Monthly Archives: April 2015

Day 47

Today was really quite eventful.  I watched the news with my mom and shocked myself with how many headlines I was able to understand!  My reading is definitely way better than my listening skills.  Even my mom was shocked!  Another shocker…  how explicit the news is.  They show real dead and mangled bodies!  My boss mentioned this a while back when going over the history of Nicaragua.  He said during war they didn’t dispute when dictators and prisoners of war were actually dead because they showed their bodies on the TV.  That tactic is still going strong.  I could see the difference in remakes on TV and the real thing.  I saw a man who drowned, a motorcyclist who’s foot was ripped apart and him being put into the ambulance, a man being arrested for beating his mother and two women arrested for trying to transport over 4 kilo of cocaine.  The news here is very interested indeed.  I debated taking a video but I didn’t want to gross anyone out…  I was thoroughly entertained when my mom noticed a bat in the corner of our house.  She called her husband so quick!  He had to climb a ladder and repeatedly beat it to get it out of the house and die. My older sister was very freaked out.  She kept squirming and shuddering.  It was hilarious!  My other sister was completed unfazed, she stayed in her bed the entire time.  After a very hard day with a long day coming up I was glad to have this moment.  It made me feel a part of the family.  I even talked more and made jokes.  Clearly this Spanish boot camp I am putting myself through is working.

I washed my hair today.  My mom didn’t know what to make of my awesome t-shirt bun.  I felt very Africansque.  Truth is I don’t know if my hair is going to hold out until my mom’s hair package arrives.  Thus, new growth is crucial.  (For those unfamiliar with the term, that’s the hair that has grown out since having this protective style in.)  I want to go to a salon but I don’t trust these women will know what to do with my hair I hear the nicas on the coast have similar hair to me…  too bad that’s a few hors worth of a trip.  I might just have to spend a Saturday watching beauticians work…  or go to a barber and tell him to shave it all off.  I’ll keep you posted.  

Hoy hubo un memorable. Ví las noticias con mi madre y me soprendí con cómo pude entender los titulares! Mi habilidad para leer es mejor que mis habilidads de escuchar. Mi madre se soprendió. Otra sopresa… cómo explícitas son las noticias! Mostraron cadáveres real y destrozados. Mi jefe dije un rato pasado que cuando enseñando la historia Nicaragüense. El dijo que durante la guerra ellos no contestaron si dictadores y presos murieron porque mostraron los cuerpos en la televisón. Ese fenómeno continua fuerte. Pude ver la diferencia entre el versión en TV y la vida real. Ví a hombre ahogado, un motociclista con un pie destrozado está poniendo en una ambulancia, un hombre arrestado por golpear a su madre y 2 damas intentaron transportar más da 4 kilos de cocoina. Las noticias aqui son muy intersante. Pensé en tomar un video pero no quería hacer cualquier persona inferma. Divertí cuando mi madre noticó una murciélago en la esquina de nuestra casa. Llamó a su esposo rápido! Él subió una escalera y continuamente gulpeándola con escoba ponerlo afuera la casa y mi hermana mayor tuvó miedo. Se retorcó divertido! Mi otra hermana no tuvó miedo. Ella se acuesto en su cama al todo estabamos gritando. Después de un día muy difícil con una día largo proximo pienso que fue feliz tener este momento. Me sienté como parte de la familia. Hablé más e hice chistes.Esta claro esto trabajo dura con español es trabajando. 
Lavé mi pelo hoy mi madre. No sabía qué pensar de mi camiseta impresionante moño. Este moño me hace sentirla Africana. La verdad es que no creo que mi pelo durará hasta que el paquete de mi mamá con el pelo llega. El proceso de creciemento de mi pelo es serio. (Para aquellos no familiarizados con el término, que es el cabello que ha crecido desde que tiene este estilo de protección.) Quiero ir al salón pero no confio en que estas mujeres ya van a saber hacerlo. Oí que en la costa Atlantica de Nicaragua las personas aya tienen pelo similiar al mío. Lo malo es que esta a muchas horas de distancia para ir en un y mirar cómo trabajan. Quiza Miraré  los estilistas o voy a ir una barbería y decirle que cortar todo mi pelo. Yo lo haré saber. 

Day 45

I go through phases, where I feel as if I have been here for forever or I feel as if I have only been here for a day. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed by all that I have done and think I should be going home soon. Sometimes, I feel as if I have barely scratched the surface on all I have done and can’t wait to do more. That is not surprising, as time is relative. With that in mind, it’s no wonder PCVs have already started pairing off and/or hooking up. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not judging, I completely understand. being here, is similar to being in a time warp. What would take months in the states, will take weeks here. For instance, learning a new language. In a mere  6 weeks, I am able to communicate to someone in another language, without the help of English. That would not happen in the States. We are trained to stick close to what we know, thus the comfort zone. In a foreign place, with foreign language, food and culture, the only thing remotely similar to what we know are the people sitting beside us going through the exact same thing. Although, we look different, are from different states and probably have extremely different backgrounds, we understand the notion that rice was a meal you ate without beans and can sing along to the Kim Possible theme song with no shame. Sometimes, with all that’s new, you want to run to anything that can be called home or remind you of home. PCVs do that for each other. There is a PC statistic I read somewhere, it said, “80% of volunteers come back married, engaged or in love.”  That number isn’t exaggerated. We’ve only been here a month and a half, literally half way through training and honestly, some days I just really need a hug. Not a church hug either, a full on, “you are not alone and I am here for you” kind of hug. In the states, I would hug my mom, or my best friend. But the reality is, they are not here. So who can I turn to? Eventually, if it’s not love, it’ll be something else and you’ll have to turn to your fellow PCVs to fill that empty space. When you need a hug, a joke, a ride or a drinking buddy, I can attest, there’s a PCV for that. 
Día 45
A veces me siento cómo que he vivido aquí una eternidad y otros veces me siento cómo que tengo aquí un día. Me siento abrumada por completar todo y creo que debo ir pronto mi casa. A veces estoy emocionada hago más. No es una sorpresa porque el tiempo cambia. Por eso, no me sorprendo cuando los voluntarios tienen relaciones. No estoy juzgando estando aquí me siento diferente. Lo qué tomaba meses en EE UU, toma semanas aquí. Por ejemplo, aprendiendo un idioma nuevo. En seis semanas, puedo comunicarme con alguien en otro idioma sin ayuda de inglés. Esto no hacía en EE UU. Estamos calificados para seguir en nuestra zona cómoda. En un lugar diferente, con idioma diferente, comida, y cultura, la única cosa similar es la gente con nosotros. Aunque miramos diferente, estamos diferente y tenemos diferentes historias, entendemos que arroz es una comida sin frijoles y podemos cantar Kim posible que sin vergüenza. A veces con todo nuevo queremos correr a cualquiera familiar o a un hogar similar. Los voluntarios de Cuerpo de Paz hace que el uno al otro. Hay una estadística leé algún lugar que dije “80% de voluntarios regresaron casado, comprometido o en amor.“ Vivimos un mes y medio, literalmente a la mitad de entrenamiento y honradamente algunos días necesito un abrazo. Quiero un abrazo que dice,“ no está sola y estoy aquí para ti“. En EE UU, abraba a mi madre o mi mejor amigo pero en realidad ellos no están aquí. Entonces quién más? Finalmente, so no hay amor, y algo más y necesita usar voluntarios compañeros.  Cuando usted necesita un abrazo, una broma, un paseo, o un compañero de copas, hay un voluntario para eso. 

Graveyard Shift

Graveyard Shift by Lana Harvey was very interesting. it put a new spin on death and afterlife that I could not fathom before. As always there is a hierarchy and politics in afterlife and because after life you simply cease to exist rubbing elbows with the right people is even more important down there. it was quirky and had nice jokes. i liked the characters and I liked the style of writing. However, there were a few plot complexities I did not understand. There also were several religions referenced and having no background in those I was unsure how to visualize what I was reading. It was one of those books that was a completely new world. The Grim Reaper hiring other grim reapers and how they reap souls to other lives. In this book, there were several heavens you could go to depending on what you believed on earth. As always, there’s a bad guy who wants all the souls for hisself. Lana is a cute and kinda nerdy grim reaper who can’t help breaking rules but something is different about her. She knows it, she just doesn’t know how unique she is. Maalik is an angel from Heaven and what all the women want. He’s so cocky, Lana ignores him on principle. But he wears her down. There were greek gods, muslims, christians and more in this book. It was really crazy, twisted look on death. Had my imagination like…
 Its a 3 out of 5 stars. This book is a series and I am still debating whether I will continue reading or not. I really want to know more about the core relationships that was established: Lana/Maalik, Josie/Kevin, and Gabriel/Amy. I also know the plot is going to seriously thicken, I just can’t decide if I want to try to muddle through the things I am confused on any further. If you like dark comedies I’d say go for it. I appreciate the focus on work and emotion, not sex. #freebooktho 

Day 43

We are in Managua for corporate meetings all day Friday.  We decided to see the waterfall in Matagalpa on the way, since we were already passing it.  It was BEAUTIFUL and so relaxing. We didn’t have to pay to get in (#win) and because we were early, it was just us, no random people in the background of our pictures (#win)!  I climbed all over the rocks and behind the waterfall.  (See Ma, those $150 hiking boots came in handy!) 
 After we hiked, we waited on the side of the road for another bus.  We got to Managua by 3:30om (left at noon) and got to the hostel PC paid for.  There were 6-8 girls in each room but I enjoyed everyone’s presence.  It is always a great atmosphere when we’re together.  We have great comradery.  We decided to go out for dinner at the strip of bars.  Since this is the capital of Nicaragua, everything was more expensive.  Unfortunately, we didn’t go to the Burger king (I was hoping to try it) but my burger from Overtime was bomb!  The band was playing old American music like Sweet Home Alabama.  It was a great vibe and everyone was dancing even though there was no dance floor. Since we could only get cabs for free until 10 pm, I left at 9:50. The majority of our group stayed at the bar, so I got to experience a more intimate setting without one or two volunteers who came back with me. the quiet lasted for a while because the other volunteers didn’t return until midnight – 2am. (They said they had a great time, all the way, up until they couldn’t get a cab so they tried to walk back to the hostel and was robbed.  No one was hurt though.)  Seeing that we have to rise at 6am, I crashed and thankfully the other volunteers were quiet when they returned.  I cannot communicate how thankful I was for the silence; no roosters or loud dogs because were in a more industrialized, modernized city.  I slept beautifully. 
Estamos viajando a Managua para tener reuniones de negocios todo día el Viernes. Decidimos pasar para mirar la cascada. Entonces fuimos pasamos que no pagar la entrar (ganador!) y porque llegamos temprano estabamos sólos (ganador!). Trepé todos para andar en las rocas y detrás le la cascada. (Ver madre! Estos botas de montañas fuieron útil. Después exploramos, tomamos muchos fotos, esperamos al lado de calle otro bus. Llegamos a Managua a las 3:30 pm (salimos a mediodía) y llegamos al hotel de Cuerpo de Paz lo pagaron. Había de 6-8 damas en cada habitación pero me gustó sus compañiá. Siempre hay una buena atmósfera cuando estamos juntos! Tuvemos una camadería genial. Decidimos ir a un restaurante cenar en al bar. Desde entonces este es capital, todo era más caro. Desafortunadamente, no fuimos a Burger King (pero mi hamburgesa de Overtime estuvo genial! El banda jugieron musicá de Americano viejo. Por ejemplo: Dulce Casa Alabama. Fue una gran atmósfera y todos bailaron aunque no había una rista para bailar. Entonces tuvimos taxis gratis hasta lo de la noche salí a la 9:50pm. Mayoría de grupo se quedan al bar. Tuve la experencia intimate con menos personas. Solo una o dos pesonal quien venga conmigo. El silenco por tiempo largo porque otros voluntarios no regresaron hasta las doce la 2 de la mañana. Porque tuvimos nos levantamos a las 6 de la mañana. Dormí y fue gracias a que regresaon silenciosamente. No pudé decirles que alivida a me sentí por el silencio. No hay gallos ni perros porque Managua es un ciudad moderna. Dormí como un angelito!

PCV Jason Scislaw

The first three days I knew Jason, I kept calling him Ryan. He looks like a Ryan to me. In my head, he was just like the preppy, raging, party hungry, intellects from my Alma Mater, that knew something about the phrase, “work hard, play harder.” …I was absolutely correct. It was my delight to find out just how right I was for myself, ladies and gents, meet Jason.
Volunteer Profile:
Jason Scislaw
Age: 23
Graduated University of Florida with a Bachelors in Economics, Dec 2014
Fun fact: I can fly an airplane solo!
Why did you join the Peace Corps? How long have you wanted to join?
My first real travel was a study abroad experience in Madrid, in Fall 2013. It was here that I learned, very quickly, that traveling brought every inch of my persona into vibrant life. I found peace, wonder, loneliness, adventure, friendship, sadness, joy, challenges, accomplishment, motivation, and more! I experienced soooo many vivid emotions and I just let them flow. It was four months that changed my life forever.
It was in Madrid, when I first sat down and began to investigate what I wanted to do with my life. So naturally, I started with what had brought me the most joy I had felt in my life. Then I evaluated my happiness in past experiences and made the following list of core values:
1) Travel
2) Help people
3) Improve myself personally and professionally every day
4) Go hard (i.e put myself 110% into anything I do, this was added later)

With a set of core values, the decision on what to do with my life was a bit more simple. I focused my attention to the Peace Corps and found that it was perfect. An added bonus is that my Spanish experience would have me put in Latin America and I could master a second language (a passion that led me to Madrid in the first place).
I could travel! I could help people! And I would certainly be developing myself!

All in all I’ve been dreaming of this for two solid years, and now I’m living it!

What has been the most shocking fact you learned about Nicaragua?
I was shocked at the ludicrous abundance of youth here in Nica. 70% of the population is under 30! The civil war of the 1980’s really had an interesting effect on this country.

Have you been out of the country before? If so, where?
I found my element in Europe, from the moment I stepped out of the tube in London I knew I had discovered a passion (I flew in two weeks early to explore a bit, went to London and Amsterdam). Since I traveled alone, I faced enormous challenges that are still beneficial to me today, and will be for the rest of my life. Through these challenges, I developed autonomy and independence, I became comfortable with the uncomfortable, and I developed a love of solitude and my own company. The latter is one of the most important skills to possess. We are the single person we spend the most time with, if we can’t enjoy our own company then we’re in for a long ride.
From Madrid, I traveled (mostly alone) to Barcelona, Salamanca, Granada, Brussels + Ghent, London, Amsterdam, Porto, and Lisbon (my favorite city in the world!) After such a wonderful experience there, I had to keep the ball rolling, I took an internship in Bangkok Thailand in summer 2014, and boy did I work HARD! I was a teacher, program developer, student, and camp counselor all in one! I was working 15 hour days with the best boss I ever had, and the coolest co-workers I am able to call my friends. Man, I must have slept like a baby right?? Nah brah. There was a whole city nightlife to discover. Plus the World Cup was on and the games would be on at 1, 3. and 5 in the morning. I got 5 hours of sleep on a GOOD night. To top things off, I met a Russian girl and we traveled Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia together after our work was finished. Those few weeks hold some of my most treasured memories.

Where Spain taught me life skills, Thailand taught me how to be a professional. All of the skills I cultivated in my travels make me the person I am today, and they are extremely helpful to the trials and tribulations I am facing here in Nica.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? How does PC tie into that?
(Please bear an introduction) I am fortunate enough to live in (in my biased opinion) one of the coolest places in the world, Cape Canaveral, Florida, home of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It was here that Neil Armstrong and company lifted off for the greatest adventure humanity has experienced to date. And it will be here that the next generation of fearless explorers will take off for the Red Planet. All of this from my backyard!

So just about a month ago, my future plans were shaken up and dumped out in front of me, to seriously consider and evaluate. I saw an Delta V rocket launch and it made me truly understand the word “epiphany”. As I watched one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments, the rocket took my mind with it. Neuron pathways ignited in my brain, imagining this machine’s intricacies and it’s implications for the sophisticated development of the human race. Two freshly created pathways stood out:
1) Mankind will go to Mars from my backyard
2) I will be a part of that

So my 5/10/15 year plan involves me returning to university, securing internships in space companies (I have several friends working there already), finishing a masters in engineering, and finally making my mark on humanity by placing a brick, with my name on it, in the road to Mars.

Naturally, I began to question my commitment to the Peace Corps, it seemed like an unnecessary “luxury”. How can I stay here when I have a legit fire under my ass that I can’t put it out. A raging hard on for space, if you will.
But as my time here in Nicaragua develops, I am learning that: 1) I will develop problem solving, critical thinking, and people skills, three skills that are critical to engineers. 2) I will be fluent in Spanish, And wait wait wait…. I am ready to toss aside a dream I’ve cultivated for two years, for a career I really know nothing about yet?

To put it lightly, I have been going through a bit of an emotional crisis the past week.

Although my decision on whether or not to stay is pending, my mom put it best: I just met the love of my life, engineering, and asked it to be with me forever. I am engaged to engineering. But I ain’t about to marry that b#%$h unless I’m sure its the right thing for me. Peace Corps is the side-hoe that shows me what else is good about life. She’s pretty cool so I should let her run her course on me.

Someone get me a shrink

What’s one goal you have for the 2 years you’ll be in Nicaragua?
My goal here is to develop skills that will be useful to my future goals, as well as staying true to my core values that brought me here. To do that, I’m going to find problems to solve. Leaky faucet? I’ll figure it out. Broken down motorcycle? Let me see if I can help. Failing a subject in school? Maybe we can meet on the weekends. I’ll fulfill my core values of helping people and developing myself, as well as preparing myself for the world of problem solving faced by an engineer. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in life? 
My greatest accomplishment will be shared by thousands of other people, once the first humans set foot on Mars.
But my greatest accomplishment so far would have to be the base happiness that I cultivated over the past two years. My main role model, and ultimate bro, The Dalai Lama, has taught me compassion, patience, and peace. With these skills, I find myself happy in any situation, finding a way to think positively about my life. Even if I am faced with a terrible pain or sadness, I am still tranquil at the core. Or, as put best by his holiness:
“[Negative emotions are] like the waves that may ripple on the surface of an ocean but don’t have much effect deep down.”
Now I still have much work to do, but a foundation has been built. And with a basic peace in one’s core, and the tools to keep it alive, nothing else really matters. 

If you could be rich, famous or influential which would you be and why?
Honestly I’d like to be rich. I don’t have much interest in fame, and influence can be bought. With a strong financial base, I can fund projects, personal or otherwise, that provide a net benefit for humanity. Think Bill Gates, or Nikolas Tesla (my second favorite person).
Also, I want to make sure my family and closest friends are financially secure. They’ve given me so much throughout my lifetime, and eventually the day will come where I can pay them back tenfold.

Day 42

Today is pretty much the last day of our practicum week. This was an experiment for us to see what living in site would be like. Summed up, Thomas is an amazing volunteer. He’s been in Matagalpa for a year and it’s clear how integrated he is. He knew everybody, the community members knew him. As we walked around, people shook his hand. The first day there, he took us to a class he teaches with several teachers, a coffee co-op called Acción Medico. They showed us coffee plants and cacao plants, (the fruits that have chocolate seeds. You take the seeds, grind them up and you have purest chocolate. He opened one for us. We sucked on the seeds and they were covered in this sweet film, you couldn’t chew it though because the actual seed was bitter. Pure chocolate is bitter until you add sugar and milk.   We met his friends, the next day we went to co-teach and co-plan with him. We visited the greatest thing about his town, a two story eskimo in a gas station. It had free wifi, so we spent a lot of time there. Instead of going out to eat, we ate at this woman’s home every day. She’s used to cooking for Americans, with purified water and for a lower price. He introduced us to Save the Children, another organization he works with that provides education and helps Nica children with health. We visited three different schools on 2 different days. We co-teached and co-planned with a different teacher and taught preschoolers to speak English. They were so cute! They sang us a song that said, “good morning. Good morning. We are happy friends, good morning, 1,2,3.” I wish I had recorded it. We met the directors of the school and saw the dynamic between teachers and their counterparts. We met his Nica mom and saw his room. All in all, I learned a lot. I learned i don’t have to be just a teacher. I learned you’re on your own in  your site BUT you can call PC for help anytime. I learned the importance of your community and how to be aware of your environment. You can’t teach every student the same way or work with everybody. 
Día 42
Hoy es el último dia de nuestra semana práctica. Esta fue una experiencia nosotros ver como que vamos a vivir en nuestro sitio. Todo juntos pensamos que Thomas es un voluntario genial. él ha estado en Matagalpa por un año y es claro como el se integró.  él conoce a todas las personas. Los miembros de la comunidad le conoces tambien. Mientras andamos los personas le esctrucharon las manos. El primer día allí, le fuimos a la clase que él ensena con muchas maestras, a la co-op de café, llemada Acción Médico. Nos llevó al planto de café y cacao. La frutas tiene semilla de chocolate. Tome las semillas y la muele entones va a tener chocolate puro. El grajero abrió uno para nosotros. Le chupamos y tenían una película cubierta de dulce. No puede comerlo porque la semilla actual era amarga. Chocolate puro es amargo hasta que la ponga leche y azúcar. Vinieron sus amigos y al día siguiente fuimos a co-enseñar y a co-planificar con él. Visitamos la cosa gran sobre este ciudad, un eskimo con dos pisos, en una gasolinera. Tuvo wifi gratis, pasabamos mucho tiempo allá. En cambio de ir a un resteraunte en la casa de una mujer cada día. Cocinó a comiamos americanos antes con agua purifoida y paga un precio bajo. Thomas nos presentó  Salvar los Niños, a los responsables de la organización. Ellos providen educación y salud para los niños nicaragüense. Visitamos tres escuela diferentes en dos días diferentes. Co-enseñasmos y co-planificamos con maestra diferente y enseñamos. Niños de pre-escolar hablar inglés.Fuieron muy lindas! Nos cantaron un canción que dice “buenas días! Buenas días. Somos amigos contento, buenas días. Uno, dos, tres!“ Espero recordarlo. Nos presentó a los directores de las escuelas y ví la relación entre los profesorars y homó logos. Conocamos a su madre nicarüense y ví su habitación. Todos en todos, aprendí mas. Aprendí no tengo que ser una profesora sola. Aprendí que aunque  viva sol enmisitia puedo llamar al Cuerpo de Paz para recibir ayuda para cualquier tiempo. Aprendé que el es importante de pare su comunidad y cómo ser consciente del de dearrollo. No puede enseñar a cada estudiante el mismo camino o trabaja con todos al mismo tiempo. 


Day 39

This is rather vain of me and I apologize in advance.. but I am getting a little frustrated! I am used to being, if not the smartest girl, one of the smartest women in class. I have always been that way. Most times, it came easy but other times I really worked at it. I’m going to have to go overdrive here. Feeling left out of conversations and plain ole dumb is getting old! I am not dumb and I am not waiting until I get to my training site to see the progress. (They say your Spanish gets really good in site because you’re by yourself, no one to rely on English with.) I need to see the progress now. I read an article by a guy that said you can learn any language in 6 months. He said the key is full immersion. I acknowledge that I have been pacifying my frustration and uncomfortability  with fillers in English, like reading (my favorite hobby) and listening to music. That stops as soon as I get back home! Week 7 will be me taking this language by the horns! FROM NOW ON, EVERYTHING WILL BE IN SPANISH! My music! My books! My class and my conversations! Even this blog! (I will include the English translation.) I’m tired of feeling like I’m at the bottom of my class. Watch out..because I am about to be bilingual. Mark. My. Words. #ifitsthelastthingIdo

Day 38

TODAY HAS BEEN GREAT! 1. I successful went to the bank, got my pin number and online notifications set up IN SPANISH! 2. I FOUND DORITOS!! To those who were unaware, I have only really been craving two things from the states. Nacho cheese Doritos and lemon pastries. When I tell you I hit a jig in the grocery store, I am not exaggerating.
Truly it is the little things in life that give you joy. 3. I did yoga, in a quiet environment, without an audience and for three hours. YOU JUST DONT KNOW HOW BIG THAT IS. Without fail, for the last four weeks, when I do yoga somebody has been watching me. Whether it’s people in the park, people walking in and out of the house or fellow volunteers talking right where I do yoga instead of another location, it has been the ultimate struggle to do my practice in literal peace. But God smiled on me today! 4. I was home before dark! Now this may sound so simple but let me explain. Everyday without fail I’m home by 7 pm, sometimes later. Why? Because there is work to be done. I wake at 6:45 am but have to wait to be on time in the house shower schedule balanced between 8 people. I get dressed. I eat. I’m in class by 8 am. I have class until lunch, where I walk back home (7 blocks) and eat. Then walk back to school and continue class from 1-3pm. Then if it’s Monday, I have co-planning session with the teacher I co-teach with on Tuesday (845-925). If it’s Tuesday or Thursday I walk to the academy, teach our youth entrepreneurship group from 3-4:30/5pm. Then I walk to my friend’s house to do yoga. Depending on my exhaustion and soreness, I do it for an hour to two hours, usually ending at 7pm. Then I walk home and do my homework, study for class, read for PC and manage my blog, while my mom cooks dinner. I eat and rest my weary bones by 9. By  10 pm, I feel like an old lady and conk out, unless I have more homework, then I finish and sleep some time after that. If it’s Wednesday or Friday, I work on class materials and assignments we have to turn in as a group to PC until 4/5 then do yoga and the schedule is as follows above. I have gotten used to walking home in semi darkness (Nica doesn’t have many streetlights.). At first, it was scary. Now, I recognize people, walk really fast and take the proper precautions. I talk to someone while I walk or pay attention to the shadows. If someone’s shadow touches mine, they’re too close behind me. I have to say, I’m in a nice provincial town so I don’t worry much.. Everyone I talk to who lives here says, the people are nice and don’t attack or rob people. It’s not hard to believe with the way the community members treat me. I know other volunteers complain about being cat called and disrespected by their students. Thankfully, that’s not my problem at all. I’m all packed for my trip. Leaving at 530 am isn’t going to be much fun but I’m excited for new sites! Pray I don’t get robbed on the bus. (Apparently that happens sometimes.) 

Run, Clarissa, Run

Run Clarissa Run was a very in-depth, inept telling of a transgender male named Clark. He can remember since the time he was four having a dream of being a woman and finally being happy. I can honestly say this was a great read! It was interesting, the plot was unpredictable but concise and most importantly there was a true, honest, inner dialogue from someone who is transgender. It touched on topics everyone can relate to: bullying, High School drama, identity issues and adolescent sexuality. I felt like Clark was my friend. I found myself turning the page, ready for more! 

I felt for his abuse from peers and the misunderstandings from his mother and brother. I cheered for him when he finally stood up for hisself! I don’t care if you’re a mans man, jock, nerd, pretty girl, whatever I recommend you read this book! I finished thinking pretty deeply. The best book provokes thought! I will MOST CERTAINLY be reading more works of Racheal Eliason! Looking forward to reviewing more of her work. Go check it out. TTTTRRRUUUSSSSTTTT me. Don’t be put off because it’s about a transgender book. Seriously, you need to read this book. 

Cultural Lesson – Family Dinner

And now it’s time for Cultural Lessons with Nae, the part of the blog where Nae points out a cultural lesson…
What’s a dining room without dining? Is it saved for major holidays? Is it just a room in your house? What is dining if you’re dining alone? I often eat alone; although there a several people in the room right beside me. I have yet to see more than three people eat at one time together. I think it’s a culmination reasons. One being, we don’t have enough utensils for the entire family to eat at once. I suppose the more money a family has the likelihood of them eating together increases but since everyone seems to be economically closer (middle class doesn’t really exist here), i cannot attest the validity of this. All of our utensils fit in one blue cup. I entertained the idea of getting my mom a full kitchen set of utensils as a goodbye gift but I’m not sure our kitchen has the space. 
The second reason is because of schedule conflicts. My sisters and brother are home from school at noon, my host mom can be gone any time from 1 to 7pm, and my older host sister has a newborn so she comes home immediately after work. I have seen them all eat but at different intervals. The only person who seems to have structure is me. Part of me Is afraid to try to eat at other times of the food I see, because I could easily accidentally eat someone’s dinner for tomorrow. With limited means of income, food, electricity and water is monitored and used carefully. Another reason is I know my mom is paid to feed me, I just don’t know what in her mind is food for me and food for the family. The last reason is there are more people than chairs. This house holds 8, our table holds 5, maximum of 6 people. So when I (and many other volunteers) think of family dinner, I think of me, sitting at my table eating while my host sister sits in another chair at the table doing homework, my mom sits in a rocking chair in our living room talking to my sisters about their day and my host brother watching Disney channel. Family is what makes the event, not necessary us all partaking in the event simultaneously.