After just over eleven months or 339 days abroad - on a cold evening at the end of November 2013, I landed at the Toronto International Airport.
After spending nearly a year in Central America, it was a bit surreal to be back in Canada. And although I expected a bit of culture shock with my return, I was surprised at how quickly I transitioned. I was reminded however, of a few things that I'd forgotten or just learned to live without:
- the diverse cultural demographics in Toronto and the amazing selection of delicious ethnic food - after months of rice and black beans, it was a welcome change.
- how soft toilet paper and kleenex can be (and remembering to toss it into the toilet rather than into a bin).
- how great it is to be able to drink water directly from the tap.
- how much easier and tastier it is to NOT soak all your vegetables and fruit in chlorinated water before consumption.
I have been back for just a few weeks, but it feels like a few months. As they say on the tacky tourist shirts sold in Vietnam, things are 'same same, but different'.
As for the blog - if you have stopped by in the last four months, you will notice it needs some serious updating.
Since my last post, I spent a few more weeks in Nicaragua, nearly two weeks in Belize, and three months volunteering with a non-profit organization in Quetzeltenango, located in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. I finished my trip revisiting my favourite places in Mexico and Cuba, spending Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, a week in Mexico City and three weeks in Cuba - dancing almost every night.
In the coming weeks, I will add posts to fill in the blanks that remain. I am also working on organizing a Cuban Dance Course in Havana, Cuba from February 7 to February 14, 2014
If you are looking to escape from the winter, and to pick up or improve on your Cuban salsa and other dance styles - See Bailando Havana 2014 for more information.
Until then, Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones, and a healthy and fun-filled year ahead.
Projects with the Association Pop Wuj in Quetzetenango - The second largest city in Guatemala, located in the Western Highlands (top, Ilcy and Heidi from the Pop Wuj Family Support Centre; and bottom, mother and child participants from the Nutrition Program)
Day of the Dead - A beautiful celebration of death and remembrance of those who have passed is a week-long affair in Oaxaca, Mexico (top, parade in Oaxaca City; and bottom, the old cemetery in Xoxocotlán)
Santiago de Cuba - The roots of salsa, son, and the revolution (top, salsa school of Rafael on calle Padre Pico; and bottom, a memorial to Jose Martí)