I’ve been on a bit of a painting kick lately, and by “kick”, I mostly mean that I’ve painted two pictures in the past two months after two full years without painting anything. It’s one of those things that I only remember to do when my life in general is less busy, so I suppose that’s a good sign that I’m a little more relaxed than usual. Photos of paintings never quite do them justice but I was proud of the silhouette of the little girl in the tree painting, and the depth in the hot air balloon painting. You just need to stand back a bit to get the full effect.

The other new thing in my life is Crossfit. I actually did crossfit-style classes once a week for about a year back when I first lived in northern California, maybe 6 years ago, but never very intensely. Now that I’m not playing fútbol, this is my new outlet for exercise, and it’s actually been a lot of fun to learn new movements (toes to bar! handstand pushups! double-under jump roping!) and have an awesome community to work out with.

You can tell it’s a posed photo because no one ever looks that happy and relaxed when foam rolling, especially the IT band and especially after the previous day involved a million squats and running
Listening to the end of a work meeting as I warm up kipping pull-ups

It started back at the end of October the first weekend after the end of the fútbol season when one of my close friends invited me to a “chill activity” on a Sunday morning at the beach with her crossfit gym. I partied pretty hard on Saturday night with the fútbol team since it was the first time in 9 months that we didn’t need to be super responsible, so I showed up to the beach on Sunday with a bit of a hangover and not a lot of sleep, but chill means easy, right? Wrong. Turns out it was a mini-competition in teams that my friend had signed me up for without warning me, and I spent about an hour doing some combination of burpees and dumbbell snatches and sand sprints and trying not to throw up. Thanks Natalia.

Even after the brutal introduction I decided to stick with it and actually join a crossfit gym because it’s much easier for me to exercise when someone tells me what to do, and it’s always more fun to move heavy things around with friends. Plus I love gymnastics-style movements and crossfit is full of them so if I’m being honest it’s really just an excuse to play and call it exercise.

Post-workout playing with handstands at the gym in Chile
Slowly getting better
Getting in some reps at the observatory while I wait for a pressure test to finish on some refrigeration lines
94 cm box jump, really wanted the full meter but jumping onto high things is a tough mental game

Last, this wouldn’t be a proper hobbies post without the recommended dose of climbing. With a twist this time, because I made a surprisingly canine friend.

I didn’t have any pets growing up (except for that one summer between kindergarten and first grade that I took care of my class pet, a guinea pig named Furball) and am pretty much the furthest thing from a dog person that you can imagine. I don’t usually play with or even acknowledge my friend’s pets, and I actively avoid dogs when walking on the street or in a park. I understand that many people consider their dogs their best friends, but I don’t generally go around picking up my best friends’ poop or let them lick my face.

Victoria is different. I mean, she’s a dog, but she’s super chill and cuddly, at least significantly more than any other dog I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of meeting. She’s also not mine so I don’t have to deal with the taking-care-of-her part, I just get to snuggle at the crag during the day. Still to be determined if this new revelation extends to other dogs, but I’m not optimistic.

So that’s life lately. I actually just flew back to the US to take a month-long sabbatical from my job in order to do a climbing/hiking/mountain adventure trip with my three closest friends from Chile. We’re heading to Red Rock Canyon outside of Vegas, Zion, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and Tahoe, and I am stoked. The goal is to be pretty disconnected for the full four weeks, but I’m sure I’ll check in with some stories when we have some down time.