2013, Year in review, or is it?

Holy moly this year flew by - me being late for my own year in review post is a sure sign of that. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that the Pinterest board I started for 2013 goals, sits in the same position; it included starting a small batch baking company, writing a novel, and going to Ethiopia - well there's always this year.

It's been a year filled with movement, in the literal form, moving from place to place to now where we find ourselves, Denver. Denver you may ask? "Ni sé donde coño está" "I don't even have the slightest clue where that is." It's in Colorado, at exactly one mile above sea level (5,280 ft), and precisely yesterday it was snowing. On warmer, sunnier days - which thankfully are commonly interspersed between the cold days - , it looks something like the below photos. It's quite beautiful and the people that we've met thus far absolutely love living here, they're some of the proudest residents I've ever come across, and seem utterly tickled to be in a state that offers skiing, hiking, and a ton of other outdoors sports, some of them 20 minutes from the downtown metropolis. We're still getting our bearings, and neither of us knows just for how long we'll be here (that nomadic tendency is a real bitch), but trying to make the most of it. We still oscillate between the reality of "building a life" in an actually place where our mail arrives daily, that we can call our own, with the whispering winds of the wild and the lure of unknown lands and experiences. It's culture shock for the both of us, but more profoundly I think we have both come to the staggering conclusion that we've changed, not necessarily our surroundings. Antonio has never lived in the US, and I've been nearly four years abroad, shuffled between Spain, travel and visa trips to the embassy. Frankly, it's a bit of the elephant in the room, our love or need for travel, and as we try to "normalize" - finding work, making new friends, shopping for clearly labeled Fair Trade products, and sleeping in a queen sized bed - we feel like we are betraying ourselves, conforming to a normality that doesn't fit us any longer. But who am I to say? I believe the most important - and difficult - part of 2014 will be completely surrendering to the situation we find ourselves in, quieting the white noise within our minds, embracing the opportunities, nuances and certainties (because let's face it, we're in a privileged situation here), and leaving the wide open road with no destination for a moment in time when we're 110% ready to step into that proverbial vehicle.

I invite you to follow along as perhaps you have for the last three years; I'll do the best I can to stay honest, true and consistent, but go easy on me, life is taking a few new turns as of late.

Happy New Year to you!

Highlights and Gratitude of 2013

SE Asia - we started the 2013 New Year in Vietnam, spending a lengthy 20 days at our home-stay and waking up like clockwork for our pho soup and smoothie. I thank my lucky stars everyday that those memories have stayed so fresh and visceral throughout. I know we'll go back, or rather I can only hope that the universe grants us another opportunity to do so - something extremely special spoke to both of us while traveling through that land, and I feel fortunate to share a partner who also felt that way

Visting Asturias, Spain with Lauren of Roaming the World -  experiencing a new place with an equally as new friend; meeting locals, hibernating from hail storms, witnessing the generosity of a bean farmer's family (story still to come). Update: Lauren and I are still in close contact and will see each other soon. Thanks blog, you really did a good thing there! 

Malaga - uff this is a hard one, but for gratitude's sake, I'm going to turn a slightly negative into a positive. I found myself in a sad state during the months in Malaga - maybe one can ask, "but how, with the sun, and carefree lifestyle of southern Spain?" However, the low after returning from Asia, the fruitless job hunt and utter lack of feeling...well, there was family, lots of sardines and other amazing delicacies, and time - which I don't have much of these days, nor churros, I don't have churros either. 

Madrid - Between trips to get Antonio's American visa and once on the way to the airport - just for a hot second-  we stayed in Madrid, where we both felt heart-pains for a city we once called home together. In comparison to Andalusia, the creative progress of the millennials here is ten-fold, and something about being there felt comfortable. It's most likely not top of our list should we return to Spain, but I know why so many tourists flock there each year, and I look forward to watching how it braces the economic woes of the country in the years to come, and how it ultimately survives. Bicicleta Cafe is a must see/drink/go. 

Playa del Carmen, Mexico - who would've thunk it? Someone asked me recently why I went to Spain when I could have gone to Mexico to learn Spanish. Did you know they have a 6 month tourist's visa for American citizens?! But I made it to Iberia anyways, and thanks to that had un poquito Spanish under my belt to navigate in Mexico. Enter, Sarah and Tyrhone, incredible world citizens who we had the pleasure to meet, bond over tacos and coffee and wish them luck as they travel around Latin America. They've easily changed our lives, and have proved that conquering perils, chasing dreams, and living "differently" is doable and rewarding. Also grateful to Mexico for our chill landlord Gil, our walks to the beach, the one day we went swimming with sea turtles, affordable medical needs, and leaving us the drive to one day get back on the horse and do it again. 

My new family - and why I sometimes wear a ring now. This happened so fast it's also hard to place it (crap I have an easier time remembering the first day we met - Oct 23rd, see!). But we got married; it was spontaneous but planned, simple but elegant, happy and sad, scary and relieving - well at least that's outta the way. 

San Francisco Bay Area - 0 to 60 in .2 seconds. That's about how fast I had to adjust from lollygagging blogger (nah that's actually hard) to sharp as nails marketer in startup mode. Silicon Valley. The epicenter of the technological world (maybe as Americans see it), and little ole' me attempting rather quickly to sharpen my vocabulary around Berkeley, St. John's and MBA grads, eavesdropping on serial entrepreneurs and learning about BitCoin while holding my poker face. Maybe some of you didn't know, but here's a large part of me that loves to work, I love to succeed at the work I'm doing and I'm grateful this little venture is still taking me on what could be my most important professional ride thus far. 

My (biological) family - it had been awhile since I had some quality family time, but we're catching up quick and the safety net is much appreciated during this landing phase. We're renting a car from my uncle, having dinner with my grandfather as he tells stories of his latest novel (he's 89), finding out I have a Goodwill problem like my mother, and getting cool cabin trips as perks. 

New freelance work - I have an absolutely amazing client for my side gig. She and her team are so incredibly supportive of my writing and give me storied food producers as protagonists - it's a food lover's dream. I can seriously see myself doing this sort of creative writing turned Director of Imports traveling the world in the future. Thankful for this discovery. 

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