Friday, December 12, 2008

i'm living in a tree house.

It's true.
I'm living in a tree house. I climb up a tall, rickity ladder multiple times a day to my home sweet home (or as we say here in India, OM sweet OM). I'm sharing this open tree house with a keet roof with my dear friend Marisa. It's seriously one of my favorite places that I have every rested my little asian head. 
Ah. This life here in India has turned to be so wonderful and a blessing. 
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to give an update but I was reminded by my brother that I need to do so. First of all, I am safe and sound for those who are wondering. I am far from the attacks and will remain far for the rest of my stay here. 
During the attacks that occurred in Mumbai I was here down south in Tamil Nadu battling our own attack. A cyclone ripped through this place and ripped through with no hesitation but I might say a bit of kindness. Let me remind you all that I am a California girl. A rainstorm goes as long as a week and it is harmless. Winds don't really happen and there is typically no danger. Here, I was in my first cyclone. This was a rip roaring, full out rain storm that people in Tamil Nadu haven't seen for years. Here in Auroville, they have tried to do this great thing of planting lots and lots of beautiful trees all around. This place is heavily forested as opposed to before Auroville it was barren and pretty dry. Only problem with a lot of the trees is that they are not local. Because of this, after days and days and days of rain the soil got and remained SO wet that my of the trees started to fall over. Like... TIMBER style. Eucalyptus, Work Trees... All kinds of monstrous, large trees. At the place I am living, over half of the trees fell over. As you know, or didn't know, our roofs are made of keet. So pretty much palm leaves. If a tree were to fall on my room, the building would be history. We all had to vacate our keet houses and move into the one cement structure in our guest house. 9 girls, one room, wet, rainy, hectic... It was awesome. Although it did feel like a bit of a refugee camp, I loved every minute of it. I did have to worry about a tree falling on my head or a sharp bamboo violently hitting me as I took a wet stroll to the bathroom, but other than that.. it was just fine. One to go in the books. Although, it did make our Thanksgiving a little miserable. No power, no water means no cooking, no showers, no a lot things. But it was all good in the hood!

I will be home in t-minus 19 days. Whoa. That is not so far away huh? Oh boy. Honestly, I do not want to leave this place. I have fallen deeply in love with India, with this life, with the people.... Don't get me wrong, I miss friends and family back home, but if I could teleport you here, I definitely would not leave. 
19 days. 
See you soon I guess. This was kind of a funny blog entry huh? I'm in a funny mood. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

blissed out

I just finished a 3 days vision quest/solo on this island in Hampi, India.
I am feeling fresh, renewed and so good.
I might never leave India.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Check your smiles at the door

i can't control the volume of my voice.
journaling, surfing, reading, the outdoors, sports, dancing and music are my therapy.
i enjoy good company.
rough housing is my guilty pleasure.
i'm competitive-and i WILL win.
chocolate ice cream is the way to my heart.
being a hopeless romantic gets the best of me. 

So about maybe six, seven years ago I joined myspace. There is profile section titled "About Me" where you are given the freedom to write whatever you wish. Above is the thing I wrote and I haven't changed it since. I read that from time to time and I still feel like it rings true to certain core parts of who I am. 

The reason why I write this is because of the first line. "I can't control the volume of my voice". If you know me at all, you know this is true, but today or maybe the past few days, I am starting to think for the first time that this is a negative trait that I possess. I actually really enjoyed that aspect about myself. It never really crossed my mind as something negative but here, in India I h
ave been running into trouble with it. I've been told that I laugh too much and too loud and in general I just make too much noise. And yes, this is very true but I have always surrounded myself with people who appreciate it, if not laugh harder, dance faster, and talk louder. 

so what if i like to dance and sing around these 
so what if i like to stay up and laugh with my friends?
so what if i enjoy great conversations till late at night?
so what if i love to blast music before dinner time for a quick dance?

so what right?

i'm feeling so contained. My wings are clipped and every time I want to spread them, someone closes the cage. I'm here in India trying to squeeze out my time and be me to the fullest but i can't. 

I feel like I can't have fun. and if any of you guys know me at all, you will know that this is a big, big problem for me. 

I'm conflicted. Do I change and become more reserved for these few boring people? or do I march to my own drum and enjoy myself with people who also enjoy the beat i make? (cause there are a handful of those, thank 

Well, for now I will make noise. I will sing, I will dance, I will for sure laugh, and I will talk. But a girl could be told that she's noisy so much until she reaches breaking point. I refuse to reach breaking point. 

I'll leave you with a song that has always rang true to my heart but it's even more so now...

i wanna go where the mountains are high enough 
to echo my song
i wanna go where the rivers run deep enough
to drown my shame
i wanna go where the stars shine bright enough
to show me the way
i wanna go
where the wind 
calls my name

-india arie 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"excuuuse me?"

Pondicherry Institute of Medical Services (PIMS)
This is the name of the local hospital nearby. Sure we have great medical services in Auroville but it's a clinic. Lots of the girls have gone to Auroville clinic and received great help. Great help for UTI's, stomach issues, or headaches.
Why do I mention this you ask? Well I was fortunate enough to experience first hand the great medical services of Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India.

So the last time that I needed to be at the hospital was when I was a wee little baby almost near death with the Kawasaki disease. No I didn't make that disease up. Anyway.. The only time I go to my doctor, which is still my pediatrician, is for essential shots and that's pretty much it.
So during my stay here in India I'm taking malaria pills. Doxycycline. I have to take it religiously every day and even 28 days after I get back from India. My travel clinic doctor who prescribed me this medicine told me "DO NOT miss a day. You miss a day and you WILL get malaria". This man instilled so much fear in me that I make sure that I take my Doxy every day. One day I ALMOST forgot to take it but got that light bulb in my head right before I fell asleep so popped in it my mouth and went to bed. I sighed with relief thanking my great memory for letting me not forget.
The next morning I woke up with feeling as if the pill was still stuck in my throat. I've gotten this feeling with Nyquil before so I wasn't too worried. The next day came along and I still had that feeling in my chest. Along with that feeling, in the middle of morning yoga I got the sudden urge to throw up. From that moment forward I threw up absolutely everything all day long. I felt miserable but was in acceptance to the fact that I was in India and it was probably just the food.
I felt much better the next day but was STILL feeling as if the pill was stuck in my chest. Along with that feeling, everything I ate and drank was a painful experience. Being the stubborn person I am, especially with medical things I decided to wait it out.
My friend Michelle wasn't having it and even with my objections she googled it. When she googled it, it seemed like many people have experience similar things that I was experiencing. Still, google didn't give me a good remedy or did it comfort me in anyway. So I decided I could get some easy, quick fixes from my travel clinic doctor. *side note: my travel clinic doctor is someone i met once and literally just prescribed me malaria.
I call him and tell him that it feels like it's stuck in my chest. Without asking any questions on my symptoms or anything like that he says "You MUST go to the doctor right now. Not just a clinic but a hospital. This is a very serious matter that you need to get to a doctor immediately. This is very serious." I asked if there is a chance that it's not so serious or if he could tell me something a little more comforting and he responds with a quick no. So I go to my advisors and tell them that I think I need to go to the hospital. They wanted to just call the local doctor in to see what was wrong because in India the hospitals are not 24 hour. They do have standby nurses and they can call doctors but that would be for big emergencies. Seeing that I was living, breathing and my symptoms were not too dire, they wanted to talk to the travel clinic doctor for themselves and ask questions. As soon as they got off the phone my advisor looked me and said "okay you are going to the hospital". My heart sank and I was sure that I was going to have to go through some heavy duty stuff. My imagination took off without my consent and I was terrified. The taxi ride over to the hospital was a quiet and long one.
We walked into the hospital which seemed more like a dark and scary asylum of some sort. It was circular, the lights were all off or dimmed and the only thing that was going on was janitors sweeping the floor. It was so quiet. We went to the first nurse we saw and Martin, the program coordinator asks "excuse me we need to see a doctor" and she replies "why? what's wrong?" and he replies, "we have possible internal bleeding". I just look at him and say "WHAT?! excuse me?! internal bleeding?!" and the nurse responds "take her to Casualties" and then again i look at martin and ask, "EXCUSE ME? CASUALTIES?"

This is turning into a long story so long story short I ended up at the casualties section, was given a mysterious shot and sent on my way. The doctor just asked if I was pooing blood or throwing up weird things and I said no. He said that they usually prescribe antacids with doxycycline and that it is not an unusual thing. He said that I could do an endoscopy if I wanted (where they shove a camera down your throat) I thought I would go with this but after taking few days of antacids I felt much better. I also talked to my buddy Andrew Jones and he had the same problems and he is still alive. Basically I am shaking an angry, angry fist at my Travel Clinic doctor in Pasadena. I don't recommend him. He just scares the ants out of your pants. 

I would like you guys all to know that I am nearly 100% now and feeling back to my old self. =]
This was one of the scariest moments ever...
Until next time.....
poyt varen. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

my situation has been dismissed

So here is my situation. I’m eating another delicious south Indian meal. It includes cucumbers, chutneys, this naan-ish thing filled with cheese, and a soup. As I’m scarfing down this tasty treat in front of my face I feel a grumble and/or a tumble in my belly. And maybe I should back up a bit. The group I’m with consists of 11 other girls who aren’t aware of the fact that I am a proud burper and farter. Therefore, me being the fragile and delicate lady that I am I have to hold them in. (for now at least) I rush to the bathroom knowing what my punishment for holding secrets in will be.

I guess that story was really irrelevant being that all I wanted to do was explain the toilet situation to you guys but I thought it would be nice.

Now here’s the important part. The bathroom is four brick walls with no ceiling. You turn a corner and there lies an Indian toilet. Flush with the floor and pretty much a porcelain hole. It’s not like a HOLE, hole. Well it is but it has room for error. Next to the porcelain hole is two porcelain rectangles. They are the perfect size for your feet to be placed. You carefully place your feet on the nicely put rectangles, pull down your pants to your knees and squat a nice comfortable squat. You have to make sure to aim correctly or several things can go wrong.
1. You pee all over the floor in front of you
2. You pee on your pants
3. You pee in the toilet but with a perfect angle to splash back on your usually bare feet.
I will admit that the splash back is my specialty but I am getting quite good at aiming. Peeing is the easy part. Pooing is a craft. You must make sure to not aim right at the hole because if your poop lands right in the water, splash back is inevitable since you are so close to the ground. You MUST and I repeat MUST land your droppings in front of the hole to avoid it. Then after wiping, whether it’s with your left hand or by luck there is toilet paper, you get a bucket of water and wash your droppings away. Ah... dismissed.

The end.

I will post pictures. I can't right now because our internet is complicated. It will start back up in October.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So It's real. I wasn't just saying words or making it up in my head. I'm really in India. Honestly, I keep having to blink my eyes over and over again to realize that I am half way around the world from everything that is comfortable. And when I say everything, I pretty much mean everything. 

I'm surrounded by people I don't know, a language that I don't speak and in a place that is SO foreign.... But I know that will all change in a matter of days. =] I've already made a local Aurovillian (I live in the village called Auroville) sit down and I had him teach me some simple phrases in Tamil. Tamil is known to be one of the oldest languages that is out there. The language is beautiful-except not when I speak it. It sounds like a really twisted up Spanish. 

I can't wait to video chat with you guys so I could show you my room. The mattress is thin and the roof is made out of palm leaves. It's quickly becoming home for me though and I actually really love it... though at first glance it was a different story. 

I'm going to keep this short because I slept like 4 hours last night and I am pooped but I will be sure to keep you guys posted every step of the way. 

I'm really excited to be here. I already know that this is going to be a unique and life changing journey.. India! 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"this is indeed India...

...the land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendor and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and pestilence, of genii and giants and Aladdin lamps, of tigers and elephants, the cobra a
nd the jungle, the country of a thousand nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of tradition, whose yesterdays bear date with the mouldering antiquities of the rest of the nations-" -Mark Twain

So this is it, I'm finally off to India for the semester. I admit that I am a bit nervous but I think it's because I just want to be there already. Get it started, ya know? 
A lot of people have been asking about my program so I'm going to give a little overview of what I'm going to be doing there. 

My classes:
  1. Group Dynamics: This class is on learning to recognize and analyze the physical, social, economic, political, ethical, and spiritual elements that make up sustainable communities. 
  2. Global and Local Sustainable Living: We're going to study the role of human history, language, education, physical landscape, society, and world view on shaping human-place relations. We're going to find connections through use of ecological footprint analysis and other things. 
  3. Applications and Practices of Sustainable Living: This class is field based and I get to do an internship project in sustainable development throughout my stay in Auroville
  4. Body, Mind, and Spirit: Cultivating Personal Sustainability: Here I'll be studying the importance of world views and how they affect human behavior and the earth, and gain an understanding for the historical roleof religions and spirituality in creating culture. 
Some highlights of the semester are:
  • Visiting cultural and ecological sites like Periyar Ecological Sanctuary
  • Engage in a 40 hour wilderness solo
  • Travel to Karnataka and spend 3 weeks at the Ecodaya Santuary, and island in the Tungabhadra River-jungle ruins of ancient Hindu empires and some of the rarest ecology and geology on the planet
  • Overnight at the Sri Ramanamarashi's ashram and climb Arunchala Mountain, locally believed to be the body of the Hindu god Shiva

Auroville is an ecovillage in the state of Tamil Nadu. The largest city that is nearby is Chenna
Here is a visual reference to where I will be:

This is a model picture of what Auroville looks like from a birds eye view.  

Contact Information:
Love from the states will be much appreciated and will be returned graciously from India... please send by Global Priority Mail NOT economy (surface) post. The latter has been known to take four months to get to us. 
College Guest House
Crystal Lim
Auroville 605 101
Tamil Nadu India

If you need to contact me ASAP and I mean ASAP call...
413-259-0025 This is the number to the U of Amherst Living Routes Office.

I will have opportunities to do webcam/skype/ichat from time to time so get ready to set some phone dates with me.. 
I will update this blog as often as possible so stay tuned. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

mas costa rica

So I'm long over due for this one. I've been back from Costa Rica for a while but the place is still heavily resonating in my heart. Since Costa Rica I lead another trip to Moab/Zion, Utah and have been to Baja Mexico and back but Costa Rica constantly replays its beauty in my mind. 
The following pictures are of the places that I went during my Adventures Cross Country trip.. meaning lugging 15 kids around to these amazing, hidden secrets of Costa. 
I want to keep this short because I have nothing more to say except the fact that I had a really hard time leaving this place. I was so lucky to be able to go to these EXTREMELY remote places... FAR away from tourists and SO CLOSE to locals. I got to stay up late nights talking to my new family Tia sara, Adriana, and Hector about life and love by candle light. I got to wake up early mornings to the booming sound of howler monkeys (congos)... It was just incredible. Costa Rica has definitely stolen a little piece of my heart and I am counting down the days until I get to return and unlock more secrets about this amazing place. 


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

no where to be and all day to get there

I'm back from Costa Rica. I'm going to do two posts on it because I feel like I had two very different experiences there. 
Before the kiddos got to Costa Rica, I got the opportunity to travel around for two weeks. This was really the first time I hopped on a plane with no plans and really no clue what Costa was going to be like. The whole plane ride over I was internally panicked about how the heck my broken spanish was going to take me to a hostel let alone get around for a whole month and a half.
A lot of my travel in Costa Rica consisted of asking "hola senor, donde esta el estacion de autobus?" and "soy koreana pero nacio en california". I carried only a backpack on my back and planned as i went. If I wanted to leave that day I could or if I wanted to stay three more nights I could also. I really had zero limits (well maybe how much money I had to spend... which wasn't a lot) But traveling on a shoestring was incredible. I was blown away by the numbers of world travelers from all over. It definitely gave me the travel bug aka wanderlust.. so if you want to come on una aventura with me.. let me know because I am always in.    
Jaco, CR- My friends and I were walking down the street with our packs on and suddenly a man just pulls over and asks if we're looking for a hostel.. we answer 'yes' and he basically just loads us up in his car and takes us to an amazing hostel called The Kangaroo Hotel. It consisted of very cute surfer Ticos and us. I love Costa Rican kindness. =]

I'm pretty proud to say that Cristal along with one other company is the main water company. To tell people my name would be a breeze

These three pictures are from Montezuma, CR. One of my favorite spots that I got to see during my travels alone. It was pretty free from tourists and had a 'getaway' feel. 

Ah- Volcan Arenal. The tourist hub. Yes, it is one of the most active volcanos in the world... but man I didn't like most of my experience here. Too expensive, too touristy, and not easy to get to. Luckily my friend Gordo and I found a guy driving to this place from Monteverde and hitched a ride from this North Carolina, tattoo covered, ear stretched man. 

Yes. Puerto Viejo, Limon, CR. Here is where I acquainted myself with the Caribbean side. This place was where I ended my travels and stayed the most time in. I just loved it. It was a hostel called Rockin J's and you rent a hammock for $4 or a tent for $5. I went the hammock route and no it's not uncomfortable. I actually slept like a little baby being cradled against my mommas bosom. okay well not that well but only because this place is bumpin' pretty much all night long. Live music, a bar, and eclectic travelers from all around. Pretty amazing. If you ever go to Costa Rica and are looking for a fun time twisted with the most chillest vibe... this is it. 

my next post will about costa rica with the kiddos. watch out for it. 

Thursday, July 3, 2008

pura vida mae

This is going to be short and sweet due to the slow internet and limited time i have on here.

Currently I'm in a hostel in MonteVerde Costa rica called Pension Santa elena i think... So far this is my fourth hostel in just about 4 days. There are two dogs with no collar near by and a cat curled up next to me. I've found that hostels around costa rica are a safe haven for travels from around the world that speak mostly english. My legs are getting bitten by the pesky mosquitos and I have seen so many crazy animals that costa rica inhabits... just simply beautiful.

Monteverde is known as the cloud forest because we are so high up... its truly amazing.

Okay well that's all I could do for now because of the time limit but I hope everyone is well-even throughout the my traveling I still miss home every single day.

mucho gusto

Saturday, June 28, 2008

this is my job...

So between the time of my Southern Utah trip with Phil and now, I have been mainly in San Francisco. I drove with Emily from Salt Lake to good 'ol Mill Valley, CA where I had staff training for my second year at Adventures Cross Country (ARCC). Staff training ended this past sunday and then I had two days of prepping for my trip with  my co-leader Dan Grossman. After that I headed out to Santa Cruz with a few of my friends from ARCC and have been relaxing for the last four days. 

This is Salt Lake... Emily, Phil and I took a nice hike up to the "living room". This picture alone should relay why I love Salt Lake so much...It's so beautiful!!

These are the not so natural "seats" in the living room. You can see all the way out to the Great Salt Lake from here. 
Here is the Golden Gate Bridge.. We did trail work here for our community service during training..
Here are a few of my friends from work. My co-leader is the one in the orange shirt! 

That's Chris and Adam doing manly trail work.. there was a lot of poison oak but most of us were okay. 

We call ourselves the blues hounds.. my buddy travis is a talented musician that can play many-a-instrument He's been teaching me haaaaaarmonica!

That's Adam, Juilian and Brett at Muir beach. They're in my group. Our campground where staff traning was held was near Muir Beach so we spent a lot of time there..
that's meeee at Muir beach!

Staff training has been exhausting, exhilarating, stressful, fun, wonderful and... a lot of other things. I love the people here and it is not too shabby to be able to travel on the dime of a company. I definitely  miss home but I'm ready to head out to Costa Rica and do some solid exploring of a new place. I have two weeks to play and then the kiddos come in for three weeks. We're doing three service projects (Working with Sea Turtles, teaching English, and building a library), We also get to raft the Pacuare River, surf along the Pacific coast among other things.
Here is my address while I'm in Costa Rica:
Crystal Lim
Adventures Cross Country (CRS 2C)
P.O. Box 526770
Miami, FL 33152k
It usually takes about a week and a half to get to me and I will be there until August 1st so don't send anything later than a week and a half from august 1st.. got it?! but send things otherwiseeeee!!! weeeeEE!
That will be my main source of correspondence and I will be able to email once in a while. 

Ah I truly miss everyone-I will be home soon. I will update in Costa Rica as soon as I can.. 
Momma, Daddy, Andrew, Alex... i miss you guys the most. I think about you guys every day! 

Monday, June 2, 2008

ex.plore [ik'splor]

travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.

Southern Utah is truly a beautiful place. I fall in love with it more and more. Here are some pictures.. 
from Salt Lake City to the San Rafael Swell-Buckhorn draw
Buckhorn draw to Capitol Reef-Sulpher Creek
Capitol Reef to Fish Lake
Fish Lake to Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon to Moab



going through here.. i am just thankful to be alive and well. I am breathing everyday and appreciating the things i get to experience. i am so lucky to have these opportunities.  

i love you mommaaaa

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And We're Off!!!

School is done. Three down and one more to go. 
If you guys didn't know, I am about to start my venturing into the world starting tomorrow. (Wednesday, May 28). I am taking off with my friend Phil Stoker and we are going camping for about a week and a half into the beautiful world of Southern Utah. 
I wanted to give everyone a heads up that I will be writing in this blog of my travels to come. For a little taste, here is what my future looks like:

May 28-June 7 ish: Southern Utah camping trip
June 8-June 12 ish: Crested Butte to see Erin! 
June 13-June 22: ARCC training
July 3 ish-August 1 ish: Costa Rica
August 26-Sept 14: hopefully Spain, Italy, France, Germany
Sept 14-Jan ?: Auroville-India

I will be hip hoppin around the globe and this will be where I will post pictures and update friends and family. 

Thanks for your care and love..