Sunday, May 26, 2013

36 Pictures of Two Americans Smiling in Peru

We are Americans who have like three outfits and one facial expression: huge grins, especially when we are standing by impressive Peruvian scenery.

1. Pre-gaming in Cusco.

2. Starting our ascent on the first day of our trek.

3. Fake smiling because the ascent was way harder than we thought.

4. Planning to drop dead at any moment.

5. Astounded that we had reached the top.

6. Triumphant.

7. Among the rock sacrifices for good luck.

8. Finally enjoying ourselves in this beautiful valley.

9. Night falls and the clouds roll in. Many hours of trekking await us.

10. Starting our trek, day 2.

11. Posing on a cliff.

12. Crossing a waterfall.

13. Resting in a field.

14. Posing in our swimsuits is our favorite.

15. Trekking day 3. 

16. Arriving in Aguas Calientes!

17. Statues in the Machu Picchu town.

18. Showered and eating dinner inside.

19. Morning Machu Picchu mist.

20. Among Incan architecture.

21. Early morning light shining through three important windows.

22. Posing by the young mountain.

23. Trying to determine the date with the sundial.

24. Standing by a mountain.

25. Standing in a narrow passageway.

27. Standing by a statue of a mountain in front of a mountain.

28. Interrupting someone meditating.

29. Reflecting in the water mirrors.

30. In the condor temple.

31. Hiking.

32. Still hiking.

33. Continuing to hike.

34. Finishing the hike!

35. Sweatier than ever.

36. Saying goodbye to Machu Picchu.

Friday, May 3, 2013

What else?

...Our lives are loaned to us. Not long.
And not to pile up money. Not for power.
And how we pay that loan back does matter:

with interest, yes—with being interested;
by promising and keeping promises;
by caring more and minding much less instead.

From "Some Things Have One Meaning, Some Things Don't:" by Rob Carney


Yesterday I remembered something that happened almost a year ago and I didn't like it. I was acting characteristically for the version of myself I then was but am no longer. I was thrilled when a self-analysis confirmed that I would do no such thing now. I have changed.

April 20, 2012 I graduated from BYU and I'm sure I had a vision of the person I would be one year later. I am not that person. Maybe I am less accomplished, and I certainly don't "have it all figured out." No one does. Turns out that's not really a thing. 

After determining what I am not, "it might interest you to know, speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world, that I am the sound of rain on the roof" ("Litany" by Billy Collins). In addition to that, I am also a much fuller person than the person I thought I would be one year after graduation. I have a year's worth of memories (for real, I remember almost everything) and a life full of people I feel a real connection to, including a bunch of new additions who didn't exist in my life a year ago. I have made resolutions and kept them. I feel more capable. I feel like I am good. And I feel like I'm happy. If I think I'm happy, then I certainly am happy. I am interested, I promise and keep promises, I care more and mind much less. No matter how accomplished and "figured out" I thought I would be at this point, I never could have created in my mind such a round, dynamic character as I currently am. So I guess I won.