Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rugby Players? Yes, Please.

(Written 2/23/2011 en route to Johannesburg, South Africa)
I’m currently trapped in coach on a 9.5 hour flight on the way to Johannesburg, South Africa squished together with 89 Argentinean rugby players.  I could think of worse scenarios.  J  So far it’s been an amusing flight; lots of shouting, excitement, and a few marriage proposals.  A surprisingly good way to keep myself entertained and distracted from the fact that I’m leaving a continent I’m in love with.

My flight buddies.  Cute...I know.   :)
After my stay in BA my heart is full and my spirit is lifted.  Among my amazing experiences, Iguazu Falls was near the top.  It’s something that I can try to explain with words – but something you won’t understand until you go and experience it for yourself. 
The falls were another world – something I couldn’t have imagined.  It looked like a scene out of Jurassic Park – lush green jungles with water pouring all over.  I thought a T Rex would jump out at any moment.  (Or that weird hissing thing that sprayed some foul juice on Newman). 

But it was an experience that was out of this world – it was more than just what I saw.  It was what I experienced with all my senses.  I felt the humidity as my clothes stuck to my skin.  I felt the mist showering my face, and the wind – sheer force from the falls.  I smelled the sweetness of flowers (and the body odor of sweaty tourists).  I heard the crashing water, the chirping birds, the sounds of the jungle. 

I saw an extraordinary amount of water crashing and swelling into rapids.  The magnitude of water cascading was hypnotizing.  I kept watching the calm water at top slowly flowing and approaching its demise and then finally reaching the peak and quickly curling over the edge and then plummeting some nearly 300 feet.

More than anything there was a spirit I felt.  I was in awe.  Despite the crying babies and screaming tourists, there was a tranquility about the falls.  Something that captured my attention and overtook my senses.  Despite the fact that I didn’t find any phenomenal foods at the falls, it was still an unforgettable experience.  Unforgettable.  Except for the fact that my camera battery died.  Woops.  Luckily, I had my iPhone and was able to capture a few videos and pictures.  And met a wonderful couple who shared their photos with me...

My new friends, the Villegas, after getting soaked by the water falls
After another grueling 18 hour bus ride back to BA I enjoyed my last few empanadas with Charlie and Colleen whom I met at Teresita’s cooking class.  They cooked a wonderful home made meal...and I ate a LOT – and I mean a LOT.  Meat, rice, vegetables, cheese, salami, crepes (yes, the ones that Colleen is adding to her menu!), and wine (obvi).  I ate until I hurt.  My uncle used to say “eating ‘til it hurts just a little is perfect.”  I surpassed that point.

Can you spot the fake food item? Mom never taught me not to play with my food...

Today I went over to my friend Diego’s house before he took me to the airport.  (Side note: do you ever meet a friend and feel like it's been years even though it's only been a week?  That's Diego.  An amazing friend, and somebody I know I will keep in touch with.)  As I prepped my luggage – of course in true Annie fashion – waiting until 15 minutes before we had to leave, I think I gave Diego a near panic attack.  I don’t think he’d ever seen anything more messy in his life.  But in my mind there was an order and place for everything.

Diego dropping me off at the airport in BA

Sometimes I feel that way about my life – that it mirrors my luggage.  That it appears totally crazed, but underneath the surface, I know where everything is and where it’s supposed to be.  There is a method to my madness.
But if someone messes with my method then it gets totally “messed up.”  That might be my OCD coming out….but sometimes I know that in life there are others who doubt me and what I know in my heart to be true is the best way to continue.  Sometimes you doubt yourself because of what others think, or because of what you think others may judge you for.  But today I leave you with this thought – that sometimes you have to have the confidence to proceed with what is right in your heart and not let others intervene.  Wow….did I really pull that out of packing my bags?!


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