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So long 2013 — what a year you were. An unpredictable year full of anticipation and adventure…

I started out the year with a spectacular ski trip in Canada —

Canada

And then embarked on a 3 month backpacking journey with David. First stop: Spain! Cafe con leche, Gaudi architecture and of course, indulging in some fine Spanish cuisine…

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Next: Patagonia, Argentina — AMAZING hiking and camping

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I can check “drinking fresh glacier water” off my list —

DrinkWater

Making our way back up the west side of Argentina, we had our first taste of Mate in Bariloche, a bitter yet invigorating tea.

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We then skipped over to Chile and explored our first desert at super high altitude, walked through salt caves and tasted one of the country’s more popular dishes, Cazuela:

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Last stop: Peru. My absolute favorite. Wonderful people, fantastic food and spectacular landscapes. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the trip. Well actually, NOT getting parasites would have been pretty cool too. 

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Colca Canyon – the deepest of canyons

 

I learned how to make chocolate - from scratch.

I learned how to make chocolate – from scratch.

 

5-Day Trek up to Macchu Picchu

5-Day Trek up to Macchu Picchu

 

We spent the last 3 weeks of our trip in Huanchaco, Peru, working at a surf hostel. The beach was across the street. We slept outside every night and woke up to the sun and the sound of waves crashing. We cooked dinner for the hostel almost every night and met some really cool people. It was ALWAYS 66 degress and shiny, and we surfed whenever we wanted. It was awesome, to say the least.

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We flew back to Florida in May and reality invited itself back into our lives. Time to find jobs again! After seeing my family in Florida, we drove up to Peoria, IL to settle with George and Colleen for a few weeks until we found jobs in Colorado, California or Oregon.

Well, THAT didn’t really happen. The job market is ruthless out there!

In the meantime, we had an uber relaxing summer – for the most part. Between  the moments of freaking out because we couldn’t find jobs, we found time to take advantage of the situation and just enjoy life…

David brewed his first batch of beer and I, my first batch of Kombucha –

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I completed my second triathlon. And got first in my age group!

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I got to drive over to Michigan several times to see my parents –

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And I catered a dinner party!

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5 months and tons of applications later, I got a job here in Peoria at OSF, working as their Kidney Transplant Dietitian. Didn’t see that one coming.  I had my mind set on getting a job at a cancer center, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me at that point.

And while Peoria isn’t the most exciting city, I’m really enjoying my job here so I can’t complain.

Colleen and George have been most generous in opening  their doors to us and giving us the comforts of home for all this time. I am truly grateful to have them in life and can’t thank them enough for their unending kindness.

CG

Life is unpredictable. Be flexible and flow with itnot against it. Enjoying the ride makes everything so much more pleasant.

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From beach-bum to snow-bunny…here’s to the New Year!

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