Socialist Revolution & Personal Evolution

Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2011

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Flag of Venezuela  ,
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Being towards the end of my trip, my plan was to take a 32 hour bus from Bogota to Caracas if I was going to be able to afford a visit to Venezuela.  However, after friends who live there pleaded with me to do otherwise, I thought the better of it.  My reasoning was not to be a zombie upon arrival ... their reasoning was so that I didn't become FARC food.

Either way I had talked to Rick and Kathrin about visiting since they first learned of their diplomatic posting in 2007.  Rick is an old friend from my time interning in Burundi (a tiny African nation next to Rwanda) and his beautiful wife, Kathrin, is from Germany.

Despite the failures of the "Bolivarian Revolution" and poor security situation (crime has increased 67% since Chavez took office in 1998), I was given the royal treatment by my hosts.  They provided me with a private room in their three floor penthouse, heated swimming pool access, drivers to and from the airport and a lovely birthday dinner. 
That said, the best part was spending time with the family.  They have an adorable daughter adopted from the U.S. who is almost three years old.  Giggling with Lily, teaching her kiddie yoga moves and reading bedtime stories made my heart melt.
Another highlight of the weekend was attending an embassy event called Balconesto y Amistad (Basketball and Friendship).  This public diplomacy program supports NBA players who coach basketball clinics to underserved youth around the world and discuss the importance of a good education.  Not only was it cool to discover how down to earth these players were in the locker room, but hearing Greivis Vasques, a Venezuelan native, close the program by sharing his own story of hard work and success was inspirational. 

Of course seeing embassy life up close and personal makes me question my own Foreign Service dreams.  I'm scheduled to take the oral exam (again) this fall.  However over the course of the year my dreams have changed.  I have changed.  Almost everyone is asking, "what's next?"  After being so goal-oriented most of my life, it feels strange to say this, but I have absolutely no idea ... and I am perfectly OK with that.  

Instead of trying to prove myself to the world, this year has really been about what the world has to teach me.  I am slowly learning that I can't pin all my hopes of happiness to one thing, whether that be a certain job, a boyfriend, or the number of highlighted hairs on my head.  Regardless of what the future holds, my current recipe for fulfillment is to appreciate the gifts I have in my life right now and stay true to my sweet, kooky self.
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josh on

happy birthday, love you

Araceli on

So inspiring! I can't wait to bask in the afterglow of your new-found wisdom. See you soon!

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