Monday, June 30, 2008

Hello from Huaraz!

Hello world!

I am officially at work today.... meaning I am checking my e-mail from my hotel where I will be living the next month and a half.... Eek!! I have yet to meet the elusive Jeff Bury, but I'm sure I will sometime today. I am a big ol' bundle of nerves about that, but at this point, I just want to rip off the band aid...

Huaraz is pretty. I think Sandip just about wet his pants over the mountains... Yeah, mountains are pretty, but I think I'm like the Dixie Chicks with their Wide Open Spaces.... you can't grow up in Bay City, the flattest little town in the world, (not a verified statistic, but we used to practice our hill workouts on the overpasses... you can't get much flatter than that!) and not feel a little odd when surrounded by the high peaks. Not that I'm complaining!!! It's gorgeous here, and I'm enjoying the scenery. It's a bit of a less glamorous town than Cuzco, though. However, my laptop works here, so I'm happy. Odd how you get attached to things like that...

I am actually sad about leaving Cuzco. I made friends with my teachers and the other students. Plus, there is still so much more to see! I can see why Cuzco and Machu Picchu are the #1 tourist destination in South America. I would love to go back and just live there for a while. I could stay at Amauta and take Spanish classes for a month or so.... Or do their volunteer program!!! That seemed sooooo cool. I was jealous of the people who were staying for a nice long time. Plus, they'll all be fluent in Spanish be the end! I'm practicing, but I can't understand people in English half the time, so I do not have hope for too much of my Spanish. Plus, I keep running into mumblers. STOP MUMBLING, people. I was born partially deaf, leave me alone. yes, that's right, 25% hearing loss, people!!! Not that I have that now.... but I think I do!!! I CANNOT understand the mumblers. That's gotta be a hearing condition. meh.

Anyways, I obviously have nothing more to report. I did SOOOO many cool things in Cuzco. I'm getting over the flu (bleh), but I have absolutely no voice (so anyone that's wondering why I haven't called... that's why!). I am a mute! And deaf.... So all my Spanish practice was moot because I'm still having Sandip say stuff for me. But not for long!!! Anyways, besides that, I'm doing very well. Sandip is here now for one more week, and the other students only have 2 weeks to go on their trip. I, of course, still have a month and a half. However, besides being sick, I'm doing very well. I'm falling in love with Peru, specifically, and South America in general. I'm utterly jealous of all of the Europeans and their gap years traveling the world. Someday.......

Until next time, keep the e-mails and updates coming!!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

First day at Machu Picchu

video

This is from my first day, on part of the Inca trail.... The mountain in the background??? Yeah, that´s the one I climbed the next day!!! No idea if I´m saying anything embarrasing. I don´t have headphones, so I just don´t know!

I found this internet place to upload, so I´m hoping it all turns out!!!

Huayna Picchu and her more famous sibiling: Machu Picchu!!

The famous rock out face and the famous Machu Picchu!!
A guy with the EXACT same camera took this with his wide angle lense!! Ithaca is gorges, but so is Machu Picchu!!!



I had to get a fedora, in the land of fedoras, and what better one to get than an Indiana Jones style fedora!!!! I am actually doing a cool leap of faith kind of thing in this picture, but you´re missing out on the coolness. However, I´ve got the hat, so it has to be awesome, right?? (Theme music plays!)


video

I hope you enjoy my mini-tour of the top of Huayna Picchu!! Although I thought I was going to die (many, many times) on the way up, it was totally worth it!! Of course, if I died, it probably would´ve been less worth it... It was an absolutely amazing experience, and I totally bonded with a lot of people on the way!!

Bleh, can´t upload pictures...

Well, I can´t post pictures from here.... I was hoping that I could because this is the fastest internet yet. However, they don´t allow uploads..... BLEH. Soon, soon, soon, I promise!

Latest fad: The Third World Diet!

Hi, I´m here to tell you all about the latest new diet brought to you by actual scientists!! We call it the third world diet, and it is just so much fun!!

You can lose weight easily, all while on vacation!!! Yes, it is just that easy. Simply by traveling somewhere where "High Fructose Corn Syrup" doesn´t translate, you too can enjoy as much delicious food as you want, all while reducing your waist line!! How does this incredible system work?? Let me tell you!!

First, pick any majestic location you could wish for, on any continent! Just make sure the country is in third world status. A more difficult terrain than your home country helps, also. All right, now that you have the destination in mind, simply go on vacation!! Eat wonderful local foods, walk through amazing scenery, such as the Andean Mountains of Cusco, Peru, explore museums and cathedrals!! Simply explore for a few hours a day while eating in local cafes, and your muscles will grow while you define your waist! An added bonus is a backpack filled with all of the wonderful things you need on vacation, such as snacks, water (for all that hiking!), and a travel guide!!! Perfecto!!!

Sure, it is very similar to diet and excercise, but with our patented system, you never feel like you´re missing out!! You are simply living a wonderful life of vacation and freedom!!** Note this system does not work on cruises or in resorts** For added weight loss, simply drink the local water!! **Please make sure a medical official is on hand after you´ve lost the desired weight.**

Testimonials:

Sarah Kelly W. (travel destination: Peru) "This system worked great for me!! I lost four pounds in the first 8 days!!!"

S.K. Wright (travel destination: India) "The bonus water weight loss system got me down to a weight that I haven´t seen since the beginning of high school!!!"

Sarah Wright (travel destination: Costa Rica) "I only used the system for 2 weeks and I was completely fit afterwards!!"

Anyways, so, if you can´t tell from the post, 1) I´ve been alone with my thoughts for a while, and yes, I think I´m funny and 2) I´ve noticed that my waist is already smaller. No idea about actual weight since I haven´t weighed myself or anything, but hiking up a hill to my school and then also exploring Cuzco (and climbing to the top of a very tall mountain (Huyna Picchu) next to Machu Picchu) has trimmed down a bit of that baby fat (I realize that it´s not baby fat, but I´ve kinda been a baby in grad school and it´s grad school fat, so....) I´m also eating incredibly healthy. There aren´t too many high fat, sugar options for vegetarians here, but there are many, many very healthy options. There are 8+ just vegetarian restaurants just in Cuzco!!! However, I am really eating a lot of vegetables and bread. And it´s all good for me!! That and massive water consumption is REQUIRED for walking around all day. Hilly, hilly, hilly. Anyways, I´m posting this and then hoping to add in a couple pictures from Machu Picchu!!!! HOORAY!!!!!

Love you, miss you!!!!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Long days in Cuzco!

Hi everyone,

So, my computer officially doesn´t work this high up. Older brands, like the one I´m typing on, apparently do. Bleh. Anyways, that means that all the nice blogs I wrote to you all elsewhere will not be posted until later, but then there will be many!!!

Anyways, everyday is a party in Cusco, Peru. It is the city festival leading up to Inti Raymi this week, so that has been fun. However, if I have to watch one more traditional dance, I will explode. I spent most of yesterday doing that because it was a compitition between high schools. However, these dances are basically the same thing over and over... It got long after a couple hours and excrutiating after 4 hours. However, they were nice enough, I suppose. I think I would have liked them more if I didn´t have to sit in a bright sun (got a sunburn.. :() and watch these kids do these same dances over and over. The girls did the same thing every time. THey walk with their heads going from side to side. They twirl their skirts so you see their undergarments (usually a slip). They have these puffball things that they swing around (the one variation was changing the puffballs.) then they do a sort of two step around in a circle. There isn´t much more to it, but sometimes the boys did cool things. There´s this part where they whip each other with ropes and try not to flinch....??? It is pretty cool and also a crowd pleaser for the Cusquenyos. Well, I should go. Yet again, a line for the computers.... LOVE YOU!! MISS YOU!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Quick note from Cusco!

Hey everybody,

I typed up a whole nice blog, but it won´t transfer from my computer to the computer with internet, so... I will send it later. I´m going to Machu Picchu tomorrow, super early!! But hopefully tomorrow or Monday, I will be able to give you a nice long, nosy letter from Cusco. All right, Love you!! MISS YOU!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm in Peru!!!

I only have like 30 seconds to type, but I wanted to let the world know that I landed safely and happily in Peru. I can't say I'm doubt-free, but I can say that I am SOOOOOOO excited!! Hurray for Peru!

I'm currently in Lima, at the Clifford Hotel. It is also big and red like the dog, so I feel like it's aptly named. We're taking a 10 minutes break between meetings for bathrooms and such. Next up is lunch. It is a busy busy day of official stuff, but what the heck, I'm in Peru! The rest of the day will be less hectic once we eat. I'm thinking of carrying my whole big backpack because I keep needing things that I don't have. Speaking of which, I should grab that. I PROMISE to write more from Cusco, but seriously, guys, I may be a bit busy at first, ya know, enjoying Peru!!! However, I'm guessing the altitude will force me to stop and then I will write of the beauty and charm of the country and culture. Lots of love!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

A bit of amusement from previous travel...

video

So, I figured after the bi-polar nature of my last post, (I was VULNERABLE there, so don't criticize!!! Or at least, criticize nicely... Most professors and other people are still seeing the "Everything is peachy-keen" Sarah... I've put my heart and trust at you people, so deal with it nicely!!!) I should give a little amusement that fit in with the topic. What combines terror, exhilaration, and jumping off cliffs better than this video? I don't think I'm in it, if there is one. So, this is me, defying my fears and not really being glad I did until afterwards. If you pause at the right moment, you can actually SEE terror incarnate. Anyways, enjoy!

Ms. Cranky-Pants' Last Day in Columbus, OH

Foreword: the first few paragraphs, I let my fears and doubts run wild. If you would like to skip to the happy, sunshiney parts, skip to the paragraph with "positive note" in the first line.

My nerves feel like they are literally on fire. I am incredibly jumpy, fidgety, and freaking out. Don't get me wrong, I am a seasoned world traveler (although I think I always get a little nervy when heading out to a new CONTINENT!), but field research is the most terrifying thing in the world right now. Especially field research where you only have a minimal grasp of the language, no knowledge of the people I will be working with, and only a vague idea of what the research is all about. I mean, seriously.


However, on a more positive note. I am starting out my big fancy trip to Peru with a bang! I'm going to Machu Picchu this weekend. How many people can say that? Well, approximately 2500 per day, according to the guidebooks. But, how many people that I know can say that??? not many. just Gaby, my friend from school, who will also be traveling to Machu Picchu this weekend. But other than that, no one!! Whooooooo!!!

Then, I will be spending a week immersed in Spanish. Literally. I will be staying with a family in Cusco who will only speak Spanish with me. I will have 8 hr a day classes of non-stop Spanish. Well, not NON-stop. We'll have lunch, but I'm sure we'll speak Spanish while eating.

This will be followed by another week of less intense Spanish, with only 4 hours a day of class and afternoons of museums. Oh, and this week will have a day of no class because it will be the festival of Inti Raymi!! WHOOOOO!!!!! This local Incan festival is the second largest festival in South America. Cusco shuts down completely with parades and special food and utter craziness. I love it!!! I am ridiculously excited for Cusco. I do want to point that out to everyone, especially parents that read the eariler, spoiled brat part of the blog. I'm excited about the country, learning Spanish, seeing MACHU PICCHU!!!!, going to this festival, seeing Peru, and everything else except the research part. However, as my wonderful, magnificent professor Marie Cieri says, "Doing research is like jumping off a cliff. You're terrified of it, and you just don't want to, but the very best thing you can do is jump anyways." Well, that's not a direct quote, but you get the idea.

As long as I'm plugging professors, Kendra, one of my advisers has been an absolute life-saver with this Peru trip. She has helped me out tremendously with the dreaded fun-sucking IRB of doom! She has also been very supportive and talked me off of cliffs of non-research sorts. She's awesome. I really wish that she were going, but she's pregnant, even if it were her project. She could be having a baby on the negative one anniversary with Sandip. (Yes, while I am in Peru, it will be 1 year until we get married. This is why I was trying to get things together ahead of time, because we will have less than 11 mths and a thesis to write after I get back. No matter how much I explained this to people, everyone was like, but why are you doing it now? I would like to point out that this is like asking, "why don't you want to do everything last minute?" and that's a really dumb question.) So, anyways, Kendra = Awesome.

That's not to say my other adviser, the one who is actually bringing me on this trip and paying for stuff isn't awesome, because he is. Very nice guy. Believes altitude sickness is only in your head, like all insanely health people believe about something they don't suffer from, but I won't hold that against him unless I die of altitude sickness. Let's face it now, my healthiness track record is against me- I will probably get sicker than he does with the altitude. Here me now, world, I will haunt OSU if I die on this trip. Specific people may also be included, like if I die of altitude sickness, but just in general. I will, however, pick somewhere cooler than the bathroom to haunt. perhaps the grad lab. I could totally haunt that. I'd live in the scanner or something. Oooh, or the printer, so I could go haunt Jim or Jens when it runs out of paper or ink. maybe they'd replace things more quickly.

Anyways, the moral of the story is that I am very excited but also very nervous about my trip. I will probably laugh at all of this afterwards, but that is still a long way off. Nerves aside, though, tomorrow, I begin to jump off the cliff of research. Well, maybe the first in the series of cliffs? Like the Indiana Jones movie IN Peru- 3 cliffs- Lima, Cusco, then Huaraz!!! Hurray for me working Indiana into this post.

I love you all very much and I'm going to miss you like crazy!!! Please feel free to e-mail me anytime. I can't promise long intricate responses, but I will do my best to send you something! Have a good summer, everyone!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ashley meets Peter Pan

So, I visited Ithaca, NY with Sandip at the very beginning of May. We went to see our very good friends Ashley and Nick who are in Cornell's grad school. It's an oddly specific major, so I never get it right. Something about landscape design, creating environments, people friendly spaces, or something. I'm sure I will be corrected at some point. Stay tuned for comments from Ashley!! Anyways, I absolutely love this picture of Ash. Doesn't it look like she has just been sprinkled with Tinkerbell's fairydust and is off to join the Lost Boys on some crazy wonderful adventure where Captain Hook will be called a codfish? I love it. I have also just discovered how to input pictures! Hurray!!! I really need to set up a picassa album or something for all of these things, but I have been sooooo crazy busy with everything. I didn't even think I'd get my nice camera out in time to go to Peru. It was tucked away in a box. However, today I destroyed our nice condo by taking everything out of every box. I still can't find half of what I need, but I did find the other half! I suppose that's a half-full scenario. Anyways, loved the picture and NEEDED to post it.

Ash- if you need to find me in Peru- second star to the right and straight on til morning!!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sex and the City: The Movie

So, if you couldn't tell from the title, I just saw the Sex and the City Movie. I will do my best to avoid spoilers, but some things are inevitably going to come out, so don't read this unless you've seen it or can handle the dirt.

First of all, I'm aching that I didn't get to follow through on the original plan to go see this movie with two of my best friends ever, Inna and Ashley. A multi-state best friendship would be easier if we had the magical financial abilities of the characters in the movie. (Ps. how do those women afford all that stuff...? When would a journalist in NY, NY be able to afford all of those designer shoes, not to mention the purses, dresses, apartments, parties, etc... I wish my writers would increase the cash flow to magical levels like that...) Anyways, I spent half the movie wishing I could be there with my good friends, drinking cosmos, and feeling that wonderful feeling of camaraderie when you've shared so many experiences and are just happy to be in each others' company. Not that I wasn't completely happy to watch it with Sandip. He's a sweetheart and one of the three men in the movie theater. I'm pretty sure the other two were holding hands.

However, judging from the previews before the movie, I'm guessing chick flicks will abound in the near future, so we'll see one of those together. However, it won't be the same. Then again, we probably would have been the annoying women in the theater that kept going, "OMG! They're talking about that one episode where Carrie was in Paris!" "OH! Alexander Petrovski!!" Then, of course, Inna would say that she loved him best because he was Russian, to which I would HAVE to respond that he was a total sleaze bag that deserved to be kicked in the nuts. Since, I think Ashley liked Aiden best, this would have come up and much drama ensued, in the middle of the movie. So, we will wait until the DVD comes out and we'll watch it in a room where we will only disturb each other.

So, what did I think of the movie? It was good. In parts, it was dramatic. In other parts, it was laugh for 3 minutes straight funny. I felt like some of it went too fast. I'm used to things being strung out between episodes, but this was like watching an entire season in one sitting. Don't get me wrong, I really, really liked it. When I watch it with my friends in the fall, post-Peru, I will love every second of it. But it was a lot to take in, sometimes.

However, I have to say that I really like the phenomenon. As much as every guy groans when they hear that Sex and the City was liberating for women, it really was. It was a whole bonus women's movement, starting in the late 90's. It helped de-youth glamor. These women were in their mid to late 30's (and beyond in Samantha's case), but they were still, in a word, fabulous. Men still wanted them, they were still beautiful, and most importantly, they could be independent. Sure, every moment was filled with drama and fights, but so is life. It also helped put women on an equal footing with men in terms of sex. It is a well-known fact that a guy that sleeps around is admirable. A guy can sleep with 30 women and be told that he is "living the dream." A woman in the same position is a grade-A, piece of slut. Now, don't get me wrong, I find myself judging all the time, very unfairly. But if you look down on one, look down on the other. I just want equal treatment here! Before you say that you do, really, really think about it. Most guys will get a "boys will be boys," even if you're slightly disgusted. Women never get off so lucky.

Beyond that, though, underneath all of the drama, there was a message about relationships and their imperfections. No relationship is perfect. Any relationship that hasn't had a big fight doesn't have enough honesty in it, and I really believe that. Nobody is 100% compatible. It's impossible. It's when you can acknowledge every flaw, every annoying little habit, every failure to communicate, but love someone despite (or even because) of them that you have a real relationship.

That said, I think this is a great time to plug living together. Living together is the new engaged. Engaged is the new married, and married is the new five year anniversary. What's the five year anniversary? It's the new ten year anniversary, and ten is the new twenty. Beyond that, making a relationship last that long is just plain impressive. But living together for the first time after marriage seems so much harder. When you live together, you can't escape back to your place when you get in a fight. You have to get along or else. Every little crack and flaw come into view. You have to like it or lump it, as my brother would apparently say.

It's a great way to figure out if you love somebody, as I mentioned above. Not that I love being lectured about picking up my stuff. I got enough of that from my mother growing up, but I think the whole experience of living together has been very educational. Speaking of my mom, don't go see the movie. Except for the whole power to the older woman thing, I doubt you'll enjoy it. Anyone who could be labeled a prude, in general, I would advise against it. The rest of the world, go! Enjoy! It's totally worth it, especially if you can go with your very good friends. Love you, miss you!! One week until Peru!!