Hi there! Yes, it has been quite a while since I last posted. The truth is, I’ve been feeling pretty depressed of late and just haven’t felt like writing.
It all started this spring. Living in Cambodia, while amazing, also left us feeling a bit isolated. The distinction between the local and expat communities was so huge, and your typical expat in Cambodia is looking for a very different lifestyle, & connection to the community, than we are, which made life there more challenging than we were expecting. While we made good friends, it still never felt like home. The fact that it is also so far away from the US in both time and distance made it even more difficult. I found myself often feeling blue, and counting down the time we had left before we could move on. While it will always be a special place for me, it won’t ever be a place we live again.
Our time back in the states in June didn’t help matters. Being the only extrovert in a family of introverts has always been a bit of a challenge due to huge differences in communication styles. It is something I’ve always tried (not always successfully) to handle gracefully. But being away from it all for long periods of time makes me forget what it is like and it meant falling back into old patterns and an old script of questioning why simply being me can create such problems sometimes, and why I cannot change who I am as a person just to make things easier for everyone else (or even just easier for me). My time there left me profoundly shaken and it has taken me a while to recover.
Combine that with 6 weeks of iffy internet on three different continents (our internet is finally up & running reliably just this week), and that adds up to little to no posting.
Luckily, there have been people, places, and moments of saving grace during this time. As a Pollyanna optimist who has never felt depressed before in my life, and doesn’t even really know how to be depressed, I really needed those.
First off, I have the most kind, supportive, and understanding husband around. He’s patiently held me while I’ve cried, been a great listener, and offered incredible advice throughout this time. His quiet supportive presence in the trenches has enabled me to trudge through this and emerge on the other side.
I also started working on a project, 100 Happy Days, which was something I started for fun along with a few friends of mine back in the US, as a way to catalog our days and to also feel a bit closer. (Check it out on our Instagram: instagram.com/whereverwithyou) What I didn’t realize when I started the project was what a salvation it would become in many ways. It forced me to find the happy in my life even on days when I otherwise might have decided there was none and crawled back under the covers. It also forced me to stay connected with people I care about while we all share pieces of our lives with each other (whether through participating in this project, or just being there to comment and share). It definitely lessened the feeling of isolation for me, and for that I am very grateful.
And then we came to Peru. There is something about Latin America that speaks to me. It feels both exotic and familiar at the same time. We fit here. Something about the high alpine places, the relaxed vibe of the city, and the friendliness of the people is just so inviting. There is something to be said for feeling like part of the community after only being here a few days due to the welcoming nature of the Peruvians. Big blue skies, strong sun, & cooler high altitude temps remind us a bit of our old home. Shopping in the mercado, sipping coffee in a local cafe, wandering the cobblestone streets, and speaking Spanish feels like home to us now. It has been healing just to be here.
Plus, this is the home of Machu Picchu, and so many other mysterious Incan sites. Ever since I first caught a glimpse of Machu Picchu in the pages of National Geographic magazine as a small girl, I’ve felt a connection to this place. Two years ago, hiking the Inca trail turned out to be such a spiritual experience for me that I left Peru feeling like I had found a piece of myself that I hadn’t even known was missing.
And so, last week, we made the journey up to Machu Picchu again. There is something about that place that has always called to me, spoken to my soul, & offered me peace. It’s truly one of my holy places. As we wandered around and found quiet spots to just sit and be, I felt healed & rejuvenated in ways that I wasn’t even aware I needed. I came down from the mountain that first day, and all the emotions of the past 3 months poured out of me, as if they needed to be purged so that I could move on.
We’re back in Cusco now, and I’ve come back from the holy mountains with the feeling of sun on my face again, and a deeper peace. Yes, there is still work to be done, and still issues and problems to be worked on and resolved. But I finally feel like, once again, I am up to the task, happy to be here, and proud to be me. I’m emerging from the shadows, and ready to share more stories and life’s wondrous moments with you, both the profound and the silly. Once again, travel has been my salvation, and I can’t wait to share more of our experiences with you.
Coming up this week on the blog: tales from festival month here in Cusco. From the Festival of the Sun to the parades of Corpus Christi, it has been a nonstop celebration here in Cusco. Check back later this week for loads of photos and fun tales.