I figured I’d share some insight on how to integrate (since I’ve clearly been doing it, and doing it and sometimes doing it well).
How to Integrate
NUMERO 1. Talk to everyone and I do mean everyone. Your host family, the street dog. The drunk men on the corner (you can always say adios.) Your fellow PCVS, your counterparts, your host niece. EVERYONE. If not to improve your language, then to learn yourself something.
2. Play with children. Children are God’s way of laughing at and with us. Sometimes it will be awkward and other times your spirit animal will roar.
3. See the world from another person’s perspective. Self. Explanatory.
4. Consider the merit of different values. Again. Self-explanatory. This is your time to think outside your own self-constructed box. Question your values and where they came from.
5.Listen. I have heard birds I never knew exists, music I love and can sing along to without knowing the artist. I have heard roosters, buenas, bachata, babies crying and hissing to tell me how beautiful I am.
6. Try. Don’t say you can’t before you even try. Effort can take you a long way.
7. Ask. How can I help the community? How can I meet more people? Will you introduce me to your friends? I’d like to go to the next birthday party?
8. Say yes. When someone ask’s for help, say yes. When someone invites you to a party, say yes. When someone’s asks do you want to learn how to milk a cow, say yes. Keep on saying yes.
9. Teach. Teach your culture, your language and ways and others will readily share theirs.
10. Never assume. There’s always some part that we don’t understand, whether it be the language, the culture, or the people.
Incorporate these tips into your daily lifestyle and no matter where you are, you’ll integrate! Go forth dear reader and be great. Get to know your neighbors and try one of these tips a day. Just one, I’m not asking for much.