Virtual Postcards…

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*photo of my buddies (including my songbird and fish, Mista KK!) in the Bahamas a couple years back and a pic from Elvis Porras’ last visit to California (his girlfriend took this photo at brunch – really nice lady).

So, it’s Wednesday, January 15, 2014… I haven’t posted anything in this travel section of my blog since 2010 (yikes!) when I took my big RTW trip and it’s not that I haven’t been anywhere since then, but the fact is, in-between trips I get grumpy.  I don’t like to write about places I’m no longer at (unless I’m paid to do it, which is another story) because I get itchy feet and then I get the blues =(

Since my RTW update, I’ve been back to Brazil, the Bahamas and done a few road trips… but I haven’t written about them because, well, not only does it make me sad to write about trips (from Belmont Shore and not from the actual location) but because I’m really starting to realize how overdue I am for another adventure!  It’s been too long!  I love my work here, but oh man… my heart aches for the work (and the life!) out there!

Jose, my darling brother, emailed me from Cahuita: “Cuando vienes a Cahuita?”   I never realize how much I miss it until part of my soul (my friends, which I call “chosen family”) reconnect with me and remind me how long it’s been.  I promised Jose my next trip would be to Cahuita.  I always travel alone and it was that first trip to Cahuita National Park (where I worked and lived with sea turtles…and Jose…for a month) is where it all started.  I am who I am because of my journeys – literal and otherwise.  There’s no education like travel.  And I don’t mean funky travel to some hotel.  I mean real travel.  The travel that transforms our perceptions and experiences of reality itself.

When I am down, and I pine for the sparkling rays of sunshine that used to greet me through the palm trees in the mornings I woke up to in the rainforest, I just close my eyes and visualize the smell of the forest…the sound of the ocean just on the other side of the dirt path…the rays of sunshine that danced on my legs through the mosquito netting in the morning… and I am there.  But I do not stay there long.  I smile, I remember that it is in and a part of me, and I let it go.    Oh how I miss that life and that peace!  I let it go, because if I hold it too long, I have the urge to weep.  Yes, it’s true… I cry.  Being surrounded by concrete in a city is depressing enough.  Opening my eyes and remembering how far away I am from the land that opened my soul…. hurts.

That is why I promised Jose my next trip would be to give him a big hug!  Oh, how I miss him and the laughter we share.

I occasionally receive video calls from my sweet and handsome Osman.  I will remember him forever.  He saved my life.  It seems like such a long time ago, but we still remember to say hello.  How can I forget my hero?  I don’t want to know what would have become of me if he weren’t there to drag my ass to the hospital (from the village, no less!).  I was so delirious, and it’s OK because there is much that I don’t want to remember, but I’m pretty sure I threw up on him at some point… among other embarrassing things I did on Valentine’s Day 2010.  I just wanted to visit Rumi (my favorite dead poet) in honor of love day in Konya, and it would have turned out great (Osman took me to the village he grew up in) if I didn’t almost die… Osman’s wonderful.  He even talked me through the penicillin shots hahaha.  “OK, Jenni, just tell me a story!”  I didn’t tell him a story, and it didn’t distract me from the pain, but I love him for trying.  I do not know if I will physically see him again, but I really hope so.  He saved my life, the least I can do is continuously remind him he always has a place to stay with me here in California.

Other reminders… letters and packages from Felipe (I adore my espiritu afin!), phone calls and photos from Elvis (my favorite musician), updates from Alex (and the amazing work he is doing with grassroots activism!), my submissions to travel publications (all written in past tense), visits and travel updates from my peripatetic fellow starseed, Tait (I need to hop on that van with him and Bodhi at some point!)… they all remind me that I need to disappear for a couple weeks, lest I lose my sanity… and my soul.

These “virtual” postcards break my heart… but it’s a sign.  If my soul is crying so much for travel, it’s time.  It’s really time.  Work is flowing better than ever and all spheres of my life are blossoming with blessings while allowing all that no longer serves me to gently fall away and die – to fertilize my foundation with experience and lessons.  Nothing (no energy in any form) is ever wasted.  Even waste has a purpose, no?  —-But where was I?  Oh yes, it is time 🙂

I’ve been dusting off my atlas, drawing lines on maps, making “must” lists, connecting with friends abroad, old contracts, new writing ideas, new dance opportunities, todo!  The energy is there, I’m stir crazy enough… It’s time and I’m ready 🙂

Thank Goddess for music… It is the only reason I stay happy between trips.  There’s no cure for heartbreak like music!  Listening to Elvis Porras’ music makes me feel closer to him and less far away.  I do have to admit, sometimes old school Caetano Veloso makes me want to weep for Bahia like nobody’s business!  But it usually comforts me to know that I can access the beautiful sounds until I hop the next plane and train.  Time to manifest me some good travel miles!

Oh!  Perfect timing!  Done with this blog and Felipe’s a-ringing me!  I love that man… Little punk loves to remind me (in his own way) that we’re no longer in Bahia!  ;p   Aye, my Felipe…

Friday’s Speech

san miguel

Filipino Beer & Cultural Inebriation

I was the guest speaker for Friday night’s event and everyone’s been asking what exactly it was that I said that was so upsetting.  It’ s amazing how in today’s world it is THE TRUTH that gets you in trouble.  Has fallacy become the norm in society?  I merely said what I felt had to be said… particularly since the group of people I was respectfully disagreeing with were in the room.  Some say it was mostly criticizing, but even so, I think it was both tactful and inspirational.  I’ll let you decide for yourself.  I hear there’s video of it, so I’ll be posting it up with the other stuff on my website in the next month or so.  Wanna hear what I said??  Here’s the speech I gave on Friday night (below):

Good Evening.  Thank you for having me here tonight – I greatly appreciate the opportunity to share with you not only a few experiences I’ve had since and because of this organization, but also humanitarian convictions and sentiments very near to heart that sustain my life’s work as well as everything I do.

Before I continue, (now that I have the opportunity to do it in person) I would like to personally thank you for providing the amazing experience of visiting the Philippines for the first time in 2007 in such a unique and authentic way.  I sincerely express my heartfelt gratitude for the experience that has served as a catalyst for so much more.

I have traveled extensively around the world – teaching and performing in over nine countries since I have last seen you, and I must say I’m happy to report that upon my first trip to the Philippines, I was finally able to really understand on a holistic level the sweet nostalgia of sounds, sights and smells of the islands many of you have called home your entire lives.  It was a beautiful place, the festivities were a wonderful time and I thank you for that.

I cannot stand here, however, without mentioning a caveat.  For I feel it would be a great disservice to you and myself if I didn’t mention this concern that in spite of the innate beauty of the culture and land of the Philippines, supersedes all I’ve discovered and learned my entire stay there.  It will continue to be at the forefront of my memories of the Philippines and much of it will haunt me for a very long time… that is, until as a community we decide to change.  And when I say community, I’m not speaking about Miagaoanons, Americans or even Filipino-Americans, as labels can only and have only divided us in the bigger picture.  As a community of people who visit another country, or as in many cases here, return to their homeland…as a community of people with good intentions… people hoping to define themselves by the contributions we make to this world… to uphold our integrity to ourselves (and consequently to each other) we must follow through on all we say and choose to do.

We must be responsible for each other, and unfortunately, I feel in the Philippines, the supposed contributions to the community I was told were happening were not seen or even common knowledge while I was there.  I had gone to the Philippines under false pretenses.  I was told we had raised money to send kids to school, help rebuild houses affected by typhoons and just give back to a community that has formed many of our families that live here today.  When I arrived in Miagao, I never heard of these things again.  I spoke to people on the street, local government officials and visited schools – no one knew what I was talking about.  My very naïve preconceived notions of a trip being spent volunteering or at the very least contributing in a concrete way, were shattered.  I feel physically visiting a country that could use so much of our genuine help and not doing much beyond attending events, on my part, was very shameful.

I spent one day in Miagao riding with the mayor (at the time) to an international medical mission screening people and giving free surgeries at a local hospital to as many people as they could during the few days they were there.  I went with a family member to pick up a neighbor whose eyes were completely blinded by cataracts.  I spoke with Canadian nurses who were crying in the halls of the hospital at the beauty of changing lives forever so quickly.  I watched doctors profusely thank the mayor for hosting them in his country.  While I was speaking to one of the women waiting for her son to be screened , the mayor told me that they’ve already seen us, we’ve made an appearance, it was enough and we had to leave.   The affects of his indifference have never left me.

The mayor’s disposition I have little to no say about, but when I continually saw Filipino-American mansions in these tiny communities where their next-door neighbors had literally nothing, when I go to these fundraisers where Americans are dressed like they’re going to a prom, with DJs, dance instructors, a huge buffet and rows of children (some without shoes) holding onto the bars that separate us from them – watching an extravagant event take place inside the bars to fundraise for their education, while they were deliberately kept out – I had to question the general Filipino-American attitude towards coming home.  A man who lived in Miagao spoke at that event about how much he disdained seeing Americans spend all this money on showing off when it could do so much more good.  I filled a plate full of fruit and walked through the bars outside to eat with the kids, but none of their parents let them speak to me.  This strong dichotomy between us and them, American and Filipino, rich and poor, among other socially-constructed barriers broke my heart.  And though I’ve always been involved with human rights, experiences like these both break and support me at the same time.

The life we witness unfold around us regardless of our location, is a human story, and that involves all of us – our hypocrisy and authenticity equally.  Since being in the Philippines, I’ve traveled a bit more and every experience I have reaffirms my belief that though we may not all choose to (because of time, fear, lack of information, what-have-you…) we all want to do good for the world and deep down have good intentions.  I’ve started a non-profit organization in honor of my late father, Josef Sarreal, providing free therapeutic arts programs to women and children around the world who have been victimized by domestic violence and/or human trafficking – which has become an increasing problem in the Philippines and South East Asia in particular.  There are more people in slavery today than there ever have been in the history of our world.  Over 27 million.  And though I know I cannot abolish modern-day slavery alone, every little bit I do to change one life at a time, or inspire one more person to action, is everything to me.

I’m just one person, and to see a room full of people who have collectively, as an organization, fed over 200 families with your Food Project, it gives me hope.  I applaud and commend that wonderful project, and I know the potential to do much more exists, but I want to challenge you to really question “who” you are as an organization and not just “what”.  We all know that this organization promotes charity to Miagao as well as a perpetuation of its rich culture, but it is in how that is accomplished that gives it its true meaning and defines “who” the organization is, not just “what”.  We do not choose where we are born, but we are where we are for a reason.  If even not a good reason, it is our responsibility to bring purpose to it.  Being Americans with the influence and power we have to make big changes in the world with little everyday actions, I do want to implore you to really consider with the myriad of resources and time and energy in this room alone, what more can be done in Miagao and in our own communities here.  Filipino-Americans seem to identify with the soil of their mother country, but until the focus leaves the idea of a connection to soil and enters the hearts and minds of the people through tangible action, we will never transcend those fictitious boundaries of us and them, which are strongly felt all throughout that beautiful country.  So I want to leave you with the challenge of using your solidarity as an organization to do more good.  There is always more to do.  And if somehow you find a way to better bridge the painful gaps still seen and felt between Filipino-Americans and their countrymen, you will have all my support.

Thank you.

The Train, The Dog, The Car??

Planning my impulsive trip up to Central California and originally I had loved the idea of taking Bella on trails everyday and just getting lost together.  I was reading up on dog-friendly places and apparently I can even take my dog with me whale watching… everything really is available nowadays, huh?

But!

I was researching the Amtrak (never taken it before) and while reminiscing my lovely experiences on trains in Thailand, India and through Europe I started leaning towards the Amtrak.  Problem is, Bella is not a service dog.  She’d need a fancy vest to get on that.  I REEEEALLY want to take the train, but I really want to take my dog, too!  I’ve always wanted to take a hiking trip with my doggie!  Then I thought, can my dog handle the drive?  I know we’ll be making stops, and she’s taken long drives before, and quite accustomed to being in unfamiliar places on a regular basis, but the whole hiking and starving thing doesn’t work out with a dog who needs meds and a special diet in the morning, you know?

Who knows, knowing me I’ll just say fuck it, drop the dog in the car with me and give it a shot.  Worst case scenario, we turn back and go home…with a lovely scenic drive of California!

My car needs to go to the shop before we leave.  The brake light went on.  I was fighting the urge to say “brake light thing” haha.  It’s amazing how when a word becomes a prefix to “thing” at the end, our words sound, well, you fill in the blank 😉

Any way, it’s Labor Day and I’m still in my pjs and fuzzy socks (why is it so cold in early September?! It’s still summer!).  Walking the dog a little late, but I’m allowed – it’s Monday! =p  I’m working today, so I thought at the very least I’d give myself a few hours of lounging with America in honor of Labor Day.  According to Felipe, Brazilians are doing it too – tomorrow is Brazilian Independence Day so they have Monday off too.

I spent the morning (which started at 6:30am) watching Democracy Now online.  Really enjoyed Michael Moore’s interview and his candid comments on the path he has chosen.  His talk about getting fired on Labor Day made me giggle, the rest I found interesting and uplifting for the most part.  There’s something very warm and sincere about his talk, and that is what is so endearing about it.  I hope he keeps fighting the good fight! =)

With that said, me voy!  I’m going on a technology detox pretty soon, so I’ll be offline for awhile (a week?).  Maybe call Tait – I have a feeling I may end up in Monterey!  Big Sur is beautiful…

To dog, or not to dog, the train is the question!!!!!

Post-Trip Blues…

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Yes, it finally hit me… this is the longest I’ve ever been in one city in over four months and the time I spend in one place is no longer exposing its beauty to me – I’ve ventured beyond  that threshold, and time is now unveiling my own settled sedentary life here in California.  It comes and goes, but growing accustomed to it isn’t so comfortable.  I’m fighting tooth and nail to maintain that breath of fresh air, that invigorating zest of the road, but, well… I’m here and it’s harder than it used to be as the adventure here isn’t as – let’s face it – adventurous.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy about life and work here.  I am very grateful for the path before me and the bliss I find in every moment of my work.  It’s just when I take a break, when I stop, that the blues finds me once again.  I can’t keep moving without stop.  It’s that stagnation that external stillness that breaks that blissful meditative state of purpose.  It makes me feel lazy, like I’m taking up space, like I’m stuck.  Oh new complexes are a trip!  Not hard to see where I picked that up… but going from town to town, doing and experiencing something new every hour for months on end then coming “home” to your home country to find the only that has changed is you can be quite frustrating.

Work helps, like I said.  I joined the steering committee for Fair Trade Long Beach (we’re going to make Long Beach a fair trade city – with enough work, we can do it!)   Education and awareness is key.  San Francisco did it; we can too!  Polishing up the last few design edits for my first book and we go to print (yay!).  REALLY enjoying my return to teaching, doing Reiki sessions, Bella (of course!) and kick starting the non-profit and social art initiative this year.  Great stuff.  I feel fulfilled, happy, blissful, peaceful… until I stop!

And I do stop.  Burnout happens.  Then the blues hit hard.  The blues is a new thing.  I’ve been doing great till recently.  Just another challenge – I can do it.  I hate bitching, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with all the emotions resurfacing.  The emotions that were too easy to bury and put on the backburner (thinking I had processed and fully released them already) while I was literally flying around the world.

But you know…music helps =)  I play a samba or bossa nova I bought on the streets of the Pelourinho and it takes me to that place in my mind, in my soul, in my physical body that I need to dive deeper into.  Aahhhh, Brazil!  Just thinking of that place makes me so happy.  I love the energy there.  I love the energy here too, but I must say there’s a communal bond you can feel right away there.  So beautiful… India was great too… Ahhh… I think of who I was there, then, who I am here, now and how it is a choice altered by perspective alone.  “I Carry My World” as I’ve said in SARREAL VISIONS.

Speaking of the book, progress is great – almost there! =D  Yay!  Can’t wait to go to print.

I hate having the blues, but I can’t pretend I am immune to that which bums us in everyday life here in the states.  Nope, I’m not Super Woman all the time.  It’s okay to be vulnerable, and sometimes I forget that.  There is great strength in the ability to show vulnerability, and I suppose after living alone for so long and trekking the globe on my own with no concrete plans (they evolved which was fun) or reservations or even set companions, I’ve grown a little strict on myself as far as what is and is not acceptable emotionally.  I heartwashed myself.  Haha, brainwash is a conscious decision; heartwash is deeper because it’s at the subconscious level and before you know it your emotions are muted for seemingly no reason.

I did have my emo moments during my trip.  I cried tears of happiness and sorrow.  But I did it on my own time and I was always incredibly patient and mellow.  Almost superhumanly in my opinion in some instances hahaha and found a magical way to relish the opportunity to shine in the darkest corners of my world within and without.  Great stuff =)   Even if I was feeling bad on my trip, it wasn’t so bad because I was still traveling.  I was still moving, learning, growing.  It overruled some of the emotional work I should have done.

It’s late and I’m not making any sense… I’m frustrated with my own incompetence right now.  That’s another thing – anger is a new feeling.  Sincere anger = like angry angry?  Yep, anger has reentered my life.  I can’t remember the last time I was this angry and agitated.   Oh wait, Coramel… but I sent her home and spent the day with Kiwi Mark (great guy) celebrating she was gone – that was a quick fix because I literally sent her away.  I think a lot of grieving issues are popping up again, and that’s something that is in me.  Coramel was a joke… I laughed it off and moved on.

A lot of trauma I thought I had released is surfacing as well.  This is strange.  It scares me.  I was experiencing the happiest phase of life!  This was the happiest I’ve been in years!  And I feel I’ve let myself down by dropping it when it was in my hands and succumbing to the darkness.  That’s not me.  Where is this coming from?

Another challenge.  I have to step up.  Can’t let all this great work go to waste.  I’m a ball of sunshine full of love and pure happiness – sharing its warmth with all close enough to feel its warmth!  Change your thoughts, change your world, change your life experience!

I AM THE DREAM.  I AM NOT GIVING UP THE DREAM FOR ANYTHING OR ANYONE.  THE DREAM IS ME.  WITHOUT THE DREAM I CEASE TO EXIST – IT IS MY PATH, MY PURPOSE, MY BLISS, MY PEACE…  THE DREAM IS EVERYTHING.

The DREAM is Dad.  The DREAM is me.  The DREAM is us and manifested in this world through me.  I CAN’T & WON’T LET US DOWN.  WE ARE THE DREAM!  WE ARE THE DREAM!  WE ARE THE DREAM!

I LIVE FOR THE DREAM AND ANYTHING CAN TRY TO STOP ME; I’M STRONGER THAN THAT.  THE DREAM IS BEFORE US, WE HAVE BUT TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH THE VERY FABRIC OF OUR DREAMS!

The dream is you, the dream is me, the dream is we.

I am the dream, and I cherish and love its blessings – to and for the world.  All is One.

Peace.

Tehani in Europe! Around-the-World Trip Update 2010

gratia P1040280 camel buddy

Hello hello lovely people!  Tehani out here in Madrid sending you VERY warm (it´s freezing here!) greetings from this side of the world =)  In about an hour I have a meeting with a woman doing a documentary on women´s rights here in Madrid and found out there is free internet at Las Musas residency so here I am typing a somewhat-overdue update for you guys.  Here is the Clif Notes version:

NEW ZEALAND
The first stop on my trip was absolutely beautiful and equally (yes) cold!  Well, I didn´t know what cold was back then (now that I´m in Europe) but it was cold nonetheless.  I stayed with Servas members in Tokoroa who work with “Forest and Bird,” a conservation program on the North Island, and spent lots of time in the the forest (what they call “bush” but that name doesn´t make me happy).  Then I headed out to Rotorua where I made lots of wonderful friends.  I interviewed Maori guides at Te Puia (and had more than my share of beer with them afterwards) and met Ngamoni (who everyone calls Munch), an elder who is also a channel.  She is a judge for a lot of the Maori dance competitions and between my newfound friends and great location, I got a lot of information about the cross-cultural link between movement and spirituality (what I came to learn) within Maori culture.  I stayed with Tui for a while too, her family runs Mitaki, and I got to watch some awesome shows for free and eat yummy yummy Maori food!  Oh yeah, I got a tattoo out there too… it is purrty.  Then I headed out to Auckland to hangout for a day before my flight out.  Auckland kinda sucks.

THAILAND
Thailand is an interesting place.  I spent time out in Bangkok and taught a workshop at the rumPUREE world dance studio.  Good times.  I also took two classes in classical Thai dance and, yes, my fingers survived!  Visited the wats along the river, went to the Silom Festival, watched some “movers” in Lumphini park (where I saw the strangest animal I´ve ever seen in the water!  I´ll show pictures when I get back) and met up with my cousin who I don´t wish to speak about.  Long story short, I ended up at 5 police stations in the middle of the night and was on my way to the embassy when I find her crying at the hotel hours later.  She could have texted me back to let me know she was alive.  As Dad used to say, how many hours do you have to wait to file a missing persons report? (inside joke, sorry).  On Dad´s death anniversary, I spent the day at the aquarium then waited in Hualamphong to see if I could get a train to Chiang Mai (success!).  The train up to Chiang Mai is wonderful.  It´s open-aired and the sleepers are super comfortable.  Then I went up to Chiang Mai where I had a GOOD Thai massage (the one in Bangkok was traumatizing – I told the woman I knew she was Thai but that wasn´t Thai massage and walked out) where I met Khun Nappasorn, who I hope to take a holistic healing class with when I return to do a fire show up North in Pai.  I also went to the OSCC One Stop Crisis Center for victims of domestic violence and hooked up with the Women´s Center at Chiang Mai University where we set up potential workshops next year with my foundation and I saw a graduation out there.  I met some Spaniards at my hostel who were studying Muy Thai and they took me out for beers and matches.   Great times.  There was a blindfolded match that was pure comedy.  I´m going to miss the random elephants in the road and the street food at the night markets (I met a Brazilian who got me addicted to banana pancakes at 3am and I kept going back long after he left).  And, then… I left for India.

INDIA
India really is as colorful as a Bollywood movie.  I flew from Mumbai into Cochin where I taught poi to the owners of the homestay for free lunches and rides to places.  There was a great 3 day festival there celebrating the local arts center.  I spent a lot of time listening to sitar and tabla concerts, watching Keralan martial arts and Kathakali performances.  I spent time with the director there who told me about their struggle to stay afloat.  Even with the Lonely Planet acknowledging them as an authentic educational center, they at times continue to perform for 2-3 people during low season.  They are open 365 days a year (366 on leap year haha) and do it for the love of the art.  Their center was burned down by the government and that festival was a testament to not only their beauty but also their resilience.  I got a great interview for my article with them.  Saw the fishing nets, toured the backwaters, met a place called Rose Garden… I spent every night in Cochin teaching cheap magic tricks in exchange for free beer.  And yes, it didn´t take me long to start swapping some belly dance for bollywood dance moves at 1am haha.  From there I went to the Amritapuri ashram where I received a hug from Ammachi, the hugging saint of India.  She is a beautiful person, but some of the devotees were way too aggressive for me.  It felt like a strict spiritual commune, but I did a full 24 hours and escaped to Varkala.  Varkala was beautiful, then I moved on to Trivandrum where I met Santhosh, a friend of a friend, who was kind enough to show me around for a couple days.  I hooked up with a traditional dance studio where I had an awesome dance exchange!  I had a lot of fun hanging out with those girls and thank them for their patience with my million questions!  Then it was off to Tamil Nadu (three buses and a train later) to see Sundar!!  The highlight of my trip was meeting my little boy.  Palayankottai has really made an impact on me.  I hung out in Sundar´s village with his parents and family, went to his school (where I taught dance again, and little girls performed with me), hung out with the local women´s group and a few Sri Lankan refugess who I now call true friends and got to know the CFCA staff on a more personal level.  Great times!  I was escorted by a trio of hilarious buddies to the airport who took me to Cape (Ghandi´s memorial where three seas meet), introduced me to fortune telling birds and got lost 5 times on the way to the airport.  India is such a beautiful place!  I have so many stories, but again, this is the Cliff Notes version 😉

TURKEY
I don´t have too much to say about Turkey because I spent most of it being sick… I try not to think about it much, but Istanbul was a good experience overall (I got to see snowfall in Taksim while watching dervishes and a local blues band with one of the artsy guys there – something new – the snow and the dervishes that is…) and Cappadoccia was beautiful!  I got to ride motorcycles up crazy canyons, explore underground cities in caves that pre-date Christ (things Dad and I always wanted to do together) and yes, drink lots and lots of Turkish tea.  I must have had seven to nine cups a day there…there is much to be said about Turkish hospitality.  Then I spent Valentine´s Day with my favorite dead poet: Rumi ❤  and also with a great guy named Osman who was sweet enough to deal with my throwing up…down the stairs, in an ash tray at the gas station, in a bag, while they were taking my blood.  I threw up a lot on V-Day and it was very sweet of my translator to stick with me throughout the whole hospital experience when he could have been wining and dining someone else and not holding my puke bag (yuck!).  The doctor said I couldn´t fly and I had to wait a couple days and change my flight.  I spent those days throwing up, watching undecipherable Turkish news/cartoons and hearing the wonderful AAAALLLLLLAAAAAH AAAAA!!! from the mosque across the street four times a night.  Yeah… Any way, I escaped and went off to Belgium.

BELGIUM
Belgium was great times!  I hung out with my now “Eskimo Mommy” (haha, sorry Ella) and it just felt really great to see a familiar face, have home cooked meals and hear great music again.  I didn´t bring an iPod or anything like that (I don´t own one) so it was nice to hear great stuff.  There was good music everywhere I went, but there´s just something special about hearing something from your own playlist after months of not getting a note of them, you know?  She took care of me – with my being sick and cold and everything.  Thanks Ella, you´re the best!  And yes, Belgian fries are great!  I wish that place in the Pike was still open…

FRANCE ??
I got stuck in France.  I made it on time for my first two connections, but by my third, my train was 25 minutes late and I missed the only train to Madrid.  So I was in Pontiers for a night (compliments of the train station – since it was their fault).  I contemplated visiting Ben and Ana (new buddies, different countries) who were both in Paris at the time, but because I was some days behind I talked my way into a change of ticket for free and went straight to Madrid from Pontiers.

17 hours of trains and waits later…. SPAIN

And here I am =)  A few more countries to go, but I have a feeling this is my one and only update.  I think I´ll try to take a boat to Morrocco in a few days from Sevilla.

There´s a lot more to say about each place but I have to pee and I wanted to just give you guys an update and let you know I am alive and well and miss you dearly.  Someone give my doggie a big hug and a little scratch for me =)  I hope this email finds you all in good health and high spirits and look forward to catching up with all of you when I get back home to have my “moving party”!  Anyone want to help me move my things out of storage?  Haha, and oh yeah… find a place to live!  Oh!  I almost forgot – I´m receiving the proofs for my first book via email and it´s going to be a beautiful project!  I´ll be having a book release party for both me and my dad in March/early April.  Details soon!  Laugh more often and be great!

…and coming up!!!  BRAZIL, PERU, COSTA RICA, MEXICO…

Love,
T =)


Jennifer Tehani Sarreal
562.230.9194
P.O. Box 15653  Long Beach, CA 90815
DancingTehani@gmail.com
www.DancingTehani.com