. All of those people came up to 3100 meters and went out until 3 or 5 in the morning, with a lot to drink, and then went up to 5000 with their hangovers. I think that is a good explanation for a lot of what went on. There were some little kids barfing, but part of that could have been that EVERYONE was barfing. Some people may have been just affected by the altitude, but I'm pretty sure the rest were right in line with Jeff's theory. However, I would like to say a few things about the vomiters. None of them respected the altitude at all. That's for sure. The only thing that turned my stomach was all of them. Also, other people that had acclimatized, even a little bit, were doing much better. One of the people vomiting had only come to Huaraz the afternoon before from Lima. Sea level to 5000 meters in less than 24 hours. Smart. I would also like to say that pretty much everyone throwing up was from Lima, specifically. I'm sure some were from Trujillo or Arequipa, but the majority were from Lima. Everyone who threw up on our bus was from Lima. All eight of them. I think four of them were also in a group together, too. Bleh. So, I guess I learned a lot about people from Lima...

I wonder if this is the kind of anecdote I'm allowed to use in my thesis...?

Anyways, after I got back, I changed my vomit-smelling clothes and went out to dinner with Jeff, Adam, and Adam's lady friend, Erin. I found that I couldn't eat much (surprise, surprise) despite not having much more than a banana and some popcorn all day. I took my sandwich home, though. Then, it was supposed to be our big night of partying. However, after two days of interviewing and hiking, I was super exhausted. I went to Vagamundo with the three of them, but between not knowing anyone they were talking about, not knowing the 85 million people they ran into that they knew, and having the Spanish part of my brain turn off a couple hours before, I could not get myself to wake up. So, I headed out pretty quickly, much to my disappointment. I spend a lot of hours here feeling lonely, so why couldn't I wake up for this perfect opportunity to speak to people in person about non-glacial stuff and use English??!!?! I have no idea. It was probably partly induced by the Day of Vomit's exhaustion, partly weakness from not being able to eat much all day. If only I could stop being shy long enough to open up and be equally as interesting as everyone else, I would probably be and have more fun. Well, what are you going to do?? Instead, I will entertain myself with blogs and eBay!! Well, as long as I have internet...

Anyways, here are some non-vomit pictures and a video (I tried uploading 2, but blogger is just not having it today, so I will try to upload the other one later...) that I took on the trip to the Vomitorium, I mean, Pasto Ruri!!!

My educational picture with the llamas in sunglasses. They were cute, but sooooo bored with the whole process. Behind us is the gaseous water, but that really wasn't as cool.
This is me at the base of the hike. Look at the altitude!!! Look at the altitude!! I made it to 5000 m!!!!!
I looked over the blog and have been shocked at the lack of rock out faces in the past few weeks. So, what better place to rock out than a glacier! That's totally rock out worthy!!
I am in an ice cave in the glacier. People kept breaking off the icicles like the one I am standing next to. I don't know why, but some people were eating them. They were really dirty, so I thought it was gross...

Ice, Ice, Baby...

Hello everybody!

I am writing to you after some utter craziness. There was so much craziness, that I will actually be splitting this into 2 blog posts. One, because I have a couple of awesome titles. Two, because I have too many pictures/videos to upload in one. Three, because there was too much craziness.

So, the Fiestas de Patrias time period is when everyone has time off work and takes a vacation. For people from Lima (and other places, but mostly Lima), this means they come to Huaraz and the surrounding areas to take a breather and become one with nature. Sounds like fun, right?? Well, maybe for people from Lima!! For me, it has meant that I am trying to get all of my interviews in, which is good for my research, but the process has been stressful. A lot of people do not want to be interviewed on their vacation, and they have been rather vocal about it.

I think I am at the point in my trip where I am just whiny. However, when you read the blog post that I write after this, maybe you will understand the whine a bit more. It's been stressful, ok? Anyways, I wanted to write about one of the tours that I went on this weekend to Llaca (pronounced "yaca"). I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, but it was kind of a lot of hiking. However, after many hours of hiking, people went ICE CLIMBING. I suppose I could have, but I didn't know what that would be about when I signed up, and I just didn't feel like paying the 100 soles to do something that I didn't really know about, so I didn't do it. However, it meant that we hiked up to this glacier, which was cool, and then over moraines and stuff until we got to this sheer ice wall. Then people tried to climb it. Very few succeeded. I was happy because the people that succeeded were also the people who let me interview them. The others obviously have problems with being whiny and cranky, like me. They whined that they didn't want to be interviewed and then whined to be let down from halfway (or less!) up this ice wall. Interesting, huh? Anyways, here are some pictures of the whole experience!!

This is the glacier on the mountains. Pretty, huh? We climbed along all those loose stones on the left. Yes, it was dangerous. Many of them were not super secure, so you'd step and then lose your balance. I sort of twisted my ankle, but my awesome hiking boots saved me from any real damage. It was just a little sore in the ankle muscle area the next day and today. But barely at all!! The blisters, however, are another story... Don't worry, Mom! You know I can handle both of my feet being completely blistered over from my Cross-country days!!

So, this is pretty cool. It's the end of the glacier!! There are some ice chunks further on, and that iced-over lake has a lot of chunks floating in it, but really, this is the end!! However, even cooler, compare the two pictures here!! A big chunk of the glacier fell off while we were there. I was at the wrong angle to video tape it (I do have a short video of the aftermath, but it doesn't translate well). However, I do have these before and after pictures, so you can see what was going on. De-glaciation in action, folks! Well, actually, chunks breaking off is a normal phenomenon anytime. However, I was there for this one!
This is after we were walking on the glacier for a while. I am top on rock and dust covered ice, but I am also in a mini-ice cave under the wall everyone is going to try to climb later. It was pretty crazy and also surprisingly warm!! I had my winter coat, hat, and gloves, but I was really warm from the hike and the strong sun!!
Oh, no! Mah tongue ith thuck!!

I thought I should add in a picture of ice climbing, so you could see what I mean. It's pretty crazy. This is one of the only people from Lima who made it to the top. Incidentally, he was also one of two to give me an interview...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Indiana Jonesette and the Raiders of the Lost Glaciers

Hey Everyone!!

So, after many, many days of tough work with little reward, I decided to take a bit of a break this afternoon. Instead of being rejected by Peruvians, I decided to make a little compilation of photos into a movie. Those of you who know my background know that my love of Indiana Jones runs deep. In fact, the Indiana Jonesette series created by Kristy Barry and myself ranks high in the list of all time best productions, at least for me, using the Wright family video camera. So, what better anthem to serve as a background to this Peruvian adventure (especially considering the location of the most recent episode in the real Indiana Jones saga!!) than the theme of themes... Enjoy!!

Well, that about says it all. Now, all I have left to do is get a video of Jeff Bury in his Indiana Jones hat saying, "Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?"

As you can see, despite the trials and tribulations everyone encounters while here, I have had an amazing time in Peru thus far!! I'm really glad that I took the afternoon to remind myself of all the fun times. I hope you are all having an equally amazing summer!!! We're getting close to the 3 weeks left mark!! I will see you all very, very soon where I will bombard you with even more pictures!! Love you, miss you!!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I fought the law, and the law won...

I thought I would start the post off with a bang... me riding a llama!! Well, I not so much rode the llama, but I sat on it to take a picture and the llama moved a little... That's riding a llama, right? Yes. So, that was super fun. However, I had a very large mix of good and bad up at Llanganuco, where I was doing extreme interviews!! I did a lot of interviews the first day, which was good because not so many the second day. I got escorted from the park because I did not have a permission slip from the National Park Office. Now, the funny thing is that our whole research team actually does have permission from INRENA. I explained that to the guy that we're actually working with INRENA on the project, but he refused to listen. I got put in this little office while he made phone calls and all told, from the moment he first started talking to me to my oh-so-dignified expulsion from the lake area, I would say he wasted about an hour of everybody's time. The funny thing is that I think if he had actually called his supervisor and discussed everything I told him to mention. I told him my name and that I was from Ohio State. I gave him Bryan and Jeff's name. I should have dropped the big Marco Zapata's name, but I was not sure if he would rescue me or be mad that I involved him. I am part of the group, but I am not sure that he likes what I am doing. That and his accent is just a bit off for my poor deaf ears, so I am always struggling to understand him, which to him means I do not speak Spanish. However, when he called his supervisor, he refused to mention my name or any of the others, only calling me "la gringa," and repeating over and over that I did not have permission. I calmly said that I did have permission, just not a written slip, but he REFUSED to say it to his supervisor. BLEH.

So, as I sat in the little room, wondering if I was going to be arrested for something so incredibly stupid, I tried to be as polite as possible. If you are nice to them, they should be nice to you, right? Looking back, however, I think if I had gone more Peruvian style, it might have been more appropriate. If I had just refused to comply and freaked out, become a totally rude bitch, it probably would have gone better for me. However, I was worried about getting arrested... Which, honestly, never would have happened, but my imagination was running wild.

Well, anyways, today is a day of dealing with nasty, little, power-tripping bureaucrats to get that statistics book and my permission slip. Ugh. Also, my banana is orange. (I know, such a non sequitur, but I opened it, and there was this orange thing that tastes funny...) However, once I get that permission slip, I can go up to Llanganuco again one of the days this weekend and finish my interviews there. Although, part of me wonders if I should spatially diversify my sample more... However, there is not good spot to find tourists in Chavin. There is a waterfall location that could be ok, but I don't know and I don't want to make assumptions while most of the tourists are already here!! Well, that is actually probably more than any of you care about, but it is on my mind...

Anyways! Here is a video of me getting dropped off at the top of this mountain, forever and a day away from the lake. I kept telling the guy that I wanted to interview tourists, but he kept saying that there were no tourists at the lake then (probably right), but there was a really good view (very much right) up just a little bit higher (very much wrong...). I don't know it at the time of the video, but I had 2.5 hours of walking until I got to the entrance to the first lake. I also ended up with 8 bug bites, stepping in cow poo, getting a LOT of dust in my eyes from all the wind, and smelling kinda bad all before I saw my first tourist for an interview... As you can imagine, I was not very happy. However, at this point, I do not yet know about what's to come, so it's still pretty positive.

Fun, right? Whooo!!! This next video was taken 15 minutes later, still very positive!! It's a bit silly, but self explanatory. Enjoy!!

Now, there are 2 more videos in this series. I thought it would be cool to have more video diary kinds of things going on. However, one of them is just me whistling as I go down the path. I thought it was really fun at the time, but now, it's not so cool. The last one is after 2 hours of walking and still not being close to the entrance I needed to get to. It is a desperate plea for help that actually hit a little too close to home. It includes the desperately asked question, "Why is that nothing can ever go as planned here?" Little did I know that question would have a whole new meaning after the next day there... However, even if I never really almost got arrested, that's the story I'm going to use to build up my rep. :)

Anyways, I love you all and miss you TONS!!! Please feel free to post comments. I really like reading people's reactions/thoughts to everything.

Ps. I was amused by all three of today's iGoogle quotes of the day:

There is no reciprocity. Men love women, women love children, children love hamsters.
- Alice Thomas Ellis
That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.
- Paul Valery
A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the word you first thought of.
- Burt Bacharach

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I'm an expert!!!

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what's really going on to be scared.
- PJ Plauger

I guess that would make all of the Peru team (all 18+ of us) experts on climate change...

Actually, that is a bit depressing. Well, what can you do?

Anyways, not much to report here. I have been transcribing my recorded interviews for my entire life up to this point. It means that I am taking frequent breaks from the rewind-play combination on the computer. Somehow it seems that a car horn honks every time someone says something important... Granted, car horns honk just about every 5 seconds or more frequently, but it's always when I don't really know what the person was saying right then. When I have an exact quote in my head... crystal clear recording. Maybe it's me.

Anyways, my breaks are dangerous. How, you may ask, can breaks be dangerous?? Well, I don't want to take too long of a break, so I've been trying to avoid games. For the same reason, I don't want to go walk around or do something unless it's time for a big break. So, I cruise the internet. However, YouTube has been having issues, so my usual route of distraction has been out. So, I check my e-mail, which has really only been junk mail mostly. Rarely do I have more than 1 interesting e-mail on my breaks. Wikipedia is fun, but sometimes I can't find anything interesting or it's all information I know and I want details. So, I've returned to my bad habit.... eBay. Now, I like deals, so I rarely spend much, but you'd think I would want to be there when the shipments come in, but no. I am content to know they're there.

Don't get me wrong, most of this stuff includes things that I had planned on buying eventually. For example, the Star Wars trilogy. It has been bugging me for a while that I didn't own it. Episodes 1-3, whatever, I can live without, but the CLASSIC trilogy is a staple of every good movie collection. I went so far as to preview some here, but honestly, for Star Wars, I want quality movies. So, I decided to pay the big bucks. However, Amazon was charging a bit more than I wanted, so I returned to my old friend, eBay. Of course, once you open the dam, it's much harder to close it. Luckily, I'm mostly buying presents. I found a book here that my brother would LOVE, so I bought that for him. I had been thinking about getting something for my mom and there was a good deal, so I got that also. (Since that includes 2 of my staple readers, I'm not going to say what each of those things ARE.) However, other things are frivolous. Just silly little things that I saw while browsing and decided would be fun to have. For example, I found 3 t-shirts for 99 cents, including a superman shirt that's just like my old one. I loved that shirt until the seams fell apart after 5 years of constant use. So, hurray, right?? Well, I think so. I have no idea what Sandip is going to think when he starts getting a mountain of boxes on the front stoop...

Well, anyways, I should get back to my transcribing. Actually, I should go find somewhere quieter to get back to transcribing. I was sick of everyone in the hostel thinking that I was sleeping until noon when I stayed in my room typing up interviews all morning. (I've been avoiding breakfast in favor of all of the yummy goodies I received in my care packages from my parents and Sandip. There's really only so much bread I can eat in the morning before craving other things.) However, Sra. Francesca has been an absolute doll about everything, so I want her good opinion. She actually called the Office of Statistics for me and talked to the boss to get a copy of a book for me. She's like my little Peruvian grandmother. Takes care of me when I'm sick and beats up the bad guys when they give the gringa trouble. However, sometimes it's easier to just wake up and start typing before I get too restless. Plus, the radio is UP at the California Cafe today, so I can't hear as well. Well, I'll figure out somewhere to go. I may even take a long break and get some tourist agency interviews. I typed up a whole Manifesto of what I want to get done during my stay, and I'm worried it's a bit ambitious if I don't get a move on.

To transcribe or not to transcribe, that is the question.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Taking care of business...

Hey guys!!

I have been getting some serious work done down here in the Southern Hemisphere, but that means that I definitely don't have as much to write about. Well, I could give you all a preliminary analysis of my data, but where's the fun in that? (actually, it's pretty cool, but I am jealously guarding it for my thesis... and feeling like this is probably one of those geeky things that only I think is exciting. So, I'm just sparing you guys!) However, I would like to describe the process for you. I am either waiting at prime tourist locations to pounce on people for interviews or I'm waiting at the bus stop for equal amounts of pouncing as people get back from the bus (this usually means I'm out there between 6:30 and 8:30 at night (7:30-9:30 your time!), so that's why I can't answer the phone after work). Tomorrow or Wednesday, I will be staying the night in a tourist town and getting some serious interviews done at Llanganuco. It should be fun.

Anyways, I have 22 interviews now!! (Gasps of amazement! Thunderous applause!) However, I feel like I definitely need more, with more diversity of participants. Plus, I want to interview more guides and tourist agencies and people from INRENA, if I can. I want to build up a happy, robust set of data that can then be used to be the thesis of the century. Yeah, ok, I'm just hoping to pass without anyone telling me that I have no idea what I'm talking about. :) But, honestly, aren't we all??

One misconception that I want to clear up once and for all is that I am eating really well here. I enjoy the food and only rarely get sick from it. I have a plethora of options, but it's just not always the same food that I could get at home. Plus, I had been planning the "Columbus food sucks" rant for a while. I really, honestly miss East Lansing food, but that is not a unique Peru experience. I pretty much always miss EL food, just ask my grad school friends!! They hear about it constantly and were then stuck eating Penn Station or Panera with me because I couldn't stomach the rest of it. (Not entirely true, there are some OK options. But you can't get the best meal of your life for under $5, which is a staple of every EL restaurant.) So, anyways, before all of my family freaks out with remembrances of the 97 lb child that I was in India, I just want to say: I am eating very well and I am not getting really sick from my food. However, if anyone wants to airmail a cooler with a pickle in it, I will happily provide my address and the necessary funds for the transaction. :)

So, I was thinking that although I don't have too many fun and exciting pictures from this week, I definitely have some older ones that I never posted. So, here is a quick splash from my first month in Peru!!
This picture cost a ton of money!! I had agreed to take a picture with the old lady on the left and her lamb. I knew it would cost a couple soles, but whatever, I was in Cusco for the first time. It was OK. Next thing I know, I had two more women, their babies and the girl who took the picture. The handed me the lamb and asked for the camera (a flash went through my head that the women could be blocking me while the girl ran away with the camera, but it was out of my hands at that point.). So, I thought, maybe a sole each. So, after the picture, I had 2 one sol coins or a five sole. Well, a five sole would be 1 and a little bit each, and I though that was generous, considering the whole process took about 30 seconds (including all those people running in from nowhere). However, the women who ran into the picture were pissed because they were from another family and they couldn't share the coin. I was surrounded by angry Incan women yelling at me in Spanish (with some Quechua mixed in). To stem the tide, I ended up digging through my pockets and finding one more 5 sole coin because the first woman who took the original coin had already gone after her next victim. You know, I loved the history and beauty of Cusco the most as a city, but I hated feeling like the minnow surrounded by sharks. Everyone always wanted something there, and that got old very quickly...
This is Sandip and I in Lima with some pre-Incan ruins that we went to with Bryan and Chris. Although I feel this picture makes me look short, it isn't a bad "hey, look, we're in Peru together" picture. Plus, I've got my MSU representation!! Go State!! (Yeah, I hate to say it, but I have very little loyalty to Ohio State... especially the athletic department. I think I'm too used to rooting for the underdog (think football), plus I've learned that I bleed green and white... figuratively. Please nobody ask me what blood disease I have.)
I'm not entirely sure that I am allowed to post this picture, so if it suddenly disappears from the blog, you'll know why. However, I have been bummed since the "Meet the team!" post that I did not have a really good picture of Bryan Mark, my advisor from OSU (ok, for Bryan, I will say, "Go Bucks!" but it only gets one exclamation mark.. ). But, when I looked through my pictures from Lima, here it was, an opportunity to post Bryan AND the Pacific Ocean. It was too good to miss. Plus, I love that he's being goofy. I am definitely less terrified of professors these days!!
So, in Lima, there is this park with fountains. Every night they have light shows where the fountains go crazy. Think the Detroit airport fountain times a bazillion. This is the park where all the conquistadors used to come and hang out (sans fountains). However, it is now a park of the people!! I don't have pictures of all of the fountains, but there were a lot of really cool ones.
This is another fountain in the park. It's a fun pyramid, if you couldn't tell. However, there are about 25 fountains that you can't see here. Plus, there is this amazing show with music and lights and craziness. I tried uploading a video of it, but the video is too long for the internet I have here. However, I would like to point out that amid the classical music, they also through in a Backstreet Boys song... "I want it that way." It was hilarious, and I loved it. It reminded me of the good ol' days of middle school.
This fountain was really cool because you could walk through it without getting wet!! There were other participatory fountains, as well, but they usually involved being a bit damp afterwards. One of them was really cool, but Sandip was too slow on the shutter to catch me playing in it. There were about 5 rings of water sheets with many water jets in between and the goal it to get to the middle and back out with a minimum of wetness. However, the jets are all random, so the minimum wetness is tricky. I am proud to say that I ran through with only my knees down getting wet from a surprise fountain I didn't see. However, that was the second time having soaking wet legs/feet that day (Bryan wasn't the only one playing in the ocean, and I didn't want to roll my pants up that far...). The next day was the day that my fever came back from my flu, with chills, aches and a sore throat accompanying it. So, I guess I learned my lesson. The next time I run through fountains, I will make sure I'm 100% healthy beforehand.

Anyways, I hope you've enjoyed this little recap of previous trip experiences. I'm sure I will be taking more pictures soon. If not, I can go back to ranting about food or maybe even get mushy by telling you all how much I miss my home, family, Sandip, kitties, etc. (not necessarily in that order... you know the kitties are first!!! Just kidding!!)