|Mountain biking > road biking, IMHO. Sorry triathlete pals ;)|
|The harder the challenge, the better the reward :)|
|Colorful woman, planting rice along the way!|
|The ridiculousness begins even before the white water rafting :)|
|Bhaktapur, an architect and photographers dream city :)|
|One of 11 zillion photo worthy scenes in Bhaktapur|
|Not in Nepal anymore! Hello Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!|
|The Batu Caves! Super cool... plus free entertainment from the zillion monkeys|
|Malaysia's national flower is the hibiscus. Makes sense since|
they grow bigger than my head!
|Cameron Highlands Tea Plantations!! Love :)|
|I already loved tea... now I'm obsessed :)|
|Charlotte and I on the beach in Penang!!|
That was the super-uber-duber condensed version of the last two weeks. I’ve realized a few things... One: I love to take pictures and I take so many that, if you care to, you can pretty much get the general gist of everything I do. Two: Because of those pictures, it’s not really necessary for me to describe the physical/visual things I do/see, cuz lets face it, I’m really not so great with the descriptive writing. I wind up saying something was ‘awesome’, ‘amazing’ or ‘fantastic’ more than half of the time, since that’s the closest I can get to describe my feelings!!! (Maruti once asked me to describe a tree's smell and I said green and fresh. Ha.) Three: What I really prefer to write about is what some activity, sight, or encounter made me feel or think about. Soooo, I defer to the pictures for you to see all the awesome fun I had last few weeks, I'd rather spend more space writing about the internal joys and struggles. Which, of course, I will still describe simply :)
So here it is:
When we were mountain biking, it was just phenomenal (fancy word:). IMMENSE physical challenge: sickkkk ups, speed demon loving downs, rice plantings/ green scenes/ different walks of life all-arounds :). Loving everything, the beautiful things and even those not, the reee-diculously bumpy roads, and for certain I was loving the burn!! As the third day of biking went on though, JF and I started getting worn down. We both felt varying stages of pain and fatigue, elation, amazement, irritation, burnout.... by the physicality of it, the heat and sweat, the crazyyy sore butt for sure(!), but more so by the hotel guy tricking us, feeling a bit scammed by the guide, frustrated by the beggars and peddlers. And then, at lunch...we talked about it. We made jokes, we cooled down, we fueled up, we posed like superheroes in our rain jacket capes.... And it changed! The air was different. We were different.. we both managed to get back to a happy place! I think I was able to do that so easily because of the company! JF is also in a great growth stage of his life. Many of our conversations throughout the week were about our own paths and growth and being happy. OHHH my, how great is it that you can change any situation. We just needed an attitude adjustment. Some food. A fan. And a small meditation session :) It was SOOO nice to be with a friend that also can see that everything is good: the building blocks of life. I love positivity :)
|The straw that broke the camels back :)|
Now, these last few days, I've been in Penang, for the International Dragon Boat Festival!!! I’ve met a few of my Miami teamies here (plus others from all over USA) to form a mixed coed crew to compete in the 33nd annual event- How exciting eh??!! It’s advertised and marketed all over the city and even in the guidebooks! This should be something I’m sooooooo excited to talk about... but instead its been... emotional (best word I got for the situation!)
How to start, how to start?? First off, I know my personality is not for everyone. I’ve accepted that, even embraced it, because I like to be unique. With that, comes people that reeeealllllly love me (love you guys toooo!), but it also comes with people that would probably throw me off the bus if no one would know it was them who did it :). haha. So, with that being said I’ve made a terrible example of following my own philosophies these last few days. I’ve shunned myself, conformed to what seemed acceptable by just a few, and in doing so became quite miserable, and even took it out on the innocent bystanders teammates by not only being impatient, but withholding the enthusiasm that I usually bring to a group sport setting :(.
So what happened? Nothing really. Some Tsk tsking and whispering type stuff. Nothing that a confident person shouldn’t brush off. So why did I let it get to me? Because I’ve gotten spoiled. By everything that has been soooo good these past 7 months. By meeting and hanging out with people that choose to, because they like me. And by being around people where there aren’t so many rules to being ‘proper’. In India, I was loving the ‘frankness’... and in just two days with Americans (I'm generalizing the nation, not the whole team), it’s like walking on eggshells! You have to watch what you say, what you do, stay within the lines. Be cool. Do what’s ‘right’. Here’s the thing though. What’s right? What’s wrong? What’s good? What’s bad? Take away parents/peers/ society... we’d prob have a very different idea about these labels. My fanny pack IS amazing!? hhaha
This last month has been full of frustration, starting with Lakpa, the Kathmandu week's money/haggling battles, and then the last few days, wresting with these new emotions of uncertainty, feeling condemned in secret. I think the first 6 months of my travels were soooo generally good, all the sudden I maybe forgot how to deal w/ something undesirable, like feeling doubt! It’s also possible I’ve been alone so much I also forgot how to deal w/ people! Either way, I swear I’m being tested! I think I’ve reached kindergarten level of understanding how to live life happy and full, and God (mine, we can all have our own version) is giving me my first exam!!! Last night and earlier today, I cowed away, tried to just leave an uncomfortable situation, rather than dealing with it, or being true to myself. And then, as always is the case... there comes a light, a ‘cheat sheet’ if you will! Sometimes it’s a quote, or a book, or a photo. This time, similar to what happened w/ JF, I started to feel down, a bit farther this time, and then God sends me an angel :) This time her name was Charlotte. I confided in her that I was really conflicted, not knowing how to deal with this new “Lapka.” In 5 minutes, she changed my outlook :). She reminds me that I was in fact being the typical American now, assuming that such and such person was trying to hurt me, bring me down. It’s all about me, me, me. But its not. It very very verrrry rarely is. First off you never know what another person is going through, why they are doing something, intentionally or unintentionally. And second, what it was, was me bringing myself down, because I can choose how I react to everything. It wasn’t ‘bad’ that I got scolded. If anything was bad it was me pouting about it! Charlotte said all sorts of really nice things, enough to turn me into happy cry face... the gist of which was to keep being me!
I’m reading a book right now called Conversations w/ God. It’s controversial for sure, but I quite like it. The author (or ‘God via the author’) says that the purpose of life is really just to find out Who We Are. That’s different for everyone, so dropping the labels (good, bad, right, wrong) from our lives would be a real beneficial thing, because things just are. Most of these labels are conditionally given to us, coming from what our parents, peers, or society has told us, and what we think we’re supposed to do. For example, we generally think it’s ‘good’ to have a degree, get married, have children... but for sure we can all think of examples where someone did one or all of those under pressure and was probably NOT the best decision;). Instead, just Know Yourself, break away from all that conditioning, in order to create the you that exists from within, not from the outside. When you understand there is no such thing as good or bad (theoretically, let’s still use the words because it’s easier that way) and that everything happens as it should (even ‘bad’ things) to teach us something, show us a way to understand ourselves, to help us grow, teach, learn, comfort others (;)).... we’re getting closer to real happiness: knowing and trusting Who We Are in every moment.
So this blog is dedicated to my two angels, who appeared out of nowhere in my times of need. JF and Charlotte... thank you, thank you. You both have a special spot in my heart :)
That being said, I get lots of positive feedback and encouragement, via facebook and the blog, of course from my fam and friends that love me. But are we very well rounded if it’s all positive? If no one tells you the things that could make you better? Do we not need both? Using the ‘labels’ because they are convenient, we can’t know ‘good’ without ‘bad’ and vice versa. I don’t want people to fake like me to my face, or on my facebook, or anywhere! I want truth. I want to have helpful criticism so I can know the flaws that aren’t apparent to me. Sometimes its good to fight so you can make up, eh? hehe. So, I dare you, toe the line, take a step towards ending an unfortunate american trait... stop the walking on eggshells! What do I do that hurts you?! Bugs you? Upsets you?! You can put it publicly! Here or on Facebook! I don’t care! I want to grow! Ask your spouse or your best friend the thing they like the least about you, too! And then don’t be offended by it! So please, be truthful (not vengeful!) and feel free.... I want to speed up the process of getting rid of the me-me-me syndrome! Promise I won’t bite. In fact, I will thank you :)
|I suppose I should be careful what I ask for.... I'm looking for things I can work on to be better, |
not to hear that my laugh is annoying. I know, but I can't help that ;) Thanks!