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?
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.
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.
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.
Name: Taylor Boggs
From: Tampa, FL
BS public health from University of South Florida
PC: Health sector
Fun Fact: I have ridiculously large arches in my feet
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!
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.