Thursday, January 2, 2014

Vamonos Pa San Andres

I recently decided on a new place that I want to visit this year and cross off of my bucket list. I was thinking about posting it and then I realized that I had never made a list of all of the places that I want to visit and things that I want to do. I haven't actually written down my bucket list. But this is mainly because a bucket list should always be updated. You can't write your bucket list and years later look back it to see what you've done or what you can do. As soon as something gets crossed off, put something new on. The idea is to constantly think of new adventures. And while I'm on the topic of bucket list, not everything on your list as to be an extravagant or expensive adventure. Think about something you haven't done and would like to do and put that on the list. Anything, small or big.

I will work on getting my list together (in a future post).

Even though I was just in Colombia for a really long time there are still plenty of places there that I want to visit. So in August, God willing, I am planning to go to San Andres. My family has a reunion in mid-August and I was thinking that it would be perfect to combine both trips. Go to San Andres for a couple of days and then to Medellin for my reunion. It wouldn't be a long trip and I would only be in Medellin for a couple of days. But I realized that if I want to see the rest of this world I have to sacrifice my time in Medellin. I used to think that there was no way I could go to a city in Colombia and not stop in Medellin. I actually used to think that I couldn't go to South American without making a pit stop in Medellin. Even when I went abroad, I stopped first in Medellin and then on my way back also stopped in Medellin (those were a great 6 months). But anyway, I know now that I can't always do that. This year I plan to do it simply because of the reunion. I used to think that I couldn't go to Medellin for less than two weeks. But I really want to go to San Andres and if that means cutting my time in Medellin short, then I am okay with it. The important thing to me is that I be there for the family reunion.

San Andres is an island off the coast of Colombia and I've heard it is beautiful, with crystal clear waters. It holds the third biggest reef in the world. And while there, maybe I can also cross scuba diving and parasailing off of my list! Regardless of what I do, I know it will be a great time.

On New Years Eve I walked outside with a duffle bag and I had my bathing suit in it. Clearly I'm superstitious, haha. But I am just determined to go to San Andres. I went to Cartagena when I was 15 and I've had San Andres on my list for way to long. It's time I go. Who am I going with? That is still to be determined. I will go with one person or with a bus full of people. Quien se apunta?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Went Under the Knife...Voluntarily

This isn't exactly something that I would say was on my bucket list but it was something that I thought about for a very long time before actually going forward with the decision. On October 21, 2011, only a month after moving to Colombia, I got breast implants. I thought about having the surgery years earlier and decided not to have it. I wasn't one hundred percent sure that I wanted it and I was scared about being put under with anesthesia. But in 2011 I started doing my research once again, met with the doctor in March and he explained everything to me. This doctor is very well known and he operated on two of my cousins so I felt very comfortable going to him. I had seen his work and heard his success stories. Although, everyone's body is unique and can react differently to the anesthesia. My biggest fear was not waking up from the surgery, I wasn't really scared about any pain because I figured medication could take care of that. But thankfully, the day before I got my blood work done and I was cleared for surgery.

I remember my cousin told me that the day of the surgery I had to be very calm because if the doctors saw that I was nervous then they wouldn't operate. My surgery was scheduled for 6:00am and I went into the clinic at 5:15am with my cousin and I was listening to Alicia Keys on my iPod. I remember changing, answering some questions for a nurse, laying on the hospital bed, saying hi to the doctor and then being rolled to the ER. I only remember seeing a bright light and that was it. I was out for what seemed hours.  But in reality it was only about two.

I woke up flat on my back and in a lot of pain. Unfortunately for me, they had laid me down on the bed upside down, so they couldn't elevate my back. I was in so much pain from the weight on my chest that the nurse gave me morphine. I had no idea that was what she had given me until my cousin who works at clinic told me. This apparently was the cause of my nausea that afternoon. I couldn't keep anything down for the rest of the day. I just drank liquid jello and took my medicine. The next day I woke up very hungry and feeling perfectly fine. To be honest the worst day of the recovery period was the first but I think it was only because of the morphine. The rest of the time I felt fine, stomach wise.

What was uncomfortable about the whole thing was that for the next week I had to sleep sitting up completely. I had about 4 pillows behind my back and a couple on my sides so that I could sleep. But it was so difficult. I luckily had my travel neck pillow, which was a life saver. That definitely made it a little easier to sleep. I basically just watched movies all night, I slept at most maybe 4 hours each night. I remember one night it was 6am and I hadn't slept all. The bed felt so hard and I just hated being in the same position and not being able to move around. At that moment I stood up and walked to the living room and sat on the couch with my back up against the arm rest and put my feet up. The couch felt so nice and somehow I passed out right there. My aunt woke up and was surprised not to see me in my room, then she found me on the couch still asleep and she put a blanket over me.

After one week of sleeping upright I gave up. The reason I couldn't sleep on my back was because my body wasn't used to the extra weight and I didn't have enough arm strength to pick myself up, even rolling over hurt a little. But after a week I figured my body had grown used to the weight. I tried laying down and I was able to do it. My problem then was getting up, I still didn't have the arm strength. So every night before I laid down I had to make sure that I was not going to be getting up. If I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, tough luck. When my aunt falls asleep, she really passes out and there is no way my faint calls were going to wake her up. And whenever I woke up before her in the morning I just had to wait there for her. She came in every morning just to help me get up. I remember even three weeks after the operation I still needed some help getting up. I went on a trip with my cousins and had to ask them to help me get up every morning. Aside from that I was pretty self-sufficient. The first couple of days I needed help getting dressed and combing my hair but that was about it. My aunt has cared for a couple of people after surgeries and she said that I was a pretty good patient and that I had taken the surgery really well.

But anyway, that all passed and I was very happy with the results of my surgery. Of course it took time to know what the final result would be because of the swelling. It wasn't until late January that the swelling completely went down. I was a little concerned at first because my boobs were a little too big for my liking. But then once the swelling went down I started to miss them, haha. But in the end I was very happy and thankful for how everything turned out. In terms of stitching and scarring, I was very nervous the day the doctor was going to remove the stitches, but it took a total of 3 minutes. My aunt and I had been so scared to remove the bandages for fear of the stitches coming out but he pulled those bandages off like a bandaid, literally, just pulled right off, never hesitating. Then he cut and tugged at the stitches and I didn't feel a thing! And as for the scar, it's just a small line that you can barely see. I never see it and honestly forget that it is there sometimes.

I remember wanting to post something about my surgery and I hesitated so much because to me it seems that there is a stigma with plastic surgery in the U.S., or at least where I live. Not many people talk about it and it is almost frowned upon. In Colombia plastic surgery is very popular, everyone has either been through it themselves or knows at least 2-3 people who have had some form of plastic surgery. Everyone talks about it, they share their stories, recommend doctors, etc.

I do not have a problem telling someone that I had plastic surgery or sharing my story. In fact, maybe if more people talked about it then it wouldn't be that big of a deal anymore. Everyone does with their body what they wish and it is not up to any of us to judge them. Why did I do it? Because I wanted to. I don't have a deep or lengthy explanation for it. I wanted them for myself and, frankly, I was tired of wearing padded bras.

That's it. I love them and it was the best decision I could have made.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Back At It

Today was the first snowfall in Lowell, MA (not counting some flurries we had a couple weeks ago). I was really planning on being able to work from home but that unfortunately did not happen. I was not prepared to clear my car of snow, much less drive in the snow. But I was also not expecting to be so overwhelmed by the situation. It was actually kind of scary that I let it affect me so much.

I have moments every once in a while where I miss living in Colombia but I think today I missed it the most. I would have given anything to be in Medellin on a motorcycle in the rain instead of driving in the snow this morning. Luckily the drive was not bad, it wasn't bad at all for the way I was reacting. But I think it was just reality sinking in. I've been working now for about a month and a half and it has felt really good. I feel like I'm where I am supposed to be right now. That's why I thought it was odd that I was so freaked out this morning.

It goes to show that I'm still adjusting to my life here again and that any day can bring about a new realization. You'd think that I wouldn't even need to readjust to living in a place where I grew up and lived most of my life but for some reason I do, and it hasn't been the easiest. Feeling out of place and restless while not working, the first months back were definitely hard. There are even some moments where I think readjusting here has been harder than it was in Colombia, but then I think about getting lost in Envigado and that all goes away, haha. Either way this has been harder than I expected.

But I'm glad I was able to get past this and hopefully the snow won't freak me out anymore after today. Now that I am back I am ready to focus on other bucket list items. Living in Colombia was a huge one to cross off and I am so thankful that I was able to do it. But it wasn't the only thing on the list. I have a lot more to do, a lot more to learn, and a number of places to visit.
I'm ready for many more adventures to come!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Snapshot of My Life in Colombia

I had an amazing time living in Medellin, Colombia. It was the best decision I have ever made and I would not change any second of it. Can't say that I'm not sad to be back, because I am. But I am excited  for the next chapter of my life in the states. Thank you to everyone who supported me through my journey. A mi familia y amigos en Colombia: los quiero y los extra├▒o mucho. Muchas gracias por su apoyo!

Here are just some of the many pictures that I took.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Way Overdue

Not one of my best videos but the idea was to create a new post because it's been way to long. More thoughts on my experiences in Colombia.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

6 Months In

It's been a while since I last made a video. I've officially been in Colombia six months now.