So Andy and I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala to do volunteer work and while we were there we got to do a bit of traveling around.
First of all we got to go to Antigua for the afternoon. A wonderful town surrounded by volcanoes and full of brightly colored buildings and amazing markets! We spent most of the time walking around looking at the volcanoes and beautiful buildings taking pictures 🙂 It was wonderfully chilled out with a bit of shopping!
We also got to go to Lake Atitlan for two days. It is claimed to be the most beautiful lake in the world and I wouldn’t disagree! Incredible volcanic mountains coming straight down to the shore. I spent most of my time in the lake swimming around loving the gorgeous sunshine. We stayed in a town called San Pedro. A few of us also went on a horse back riding trip through the streets, woods, stopping to hike to a secret beach, and finishing with a tour of a coffee farm. We also go to go kayaking and enjoy all the yummy food!
My overall impression of Guatemala was that it is amazing! Beautiful scenery, perfect weather, a very rich culture, and the most inviting people you’ll ever meet! I loved it! Would definitely recommend it to a friend 😉
So on Thursday we packed up our belongings and got our flat ready to be stayed in by friends for the summer, got on a train and headed down to Reading to meet our Guatemala Team! We arrived in time to go see the football with some friends and then Friday morning it was down to business. We spend all of friday doing Team Leaders training so lots of “do’s and dont’s” and “what if this happens”. Then Friday night we drove out to an outdoor centre and met our team! We spent the next 48 hours learning about eachother, playing games and getting prepped for Guatemala. Lots of presentations about Guatemala and their culture, language, and how to be most respectful while in their country. We also learned tons of kids games and ideas for working with the kids once we get out there. Our team is incredible and I am excited. It’s all so real now! My next job is to learn spanish…
We are leaving in 2 weeks and I can hardly believe it! Andy and I are still working on our fundraising. We have about £1,200 left to raise. You can have look at our website for more info about our trip. http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=TeamHayesInGuatemala
So we have spent a few days seeing friends in Reading that we haven’t seen for a very long time which has been amazing. I went into the Workhouse where I used to be a barista and saw my old boss, manager, and a few colleagues. It was great being back there again and they all seem to miss me a lot. It’s so great going back somewhere and knowing you’ve been missed. And it’s seriously the best coffee I have ever had! We went out to dinner in Henley with our friends Steve and Sheila last night then today we headed to London!
We were planning on going to the War Museum but when we showed up it was closed for construction 😦 So we went to Oxford Street to do some shopping. There were a few shops I really wanted to go into. We saw tons of stuff we will never be able to afford and tons of stuff we don’t need. But I was restrained and only bought three things that I ACTUALLY needed 😉
We walked through China town enjoying some steamed buns and looking through the Asian Markets. We try to always buy a new food we haven’t had before whenever we go into an Asian market so this time we got dried sweet potato. I wasn’t too sure what I thought about it. It was different from most dried fruit. I ended up liking it and I think I would have it again if the opportunity was there. I just love looking through those markets and trying new foods. China town is always a good time.
We went around to a few other shops just enjoying the atmosphere of London before we wore ourselves out and had to get the train back home to Reading. We have a full day of seeing friends tomorrow then finishing off our stay in Reading with a massive picnic in the park with all our friends invited.
It is going to be a great end to our Reading/London-adventure. Wonderful weather and good time with friends 🙂
So I just realized I hadn’t posted anything since beginning of ! But also not much exciting has happened since then. I’m still working 6 days a week at Kember & Jones coffee shop and babysitting. Andy’s finally finished his 4th year of Uni. so only one more year to go until he has his Bachelors/Masters in Mechanical Engineering!
In between the madness of work I’ve managed to run a half-marathon and a full marathon! You can have a look at my running blog if you want to know more about that and my fundraising towards Alzheimer’s Society alaskagirlrunning.wordpress.com 🙂
We also had a wee trip up to Andy’s parents cottage in Gairloch in the Highlands with Andy’s mum linda which was a much needed rest! Lots of films and book reading. A bit of hill walking, bike rides, and smores to top it all off.
So what now? This summer is gonna be CRAZY! First off, I’m quitting my job in 1.5 weeks. Whoop Whoop! Then Andy and I are going to be leading a team of 13 to Guatemala to work with children at risk. There’s quite a lot involved with that including fundraising 4,100 pounds, doing leaders training, vaccines, training with our team and…oh, going to Guatemala! Should be lots of fun though. I’m so excited! You can read more about it on our wee website http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=TeamHayesInGuatemala
Some fundraisers that we’ve been doing include leading Park Fitness, an acoustic night in Dundee, the Reap & Sew market with our church.
Straight from Guatemala we are heading to Alaska!!!!!! Spending about a month there to see my family, some friends, our goddaughter, and to do some much needed fishing 😉 It will be so good to be back at home for a while. I miss Alaska so much! All the adventure to be had and seeing my brother and sister again. Those two mean the world to me 🙂
So our first semi-adventure is going back down to Reading for a week for our training. Then we will stay there a bit longer to see some of our old friends and have a look around London.
So that’s a Team Hayes update. Lots to come!
Happy Hogmanay! Going into 2014…whaaat?
In Scotland New Years Eve is a massive deal full of food, drink, and massive amounts of celebrating. They love it so much that they’ve named it Hogmanay. We were trying to figure out what to do to celebrate Hogmanay and to bring in the new year and Stonehaven came up. Stonehaven is a wee village on the east coast near Aberdeen. It is famous for it’s fireballs…what are fireballs? Balls of fire that locals march up and down the high street with swinging around their heads….usually wearing kilts, no protective gear for these Scots!
I had heard about the Stonehaven Fireballs before so as soon as this came up as an option I was all in! So we grabbed a few friends and made the drive up to Stonehaven. I have to say I wasn’t disappointed.
The festivities started a few hours before with a Simple Minds concert in the square and then a parade of drummers and pipers up and down the High Street all wearing traditional kilts (some of them wearing Christmas lights!) . Then a few minutes before midnight the fireballs were lit! It was like nothing I have ever seen. They have been swinging fireballs for over 150 years and one of the guys that was swinging them that night had been doing it for 45 years!
One lady was 65 and had been participating since 1988! I have to be honest and say if anybody wanted to start this as a tradition today Health and Safety would NOT let it proceed. Swinging balls of fire around your heads and marching up and down a street with pedestrians on either side???Probably not 😉 They actually have never had anybody get hurt at all in the 150+ that they have been doing this. SO I was impressed by that because some of the fire balls seemed to have come VERY close to my face 😉 After all the swingers get tired and their fireballs start to fade they parade down to the harbor and throw the fire balls into the sea! Then we finished off the evening with a fireworks display. It was memorable and if you’ve never seen the Stonehaven Fireballs you HAVE to make a trip up to Stonehaven.
Happy 2014 everybody! I am excited for the year ahead!
So being from Alaska I have grown up used to a fair amount of snow. Try snowiest town in America on for size 😉 So when Thompson Pass (the only way into my hometown) is closed due to an avalanche blocking the road you KNOW it’s gonna be closed. There’s no mistaking that it is crazy outside and you shouldn’t be driving anywhere. So with that in mind we decided to go up to Glenshee to find some snow and go sledding! We started driving after checking that the webcams looked good and the weather forecast was saying snow! Not too surprisingly, it was raining when we started driving and there was a massive amount of flooding all during the drive. But we were hopeful!
We kept driving hoping to start seeing snow topping the mountains. Unfortunately we only saw rain, flooding, and puddles on the road.
A few miles away from the top of Glenshee we saw some flashing blue lights behind us so we decided to let them pass….not 15 seconds up the road they stopped and pulled these gates closed over the road saying Police Road Closed….so that’s what a snow gate is….not hardly a drop of snow in sight! But apparently the weather can change quite quickly up at the top of the mountain and it was snowy up there….we couldn’t have guessed 😛 So we decided that we were going sledding that day! And we weren’t gonna let lack of snow or stupid snow gates keep us out! So we headed up a muddy mountain in search of snow and found it! Might not have been much but it was enough to go sledding on 🙂 We succeeded! Take that snow gates 😉
This boxing day was unbelievably beautiful! Stunning sun and no rain at all! Linda and I decided to celebrate it by going for a 10 mile run 😉 I love being in such an active family! The run was absolutely amazing. Felt great to get a good stretch of our legs and to see the coast around Dundee.
That evening we went along to our friends house who’s wife is from Mexico so it was sure to be an amazing meal. And we weren’t disappointed! Good food, good chat, and lots of laughs!
The next few days were relatively chilled out. In the mornings we were put in charge of the horses at Teen Ranch;
a kids camp that has about 20 horses and the staff get to enjoy a few days off during Christmas if other families are willing to pitch in a bit. David works on the ranch so he was more than happy to sign us up! 😉 So we got to move the horses around a bit, scoop up their poo, and give them some food. It’s good getting out in the country for a bit and I love being around horses so that was a real treat 🙂 Walks in the afternoon and chilled out evenings watching films kept me busy. I am definitely feeling rested this holiday 🙂
So unfortunately Scotland doesn’t get as much snow as Alaska and the Hayes family tries to always find me some snow during the holidays. So we headed to the hills! We had to drive a few hours and then hike for 30 minutes to find it but when we found it we were amazed! It was so beautiful and perfect for snow balls 🙂 It was very windy though! We went up to Glen Dol, made it through the forest and into the glen and almost got blown off our feet! I could hardly believe how windy it was! But the snow before and after was beautiful! I have the best in-laws who try to make me feel as at home as possible 🙂
After that we headed home for our Christmas-eve present and mulled wine 🙂
So I am currently sitting next to the fire with a cup of tea and a dog next to me. This is the start of the Christmas holidays in Dundee. Today it snowed a wee bit which was fun even if it only lasted 5 minutes and turned to mush right away :s
I was blessed with about two weeks off work this year!!! From the 22-2nd. I am really looking forward to it. Looking forward to hill walking, skiing, baths, runs with the in-laws, home cooking, and being taken care of by a mom 🙂 I’m missing my family a lot more this year than ever before so there have been lots of skypes and I’m looking forward to opening their presents which is basically love wrapped up in a box! Also Andy’s family really does their very best at making me feel at home and the ask me all sorts of questions about Alaska and my family. Plus they let me talk and talk and talk (aka serious bragging) about my brother and sister to no end 😉 so with them making me feel so loved it doesn’t really make it any easier but it does help if that makes sense 🙂
So far this holiday I have slept til 11, gone for a run, done absolutely nothing with my whole day and went to a Christmas carol service which was followed by tea and mince pies. Gonna be a good holiday season I think 🙂