Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Malaria - OH MY!

Wwwhhheellll! Obviously, this morning was all about my realization that mayhaps I was overlooking a very integral part of preparing for this extraordinary and epic expedition of mine.....

Ummm, What is EXTRAORDINARY AND EPIC DISEASES?   I immediately texted both my Mom and the brilliant medical mind of my sister while scouring the CDC for the most efficient vaccination cocktail. 
Uhh... I'll take Hep A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Malaria for $370 Alex.....Ahhhhwwwwesome!

So that's what I'll be doing next week when I get back from Oregon... because apparently I might experience some side effects and not be feeling so hot for a few days - Swweeeeeet!  But I would, of course, rather be safe than sorry and as we all know, the mosquitos LOVE to feed on what apparently is the sugar water masquerading as my blood.... not exactly the kind of souvenir I was thinking of bringing home ;-)
I immediately then went on to order a Steripen ( really rad uv light that purifies water in under 2 min!!!) for questionable water sources as well as various immune boosting vitamins and herbs. And of course, like the good mother and girl scout leader she is, my mom has begun work on an all-inclusive Dr. Mom medicinal kit.... which is FABULOUS because she will put things in there I never would've dreamed of but will be happy to have! Grazie mille mama!!!!! In addition to that, she also sent me the S.T.E.P (Smart Traveller Enrollment Program) link via the US Embassy. You register your basic itinerary and local contact info, which you can update along the way.... and yes, there IS an app for that! It puts you in the 'system' and makes it easier for the US Embassy to help you/track you (ME) should any gnarly shit go down... a pretty smart idea considering the length of my trip and the fact that I'm a girl rollin' solo. Although the US Embassy would be NO match for my mother should anything happen to her baby....Remember that hospital scene in 'Terms of Endearment' ? ... that times 1,000 coupled with her 'look' and I pity the fool that doesn't cooperate with her, hahahaha!
So I'm even checking stuff off my list I didn't initally have on there = winning!
Let's review said list, shall we?

{X} Tickets
{X} Visas --- not needed :)
{X} Farms/Points of Destination 
{X} Technology -- iPhone, camera, laptop
{X} Sub-Letter/House-sitter --YES!
  • The couple Rochelle and I are going to visit this weekend are moving back to L.A and will stay in my place while they look for their own!! Woooooo hooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
{_} Learn Italian -- HA! Not exactly....
{_} Clear closet space for Shannon and Joel and put my clothes, etc in garage
{_} Get 4 mo worth of Zoe supplies
{_} Set up auto bill pay for phone
{_} Vaccinations -- next week!
{_} Get a Skype #
{_} Figure out how to put 4 mo on my back
{_} Come to terms with the fact that I'm actually doing this in 4 weeks and 3 days! (When did I suddenly become the woman I always wanted to be?!?)
{_} Plan my 'Bon Voyage' shindig

..... Not too shabby, I've still got some stuff but all relatively easy. The BIG stuff is done, phew! I actually am looking forward to the packing part and seeing just how efficient I can be. For my birthday, I received some of the loveliest and most appropo gifts that I can't wait to pack and USE!!! From my mother, a birthday 'Wear 100 different ways' skirt/dress thing. From DeLise, a gooooooorgeous leather bound journal for poems and other brilliant musings. From Karen, an 'under your clothes' wallet you wear around your waist, "You know, so you don't get mugged." and an expandable backpack (perfect, b/c we all seem to come home with more stuff, don't we?!) From Rochelle, a digital voice recorder ... for those same brilliant musings that may strike as I'm weeding, plucking or planting :-) ...and from my luv Kevin, a bottle opener and 20 euros for my first bottle of wine (Eat/Drink), an eye mask & ear plugs (Pray/Relax), and a compass for Love! Gawd bless my gay boyfriend!!!!!!! My cup runneth over, thank you all sooooooooooooo much!!!!

   Now, on to even more pressing matters miei cari amici (my dear friends) ... that which is YOUR PREPARATION LIST! Ahem, 'Chelle ;-)
It's short and sweet and suuuuuuper easy ...... SKYPE!!!! Who has it? Send me your contact info asap!
Who doesn't have it? GET IT! Just download it, set up an account, and video calls are FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I briefly mentioned it above, but for those who I've forgotten to tell I'm off to Portland or rather Hood River, Oregon this weekend. Rochelle and I are flying out early (6:10 & 6:20a.m) Thursday morning, and getting back Monday evening. I had a $275 credit with Alaska Air, so I was able to get this flight for $27!! We're staying with Shannon and Joel, the angels sub-letting my place.... gonna do a little hiking, a little wine tasting, a little Italian reading.... I can't imagine a more fabulous way to close out such a fabulous birthday month! ... Seriously, the BEST birthday in a looooooooooooooooooong time!!!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mo' Flava, Mo' Fun!!

    Vuelto sano y salvo! I have returned safe and sound! We arrived yesterday in Loooos Ahn-hey-lees an hour an a half early, but then waited in Customs and Baggage Claim forever.... and a day!  The minute I landed and turned my phone back on, talk about a major anxiety attack for Super Available Girl as I'm replying and apologizing to something like 54 texts of "Happy Birthday", "Where are you?" "I wanna take you out to celebrate", "Are you okay?" "Do you have cell service in Guatemala?", "When do you leave", "When do you get back?", "Did I do something to upset you?", "Can you work for me this Saturday?", "Your computer restarted, I need your password" .... OY VEY!! ..... and that's even after I sent out a group text AND changed my voicemail to say I would be in Guatemala from the 13th-18th and would have NO cell service. I felt loved for sure, but my little fingers were starting to cramp from all the "Thank You's....Yes, I'm fine....NO, not mad.... Was in Guatemala for the last 5 days....No service..... Just landed.... Talk soon..."
    It was a good preview what life is gonna be like in just over 4 weeks.....I was only gone five days and I definitely felt the ache of missing my peeps, especially the ones I see and/or talk to EVERY DAY! (Ahem, 'Chelle, Mom, and Kevin)...  Luckily WiFi was readily available so I could respond to emails and for those on Facebook(http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=770763473), I was constantly updating my status and posting pictures/videos. Other than Skype video calls, FB and email is gonna be the easiest and best way to stay in contact. Although I'm not sure if I will be as lucky with the WiFi while WWOOFing....it may only be on weekends if I can get into town. Hmmmmm, ok so maybe Guatemala wasn't the best rehearsal in the communication sense then :-(
    But it was an excellent reminder of what a happy traveller I am.... I just 'drop in' immediately. It really relaxes me! ..... which is kind of odd I guess because I'm in completely foreign surroundings, not really speaking the language, etc, but instead of all that stressing me out I just settle in. I usually feel so settled and relaxed that I can get REALLY quiet and for those of you who've known me a long time you know the kind of quiet I'm talking about. I almost become invisible because I'm just observing, listening and drinking it all in... letting my surroundings, the people, the language just seep into my cells and leave their mark. I guess for people who don't know me as well I can seem very anti-social or like something is wrong.... because as we all know I can also be very social and just plain BIG. What can I say, I'm a fascinating and complicated woman, hahaha!
    For those of you NOT on Facebook, here is a brief overview of how I spent my 31st birthday! ** (If you're receiving the blog directly in your email and the pictures and/or the videos don't come up, you may need to view it directly on blogspot.com -- http://ccbella-adventures.blogspot.com/

We arrived at 7/7:30 am Wed the 13th and were totally stoked when we saw our room!! Score!

We actually crashed until about 5 or 6 that night, and went out exploring only to come home and crash again.....
The next morning - MY BIRTHDAY! Haaaaaaay!! we met the two other dancers from the states, DeeAnna and Gavin and cheked out our hood (Zone 1) in the light of day...

We had tech/dress rehearsal that night, made a stop at the grocery for the finest of birthday dinners, a real dinner of champions ;-)
Feliz Cumpleanos a mi!

As the plans changed, and our performance in Antigua was cancelled we decided to make the trek over there on Friday, do a little sightseeing before opening night back in la ciudad de Guatemala

 This is Casa Santo Domingo -- where we were supposed to perform -- it's an old monastery converted into a hotel, museum and wedding/rental space -- AH-MAZING!

... It was then a mad dash back to GC to get ready for our first show
Vis a Vis

Saturday afternoon was more mellow, DeeAnna, Rina and I wandered the town again and we leisurely made our way to the theater to relax and properly warm up to do a kick ass performance... very happy that was the night they chose to film :-)
Unfortunately our Sunday show in the same space got cancelled as well, so we made the very educated and executive decision to part-taaayy Saturday night..... which we did QUITE well, I think we made it to bed around 5a.m ....
 Carlo, our guide for the night took us out for some real Guatemalan FLAVA --
See how the picture gets a little blurrier as the night goes on.... me thinks we had fun ;-)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Feliz Cumpleanos Americano!

It's two days before my birthday, and I'm about 12 hours from boarding a plane to Guatemala!!

Hhhaaaaayyyy! Woot Woot! ;-)  ....
Love, love, love you!

    For those who don't know or don't remember, Rina and I are performing in an international dance festival in both Guatemala City and Antigua. It was initially set to be the following week, 20th-25th. When it got bumped up and Rina asked me if I was still able to go, after a brief moment of panic at missing the 8 movies in 4 days Harry Potter extravaganza I thought, 'Ummmm, yea I guess I could turn 31 while doing two of my favorite things, dancing and travelling.... I guess that wouldn't suck TOO much.' ...  Winning!
And if that wasn't rad enough, the double layer of chocolate frosting on this oh so delectable german chocolate cake that is my life right now is the fact that I get to bypass the clusterfuck of 'Carmageddon' this weekend when 10 miles of the 405 between the 101 and the 10 shuts down! HA! Soooo winning right now! And then the cherry on top of ALL THAT is that Wendy, my fabulous sister, gave me an AMC gift card so I could still have my date with Harry the night I get back..... or should I say Neville? Excuse me as I nerd out and digress for a minute, but have ya'll seen Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis) these days???

Anyway, THANK YOU WENDY!! Love, love, love you!! Harry Nerds Unite ;-) 

Let's recap my birthday month so far, shall we?
July 1- Monty Python double feature
July 2- Hall & Oates at the Hollywood Bowl
July 4- Fun in Topanga
July 7- Foster the People at El Rey
July 8- Bar hopping in Hermosa Beach
Today - Guatemala bound
July 14- Opening night! .... Happy Birthday AND Merde ;-)
July 15, 16, 17 - Foreign fun
July 18 - HP 7: Part 2
.... not to mention the 'official' celebrations set to commence upon my return....

    My heart and my life are so full right now, so BIG! I feel more open and expansive than ever before....

"Because it was trapped
Trapped between two lungs...
Now all the days of begging
The days of theft
No more gasping for a breath
The air has filled me head-to-toe
And I can see the ground far below..."
-- Florence + The Machine

.... if this is any preview of what 31 has in store for me I am humbled and grateful beyond words.