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October 7th 2013
Published: October 7th 2013
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Hello dear friends,

I decided it was time to start blogging again or pretty soon I'll forget how to write! Haha. Speaking to people over the summer made me think that even though life here is 'normal' to me now, it's still anything but in reality...

So, life over the last year. Well it's been interesting to say the least. Living through the elections, the death of the President, the new elections and the repercussions of those results has ensured that there has, in fact, never been a dull moment. Almost one year on from the re-election of Chavez and things in the country are not in a great way - shortages are just a given now. Last night, I had a party and a new friend brought me a (extremely welcome) packet of toilet roll! Toilet roll! As a gift! To a party! But that's just how we're rolling these days. Since I've come back after the summer, I've been to the supermarket once - I just can't cope with it. The frustration of not finding all the things you need (like milk, flour, toilet roll!), the restrictions placed on said 'gold' items when you can find them and the queues! Oh, the queues. I've learned to go armed with ipod and kindle or literally, I fear I would actually hit someone. However, it's all manageable and we are just ticking along, readjusting the parameters of normal, as my friend Rachel says.

I was thinking about the choice I've made A LOT over the summer. The choice to come back to Caracas for another year, that is. And really, although life can become quite challenging at times, safety continues to be a concern, shortages are annoying and frustrating and with the new problems trying to book flights out of here, I live in a pretty awesome place. I start each day taking my pup out for a walk to play in the plaza across the street. My view from here is spectacular. I have realised that I have a deep emotional connection with the Avila - it just makes me feel happy, content, peaceful. Something bout 6am walks with that view, when the rest of the city is just starting to wake up and the only other people around are fellow dog walkers or workers on the kiosks, is exceptionally calming. I love it. My plan for this year is to get more involved with that mountain. It's reliable, dependable and constant in a city (and a life) where not much else is. The weather, as well, makes me happy. It's beautiful, sunny, hot and you can feel that vitimin D just soaking in. I have a scooter now so the drive to school is fun as is the drive home. I'd forgotten the sense of freedom having wheels give you, even if you don't go very far, and feeling the wind in your face...well, just, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

At school, I've moved up to KS2 and am teaching Year 3 - the oldest I've taught yet - and thoroughly enjoying it and all the new challenges it brings. Children who know how to read and write already! What?! They are a lovely bunch of kids; interested, excited about learning and sweet. It's an entirely different job to Kinder and challenging in new, different ways but that's a good thing. We are doing The Wizard of Oz for our Christmas Show this year which I'm running and obviously super excited about that. More than the kids probably! So, work wise, life is good!

Travelling this year has been absolutely outstanding. Colombia, Peru, Spain (whistlestop trip!), Los Roques, Aruba, Florida, UK, Sardinia so far...then this month I am exploring more of this beautiful country and going to see Angel Falls and back to Los Roques (by far the most incredible beaches I've ever seen - like, make you want to cry stunning) then Sydney for Christmas. Really. That sounds nuts. It is actually. Feeling very lucky that I've had all of these opportunities so far. For Carnival in March, I'm going to Rio! Carnival in Rio!!!! I know! It seemed like too good an opportunity to miss and with our current crazy black market rate, cheap as chips to fly there for the week. I've just read this back - that is a nuts amount of places to have seen in one year. Lucky.

What else? Friends are fabulous obviously and it's always fun at the start of a new academic year with lots of new teachers trying to readjust their expectations and perceptions of normality. It's interesting hearing where people have come from and why they've chosen Caracas. I genuinely thought, with all the coverage Venezuela has had on world news this year, we would be getting a shower of nutters! Haha. But absolutely not. People seeking adventure, excitement and who just want to see South America. Wonderful. That's something I've come to realise this summer as well. I love this continent. I think South America and I work well together. Every trip I've been on has enriched my life in some way, or taught me something, or just been a wicked party! Hah. So there. This is turning into just random musings now...

Looking forward to Ben and Omar coming in a couple of weeks so I can get back involved with 'tourist' Caracas - obviously going up the mountain, into the centre, El Hatillo etc. There's a lot to do here, it just takes motivation and determination to actually do any of it sometimes as frustrations and 'this would be so much easier in the UK/the States/anywhere else' attitude can take over. Maybe this is why I'm writing this - reminding myself of why I'm here and all the good and wonderful things that's available to me. Anyway, that's all for now.

Good night.


7th October 2013

Lucky is as lucky does ...
Having read your blog I thought how lucky you are but then realised that you have made choices to get to where you are and they have eventually led you to the peaceful place where you are now - good for you - really happy for you. You bring fun to all of our lives when we see you and smiles to me when your blog appears!!! xx
14th October 2013

...just lovely to hear my Mazda, so happy that life is so good for you. Restrictions etc sound poo but am a firm believer in these sorts of life lessons and glad you are learning such valuable teachings. I do believe everyone should visit at least one of these sorts of countries at least once in their life for this exact reason. Enjoy every minute of your adventure...and while I'm completely green with envy, I am unbelievably happy for you and chuffed to bits you were brave enough to go over there initially and have been able to experience it all. Love to you hun, Jo xxx

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