#OrangeTravels: Holy Week in Antigua, Guatemala

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Holy Week Antigua

Werkin’ it for the camera

After a week of non-stop road tripping through El Salvador where we stayed at different hotels every night, Robert and I were looking forward to a relaxing weekend stay at the Posada del Angel in Antigua, Guatemala.

Antigua is an old Spanish colonial town and where much of its architecture is well-preserved and maintained. This quaint city’s charm comes from its colourfully painted buildings, cobblestone walkways and the sheer number of Spanish monuments at every twist and turn. When we found out that their annual Easter procession was taking place during our stay, we were so thrilled that we would be able to experience this holy event first hand.

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The procession route was essentially one big convoluted loop from one end of the city and back. It moved extremely slow and would take approximately 12 hours to complete. Beautiful and intricate ‘carpets’ made of flowers, sawdust and grass lined the streets in preparation of the procession’s arrival.

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The art of carpet-making is seen as sacrificial due to the months of planning and detailing dedicated to its creation, only to be destroyed by the procession of floats and marching bands passing over it. This symbolizes the people’s way of giving back something of themselves in memory of Christ’s death.

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The procession also consists of big floats, or ‘andas’, which are carried by what appears to be a hundred purple-robed men (both on the side and underneath the float). They probably move about a metre a minute, swaying side to side in a synchronized fashion in order to balance the weight of the float and prevent the statues of Christ from toppling over.

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The aftermath

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A celebration is never complete without food! Outside one of the churches, a few dozen street food vendors set up shop to feed the thousands of hungry tourists that flock to Antigua to witness Holy Week. Everything from roast pork sandwiches, fresh mangoes, and chalupas was served, you couldn’t go wrong!

Robert and I went on to see the parade two more times in different parts of the city later on that day. The experience was unlike anything else and we didn’t want it to end! We may not have gotten that relaxing weekend that we wanted but it was worth it! Of the two weeks I was in Central America, this without a doubt takes the cake as the most memorable and authentic.

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Looking back on 23

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This past Sunday (April 3rd) was my 24th birthday. I don’t feel any different, if anything, everything feels right. I’ve got big things planned this year and I couldn’t be more excited to start another chapter of this crazy adventure we call life. Cheers to the last year of my early-twenties!

Since the past year flashed by with a blink of an eye, I wanted to take a moment to give gratitude and reflect on the top memories that made my 23rd year so special.ย Epicentr Academy 2016

My #EpiFam. Epicentr Academy 2016

For the past three years, I’ve poured my heart into creating Vancouver’s first student-run agency and summer social media training program designed to introduce students and young professionals in the fundamentals of digital media. During summer 2015, I led a cohort of 15 students from universities across Vancouver through 10 weeks of workshops and tied all the lessons towards solving a case competition sponsored by Whistler Blackcomb! Even though I had to make the difficult decision to close Epicentr, I believe it was for the best. I’m walking away with a family of friends, new community connections, and gained a plethora of experience in leadership, entrepreneurship and event planning. Epicentr has been one of my proudest achievements and I’m so grateful fo all the support and love I’ve received along the way.

Ordinary Extraordinary

Photo credit to my good friend Mish @Cityandrainn

When I was in grade 5, I was petrified of public speaking. This was a fear that I knew I had to get over so I challenged myself to enter my school’s public speaking competition and gave a speech on endangered animals (at the time I thought I was going to be a veterinarian). The result? I went on to represent my class to present my speech in front of the ENTIRE school. The story gets sweeter, I later won that round and represented my school at the district level! After that experience, I not only found my voice but I learned to love public speaking!

So when I got asked by a friend to give a talk on any topic this past summer, I was pumped. I gave a talk on the Three Moments That Catalyzed My Life (So Far) and for the first time, openly talked about my mom’s death, past relationships, and let my vulnerabilities show to a crowd of strangers. Happy to report that my talk was met with so much love and was followed by a healthy discussion on death and its meanings in different cultures.

Guatemala La Lancha

Paradise atย La Lancha Resorts, Guatemala

This past March, I got to visit to El Salvador and Guatemala with my good friend and travel journalist, Robert Michael Poole for two weeks. I’ll be writing a longer post later detailing this trip but it was the first time since Europe (almost two years) that I’ve taken a vacation. It was a much-needed reminder of my love for travel and a break from the hustle and bustle of Vancouver life.

4 of my favourite community events in Vancouver

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Creative Morning

I love events. If I’m not going to them, I’m planning them. My calendar is consistently filled by the events below simply because they’re awesome. Listening to inspiring talks and meeting new, interesting people, that’s my jam.

Creative Mornings

An idea that started in New York back in 2008 that has expanded worldwide. Creative Morinings is a face-to-face breakfast event series connecting & celebrating the global creative community. My favourite talks which you can watch in full includes Martin Jackson on his love for ink and calligraphy. Also Paul Tinari (aka Dr.Future) on the long-term impacts of 3D printing (a revolution is coming).

Likemindย 

Informal monthly coffee and conversation gathering with like-minded people in Vancouver. 3rd Friday of the month from 8am-9:30. Open to everyone! I’ve met the most lovely (and random) folks, from entrepreneurs, and world travellers to a woman who does horse meditation with Chinese gongs. I can’t make this up.

PechaKucha

Celebrating creativity in 20 slides x 20 seconds. PechaKucha is a global series of live events held worldwide where people can meet, inspire and get inspired, based on a format that is fast-paced and fun.

TechVancouver

The best way to expand your knowledge and network of the Vancouver technology community. Each monthly TechVancouver Meetup is designed for Vancouver technologists to learn something new and meet someone new.Every TechVan also includes a Community Mic session, where anyone in attendance has a chance to address the entire event to promote themselves, their product, their event, or whatever they want! Okay, I’m biased because I run social media for this organization but seriously, the crowd is casual, energetic and so much fun. Did I mention your ticket gets you unlimited pizza and beer?

This is just a small sample of my favourite events that I frequently attend. If you’ve got one you’re burning to share, please let me know in the comments!

Feature image via Creative Morning

Living with Less

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Waves

I said in my New Years resolution post that I wanted to live with less. This didn’t just mean stop buying things, but it also meant minimizing and removing things in my life that no longer served me.

Two weeks ago, my family got rid of our 30+ year-old carpeting and replaced it with brand new hardwood floors. This meant that I had to clear everythingย in my room for the reno guys to do their job. After a brutal evening of removing all the clothes from my closet and the millions of forgotten knick-knacks under my bed, I was covered in decade old dust and feeling grumpy as hell.

Before I moved into my current room, it belonged to my sister and she was a hoarder. When she moved to Hong Kong, she left most of her childhood belongings in that room, hidden out of sight, slowly collecting dust – until now. Over the past two weekends, I’ve donated a total of eight bags of clothes/ stuffed animals as well as three bags of paper recycling full of old magazines. I completely reorganized my drawers and tossed anything that wasn’t serving a purpose anymore. Things that hold sentimental value have been cut down to the bare minimum. At the end of the day, I’m much happier with the memory than the material object.

No longer do I feel weighted down by material possessions. Everything in my room now serves a purpose. I believe this way of thinking is key to my ideal nomadic lifestyle. I feel so liberated.

My feelings towards annoying children

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