Sunday, February 19, 2012

I climbed a volcano because it was there and I could!!!!

So yesterday my friends Jill, Ann and I climbed the Santa Ana volcano.  I have to admit, I wasn't all that keen on the idea, but my friend Jill really, really wanted to do this.  I thought, well it will likely be a good experience.  I was not feeling quite so happy when we arrived at the volcano and it was foggy and cold.  It was hard to believe I could be cold, as the the day before was one the hottest days I have ever experienced in El Salvador.  In the end we all agreed that we were glad it wasn't sunny as the climb would have been that much harder.

As often happens here, someone knew someone, who knew someone who is trying to launch a tourism business here.  Antonio and Andres generally take people on camping, kayaking, rock climbing type of excursions, but yesterday they drove us and accompanied us up the volcano.  Jill is in her 60's and Ann is in her 70's.  We were all very grateful to have Antonio and Andres with us because we could not keep up the pace with the younger climbers.  We felt safe with "our guys" and we climbed up and down at our pace.  We were also accompanied by a police officer.  Neither Antonio, Andres or the Police Officer broke a sweat, while the three of us worked hard to get up to the top of the volcano.  I'm not sure what I expected, but I was surprised at how barren it is at the top.  There is also a sulfur lake in the crater.   When my family was here and my young cousins would ask the driver how much further, the answer was always about 20 minutes.  I developed the same system with Andres.  When I asked how much further, he always said 10 minutes.

As I was sweating and huffing up the volcano I thought about the idea that sometimes we know too much.  When Andres told me it was 10 more minutes, I knew at times it wasn't true, but somehow 10 minutes seemed manageable.   I certainly have learned over the past year that smaller goals are much more manageable, particularly when the situation seems completely overwhelming.  When I first arrived in El Salvador, 16 months here seemed like an eternity.  Next Saturday will mark my year anniversary.  I think it would have been easier if I had thought about it in 3 month increments, rather than as a whole.
Me, Jill and Ann - We made it to the top!
The crater with the sulfur lake

At the bottom with the volcano in the background

In other news this week...On Tuesday it was friendship day here - not really Valentines Day.  I have to say, I like this idea a lot.  So I wanted to take a moment and say thank you to all of my friends and family who read my blog.  You matter to me and you are important to me.  I am so thankful for each of you.  Please give yourself a huge hug from me and know that in a few months, I'll be giving you a huge hug in person!

As I am writing my blog, my sister is moving into her new house.  Many of you know that the past few years have been particularly challenging for her.  Moving into the new house is a great way for her and Rachel to be future focused.  She is very excited about "nesting" after feeling like she was "in transit" for the past few years.  I am thrilled that she is moving on to this new step in her life.  While I am sad that I am not there to help, I am glad that so many family and friends have supported her in so many ways through this process.  The move into a smaller home has also necessitated a significant thinning of the "Macaulay collection" all of the left over stuff from my parents and grandmothers house.  While this has been at times emotionally challenging for both of us, lessening the load from the past seems to be very important for all us to move on to create the futures that we want.  I am thrilled and delighted for Karen and Rachel and wish them many years of happiness in their new home.  

Finally, the Elections work is busy and challenging in many ways, but I am loving it.  This week I have started having discussions about what I will do after the elections.   Both ADES and CIS have ideas and so I am trying to sort that out.  For the first time since being here, I have too many options and so I need to think about what I want to do for my final time here.  Imagine!

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