About Me

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Hello! Welcome to my online travel-food-life journal/virtual scrapbook. I am a poet, playwright, journalist, editor and basic jack-of-all-trades writer. I was born in El Salvador and raised in Minnesota. I have just returned home from a year and a half in South Africa.

29 April 2011

24 hours left on the plane, 24 hours left! Take a Dramamine, swallow it down, 23 hours left on the plane ...

So, yeah.  By the time I landed it really did feel like I had had 99 bottles of beer -- or well, at least 4.  I spent a combined total of about 24 hours on planes to get to Cape Town. Plus another -- what 7 -- in airports?  Yeaaah ....

But first, I had to say goodbye to my parents ... so hard!  I mean, I think you can see it on my face, right?

Then I had a 4 hour delay in Minneapolis.  Two of which were spent in the plane, on the tarmac.  Not the airline's fault -- it was due to bad weather in Chicago.  Still, I hates delays, precious.

So whilst I waited, I started making a little pouch for my camera.  I had some extra yarn laying around the house and I thought a little crafting would help pass the time...


Unfortunately, thanks to the 4 hours of waiting, I was done with it before the plane even took off:

But cute, no?  Crafters unite!  (PS, for crocheters out there, it's done in half double crochet to make it nice and cushy.)

Anyhoo, we get to O'Hare and then it is a literal dash to our plane.  I was the second to the last person they let on the plane before they shut the doors!  Oh, and thanks to O'Hare security I had to dump out my 40oz. bottle of water which I had been hoping would sustain me for the next 10 hrs. (I believe I am part camel in my never-quenched thirst.)  So there I am, sweating most unlady-like and already waterless. Boo.  But hey, at least I was on the flight!  One of the flight attendants told me there were another 40 people who didn't make the flight!

As much as I'm sorry for those poor 40 people stranded at 11 o'clock at night in O'Hare instead of on their way to Istanbul, the fact that there were so many empty seats meant that I got to lay down and at least attempt to get some decent sleep.  There was also a lot of I'm-about-to-barf-in-this-bag type turbulence, so Lorenita popped herself a Dramamine, made a nest with all the Turkish Air pillows and blankets (Boo on US airlines for getting rid of them by the way), put on the lovely Turkish Air eye mask and socks and fell asleep.  For like an hour, and then up and then asleep and then up and then asleep. 

Eventually, it was kind of morning, and after a yummy breakfast (dudes, seriously, Turkish Air was kinda great) we landed.

I had over 5 hours there, so I got intimately acquainted with the Istanbul Airport.  Oh, and hey, note to the Instanbul Airport commission:  PLEASE INSTALL WATER FOUNTAINS.  I spent over $20 on water, I kid you not.  But such was my need.  On the plus side, their food is a little better than your average airplane food -- I had a lovely salad with grilled hellim cheese.  (I decided to forgo the "fajitas" on the menu.)

And later I had, "cake with fruits, including grapes" ... and more water of course:

Other notes:  It seemed every kind of person from every corner of the earth was in the Istanbul airport.  And their duty free area was amazing ... especially the jewelry section!  Hey, don't judge, when else was I gonna be in Istanbul, I ask you?  And these people know their jewelry!

After wandering aimlessly for hours, I can't tell you how happy I was to see this:

And then it was a crazy melee of a line, and then I totally smuggled my now full 40oz. water bottle (I was NOT about to dump out $20 worth of water) on to the plane.

And sweet succotash, this flight was really empty too!  I switched seats after take off, and look, I had a whole row to myself!!!  Lorenita was happy!

 Then another 10 hours, then a stop in Johannesburg, an hour on the ground ... and then finally, FINALLY, Cape Town! 

Where -- of course -- I was the last person left by the baggage claim, eyes raised futilely to the heavens ... long after all reasonable hope ... yup ... my 2 Suitcases went AWOL!

28 April 2011

Last Days in Minnesota ...

Moving to a new country is ... well, there's no other word for it -- INSANE.  How do you pack up one life as you prepare for another?  On the one hand, you're completely excited to start your adventure.  On the other hand there are tearful goodbyes ...

So right before I left we had a little family party to say  farewell and also to celebrate my mom's birthday:

My cousin Nils (a world traveler extraordinaire himself) came to wish me Bon Voyage!


It was not easy to say goodbye to anyone, but these 2 (my niece Naomi and my nephew Nathaniel) completely wrecked me... I mean, how do you say goodbye to these faces?  (Sobbing might have occurred on the car ride home.)

Naomi took this shot of my dad & I:

And then I came home to this ...

 Yes, my darlings, the mess in my house was EPIC.

There were a lot of these moments:

And then ... as if to say "hey lady, why don't you get going to sunnier climes?" Mother Nature gifted us with snow the day before I left ...  A very proper way to say goodbye to Minnesota!

(Wherein our explorer-ess strikes out across the seas)

Twenty nine years ago, I came to the United States as a child from El Salvador with two suitcases.  An entire life, packed up.  What's most important?  Beloved toys left behind.  Baby albums, yes.  Now, I'm leaving on my own journey, two suitcases beside me as my husband and I move to South Africa for a year (or so.)  I cannot help but think how much easier I have it than my parents.  How much, much more courageous they were.  I am not escaping a war.  I do not have four children to provide for.  I speak the language.  I am not fleeing.  It feels more like jumping.  This blog will be an account of that journey.  An account of making do with less. Of focusing on the essential.  Of bringing only what you love. Pretty pictures and food and new people and places and homemade beauty recipes from a post post feminist will ensue. Ramblings and rants perhaps (ahem, surely).  Most of all, I hope it will be an account of living life as fully as possible, two suitcases be damned.