Monday, May 6, 2013

My Happy Places

Everybody needs a Happy Place. Your Happy Place is that space that nobody can touch, corrupt or ruin... that place that makes everything else that’s messed up seem temporarily OK—or at the very least, it makes you forget about that stuff for a bit. Your Happy Place can be a an actual location on planet Earth. For example, my sister’s happy place is New York City. My physical happy place is Jazz Camp West, nestled in the coastal mountain redwood forest of San Mateo county. I’m looking forward to getting back there for a week at the end of next month. Fortunately, I have more than one Happy Place, and many of them can be recreated on any continent, in virtually any country. Certain environments and certain activities have always made me happy, and I do my best to make sure they stay a part of my life—everyday, or as much as possible. I want to take a second to reflect on, and shout out some of the spaces and places that have kept me sane and happy during my time in Colombia...

A HAMMOCK AND A BOOK... I’ve been lucky to come across more than a few choice hammocks in this country. The back patio at Andrea’s (formerly Bob’s) house in Campo de la Cruz is always a welcome change of pace (and decibel level) from life in Barranquilla.

I recently (finally) made a trip to Parque Tayrona—one of the country’s true natural treasures. After a three hour hike through the park, not counting a few pit stops at the beaches along the way, I arrived at Cabo San Juan. I’ve never been happier to sleep outside in my life.

Another choice hammock-and-a-book spot is poolside, at the Drop Bear Hostel in Santa Marta. Love that spot.

THE KITCHEN... food is very special to me. In a few weeks I’ll be posting my list of favorite eat spots in Colombia, but that will have to wait until after my upcoming trip to Medellín and Cali. In the meantime, it’s worth mentioning that few things make me happier than working it out in the kitchen, whipping together a home-cooked meal for my family, my friends and/or myself.

(ginger-apple pork chops w/ stir-fried veggies)

THE TECHNICAL AREA... nothing makes me happier than coaching soccer to youngsters. In addition to my primary assignment with Fútbol con Corazón, I’ve gotten really involved with another competitive team in the last few months. Los Amigos de Fútbol have welcomed me to their coaching staff, and I had to pleasure of watching the boys play their first game of the tournament last weekend. Without a doubt, the technical area is my supreme Happy Place.

On a very related note, I want to take this opportunity to ask you for a little bit of help. Starting next weekend, the 600 kids that participate in the soccer program where I work in my neighborhood will be starting their tournament. We want to help them get fitted up right in some spiffy uniforms, and I am looking for support in helping their families cover the costs. The uniforms are VERY inexpensive—10,000 Colombian Pesos each, or less that $6.00 USD—but many of my neighbors could still use the help. If you are interested in sponsoring one or more children by covering the cost of a uniform, please click on the link today to contribute today!


My job as a Peace Corps Volunteer is not about fundraising, but this is a simple opportunity where I want to help out. I hope some of you will jump on board. From my Happy Place to yours...

Pura Vida,

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