soul thoughts and climbing

I’ve been thinking a lot. I usually think a lot, sometimes I walk into things because I get so deep into my thoughts. I love being left alone to sink deep into my mind. It’s like a long thought tunnel that suctions me

deeper and

deeper and

I feel like I’m floating or swimming in a warm sea.

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Some thoughts are logical and put together (those ones usually come first) but the deep thoughts are not visible with words- those are my soul thoughts which I usually try and compare to some kind of animal. It helps me dissect and explore each thought with more detail. The thoughts often personify into fluid, deep colored clouds brushing around. It’s hard to make them whole at first, but if I spend enough time, things start to come together.

My thoughts sometimes remind me of time. What is time really? A day of the week? The sun that is growing older day by day? God is outside of time, so what does that mean?

Or deep thoughts remind me of making a painting. I start with some theme colors and a basic outline and slowly, somehow, things start to fall into place.

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Maybe that’s why I love climbing so much. My love for climbing goes so much deeper than just being outside and loving the blue skies, green trees, fresh air and limited amounts of annoying people and busyness. More than the rush and joy of being high up in the air or finishing something that I never thought was possible.

I think it reminds me of the deepness of my thoughts, but all spread outside of my mind in front of me on the rock. And I get to sit there for as long as I want to and stare at it. And I might be able to climb it, or it might be attainable some day, or I can just marvel and respect the fact that my body will not be able to climb that particular problem.

Nothing can clear or quite my mind like that. Sometimes I come full circle with things that have been running around in my head for a while or sometimes, there’s nothing but deep peace. And those are usually the best times. To have absolutely nothing to think about except being and knowing that I am greatly loved.

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Life Update

Hey guys!

So two days ago I finally made it to Esterillos, Costa Rica! I’m living in a house with Penny and Chris, two other sweet girls one of their moms (who all work at the clubhouse too). It’s amazingly hot here and I absolutely love it. I feel like I’m always wrapped up in a blanket of warm, thick air.

When I originally planned this whole trip, I had bought a plane ticket ahead of time to fly from Guatemala to Costa Rica. I of course ended up canceling it so I could bus over- it’s cheaper and much more of an adventure. Also fyi, the airlines I booked with were super cool about everything and it’s because they’re a smaller airline, if you book with bigger ones, they’re not always cool about changes and cancelations.

I think the only bad thing that happened while bussing over is that my camera broke (my bag got chucked off the top of one too many busses I think…). It was weird when I realized that it was broken because I wasn’t mad like I thought I would be, actually I don’t even remember being a little upset. It’s a really cool feeling to be free of the connections we create with our stuff, no matter how important or justified of an attachment we feel it is. It’s all just stuff at the end of the day. Pictures are funny anyways. I’ve always been a lover of pictures- taking them, being in them, looking at them, giving them, getting them- they’re pretty sweet. But what I have weird feelings about is posting them online. Ok don’t freak out. I have a whole website full of pictures. I don’t even know how many albums I have on FB. I have an Instagram. I had to get an external hard drive to keep my pictures on because I had over 15,000 on my computer and it was slowing everything down, so I’m definitely not trying to point out the stick in someone else’s eye right now.

I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s cool to share moments through photos- there’s a lot of good that can come out it. But it’s also really cool to just enjoy it by yourself or with the people who were there. I feel like a lot of us get so used to getting likes, comments and affirmation on the photos we post that we can’t even enjoy the picture if it’s not online, right? I think the most used word of 2013 was selfie. Dude, that’s pretty stupid. Not that I’m against posting a picture of yourself online, geeze look at my facebook or instagram and if you stalk me long enough, you could probably find hundreds photos of me, but it shouldn’t ever become more important that what’s actually going on in life. You shouldn’t constantly be concerned with what other people think about you or your photos. Be free from that crap- If you like it, then that should be cool enough. I’m not going nazi about not posting photos or anything, I just think it’s something to be aware of.

Hi, here’s some iphone photos (I’m actually pretty bad at taking pics with my phone because I’ve always just used my camera).

One of the sickest boulders I’ve found this whole trip! you could traverse around it and I found at least 3-4 sweet routes ranging from V0-V3 maybe? I’m glad I brought my shoes with me.

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one of my favorite chicken busses I got to ride in. The inside was decked out with really cool dreamcatchers (which I was really excited about).

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and here’s me playing in El Tunco, El Salvador. Even though it looks like I’m having a great time, it was actually one of the worst open mic’s I’ve ever played at (haha funny story actually). BUT I’ve had the chance to play at a lot of different places this trip which have all been super amazing, this is just one of the more recent times (one week ago?).

 

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I also had a week where I got super inspired and made some more jewelry, so that was fun. I’ve sold a bit too!

 

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The day before yesterday, I got to sit in on some classes and met most of the girls who go to the club house- they are so beautiful and strong. I can’t wait to start teaching! I started putting new strings on all the ukes yesterday and tuning them up. This week is Semana Santa and a semester just ended (graduations are on Tuesday) and a new semester will start next week. Please be praying for me as I get ready to get involved in life here- I’m really excited, but I know I can’t do it on my own strength. There is also an awesome community here, and I am flooded with peace that I’m exactly where I should be right now.

Sorry I know this blog post has been kind of all over the place, but it’s really just pieces of stuff that have been going on the past few weeks. Here’s one of my favorite things that a friend I met gave me last week, it was super fitting for a situation that we were in (it’s a quote).

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” Dr. Seuss

Much much love!

Kayla

 

Anton and Zoe

One of the best parts about traveling is the people you meet (I’m pretty sure anyone would say that). I met Anton because both of our Spanish teachers didn’t show one day, so we hiked over to Hibalito and grabbed breakfast together. Zoe (his woman) just started up a website, which you should check out (she’s a performer and teacher). http://www.zolamolotov.com/

I ended up doing a few photos for them and wanted to share- they’re both super rad and genuine and I’m so glad we crossed paths.

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Much Love,

Kayla

my first climbing route in guatemala

So I’ll probably regret writing this post, but you’ll probably regret reading it more.

First of all, I want to say that humor has really helped me deal with a lot of difficult situations. It’s not that I don’t take life seriously when I need to, but be able to laugh at yourself makes everything so much easier and usually takes the edge off of an awkward or difficult scenario. My mom has been really good about finding the fun in almost any situation, and I’m so thankful that I learned that when I was una niña chiquita. Sometimes it gives me a new perspective and I can see myself in a different light and realize that whatever I was going through wasn’t as bad as I thought.

With that said, I think it’s really funny how a lot of people are so private and sensitive about pooping (sorry, this post is mostly about poop). Don’t worry, I think it’s gross too and I really don’t want to know any details about what happens when you’re in el bano for more that 5 minutes, but I don’t think it’s something to get embarrassed about. Everybody poops (yes, even girls), you would be really sick if you didn’t. In my past travels, I’ve usually been pretty proud of my strong stomach and have never had any reason for pepto bismal or frequent runs to the bathroom (ok…except once or twice to throw up, but I would take that any day over the other option).

Well this trip, I seriously got it handed to me. It makes sense since I’ve spent over a week living with a local family in a Mayan Village and have tried to fully embrace their life style. Por ejemplo: homemade corn tortillas with every single meal (it’s an alternative to the american fork or spoon), beans and onions on the side, greasy rice, veggies covered in greasy lemon/fish oil, greasy soups, greasy pollo…. At first I thought I was fine and then a couple days ago I got the worst fever. I slept and ton and when I woke up I though I was better- sweet, no big deal. Ha. Ha.

Last night my stomach hurt so bad- like there was a large centipede crawling through my entire digestive system or something. Yep, I knew what was coming, but my biggest problem? Well, it’s pretty hard for me to describe the home where I’m living, but just know that it’s really tiny and everyone knows when someone is in the bathroom. So I decided to hold it and see if God would give me another option (in all seriousness). I drank a little bit of water, went to bed and actually fell asleep pretty quickly.

Around 5 am I woke up and could hardly breath or walk, it was really, really bad. I still didn’t want to go to el bano but I put on my glasses and got up, almost ready to open up my door when I saw my beautiful little window on the side of my room. It’s strong and sturdy because Francisco is a carpenter and framed everything himself and it opened up quietly enough and was the perfect size for me to fit through. Outside the window is a peaceful little hillside with glorious amounts of bushes and trees- no one would even see me. Only there is a 15ft drop off the side of the house. I put on my headlamp so I could find a good landing or hold and went for it. I don’t think it would normally would have been extremely difficult, but in my delicate state, it was a severe hardship. Needless to say I found a bush and yada yada…. 10 minutes later I was feeling much better and ready to go back inside. Haha, funny story. The window was too high up for me to reach but I couldn’t go through the front because it was locked and I certainly wasn’t waking up my family.

I patiently looked at the wall with my headlamp for several more minutes and spotted three or four holds perfect for a finger or toe, once I reached the window sill it was only a v1 or v2 mantel and before I knew it I was back in my bed. As far as I know, no one heard me climbing in or out of the window or other things so I felt super accomplished.

When I left to go to the hostel this morning (for wifi) I was cracking up. I seriously can’t believe I went through all of that just to take a poo (honestly, I’m still really glad I did). Mama Rosa has already told me several other stories of other tourists would lived in their home and got sick, it’s super common and it wouldn’t have been a big deal at all. But here I am, posting this story to my blog because I think it’s hysterical and I think that we often take little struggles like this and turn then into unnecessarily big problems. Although, I was able to find a pretty sweet little climbing route out of all of it, I’ll probably check out the whole wall with my shoes tomorrow.

And pretty un-related to this story, but here’s some pictures from yesterday morning. I quickly snapped them on my walk down from the village.

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buenos dias amigos y familia

When I traveled last year, I didn’t blog and made only a few facebook posts of sunsets or monkeys. One of the reasons I love traveling so much is that it’s so easy to be in the present, and blogging or making posts about where I am, what I’m doing or who I’m with takes away from that. It’s also incredibly hard for me to share my travels because it comes out different than it really is. A picture is only a split second of the day and you also miss the smells, sounds and feelings of that time and place. And each person sees things so differently, a smells triggers different emotions and thoughts depending on who you are and it’s almost impossible to communicate what it’s like to be somewhere, you honestly need to go yourself if you really want to know.

I feel conflictingly different on this trip and I think I’m ready to share some of my experiences for many reasons, but mostly to inspire you to live your life (and not just do it). I’m not a writer and I can sometimes be good a taking pictures, but I like to think of myself as an artist of life. Life is so beautiful and nothing inspires me more that to create and to see others create.

First of all, there’s only a few things you actually need if you want to travel for a good amount of time (as long as you’re not going to Antarctica). $3000 (mas o menos), a good backpack, cheap sandals, a journal, and a place to go. I also find that buying one way tickets are the best- how are you supposed to know when and where you’ll want to go next if you haven’t gotten to the first place yet? You can have a plan in mind, but always be willing to flow.

I arrived in Guatemala City, Guatemala on the 6th (only three days ago). My ticket was only $278 and the flight was easy enough (Guatemala is close to the states compared to Asia or Europe). Once I arrived, I found a bus to Antigua for 60Q (about $7) and on the way a drunk Canadian tried to convince me to spend the night with him (and he was at least 65…). From Antigua I found a shuttle that took me to Panajachel for 80Q. On the way to Pana we got two flat tires but I sat next to an awesome Russian girl and once we got to Pana (it was really late by that time) we got a hostel room together for 50Q (which is about $3 each).

In the morning I got on a boat (Panajachel is on a lake) to go to Santa Cruz (a smaller village across the lake, Panajachel is where you would go to get food from the market). It was easy enough to find the Spanish School (I looked one up online) because it is literally right by the dock where the boat comes in. They will always try to get you to make reservations, but I would say (especially in Central America) it’s better to just show up- there’s always room for another student and they’ll charge you more to make “reservations” or “special accommodations”. I also asked to be in a homestay with a local family and in the afternoon, Pedro (he runs the school) took me to my families home.

Santa Cruz is a small village and all of the hostels and are on the lake- the village is just up the hill. The home where I’m staying is all the way at the top of the Village (about one mile). My family is so sweet and understanding with my horrible Spanish (I barely speak any). When I am there (in the evenings and mornings) I help Mama Rosa with a few chores and so far she’s showed me how to make masa and tortillas. She doesn’t speak any English, but her Spanish is really clear and she’s good at talking to me so I know how to understand what she’s saying. Her husband, Fransco is a carpenter (he has a shop set up at home and makes things for the village) and he is always working and leaves most evenings to go fish.

They have 5 boys, the two older ones work and don’t live at home (but still come often for diner). The 3 younger ones (Christian, Oscar and Angel) are also really kind to me and we have lots of fun playing. I’m also teaching Christian how to play my ukulele and sing La Bamba (it’s the only Spanish song that I know, but he loves it). It’s sometimes hard to be there and I know it can be hard for them too because we are so different, but I have only been there a few days and am so surprised at how welcoming they are towards me. I can’t really take any pictures of the village or where I am staying because they’re not used to seeing cameras and it can be kind of rude. I already stand out enough without bringing on more things for everyone else to get used to. There are some tourists staying in the hostels, but right now I am the only white person living in the village.

Tomorrow (Monday) I finally get to start my spanish school. School is down at the hostel on the lake and I get my own instructor (I haven’t met him yet). I’m so excited to be able to get better with my Spanish! Yesterday there wasn’t any school either (no school on the weekends) so Daniela (a sweet German girl I met) and I took boats and tuk tuks around the lake to explore most of the surrounding villages. I’ve decided that Santa Cruz is definitely one of the smallest and most peaceful, I’m so glad to be here.

Here are some photos I took yesterday:

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Muchas Amor,

Kayla

ocean is as one with the world

As I Stare out into the Sea,
I can feel the soft oceans breeze
the warmth from the sun
the grass dances with the whistling wind
the ocean is filled with thoughts
and mysteries,
I feel the cool water
the ocean is alive filled with lost souls
washing emotions up onto the shore
My feet sink in the softness of the sand
The ocean is made up of dreams
and achievements,
My mind lies in the heart of the ocean
The rocks are bones
Out in the open the waves settle and
wait for their attack,
I feel as one with the ocean
as the ocean feels like one
with the world.

~Izabelle Sheridan

sparrows

So, originally when I decided to bring ukuleles and sketch books with me to the Seeds of Hope Home, I was going to have to bring them with me on the airplane (stuff doesn’t always get there in the mail). When I chose to go to spanish school in Guatemala (for one month) before arriving in Costa Rica, I wasn’t completely sure what I was going to do with the ukes and sketch books while I was there (stash them under my bed? find a storage unit?).

A couple days ago I heard that Holly, (she lives in CR and works with the girls full time) was coming to the states at the end of this month for a little bit and if I got her the ukes and sketch books within 2 weeks, she could take them back with her. Such a small thing, but such an answer to prayer! This morning I packed up 5 ukes (I’m holding that box in the picture) and 30 sketch books and sent them to where Holly is going.

It really is a big burden lifted off of me to not have to worry about the ukes or art supplies while I’m at Spanish school. God has taken care of every little thing and I am always overwhelmed at how loved I feel by Him. I also want to say that, even though I am doing this whole trip and people may think it’s selfless and giving, qualifying me as a good person, it is really not true at all. Yes, I have a heart to see these girls filled with the love of God and I would love to be able to share the gift of art and music with them, and yes, I have to give up my life here and have spend long periods of time away from people I love, but it is through the grace of God that I have any of those desires in the first place. It is only because of how much I am loved that I have anything to give.

Going to work at the Seeds of Hope Home does not make me better than anyone else, I still do lots of things (on a daily basis) that are wrong, my heart is forever selfish and deceitful and I give into my selfish desires so much more than anyone might think. Sometimes, I feel like we think sanctification is only for Priests or holy people, but the bible says it is for the saints. A saint is: “anyone who has a living relationship with God through his mercy and grace expressed in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, every Christian is a saint”. The word “saint” comes from the Greek verb, hagiazo which means to set apart, sanctify, or make holy. It doesn’t mean that we are already holy, it means we are in the process of becoming holy. It means that we are set apart from the ways and the system of the world and we are God’s children. Nothing more and nothing less. It certainly does not make us more special or more loved than anyone else, regardless of different beliefs or ways of life. We truly are all equal.

God has abundantly taken care of me and now I am able to share what he has blessed me with. If God takes care of the sparrows, he will most certainly take care of his children. I know how hard it can be to believe this, honestly I do. There are horrible things that happen to others, yet some people are completely nestled in a world of material comfort and pleasure. How are we all the same if we are so different? How are we all loved the same amount? How are there little girls being sexually exploited and you can say that God loves me the same as he loves those little girls? I know there’s biblically correct answers to these questions, but sometimes there are things that we really aren’t meant to understand. We can get closer to the heart of God which will give us more understanding, but I think that God’s love for us is so great that we will really never be able to comprehend it. God calls us to live in the present moment and be faithful with what we are given. We are not called to worry about everyone around the world or things that happened in the past or the things that will happen tomorrow or next year. We are called to trust.

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” Mat 6:26

Love,

Kayla

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wait, where are you going? what are you doing?

In march (most likely the 7th), I leave for Santa Cruz, Guatemala to go to spanish school for a month in preparation for Costa Rica. In Costa I’ll be going to the seeds of hope home (www.seedsofhopehome.com) to work with the girls and teach a couple classes. I am so excited!

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Their school schedule works in 10 week sessions, I will get there in time for the session that starts April 13th (and ends in August). I’m not sure how long I will stay after, that depends on a lot of things (but honestly, mostly money). For the first session I will be teaching a couple art classes, a yoga class and hopefully put together a choir. I was really blessed with a donation to buy 5 ukuleles to bring down with me to teach some of the girls how to play (I bought them last week!). I am still putting my lesson plans together, but I am starting to collect art supply donations. Everyone working at the seeds of hope home is a volunteer so we fund ourselves (or raise support).

A list of art supplies that I’ll need (the classes are 15 girls each and I will probably be teaching 2 or 3):

Please know that anything helps, this list is just a guideline. If you have other ideas please feel free to share!

  • #2 wooden pencil(s)
  • Kneaded erasers
  • drawing sketch books
  • drawing paper (bristol)
  • packs of at least 8 broad tipped washable markers in original colors
  • packs of at least 12 colored pencils in original colors
  • 12 pack of Derwent (or another brand) MEDIUM drawing pencils ranging from 6B-
    4H
  • glue bottles
  • black Sharpie permanent markers (felt tip)
  • small art box or art bag
  • acrylic paints (primary colors, black and white).
  • paint brushes

I also have an etsy shop where I make and sell jewelry, any purchase goes directly to this trip. www.etsy.com/shop/freshseaweed

The same goes for my photography www.kaylaleighking.com

If you don’t have any art supplies or money to give, I still would love your prayers for me, the girls and everyone else giving their time. Thank you for reading this post, know that I really appreciate and love you!

Much Love,

Kayla