Monthly Archives: May 2015

Day 71

Yyyyeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssss God!  I am finished! Finished my paper in Spanish!  Finished my readiness to serve paper!  Finished my Spanish resume!  Read for this youth competition this Friday!  Hallelujah man!  Today was a funny class.  My teacher taught on some history of Managua.  She showed us pictures.  One of the pictures had a sign that made me think of segregation. So I asked her about it.  She was shocked and appalled after I explained to her that segregation was a time in America where black people could only use things with our designated sign. She promptly said, “I could never live in America during that time.”  I 

18 Truths Review

18 truths by Jamie Ayrers was an interesting read. I WAS enjoying it. 17 year old Olga is in love with her best friend Conner but too afraid to tell him. It’s the typical story, Conner is beautiful in a typical jock, popular and cheerleaders love him kind of way. Olga has long red hair, the ultimate nerd, and is not recreatonally coordinated. Still they have been best friends for 13 years and she is too afraid to risk that friendship over her heart. The last day of summer they go sailing (their favorite hobby) and he dies after being struck by lighting and hypothermia. racked with guilt Olga cannot go on. She unintentionally attempts suicide by downing an entire bottle of pain medicine. In her haze of depression she meets Nate who is seeing the same therapist as Olga. As you can imagine they fall in love but Olga is so afraid of falling again she pushes him away. still, love prevails AND THEN THE BOOK DOES A CRAZY FLIP OF THE SCRIPT! The plot thickens and I was devastated! I was furious by the ending. I turned the page like…
….and if there was no sneak peek from the second book I would have rated this book 2 stars! However, after seeing into the 2nd book I rate it 4 stars. I must applaud her savviness as well because she got me to buy the second book. It was a good read and reminiscent of High School hierarchies and prom folly. Go read it. 

The Blur

Day 61
I have not been feeling well all day.  I woke up only mildly sore from kayaking and was disappointed because I could not go to the beach with the other volunteers.  We had our community project midday.  I slept in and then went to the event.  Literally, after an hour of set up and getting everything perfect, the electricity goes out.  We stayed for a few hours, but it never came back on.  Despite that, a few people did show up.  I found myself needing serious rest, so I crashed immediately after eating dinner.  I think I woke around midnight from a raging store outside and then a nightmare woke me again around 4.  I decided to read instead of pressing for sleep again.  I am not looking forward to class tomorrow, but hey, some things are inevitable.  Right?

Day 63
I cannot believe we’re in winter.  It is not cold at all.  If anything, it feels hotter.  Sometimes the nights are cooler but not by much unless it rains.  Today was frustrating.  I found out today, my classmates would be observing my class tomorrow.  Not really a big deal until my professor changed our usual planning time from 3 pm to 630 pm but did not show up until seven.  I had to stay in the café, trying to use the Wi-Fi that kept going in and out to translate my work and make my class materials.  I left at 8:30 pm still not finished.  I went home and was surprised to find a young woman and her mother on my couch.  It was obvious the mother did not speak Spanish but the daughter did.  Come to find out she is an old PCV.  She already did her time but was in Honduras for the past month and decided to visit my mom because she was her host mom 2 years ago.  I could not talk because I was too busy trying to make my class materials and be right perfect for my class observation.  I felt bad being so short, but I knew I could not afford to talk.  Tired is not really conveying how I am feeling these days.
 
Day 64
I was shocked to see my boss when I walked to the school with my classmates in tow.  Apparently, I am being evaluated by everyone today.  The evaluation consensus was that my class was very fun and I have a great relationship with my students but I should make my class materials bigger and walk around the classroom a little more.  Overall, I totally do not think it is fair that I was blindsided and my classmates have 3 days to prepare before they are evaluated but life is not fair.  It is a Tuesday so the day just keeps going and going.  Youth group after a long day of classes.  Today the group went on for 2 hours because the student that had all the information on her computer did not come to the meeting.  She had to help her grandmother in the house.  When it was all said and done, I am proud of my group.  Their business plan looks good considering we did not help them at all, only taught the information.  They have not been selling much and ran out of funds but the Alacadia (the Mayor’s office) will be donating money and Thursday we will resume business.  I cannot wait to see their product and try it, sadly, it has been 2 weeks, and none of us have seen it or tasted it.  After a long day of work, I forced myself to do my yoga.  It was a wonderful session and I know I will be sore tomorrow.  Still, it was worth it.

Day 65
I am not sure where the days have gone.  It is already Wednesday.  Next week Wednesday, they will be telling me where my site is.  #excited I got three more packages today.  I love my family and friends so much.  Letters are so appreciated!  My mom sent me hair scarves (thanks so much mom!)  AND there was money in it!  She is an absolute genius.  She rolled the dollar bill really thin wrapped tape around them then taped them on the inside of the scarves.  I almost did not find the money so I know no one in customs saw it to think about taking it.  Every dollar counts here and so literally whenever I can, I save it.  Today my boss came to tell us how important it is to practice our Spanish.  There are only 20 days left until my last language exam.  I am getting so nervous.  There are only six more days left of class.  Tomorrow, then Friday I will be in PC meeting all day.  One week is dedicated to visiting our sites, the last week before graduation is dedicated to all meetings, exams and presentations.  There are only 3 weeks left.  This is so exciting!  I feel like this is final exams week all over again.  I have papers due (in Spanish), presentations to do (in Spanish), homework, and things to memorize.  Father be with me.  I know I can do this.  I literally just have to keep swimming.

Day 60

Today was simply amazing. I have to admit I’ve been quite emotional today,but I’m a girl, those things tend to happen without reason sometimes. I was irritated with the late notice my group had for our community event tomorrow. However, the ball is rolling and all that’s left to do is see what happens. I can be such a stickler for perfect execution. I really don’t want to let anyone down. To take my mind off it, I went on another adventure with my friend! We went to Granada. This trip had been planned for some time, we only needed some free time to go. Without so much happened, this was a much needed break.  Our initial thoughts were to visit a museum, go on a boat tour and eat at a restaurant in the park. That didn’t exactly happen.  We went on the boat tour and it was wonderful! Granada has 365 islands and the richest Nicaraguans, the owners of banks and major companies vacation there. there are also several large houses that house up to ten people comfortable for rent for americans who want to relax. In the middle is an island where 5 monkeys live. The tour was wonderful because it was literally only me, my friend and her family friend. I talked to the boat guide the entire time. We returned after an hour and a half and decided we should try kayaking as well. We were already there, the boats were there and although I have kayaked before, it was my friends first time. So far, every time we get together I make her do something shes never done before. so we kayaked for another hour and a half, talking with a different tour guide and seeing the sites from a different angle. We got really close to one of the islands with a mansion on it. Our tour guide’s father works on the island as the gardener and he brought us fresh mangoes from the island. I devoured mine. We often took breaks, enjoy the breeze and the small waves the boats around us made. Our tour guide told us the water is very clean and sweet. He insisted it was safe to drink and a certain somebody dared me to drink it, I did. Swear it tasted better than tap water! It was hilarious learning how to row in sync and teach my friend little tricks to changing direction of our kayak. Honestly, it was the most relaxing thing to do. Despite being out in the hot sun, midday without a hat, I was cooled by the water. I spent most of the trip with my feet in the water. We ended up coming back after 2 hours and the man still only charged us for one hour. What luck! Since we were on a time constraint, needing to return by two we decided not to go to any restaurants. I personally prefer my moms cooking so we packed up and went home. When I got home I was exhausted. I laid down and briefly napped. After getting up to talk to my family, I went to bed early. Although, I was awaken shortly after by loud, booming thunder. Torrents of rain attacked the house. The sound was immense on our tin roof. Then to my great dismay, my bed started getting wet from small holes in my roof. My sister gave me a cup to catch the water. After hours of relentless howling of the wind and buckets of water from the sky, the rain has calmed down. It is still raining, hard in melodic beats. As much as I enjoy the cooler temperature, the unexpected downpours and noise, will be another adjustment. Added new routine in the morning: pack raincoat.  Thankfully, it waited until I was safely returned from my adventure. Hopefully it doesn’t rain tomorrow either. I want our community event to go well!

PCV Taylor Boggs

Volunteer Profile:
Name: Taylor Boggs
Age: 24
From: Tampa, FL
BS public health from University of South Florida 
PC: Health sector
Fun Fact: I have ridiculously large arches in my feet 
Why did you join the PC?
To have an adventure and make a difference 

How did you come to the idea of joining the PC? 
It’s been a long time dream.  I wanted to ever since HS because a return volunteer came and talked in our school. It just sounded awesome. 

How does your previous job experience tie into what you’re doing with the PC? 
I was a server in a British pub. I think working in the service industry you become a close knit family. It’s really similar with how it is with us here. You don’t always get to pick your family but they’re there and support you even if you don’t always like each other. I worked in a high volume restaurant so I learned how to manage stress and take on a lot of work. 

So far is Nica living up to your expectations? 
I expected it to be hot, beautiful and different than any culture. I’ve only ever been exposed to American culture. Honestly, it’s everything I expected. 

Who is your inspiration for working as hard as you do? 
My best friend Brianna, she inspires me in everything. She works so hard teaching English in Costa Rica. She’s going to the Philippines with Peace Corps in July. 

Was PC your initial after college plans? Or did you think of getting your Masters? 
It wasn’t my initial plan.  I actually didn’t have a plan. I was going to work for a little bit and when my friend said “I’m thinking bout PC” I said me too! It was perfect because I didn’t want to get my masters right now. 

Given all you have accomplished so far, what do you think has been the most important to you/beneficial to your community? 
Back home, I think and I hope that I’ve inspired people to make a difference. I feel like a lot of people just stay in Tampa and when I told people the said, “I could never do that.” I hope I show you can do more than whatever you’re doing in Florida and not do anything more with your life. 

Is this the best time of your life?
Yes, heck yes. Nothing else, I wish I could be doing at all. I’m so happy and grateful to be where I am and with the people here. 

 If you could only own 10 things, what would they be? 
1. Movies. I love movies! 
2. Bathing suit 
3. Favorite jewelry 
4. Photos of friends and family 
5. Artwork that I’ve collected from various countries and friends 

What would you do if you could wear an invisibility cloak?
Go to so many different classes (dance, art,) and learn a whole bunch of stuff for free! 

What is one goal you have for your 2 year service?
I have a few but to feel like I’ve truly made a difference in at least one person’s life and to get pretty kick ass in Spanish! 

Day 59

I woke to no electricity… and rain. That’s right. Rain. We are officially in our winter season here. I finally used my overpriced rain jacket!  Nicaragua only has 2 seasons, winter and summer. In the summer, it rains.. a lot. Which usually knocks out the electricity. It also makes washing clothes and air drying quite difficult. I’m glad it finally stopped around 2pm and by 3 pm we got electricity! Thank God. Today is my grandfather’s birthday and despite the internet struggle I called my poppop to say happy birthday! This Saturday we’re having our first community event, Nica Idol and I am a little nervous to how this is going to go but im being hopeful!  I am going on another adventure tomorrow too and that makes my day even more  excited. It’s getting sad thinking about leaving my friends in my town and being far away from Nica 65.. seriously. So sad. Let me change the topic. I finally found flashcards and I am about to go study crazy! we have 9 days left in class… process that. next week we only have 3 days of class, 2 days spent in PC training, and three the next 2 weeks. In 2 weeks, I’ll know where I’m going to live and visit for the next 2 years. It’s about to get real.. and I can’t say that I can’t wait but I know when it gets here… I will be ready!

Day 58

No Spanish class.. but before you get excited its because we have PC meetings all day! Whew! We got to travel and I usually enjoy not having to take classes and notes. I literally only have to carry a purse! Whew! But the icing on the cake was all the packages I got! It was mail day and out of the 10 packages needing delivery, 6 were mine. THANK YOU SO MUCH FAMILY!! I love you all. I have been being harassed for the past weeks about whether I have received my packages and I’m happy to say I did peeps. I received so much but my favorite things in the package was the gifts for my family! I gave my mom a brand new full set of utensils and put knobs on all the drawers in my room because I didn’t have any!  It gives me so much pleasure to leave things better than how I received them. I am so happy my mom will have more forks! I also gave my host siblings an entire package of fudge filled chocolate chip cookies.  For some unknown reason to me, today felt like a friay and I was a little sad I would have to go to class the next day but (in my ice cube voice) today was a good day!

Day 57

I love my students. Seriously, they make my days better. They are always excited to learn and despite what I keep hearing about my Spanish, they understand me and I understand them. It’s nice to know they seem to think of me as someone they can talk to on a peer level and as a professor. Today after class was over, one my students began asking me several questions about peace corps. I think he wants to join, but I told him he has to go to college frst. Then, a major surprise happened. First, let me preference this story by what is acceptable in nicarragua. I have been blessed not to experience too much catcalling or blatant disrespect by any maes in my pther time. Other volunteers have not been so lucky. I have heard its as bad as students cat calling the female volunteers while they are trying to teach an the other teacher doesn’t do anything about it, because that’s a cultural norm. its normal for there to be huge age gaps in relationships, 18 year olds will date 13 years olds because you have to “get them while they’re young”. Usually they will say, “you don’t like the complements because youre American and don’t understand.” They can even be quite relentless in pursing you if they think you’re even the slightest bit interested. Now, since I have been blessed to have experienced the bare minimum of this I can laugh at what happened today.  After class another student asked said, “Tengo una pregunta Nae” (I have a question.) I said, Diga me. (Tell me.)  He said, “Que significa “give me this” en Ingles.  I heard him say what does give me this mean in Spanish. So I said in Spanish it means, I handed him a pen and said give me that, then took it. He said no, and repeated his question. Since my class ends at recess the sheer volume outside was too much and I could barely hear him so I turned my head, lifted my hair and leaned in to hear him repeat whatever he said. To which he kissed my cheek and I realized he was asking what does, “give me a kiss” mean. I explained that phrase means the other person kisses you not the other way around and then said goodbye. I admit, he got me. It was a nice little trick but since hes such a nice student I let it pass. He is never inappropriate, participates in class and in our youth group afer class. So instead of possibly making him feel humiliated or like I wouldn’t be nice to him anymore I just let the moment pass. I wont let that happen to me again, but I have to admit he definitely got me.  I really don’t like my Spanish  classes. Its because they have a different way of evaluating than in the states. In America, you are expected to repeat back in different words what you have learned. Dictating verbatim is frowned upon. Creativity is encouraged. I got bad remarks on my evaulations and all the comments were they wanted me to repeat more. In a way, I feel like a glorified parrot. I know that repeating what I hear in that moment doesn’t teach me. retraining what my first response to the Spanish pronunciation is the better way. But that’s not encouraged here. My friend told me, “just do what you gotta do to pass. Worry about the rest later.” I think hes right. So im trying very hard to change my attitude. Instead of complaining, im going to just do what they ask me to do and learn on my own time. I’m still talking to two new people a day. I finally got to do yoga today and it was lovely! I am addicted to yoga, the release I feel after is immense. I had my last placement interview today. Thankfully you cant do good or bad at this, it’s only of matter of honesty. They ask questions about what you prefer in a site, how do you see  your life in site, etc.  One of the hardest question they asked was what do I think is the one thing that could happen to make me terminate before the 2 years are over. I tried, but I couldn’t think of anything. I meant what I said about it being a huge slap in the face of God to terminate before I finish.  I begged God to let me do this, I literally prayed every day for this. How  dare I even entertain the idea of going home early? I can’t see it. It would be letting my family down, the peace corps down and not being God to bring me through it.I do get frustrated, everybody does, but I never entertain the idea of going home. I love it here too much.  I trust God’s will in wherever im place. I would hope it’s a small town like where I am now. I love it here and the people are so nice. Ilike how everyone knows everyone and I can hear the burds chirping. I like that I can walk from one end of town to the other in 20 minutes. I like not needing to use a bus or anything additional to travel around here. Still, trusting in th Lord is the best way. So prayers going up.

Hooked on the Game Review

Hooked on the Game by CM Owens was a good read! It’s the typical fantasy of poor trailer trash gets the guy because gets the guys but with a twist. The twist being she wasn’t always poor but some poor decision her father made left her poor. Raya lives next door to Kade in her apartment counting change (literally) trying to make ends meet. They both attend an Ivy League college and while she is on countless scholarships, he is blowing his money with no regrets in his mansion. Through unfortunate circumstances, they are forced to live with each other and it was only a matter of time before he realized she was genuine and she realized he actually has a heart. I was rooting for them the entire way. At the end, when despite all the things working against him, they got together my heart fist pumped! 
I am so so so so sssssso glad it wasn’t all about sex, although they do have good sex (end of the book). You really got to learn who Raya was and fall in love with Kade as you read. Of course, I recommend it. It is a chicklit (yes, I made a new book genre) and I burned through it in a few hours. 4 out of 5. It won’t have a permanent home in my library but I will be thinking on it for a while after I read it! 

An Ode to Friendship

 They told us on the first day of staging that we could leave at any time. Granted, there are stipulations and exceptions but we’re not under contract. We don’t have to stay if we don’t want to and on average 5-6 people from training don’t. I had hoped that we’d all make it out. I had hoped that the beautiful people I have grown to know and love, would stay. Although in our sites, we’d be a little ways apart, true friendship exists in the heart. Now I must eat my words because our first has chosen to go with his heart.  There is a quote I love very much and have held dear when I stuck out like a sore thumb. “To thy own self, be true.” That’s exactly what Jason did when he decided to resign. He mentioned his hesitations when I interviewed him for his PCV highlight. (you can read that here.) I can personally attest to his soul searching for an answer of which dream to follow.  What do you do when the fork in the road holds no wrong answer? On one hand, he could continue to serve here and change lives up close.  On the other, he could become an engineer and change lives in an entirely different way. Both dreams weighed on his heart.  Two days ago, he made a decision on which called to him the loudest. I will miss Jason, and I think I can speak on the behalf of Nica 65 to say he IS an amazing friend.  Two months is but a drop in a bucket compared to two years, but it’s all we have so far.  So far, he has shown a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and laughs to share. I know Jason will be amazing in his next stage of life. He couldn’t fail if he tried, he’s gifted. (insider) I would never be able to say exactly how much he means to every one of us… so I made a slideshow.. because you know what they say, “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Somehow, I hope the sum total of these pictures says it all.