Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Aftermath...

I have been back in Seattle for 2 weeks now, and I have been so busy! I'm working almost everyday at Nordstrom again and I couldn't be happier about it. And of course, I am sitting in a Starbucks typing this. Typical, right?

Here is a recap of my last days in Rincon:

I picked my friend Zac up in San Juan and we spent the afternoon drinking out way through Old San Juan, which reminded me a lot of New Orleans.

My favorite beach at Cofresi had 2 feet of sand blown away in the storm. Those rocks don't look quite as appealing as the lounge chairs that typically reside there.

We met Beka (another PNW girl) and took a trip to the waterfall again.

These were half of the steps down to the first falls.

And this was the swimming area at the second falls.

Final Piratas at Cofresi.

And my last day on these lounge chairs after the shore line had built back up a little.

And of course, Charlie packed and ready to get on his first plane to be adopted int he states!

There are of course things I miss from Puerto Rico. The beach of course. I miss working out and then jumping straight into the ocean. If I did that here, I would get hypothermia. I miss the people I got the know. But coming home was the right choice for me. I love the NW. And I love (most of the time) my job. 

The saddest part of leaving was getting home and realizing I have basically zero photos of the people I spent time with in Rincon. That is incredibly sad to me. The beach will always be there, and there are a million other beaches I can go to. But the people are irreplaceable. A big thanks to each and everyone one of you for helping me make memories there.

Now that I am home, I'm buckling down and getting some stuff done that I have put off for way too long. Finishing my Bachelors, paying off old debt, and planning another international adventure are all on the agenda. 

It is pretty surreal to be back honestly. I look at pictures and it feels like a different life. Even though I was very ready to come home, I have a feeling I will look back at this with the same yearning as I do with my photos from Europe. It genuinely hurts my heart to go through those again. I doubt Puerto Rico will be any different.

Since this is a travel blog, I suppose it will be pretty quiet for a while until my next adventure. Thanks to the more than 1,000 people who have read this.

Enjoy the day!

Monday, September 9, 2013

11 days left....

I have officially made the decision to come home to Seattle. To say I haven't loved it here is an understatement. I am not impressed by the culture as a whole, I cannot stand the way people drive, no one cares for their animals (its heartbreaking), and I am not making enough money. I don't party and I am not ever going to become a surfer. I came down for a break from city life and work, but its all I think about everyday. I am very bad at island life. I have everything in line to finish my language courses and begin applying to university, because that it truly what is most important to me.

I am excited to be headed back to work at Nordstrom, finish school, and get all my ducks in a row. Thanks to Beachbody, I have been reading a lot of personal development books and have some pretty great goals for the future. Its been fun Puerto Rico.

Other than that, over the last few weeks I have....

Gone on a few adventures while my friend Jessie was in town to a secluded beach nicknamed 
"the jacuzzi" 

and another jungle waterfall adventure.

I still need to find a home for Charlie which probably means I will have to bring him back to the states because no one here will take him.

Izzy has not been his biggest fan, so I will not be keeping him permanently.

I also lived through a Tropical Storm that ended up being very uneventful, although the radar makes it look much scarier. 

My friend Zac is in town for the next week and a half so we will be out adventuring as well so expect another post soon!

I can't wait to be back in Seattle and see everyone I love so much and go back to work!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Officially 2 months In Rincon, PR

Well after the response from my last post, let me make it clear that I am not dying! Yes of course it is hard to move somewhere new in any situation. I still have no idea how long I will stay or if this is the right place for me at all. I think I change my mind every two days about this place. I have some opportunities I am looking into at home, that could mean September, it could mean November, or it could mean March. Who knows. All my energy is just going to be focused on getting into UW and going back to school full time, because regardless of where I am living, I'm happiest when I am in school and moving forward.

So now onto a few things that are happening now...

For those of you that know me well, you know I am an avid list maker. Thank my mother for that one. And while I have a thing for physically writing out a list, just for the satisfaction of being able to highlight it (NOT cross it out) when its completed, I have decided to go digital. I downloaded Awesome Note from the app store, and while it did take a little while to get used to it, I am loving it. I can put all sorts of lists and goals and blog ideas and break them down any way I want. So for all of you who are as neurotic as me, it is definitely worth checking out!

Another thing I am working on it my official Bucket List. And its about time. I have gone online looking for ideas, and I am lucky enough to have already completed some things that most people put on theirs such as visit Rome, see Big Ben and learn to surf. Ok, well I haven't quite crossed that last one off just yet. But especially for someone who really want to travel and see the world and experience new things, I think it's important to have a list like that. Honestly, for anyone. We get so caught up in the work grind and family life that we forget all these other amazing things we want to do. Think about what that list would have looked like when you were 16. How has that changed? Anyways, I encourage all of you to make one, and make it a point to actually accomplish some of these things. Here is an awesome site I found to get you started!

My mother has created some groups that have done the 101 in 1001 Challenge. It is 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days. Its great for anyone who is goal oriented, or who needs a little push to be. We have been talking about getting another one going, and this is my not-so-subtle way of encouraging it. The site I linked gives you some basic info on how to create your list. If you're interested, let us know! I'm trying to get her to put one together by October-ish.

I am fostering a kitten! No one should be surprised. In keeping with family tradition, I am working with Animal Rescue Foundation of Rincon. You can even see my kitten on the site! We found him at Lucky 13 and of course I took him in. He is SO SWEET. Izzy is not a huge fan, but she is a brat anyways. He had his shots Friday and is at the vet right now getting fixed. Hopefully he'll be adopted soon, but in the meantime, I am loving it.

One thing I mean to post about before, was the license plates. I always find it interesting to see different plates. "Island of Enchantment" is what it says, and the local saying is "Puerto Rico lo hace mejor" which simply means, Puerto Rico does it better.

I got to Skype with the family last week. I may never want children, but my nephews are the best things in the world. Its actually ridiculous how much I miss them. Yes I miss everyone else too, but probably not as much. :)

Congrats to my family members who are participating in the August Challenge Group! Everyone is going at their own pace, but they are in it! New group starts after Labor Day, so click here to get signed up. You all know how much I rave about Insanity and Shakeology. It's no lie, I love it, and I'm pretty sure you will too. 

I am so excited to have my friend Jessie coming to town next week, and Zac coming in September. It is going to be a much needed taste of home! Pretty much the whole town closes down for September, so it will be a good excuse to go explore more of the island.

Other than that, thanks for all the Snapchats everyone! I love you all and I miss you!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Settling in...?

So it has been 5 weeks now. I am working fairly consistently but definitely not full time. But there is a huge part of me that is starting to miss home a whole lot. I miss my friends, I miss my family, and I miss my job. My best friend had a really bad week and I wasn’t able to be there for her… thanks mom for picking up the slack for me. I miss the city. One of my friends told me I "just need to relax, city slicker". And believe me, I am trying but as most of you know, I am not very good at that. 

But really its more than that. I came down because I wanted a change and I wasn’t ready to marry my job yet and I wanted adventure. Now all I think about is my job and wish I had something full time here. Maybe I am just not cut out for this beach town lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful and amazing but I just don’t want to get lost in the surf and the parties. I still need to have direction and need to be making progress. And I just haven’t figured out if I will be able to make that happen here or not.

Maybe I am just having a mini freak out, and in another 2 weeks I’ll never want to come home. But I left a lot of security back in Seattle, and it doesn’t matter who you are, that’s scary.

I’ve been meeting a lot of really amazing people though. Everyone is so nice and so loving. And I’ll be FINALLY learning to play my guitar thanks to two beautiful ladies down here!

I did meet with the owner of Rincon Vacation last week. Come October they will need someone full time to do reception and reservations for their company. Go to the website. It’s awesome. I would get to help people all of their travel reservations and upsell them better packages. Sounds pretty perfect. I really want to do something in the travel and tourism industry, so this could be exactly what I need. Plus he said they would send me to do all of the adventures before I start so that I would be able to speak to that and get to know the vendors for each thing (zip lining, bio bay, kayak tours, etc.). Bummer, right? I won’t know anything until mid September, but cross your fingers for me!

I have been terrible about taking photos, but here are a few!

My mom and sister sent me down this for Izzy. She has to chase it around to get her kibble out of it! It is quite entertaining. 

Typical sunset from the beach across from our apartment.

When I went to pick Mat up from the airport 2 weeks ago, we ended up driving around the whole island. I took the top route to get him and we took the bottom route home.

And had lunch here.

I am also happy to say that I have lost 10lbs since starting with Team Beachbody on Shakeology and Insanity. Now keep in mind, I have totally slacked off with my workouts since I moved. So, I’m gonna say 10 in less than 2 months is ok with me! Back on the horse again and moving forward.

Big shout out to my Mom, Sister and cousin Erika who are starting their Challenge Group this week! Let’s kick some butt ladies!

For those of you who haven’t wanted to join one of my Challenge Groups, I am doing a 7 Day Challenge next month that will be a Shakeology and Clean Eating challenge. I’ll send you a 7 day supply of Shakeology and you’ll commit clean eating to go with it. That way all of you who are interested in it will have to opportunity to test it out! It’s going to be awesome so keep it in mind and I’ll keep you posted. 

ALSO please please please go donate to my charity: water page! I'll be doing this once a year and I really want my first one to be a success. I know so many of you out there know how important water quality is to people around the world. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Three weeks down...

Well I didn't mean to wait this long to update, but oops!

I can't believe I have already been here 3 weeks. I have to admit, I've been stalking the Nordstrom Instagrams and all the ladies FB pages. Anniversary Sale started, and while I am happy to be in the Caribbean, I still really miss it. I'll be back one day, have no fear!

We got settled into the new apartment just in time for Mat to head back to the states for two weeks. I got the room with the better dresser! Great, right? Little did I know what my neighbors had in store for me.

They have chickens and roosters (that go off at 5:30am like clockwork), 3 dogs (that go off anytime someone passes on the street), and a parrot. The parrot mimics the rooster and the dogs, says hola, and sings at every opportunity. Short story; it's never quiet here.

I've been eaten alive by mosquitoes. Its horrendous. I have to go buy all sorts of insect repelling plants for the house. I'm dousing myself in OFF which means I am dousing myself in Deet. Next mission: homemade bus spray, recipes welcome!

Izzy seems to be adjusting, but not enjoying her diet. This is where I usually find her.

But she has explored the patio a little, meaning she checks the perimeter then rolls around. 

And she NOT a fan of the lizards that live in the ceiling and scurry around. 

I started picking up a few shifts at Lucky 13, so if you haven't already gone and liked their FB page, do it now! Work is good, I'm grateful to be working at all during the slow season. Learning lots and meeting new people, which is great since Mat will be home for maybe 5 days then off to work for 2 months.

Toni (who I work with at both places) took Leah and I surfing for our first time last week! It was hard but a total blast, so expect to hear lots more about that. 

Leah snapped this pic of our boards.

I've spent the last 3 days sick as a dog. Apparently when there is bacteria in the water, it can get you real sick. Luckily, the Surfrider Foundation does regular water testing and updates their site so you know when and where to swim. See how Rincon Town Beach/Balneario is High Risk? Yeah, thats my beach. 

Luckily for me, it's still beautiful and the beach is perfectly acceptable!

I expected to have more to update on here, but I think I am just still sick and my brain is not working properly.

So until next time, I miss you all!

Monday, July 1, 2013

And so it begins!

6/21/13 1:45pm DAY OF ARRIVAL 

Well needless to say the 48 hours before I landed did not go as planned. Of course my last day of work was incredibly stressful, but I was lucky enough to have drinks with the ladies after, which was much needed. Thursday before my flight was absolute mayhem. Everything that could be stressful was. From luggage, to my cat, and everything in between, it was a mess.

Saying goodbye to my nephews was all tears. I’ve gotten so attached to those boys its ridiculous. But my mom, sister and best friend caravanned me to the airport, got some Benadryl in Izzy and even walked me through the monstrosity of a security line. More tears.

I don’t think it really hit me until I was actually leaving the house. Holy crap, I’m moving. Not just to California or some, but to the middle of the Caribbean. To a place I have never been before, and only know one person. I quit my job, said goodbye to friends and family and packed up everything.

For what? An adventure.

I keep saying that I would rather regret the things I did than the things I didn’t do. Why not go? So many people would kill to have this opportunity, and the freedom to actually do it. As my mother said “you’d be an idiot not to go.”

So here I am sitting on the floor at baggage claim. My backpack is sitting to my left, and my 2 boxes to my right and poor Izzy in her bag on top. There are no carts to gather my things. There are no restrooms in sight meaning no change of clothes for me, and no potty break for Izzy before the 3 hour drive home. Not that I would have anywhere to put my things when I found a bathroom. And Ronne’s flight won’t be here for another hour. And I only got maybe 2 hours of sleep.

So I’m sitting. Debating if I have made the right move, or if I have just screwed everything up.

Take a chance they said…
It will be fun they said…

It has been a week and a half now since I got down here. We got into the new apartment which is so exciting. The old one had no furniture and only 1 bed and not and no internet. The new place is furnished, colorful, has wifi and appliances, we have our own rooms and it's walking distance from the beach and a bar. 

I've met some pretty awesome people so far. Lucky 13 BBQ is amazing. The owners Ryan and Leah are the people we hang out with most. The food is great. We eat there almost every day. (this is also partially because we've been eating out for every meal because our fridge didn't work until today, but still). 

I'll start working at Casa Islena on Friday just as a Hostess and Busser, but hey its a start! 

As many of you may know, I also recently became a Team Beachbody Coach! I work part time to help people get healthy and fit and its awesome. So if you're interested in joining one of my Challenge Groups, let me know! I'm really putting a lot of energy into this because it is something I really am passionate about! I restarted my Insanity program today because I got so far behind during the move. Everyone down here has bangin bodies, so it's time to get serious!

Other than that, my roommate Mat is headed out of town for a week tomorrow. I'll be all alone! He'll be gone a week or so then be home for two and then gone again for 2 months at work. 

Here are a few shots of the past week in Rincon! (since I uploaded apartment photos on FB, I won't add them here. so follow my FB and IG for more)

This was me "packing"

Such a sad empty closet

Ryan and Leah at Tamboo on Mat's birthday...

...and Mat on his birthday

I took a total of 6 photos on Noche de San Juan. 

These photos do it zero justice. 

So here is a link to a video that has a decent reflection of what happened. But, its not the beach we were at and it doesn't show that at midnight, that entire beach full of drunk people run into the ocean. Yes, I was one of them.

Leah at the waterfall we hiked to.

So I guess that is it for now. Thanks to everyone for encouraging me to start a blog!