This is me back in Bali nearly a year ago. What I’m wearing: baggy pants and a fringed tank top with an owl on it. What I’m not wearing: makeup. My braids are messy. Footwear consisted of foam flip flops on a daily basis. I went out in public looking like that and I didn’t think twice about it.
I’m in Cusco now but I realized I kind of glossed over Arequipa which was my favorite city in Peru (until Cusco at least). Time to give it its due!
Five intensive weeks of filling my brain with rudimentary Spanish made me tired. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to do anything in Oaxaca other than unwind. My last night in Puebla was spent drinking too much tequila and beer with my friends and being talked into going to a Luche Libre fight night.
It might have been the alcohol, but Lucha Libre was SO FUN: the costumes, the audience members with musical instruments creating their own soundtrack, and the obviously choreographed “fighting” made for surprisingly great time. The next morning, not so much. I had gone to the fight with fellow students from Livit as well as a new friend from my Puebla hostel, Riana from Canada. She happened to be heading to Oaxaca the next day too so we forced our hungover selves to chug some Gatorade and make the 4.5 hour bus ride south. It was not super pleasant, but we arrived.
At home, the bulk of my close friends are people I’ve known for years. A few are from high school. One is from diapers–we were next door neighbors when we were a mere couple of months old. A big chunk come from college. We met thanks to proximity; we all lived in the same dorm freshman year. I didn’t have to search far and wide for these people. They were living down the hall or right upstairs and we basically couldn’t avoid each other if we wanted to. Not like we wanted to! I’m so lucky we were all placed in Prado Hall at UC Irvine nearly 13 years ago (13!). We’ve remained a tight crew to this day which is good because outside of arts-themed dormitories, I’m not great at meeting new people.
I can let loose around my friends. They get me and my odd sense of humor and accept that the words “This reminds me of an episode of Frasier/Seinfeld/30 Rock” will come out of my mouth at some point during any given conversation. But I’m still an introverted introvert when it comes to meeting new people. I’m not one to extend my hand first and introduce myself at a party where I don’t know anyone. I can be extremely shy depending on the situation. This has not been the case at all since I started traveling.
I was doing some stuff on my laptop in my hostel’s courtyard the afternoon of New Year’s Eve when a paper airplane fell out of the sky. This is what I saw when I looked up.