Monthly Archives: November 2015

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday here in Nicaragua. Of course not. I mean celebrating the genocide of a people by having a mass killing of animals and commercialism sounds ridiculous when you think about it. Still, rituals are hard to keep. My sites mates went to Managua to celebrate. Peace Corps has a tradition of being invited to the Ambassador’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. This year they’re opening the embassador’s house and other PC staff.  Keeping in mind the travels I will be having this Saturday (for a PC birthday party), the fact that I will be going to the States THIS (dance party) Tuesday (Managua Monday) and would have to pay to stay somewhere to enjoy the food provided for Thanksgiving, I decided to stay in my site. I asked my host mom to cook fried chicken for me. That’s as close to a Turkey Day meal I am getting. In all honesty, I am ok with that. Last week, we had a Spanish workshop. We stayed in the same homes we were in during training. It was just like training. Spanish lessons all day and an interview at the end to check our Spanish level. I loved my host family and was thankful to see them again. I was received with open arms and was shocked to see that my little nephew is walking now. He is starting to talk and remembered me. Just look at that face! Doesn’t it make you  have all the feels?

2015-11-20 14.38.03 2015-11-20 14.38.06I don’t think another Nica family could ever warm my heart like my training family. My Nica mom even brought Christmas gifts for my parents in the States. So if there’s anything I’m grateful for this holiday, it’s my Nica family in Masaya. I know that if I need anything, am ever in trouble or am sick again my Nica mom will come to support or help me in any way I need. It’s not easy to let people into your heart, but Nicaragua has made it pretty easy.

25 Tips to Beat Writer’s Block

Writer’s block! How can I beat it?!

I get asked this A LOT. I am a writer and write every day. As a result, I have been asked how do you beat writer’s block? I personally believe writer’s block doesn’t exist. I also wrote a similar article citing a quick an easy way to get writing. Here are 25 tips to beat writer’s block:
  1. Write your past. What happened to you? Tell your own perspective. Maybe you want to start your own memoir.
  2. Write the future, it could be what you want your life to be or what you think life will be like. P.S. Flying cars is a little played out.
  3. Describe your best friend. Work those adjectives.
  4. Write your dream guy/girl
  5. Pretend you were an inanimate object – what would it be like if you were a car? how would you act if you were a parrot? Maybe a pen. What kind of life does a pen have?
  6. Go on a trip. Take a stroll through the zoo. Go to the grocery store. Sit in a parking lot and people watch. You will see something worth watching.
  7. Write backwards. Start at the end. Was it a car crash? Did they get married? Then decide how you got there. Keep writing backwards. They rode off in the sunset. They got in the car finally wed and keep writing on and on and on until you get to your beginning.
  8. Write poetry. Poetry doesn’t have rules so put lines together. Just write and once you get that on the page take each line and make it a story plot.
  9. Write about things you hate
  10. Write about things you love
  11. Write a story as if you were a new character in your favorite TV show
  12. Steal dialog. Go to a restaurant and write down the things you overhear people say. then find a way to make your characters say that
  13. What’s a book you read that you didn’t like how it ended? Maybe the guy didn’t get the girl or the guy chose the wrong guy. Rewrite the ending.
  14. Write as if you were living in a different time period. what would have it been like to watch Abraham Lincoln give the Gettysburg Address
  15. Join writer forums. You’ll always find a new perspective to write.
  16. Write fan fiction. 50 Shades of Grey is supposedly fan fiction of Twilight.
  17. Look up writing prompts. Give a few a try.
  18. write yourself as a superhero!
  19. Write focusing on only one of your senses. what is a day like in just smells? What is an hour in just sounds?
  20. Write about another planet. What would it be like to live on Pluto?
  21. Music, think of where the artist was or felt to write that song
  22. Art, go to a gallery and write the story you think the piece if trying to say
  23. Talk to a kid. Kids are strange and they do say the darnest things. Talk to them for about 30 minutes and then write about it.
  24. Write if you were a person in a major tragedy. What would you have done if you were trapped in the 9/11 building?
  25. Try an app like StoryShop
Writing is a lot like riding a bike down a hill. You just have to get started.
Don’t judge your writing. Just start. Write until you feel like stopping, then edit and critique. Maybe you have something golden. Maybe not, so what. You wrote, though, didn’t you? The quality doesn’t really matter because if you keep doing it you will get better. The important thing is you didn’t let the blocks stop you. Pretend you’re a runner and writing block is a hurdle. You can get over it. Just jump. You just have to jump.

4 P’s to Beat Writer’s Block

It’s 4 am. You’re awake. You do no want to be awake. You have to be up in 3 hours and you want to sleep. Sound familiar? What do you do? Drink warm milk? Meditate? Start cleaning? Take a little sleep medicine? Who knows, but the point is you don’t just sit there trying to fall asleep. If you do, you know that does not work. Think of writing like sleep. Don’t just stare at the page. That’s just like waiting to fall back asleep. It doesn’t work. Try something new. This article includes technical suggestions to beat writer’s block, if in fact, even exists.

Continue reading 4 P’s to Beat Writer’s Block

Writer’s Block Doesn’t Exist

When was the last time you heard a plumber say, “I just can’t plumb today.” What about a doctor saying, “I can’t perform today. I don’t know why, I’m just not in the zone today.” They don’t.  For some reason, this excuse has been accepted in the artist community. Maybe it’s because there’s more pressure to perform. Maybe it’s because a lot of us have muses. Whatever the reason, I call flag on the play.

Writer’s block does’t exist.

Jobs don’t leave room for underperformance. Neither does our craft. Seth Golden, Robert Parker, Steven Pressfield, all have cranked out works like robots. How? How do they overcome writer’s block? It’s not some special formula. They’re no different from us. The answer is just do. Decide your method of resistance. Whether it is writing a certain number of pages every day, writing only for a specific amount of time or merely finishing what you start, decide your method of madness. Once you choose, don’t excuse yourself for anything less. Writer’s block is just a figment of your imagination. If you want tips for how to have resistance, check back in a couple days for my post, 4 P’s to Beat Writer’s Block

PCV Interview Lindsay Nason

I remember the first time I met Lindsay, I thought she was a healthie. She has the quiet, calm demeanor of a health volunteer. Her heart is made of gold. My interview with her confirmed just how strong she truly is. Ladies and Gents, meet Lindsay.IMG_0396
Lindsay Nason

Age: 23

Sector: SBD 65

From: Truckee, CA

Fun Fact: My cousins are related to Marshall Lynch who plays for the Seattle Seahawks.

Continue reading PCV Interview Lindsay Nason

How to Live Longer

Everyone is obsessed with living longer. There is a fear of death as there is an obsession with diets, exercise and achieving certain life goals before a certain age. None of that really matters. There’s really only one way to live longer:

self-love
How do you do that?
Well, self- love is many things. Self-care, self-health, self-growth are good synonyms.
We must first define love. what is love to you? “Love is what you make and with whom you make it” – Love Jones quote. My Mom would say, “God is Love.” What do you believe? Once you know what it is to you, we can move forward in the loving.
You are three parts to equal one.

13662-Love-Your-Body1. Love Your Body

Consider all the things your body is doing right now. It is breathing, digesting, storing memories, circulating blood all without your active input.  It does so much for you, what can you do for it? I honor my body with yoga. I love my body by eating things to make it run faster and smoother. I honor my body but not ingesting harmful products. How can you honor yours?

love-you-mind2. Love Your Mind

Be conscious of your thoughts. Your thoughts become your beliefs and your beliefs become your actions. Thoughts are so powerful, as shown by the experiment by Dr. Maroto. Try writing down your thoughts for one day. Are they positive? Are they uplifting? Are they something you would be embarrassed to share? Write empowering things on flashcards and hide them in your room for you to find later. For example” You are Love. Or You are beautiful. It may seem dumb now, but telling yourself things like this matter. After all, a mind is indeed a terrible thing to waste.

51282673. Love Your Spirit

Where you’re religious or not. You have a spirit, an aura, or an energy. You can’t see it, but you can feel it. It is you. Without you, you would not be. How can you love your spirit? It could mean reading your bible once a day. This could be meditating. This could be being aware of your emotions and accepting how you feel is important. Sometimes we work too hard to suppress how we feel. You are allowed to feel. Listen to your internal GPS and go where it’s leading you.
It’s that simple. A lost mind, a broken spirit and unhealthy body will shave innumerable years off your life! Do yourself a favor and define love for yourself TODAY. No time like the present.

 

Avoid Being A Taxi Crime Victim While Traveling

I came to Nicaragua in March and while I have never been robbed, I was attacked during training. Peace Corps has alleviated that issue for us in the capital by providing us a service of taxi drivers pre-screen and paid to work primarily for volunteers. You call ahead and they are waiting for us. Still, away from the capital, you need a way to be vigilant. How? Easy.

  1. Set a price for the ride BEFORE YOU GET IN. If you can, talk to a local before you even get in. Know what the typical rates are. DO NOT be duped because you look like a tourist.
  2. ALWAYS  get the license plate of the driver. It usually is both in the front and back of the car.
  3. Get their name. Usually, their badge is hanging from the mirror or on a sticker in the corner of the front window. After I was attacked, I wasn’t able to get justice because I did not have any information on my attacker. His description wasn’t helpful because, no offense, Nicaraguan males tend to look alike. If his badge isn’t visible,
  4. Start a conversation. Get their name. Ask when did they start driving a taxi? Do they like it? Does anyone in their family drive taxis? Just starting a conversation shows you know the language, you are less likely to be targeted as a tourist.
  5. Give someone that information. After being attacked, I begin texting my friend the taxi number of every taxi I get in (because my memory is not the best).
  6. Be vigilant. Stay woke. Pay attention. What do you see? Are you alone in the taxi? Are you a woman and the driver is a man? Most likely the driver will be a man. If the surroundings don’t appear to be what you expect or are not the way to your designated stop, GET OUT!
  7. Have a safety precaution. For me, mace makes me feel safe. For others, a key-chain knife. Whatever your vice, have something to make you feel safe.
  8. Have your money in your hand. If you can, have exact change.
  9. If at any time you feel unsafe, call someone. Tell them why you feel unsafe and describe your location. Don’t quit if the first person you call does not pick up. Call someone else. No matter what, a real friend will talk to you until you reach your designation. Your safety is more important.
  10. Lock your belongings. If you can, put a lock on all your things. Your money to pay should be in your hand so you can lock your purse/wallet away in your backpack or suitcase.
These are the ways I have had success in my safe travels. Traveling alone isn’t a problem when you practice safe travel habits. I wish you the best in your travels. Be safe and have fun!

 

The Roundup

Here is my weekend plus one day. The roundup of diary entries. Day 226- Day 230.

Day 226

Travel, travel, travel. I went to help the volunteer in my municipality judge for the local business competition. I was shocked at how fast it went by and the innovation of the groups. It made me reminisce on my group and their ideas from training.  There were three groups. One group made tire shine that they claimed improved your wheel durability. It didn’t have a name aside from tire oil in spanish. That took away from their overall brand, but their presentation was great. They came in first place. One group made shampoo called Aly’s and it smelled really good. However, I was skeptical because they put birth control in it. They said birth control helps with hair growth, not understanding you have to ingest it, not just put it on your scalp. The last group made massage oil called their logo. When I asked what their logo was called they said oil in Spanish which is aceite. The logo is a ACT. But aceite is not a good name for a product, it was just a default. They had three scents, chocolate, regular and some kind of plant. I tried the chocolate one and it felt really good on my skin without being too oily.   I enjoyed it and afterward I left straight to Managua.
https://vimeo.com/143282709
Day 227
I was going to the aquatic festival! I left Managua at 9:15 am and the bus trip was hilarious between a man pushing his chair so far back he was resting on Polly’s boobs, Polly getting frustrated with the bus congestion that she pushed a woman by her butt to the front of the bus or me writing with 0 arm space. Finally made it to San Carlos at 3 pm! The volunteer that lives there says that was a great trip because it always takes him at least 10 hours. Heavens forbid! He and his girlfriend are adorable. I can’t remember her name, but they met in his training site. It’s amazing to me how people can meet and date Nicas. Like, I know I’m cute, why no Nicas ever approach me? Because the Lord knows I don’t need those problems. That’s why. We found our hostel and just sat on the balcony awhile because the humidity here is NO JOKE. If my hair was out and even attempting to be cute I know the weather would have laughed in my face.  Straight like, “you tried it.” I met another PCV, she’s Dominican, super cute and funny.  She invited us out to the bar to see a live band.  Her boyfriend is the percussionist. We had a great lunch and quickly realized, everything is more expensive here. But rightly so, San Carlos is the poorest municipal of all the municipalities in Nicaragua. You can see the underdevelopment. I feel bad for them because there’s so much potential here. The nightlife here is seriously the nightlife. The man wouldn’t let us into the bar until almost 10 pm. I was so tired, I tried to stick it out, but I ended up leaving the group at 11:30 to go to bed. Thankfully, the hostel was right across the street. The parties were still live. The streets were well lit and the music was thrumming everywhere. Surprisingly, I slept great. 
 
 
Day 228
I woke up to my toes burning. Literally. It felt like someone poured acid on them. I ran towards the bathroom hoping the cool water would help. It did until I took my feet out. So then I got dressed and walked to the pier. My legs weren’t long enough to reach the water. So then I deferred to the tears and woke Polly. She deduced I should take two Benadryl, wait for a pharmacy to open and explain the deats to them but while we waited we should eat. while walking, I saw a doctor’s lab open and ran in to ask for ice. My toes were hurting so bad I couldn’t think about foot. He gave me an ice pack and after about 45 minutes. They felt good. I called the PCMOs. Dr. vega was pretty useless. He told me to take pictures of my feet and send them to him and not walk around, just keep the ice on it. Well, it wasn’t my ice and I’m at a festival so I’m not sitting still. When I felt I could walk, I met up with the girls for breakfast and put ice cold bottle of water on my toes. Which felt amazing. By ten, the Benadryl was loud and in charge so I went to sleep with my feet on another bottle of cold water. Lunch ended up happening around two and my feet, for the most part, were down to a low-grade stinging. We sat around talking and waiting to party. The other volunteers started drinking so we went back to the room for another nap. By 5, we were ready again. Sitting, we watched the boxing match between Roman Gonzalez aka Chocolatito  and someone else. I don’t know who.  I spent the majority of my time on my phone. My stomach had been feeling weird since I woke from my nap. I then proceeded to have explosive diarrehea. I finally ate dinner around 10 and with water my stomach calmed enough to dance. Everyone was having a great time. Nica’s dance anywhere and to anything. There was this one couple amazing the crowd. They were fast and hard turning and completely in sync. It made me think of the volunteer who just went home. He was a beautiful dancer too. The party never stops in San Carlos, the music was live in two different places with two different stages. So we did the Nica thing and got another table and they drank about 4 more rounds of bad beer. I was shocked I was still hanging on, the naps prepared me well. Finally at 3, we called it a night. I’m so proud of myself and I had a great time. I made up for yesterday when I left the group to sleep at 11pm. The aquatic festival this year wasn’t that great. The locals even said so but the camaraderie after was completely worth the trip. I’ll be back some other time when it’s not a party.
https://vimeo.com/143279906