More than just Machu Picchu.

“Wait, you mean to tell me you went to Perú and didn’t go to Machu Picchu? What’s wrong with you?”Ah yes, I can’t even begin to explain how many times I’ve heard this reaction from people. I never went to Perú in hopes of seeing Machu Picchu, rather I went on an impulse. I applied for a volunteer position in a small town located 24 hours by bus from Lima. I got the position and up and left a week later. I had no time to plan and knew nothing about this exotic South American country other than they eat guinea pig. Of course I was nervous, but I was also beyond excited. I had never left the North American continent, so this was my chance to explore somewhere new.

As I boarded my Copa Airlines flight en route to Lima, Peru, I took a deep breath and knew this was the beginning of something crazy. Well, since I booked my flight last minute, I found myself seated in the Emergency exit. The flight attendant, who looked as if she was trying out for Miss Universe rather than serving angry people drinks, approached me with rapid fire Spanish.
Ma’am, do you speak Spanish? You are not allowed to sit here if you don’t speak Spanish. Can you help during an unexpected emergency in Spanish while speaking Spanish to our Spanish speaking travelers onboard our Latin American airline that is not bilingual and only speaks Spanish?

Ok she didn’t say all of that, but that’s what it felt like. I hate when people see someone and assume they don’t speak the necessary language. It drives me up a wall. Remember people, assume makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘me’ and ‘u’.

My reply (in Spanish of course) was simple and right to the point.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but if there is an emergency and the plane is going to crash, it doesn’t matter what language I speak because everyone is going to be screaming and going crazy anyways.”

Her face had the expression of pure shock on it. The dainty little flight attendant did not respond to my answer, she simply walked away defeated. The gentleman next to me patted me on the shoulders and told me he wished more people had my feisty approach to life.

After the long flight I arrived in Lima and started my journey up north to Chachapoyas. About five minutes into the bus ride, I quickly realized I made a huge mistake in telling my seat mate I spoke Spanish. After five hours of him grilling me about my life, I finally decided to ‘sleep’. For the next sixteen hours I had to pretend sleep. If I cracked open my eye even the slightest amount, my little buddy instantly struck up another conversation.
See, I usually enjoy getting to know people, especially when I can practice my Spanish. However, a twelve hour flight followed by a 24 hour bus ride is not the place to test out my second language skills.

After what seemed like a journey across the universe, we finally arrived at the Chachapoyas bus terminal. As I stepped off the bus, I was instantly overcome with a feeling of angst and nervousness. What on Earth had I gotten myself into? I was overcome with the sights, sounds and smells of my surroundings. There were people and animals everywhere.After I used the bathroom ( I will spare you the horrific details), I called the secretary to let her know I had arrived. The next six hours are a blur in my memory. I was dragged around town to find an apartment, showed where to eat, and introduced to my fellow coworkers.

After the longest two days in the history of my life, I finally returned to my hostel room and threw my exhausted body on the bed. No joke, two seconds after I closed my eyes there was a knock at my door and an Hola Julie. At nine o’clock at night I was informed I would be teaching the six year old class the following morning at 9am. Oh wonderful! Not. See, being an English teacher means always having surprises thrown at you. I have learned over the years to have lots of games and activities ready for those unexpected moments. Thank goodness I had brought my own supplies!

Needless to say my experience at this school ( which will remained unnamed) was not one I wish to go into great detail about. My little Peruvian nuggets were as sweet as can be and filled my days with pure happiness. The administration however, could use a good swift punch in the ba…stomach.

The best part of my Chachapoyan adventure was meeting my favourite Aussie, Yolanda. We clicked right off the bat and became instant friends. We shared the same taste in music, clothes and our lust for travel. Yolanda also shared my impulsive nature, which in turn, led to us having some of the best adventures in our young lives. Don’t worry, I’ll get into more detail in the coming posts. The lesson of this story is do what makes you happy. Never let others’ opinions bring you down or change your mind. You live once. Enjoy it!

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Rock on.

Jules Marie.

A different kind of parenting manual.

Growing up, my parents were always very accepting of my little twitches, quirks, and neurosis. In fact, they often times gave into them and just allowed me to be well, weird; probably out of sheer survival I’m guessing. However, there comes a time in every parent’s life where they look down and their screaming child and think “where the hell did I go wrong”. Seeing as I myself am not yet a parent, I can’t exactly say I understand. However, looking back on just how crazy I was as a kid, I can only imagine how truly terrible I was.

As mentioned in my introduction, I hate tags. I not only hate them, but I loathe them more than anything in the world. They are the Joker to my Batman, the steakhouse to my vegetarian, the …oh you get the point. Anyways, I remember screaming at the top of my lungs how the tag in my shirt was attacking me, trying to kill me!why don’t you understand how awful this is for me! This battle with tags went on for a few months until my parents finally broke down and began removing ALL of the tags in my shirts, pants, dresses, etc. Even after carefully removing the tags (I’m pretty sure my Mom brought them to a surgeon for a more precise removal) I could still sense their itchy presence.

I think this was the moment my parents realized I was a special kind of child who needed to be dealt with in a special kind of way. Well, while most parents read books and magazines with catchy titles like “How to Be a Great Parent” or “Ten Easy Steps to Raising Your Perfect Child” my parents were obsessively scanning their new parenting bible called “Raising Your Spirited Child”. Finally, they thought, a book on how to handle our Jules. Oh dear parents, if only you knew tags were just the beginning…

Even today, as a successful twenty-seven year old woman, my skin still crawls whenever I feel the itchy scratch of a tag against my neck. Luckily for me, the vast majority of clothing companies have begun printing their labels right onto the clothing fabric. I’m not sure if it’s to save money or simply for comfort, but let me tell you, I LOVE this idea. I am 99% more likely to purchase a shirt sans tag than one with those thick, almost cardboard- like cacti, err tags, attached to the neckline.

One day, when I rule the world, I will end hunger, make education free for all, and also abolish any tags that are not printed right onto the clothing.

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Special Thanks:

“Raising Your Spirited Child” is an amazing book for parents struggling with their quirky and strong-willed child(ren). It helped my parents immensely, and it’s always the first book my mother recommends to other parents.
Author Mary-Sheedy-Kurcinka is intuitive and wonderfully empathetic to her readers and their struggle with raising a spirited child.

// Raising Your Spirited Child //

 

Introduction of some sort.

I have spent the past year of my life pondering the idea of starting a blog based off my own personal experiences. It wasn’t until today, a cold and snowy Sunday in November ,that I decided to make that thought a reality. I’m not one to normally share personal stories with a group of strangers, but I feel like so many of you can relate to at least one of my wild adventures.

See, I’m what you call a spirited child, or one who thinks WAY outside of the box. Us spirited children (you know who you are) have a very eclectic way of looking at the world. We tend to notice strange and unusual sights and sounds that most others don’t even know exist. My parents discovered that I was well… quirky, at the age of four when I ran into our living room wrestling my shirt to the ground because, “the tag is trying to attack me.” I’ll get more into tags in a later post, but you get the hint.

Anyways, my blog, The Diary of a Spirited Child , will chronicle all of my past and present experiences. There will be no order of events, just memories written down as they come. I hope you’ll come along this quirky life journey with me, and leave my page with a smile. I have learned  quite a bit over the years, and always try to use my own experiences as the model for my future. Live, learn, and accept that nobody is perfect.

Rock on loves.

Jules Marie.

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