This is suddenly morphing from a teaching blog into a travel blog. Sorry, but that's just the way it is. I'm currently in Orlando, FL, by way of Cedar Key, FL, en route to Mexico.
Some current highlights of my life:
1. Just found out that I am a 2010 Knowles Teaching Fellow. If you don't know what that means, Google it. It's pretty amazing, and to be quite honest, was VERY unexpected.
2. I am a finalist for the 2010 Bonderman Travel Fellowship. Again, Google it, surprised, amaaaaazing.
3. On my way to Mexico for ___???___ weeks. Not sure when I'm coming back, but I do think that I will be in Mexico for the entire time. No border crossing for me this trip, save the U.S.-Mexico water border.
4. Spent a few days in an idyllic town called Cedar Key, FL. Amazing place. So many types of birds, I couldn't even begin to count them or name them. Among the many, though: pelicans - such awesome birds! Egrets, herons, bald eagles....wow! Saw manatees, too! They are SO CUTE and SO UGLY all at the same time. Confusing, really. Such a beautiful place....Got to visit with family that I don't see enough, as well, and ate the most wonderful food.
5. Also! Forgot that this morning I got to grab a quick breakfast just off the UF campus in Gainesville with an old friend from the SRS Research days. Julian gave me lots of good advice for places to go and see in Mexico....got me really excited to get there!
6. Last, but not least, I dyed my hair. It's a little hilarious, because I did it out of a box, but whatever. Don't worry, to all who know me well, of COURSE it's wash out, non-permanent dye. It's already been through 1 of the 28 washes that will take it out. Actually, it's still coming out of my hair. Pretty funny, especially because I missed a big chunk in the front. Oh well, can't do anything about it now. All the blond I tried to cover up has turned reddish brown, so I hope that goes away. I know I won't wash my hair 28 times over the next month, though. :) Who knows what will happen on that front!
All in all, I'm having a great post-teaching program life. Money is getting tighter, but my worries are fading away. My biggest decisions facing me are which Mayan ruin to visit first. But before that....Isla Mujeres. Google it. :)
This is how I will be keeping people (mostly my mother) posted during my trip. So don't expect a quick email response. Check here first!
A parting thought: I've spent most of the afternoon in my hotel room, packing, showering, eating, prepping, checking over and over that I know where my money is, and then had a brief conversation with my friend Heather. After talking with her, I realized that even though this is a minor adventure to some people, this is a huge one for me. This is the first time that I have left the country on my own. This is the first time I have really traveled on my own, period. It's certainly the first time I've ventured somewhere on my own that isn't English-speaking (well, let's be honest, a lot of the Yucatan is English speaking...). But still. This is a big deal for me, and even though I know it will fly by, I am really proud of myself. I am really proud of who I am becoming, and the way that I allow (and do NOT allow) things that happen to me to shape who I am. This is a sort of liberation movement for me, one that can't really be taken on by anyone else. To me, that's really exciting (scary too). Aside from all of this serious crap, it's also just really FUN. I haven't even left the country and I'm already having fun meeting people and just having pleasant interactions with strangers.
Either way, I'm proud of myself, and I'm proud of anybody who's been through tough things and not let them define who they will become. Wheeeee haw!!!!!
On a side note, I have no idea if I will be able to post pictures to this at any time, but I'm going to try my hardest.
See you on the flip side!