Sunday, October 14, 2012

More than Skin Deep

This is a little bit of a tangent, I'll admit it, but I had a conversation today that sparked my passion, and I need to stand with my megaphone for a moment or two.

You are beautiful. You are so much more than what you look like on the outside, or what someone else judges you to be. You are a marvelous and wonderful being, full of so much life, and beauty and potential. This world is better off because you are in it.

My dear blog reader, I wish I could be sitting next to you, looking in your eyes and telling you this in a way that would reach to your soul, that somehow you could hear it, internalize it and never doubt it.

Today, I had a conversation with a friend about the judgments someone passed on another based on solely their looks. This comment wasn't even directed at my friend, rather a third person, but still these comments still provoked doubt and uncertainty in my beautiful, cool, confident friend. She is incredibly tough, and beautiful way beyond skin deep. She understands that person A was being incredibly shallow and immature. However, as we both noted, this drives us crazy. Person A making these comments creates a culture where girls-women, constantly question their image, because somehow we have decided that image determines self-worth. These comments create a culture where women, living in a foreign culture, with amazing new food, are self-conscious and worried about gaining weight.

My soapbox is this: you are infinitely and unaleinably beautiful. Your body is a wonderful part of who you are, but it is only a part. You are beautiful for the way you smile, what your laugh sounds like, the jokes you make, how you help other people, that little quirk you have that makes you uniquely you. Believe it. Hold onto it.

You are beautiful!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Osos y La Sella

This past weekend I soaked up the wonderful late-summer weather with a couple of wonderful adventures. On Saturday afternoon, my host mom and I drove a couple of towns over to see the bears (osos) of Asturias. The two girl bears were rescued after their mother died, and have lived on the reserve all their lives, and the male bear, Furaco, was a gift to Asturias in hopes that he and Tula or Paca might produce baby bears. No such luck yet, but all three live on the reserve, and a park has been built around it, with biking and walking trails to see the bears and the gorgeous surrounding countryside. 
Furaco about to take a swim

The beautiful Asturian countryside

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to have another awesome adventure. With a group of international students from the University of Oviedo I kayaked for the first time, down the River Sella. I didn't realize until later that there is an internationally famous kayak race that happens here every year, I just appreciated passing a wonderful day with my friends. It was warm enough to be able to swim, but not so warm that we were uncomfortable. Plus, the entire 16k route was gorgeous! 
We stopped at this really awesome footbridge over the river and went exploring! 

My awesome partner gathering chi from the raging river!

The views were simply breathe-taking. For the whole six hours we kept saying "this is what it means to be alive. We are 20 years old, in Spain and living, this is so cool!"


Life is good here in Oviedo. It's hard to believe that I arrived just two weeks ago today, so much has happened in such a short amount of time. I'd like to introduce you all to mi familia, my family here in Oviedo. This is my host family, Eugenio, Olga, me, my host-sister Yumi, who is from Japan, and her friend, Natsuki.

I am so happy here, especially at home. I've been truly blessed with a wonderful, amazing host family, and they make the transition and accompanying culture shock so much easier! Life is good!