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Posts tagged vacation

by Tiffani “Endless Summer” Michele

Dear internet,

My kids went to Alaska with their Dad on their summer vacation. While they were gone, I went on mine: Peru for two weeks. I met some new people. I drank some new drinks. I saw lots of new things. I guess it was OK.

The End.

And by that, what I mean to say is:

Dear Internet,

I went to PERU for two fucking weeks!!!!!!! 14 days of magic!!!!!! 14 days of pure bliss. 14 days of immersion in a language I don’t speak and a culture I don’t understand. It was like a dream come true, only better, because in a dream come true it always ends up being too real. But this, it was like a dream come true if you were dreaming of a dream come true. 14 days of listening, watching, learning, (sometimes) crying, laughing, dancing, eating, hooping, drinking, picture taking, and just being.

I realized a lot about myself, which is always the best part of any good voyage.

I realized that my heart beats in time to the sound of a city buzzing with activity. In order: Arequipa, Lima, and Cusco.

I realized that normal activity to one person could be a completely foreign and interesting activity to someone else. I loved watching Peruvians go about their daily lives, and I formed a deep respect for their hard working, baby wearing, brightly clothed, smiling ways. I didn’t meet a Peruvian I didn’t like. Not to say they aren’t out there, but I had the good fortune to run with some pretty awesome people and watch the quiet rhythms of daily routines.

I learned that not everyone has the same uptight high levels of safety that I’ve been brought up with. For instance, refrigeration? Apparently not as necessary as I thought (as long as you don’t mind going without milk and ice).

“I’d like a pork sandwich please!” “OK, let me pull back this blanket and scoop some meat from the bone!”

Most badass schoolbus ever? This truck in the Andes. It’s safe. It has a rollbar!

I learned that while there may be no more new frontier for mankind on this earth in general, there is plenty of new territory for me to explore. And sometimes in doing the exploring, I’m left with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, humility, and awesome.

I give you Machu Picchu–the reason for my trip and the absolute highlight.

I realized that I could never ever actually capture the sense of place that I felt there in a picture, but it didn’t keep me from trying. I ate things I never thought I’d eat (alpaca) and had drinks that completed me (pisco sour). I fell to the depths of loneliness, as one does when one is traveling alone, and then popped back out the other side into the arms of the traveling community…in which you are truly alone only if you want to be.

I soaked in lots of affirmation and love, because one thing that latin american men are not shy of is expressing lots of strong feelings that I’m unaccustomed to hearing. Of course, I didn’t buy into it. Obviously not, seeing as I base my self worth on my own identity and not on what other people say about me *cough* I’m trying *cough* but the fervor and tone is hard to ignore. After watching me hoop around to music out of my headphones, an entire group of Brazilian men in the hostel I was staying at pledged their undying love. Which is ridiculous, you can’t love someone after watching them for 5 minutes. But they believed it. And they defended their love so vigorously I let go of my American skepticism and agreed that yes, they could carry on with all that undying and unrequited love business.

But my heart? It belonged to the llamas y alpacas. More than the fiery passion of latin american men, these creatures stirred in me an inner confidence. They are so completely themselves…awkwardness and silliness and all…I couldn’t stop watching them. They trip along rocks. Careen down paths. Wander willy nilly up and down. They chew funny. Make priceless expressions of awkwardness. Who among us is more silly and awkward than me? And who is more regretful of this than I am? No one but me. But watching these animals (that I’d never seen up close in person) owning their shit was really empowering. If I can love them for their strangeness, then perhaps someone can love me for mine. In fact, maybe that someone can be me. I’m thinking that if you love llama, you’d love me by extension.

I fell in love with Peru. I fell in love with new tastes, sounds, sensations. I fell in love with life.

And that’s what I did on my summer vacation.

How has your summer been? Did you travel anywhere? Do anything new? See anything with fresh eyes? Do tell!

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by Tiffani “Living La Vida Bathing Suit” Michele

Dear, sweet, delusional, and incorrect Erika really threw down the gauntlet yesterday when she blogged “I Hate Summer“. Haterz gonna hate, I know, but she left me no choice but to retaliate with my own post, “I Love Summer” to show her the errors of her ways. Because really, I read her words in shock and awe, shaking my head and mouthing the words “nooooooo!” while raising my fists into the air like a supplicant for correct seasonal priorities. It’s nothing personal, I suppose, and nothing that can’t be fixed over a late night of beer drinking and shots of whiskey. But still. I was offended. Hating Summer?! What?! Who could possibly?! Can you even say those words together?!

I love Summer so much I want to get drunk off vodka infused watermelon, and fondle and caress it and maybe even grind up against it until we’re both tired and drunk and a little sunburned and pass out to the light of fireflies dancing around us. So here’s my own list of summery love:

1) So Much More Light! I don’t struggle to wake up early like I do in the dark hours of winter, because the sun is already shining in my window beckoning me to hop out of bed and get my party on. It shines all day long without any chance of snowstorms or weeks and weeks of gray days. It even stays light waaaaay into traditional night. There is finally enough time in the day to do everything…wake up early, get shit done by afternoon, take a little nap, wake up, and still have more than half a day’s light to play around with. Yes Please!

2) Break From Cooking! No one wants to use an oven or stove when it’s hot. That’s where grills and men come in handy. In the summer, you can hand off a plate of raw meat and it comes back to you in the form of a fresh dinner made by a man cooking on a grill. Cooking and baking goes down by at least half thanks to cold pasta salads, fruit dips, man grilling, pot luck neighbor picnics, and yogurt based foods. Being single has put a wrench into my plans, actually, but that’s what Craigslist is for. “Wanted: man who likes to grill. I will supply raw meat and veggies in exchange for a nicely grilled dinner every night. Knowledge of grilled desert recipes a plus. None of this is code for “I really mean I want to have freaky sex with a stranger”. Only those serious grillers need to contact me.”

3) Bathing Suits, Boats/Beach and Beers! If there’s any way to spend a day better than this, I don’t know what it is.

(body by hooping, y’all, and I’m not even kidding!)

4) Summer Sports Rock Hard! Fall and Winter have sports that are boring to watch, boring to play, involve lots of layers, and have a high degree of hurt involved. Touch football always ends up tackle. Hockey players wear too many layers to make it interesting for us women folk, if you know what I’m saying. Skiing also involves to many layers and way to many chances to run into trees and die of massive internal injuries. But summer is all about play! Swimming, volleyball, surfing, and skateboarding. Who doesn’t love the laid back nature of that?! All done in varying forms of dishabille. Rawr!

5) It’s Simply Magical. All my favorite memories come from the summertime. No school, no bedtime, spending time with friends, going on summer trips, eating popsicles all day long, summer loving with the star crossed boyfriend that I knew I’d never see again, lounging at the beach eating nachos and hot dogs, sun kissed hair, and fireflies. Ah, fireflies. My kids had never seen them before last week. But as we spent time with cousins in Georgia, they experienced the magic for the first time. It made my mama heart grow three sizes bigger.

Seriously. This is life, people. Magical, awesome, simple, pure. Brought to you by summer!

What are some of your favorite things about the best season ever (summer, of course)?!