Category Archives: PCV Interview

PCV Liz Tarshis

Volunteer Profile 

Liz Tarshis

Age: 23

Sector: Small Business Development 65

Educational background: Bachelors in Economics and Sociology/ Global Studies and Social Justice and a Minor in General Psychology (I know it’s a mouth full) from Bridgewater State University

Hometown: Born and raised in Newtown, CT

Fun fact: Although the chisme (gossip) about this has already circulated around some of the PCV community, I have a tattoo of E=MC2 on my inner lip. I got it when I was 17, I was a big Einstein fan at the time.

It’s been awhile since I posted a PCV interview. I have been wanting to do more, however, PCVs are busier than you’d imagine. Nonetheless, I’ll post them as they come. Liz Tarshis is one of the few volunteers, I assumed was in the health sector when I first met her. It’s hard for me to remember she’s a small business volunteer. She reminds me of a European goddess, tall, and ethereal features and I like how poised she is, no matter the situation. We call her Tarsh because there are three volunteers named Liz in our group. So get into Tarsh!

Continue reading PCV Liz Tarshis

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

PCV Nora Frank

When I first saw Nora I thought she was shy. Her demeanor was very chill. That all went out the window as soon we went to a party together. Nora is me. She is very chill and mellow but feisty, super goofy and can dance like nobody’s business! I wish she was in small biz sector because I want us to be besties. I see of little of myself in her. I can’t wait to learn more about her and hang out in the future. Get to know her, Ladies aand Gents.. Nora
Volunteer Profile
Nora Frank
Health Sector
BA Global Studies with a minor in Intercultural Peace Social Justice
From: New Jersey 
Fun Fact: Nica 65 call me Black Magic and Pistola 
Why did you join the PC? What did you family think about it? 
I joined because I have a passion for helping others and I wanted to follow my passion, do something that made me happy but most importantly makes others happy, find intercultural opportunities and learn more about myself. My family is pretty used to me living out of the country. They are very supportive and have always showed me love as long as I’m happy, they’re happy. Was it something you knew you wanted to do for a while? First, it was a backburner and before coming I had a lot of doubts. I wanted to make sure that being a Peace Corps Volunteer didn’t mean pushing our capitalistic culture and way of life onto others. That is very important to me. That is not why I’m here. Throughout training, I realized it wasn’t. It’s about learning the people and working with the people and that’s exactly why I’m here. Even right up until I came, I had doubts because we didn’t really know what we were going to be doing.

Is this your first time outside of the US?
Nope. I studied Genocide Reconstruction in Kigali, Rwanda, Human Rights Foundations, Challenges and Advocacy in Nepal, Jordan and Chile in comparison with US, specifically in NY. I also worked at an international development firm in Costa Rica. 

What were your expectations of Nicaragua?
I expected Nicaragua to be like CR but it’s very different. Costa Rica is more developed and the country relies heavily on tourism. They’re also more materialistic. Here it’s a really simple life, more down to earth. Of course, not everywhere, like in the Capital, Managua. 

What are 5 Nica-isms you like?
1. Que vive el día. Soy una persona “que vive el día.” It means to live in the moment of everyday. Here they really take the time to get to know people. Spending time with people is not a waste of time. 2. The way people speak! I really like the way people speak here and the way people use emphasis when they speak. A lot of people here like to drag out their words. We don’t so that as much in English, but here its common to say “ y eeennnnntttoonces.” Speaking in Spanish sometimes is just so much more beautiful. 3. Transportation. In the states, I’m used to being on a subway. Nobody talks to each other and a lot of people are usually on their phones or reading a book. But here riding the bus is always an experience. People don’t necessarily talk to each other but there is always something to see! Like, maybe, this guy is having a weird conversation with someone on the bus, someone else is hanging from the ladder is in the back and jumping on and off the roof. You will have like 30 people squished on the bus and the guy collecting the money looks like he’s having the time of his life jumping on and off acting like he’s homies with everyone. 4. The sense of community. At first, it bothered me . everyone is so close and I felt like I was living in a fish in a bowl. There is a lot of chisme (gossip) but I found the people still really care about each other and will help you when they hear you need help. 5. Patience with outsiders. In the states if no one speaks English and are trying to order a sandwich, chances are the person taking the order is going to be rude and won’t have the patience to help. Here they want to help! Seeing us get better in Spanish gives them gratification. 

What are 5 Nica-isms you don’t like?
1. The way men perceive women. I’m not sure yet, if it’s a cultural clash and I just can’t see it from the women’s perspective here. Or if they really don’t like it but don’t say anything because they’re used to it. (After thinking for like 20 minutes). I can’t think of anything else. I love it here. I love the food. I love the people. I love the heat.

What’s has been the hardest challenge so far?
Hardest so far was last Saturday night. I was in a situation with my host sister, at a hotel, where she works. There were gringos who had hired Nicaraguan prostitutes and I was caught translating in an unsafe situation. Moving forward, knowing I’m living where there’s a lot of tourism I’m interested in figuring out how to handle situations like this without putting myself in danger. 

What famous person do you resemble?
I’ve gotten Amy Winehouse, Kim Kardashian, and Jasmine from Aladdin. But I’d rather just be Nora. What do you want to do after PC? I want to go back to school. I’m not sure what masters I want but I have some ideas. 

If you could change into an animal, what would it be and why?
A pretty spider because a spider sees everything. They’re intuitive and observant and understand what’s going on around them.They can surprise you at any moment. Also, they’re super creative and can weave complicated, beautiful, intricate webs.

PCV Kate Guzman

People are so diverse here. Literally no one is what they seem. No one. Kate fits that bill. I remember walking past her talking in full on french and was shocked. Being a few weeks in learning spanish and STRUGGLING and trying to pick it up or understand it when I hear it then hearing someone else speak French was jarring. My brain was like.. wait.. 
Volunteer Profile:
Katelyn Guzman 
Age: 23
Sector: Small Biz
BS in Biology. Psychology. Chemistry. (3 Separate degrees)
From:Boise Idaho 
Fun fact: I tried out for American idol. 
Why did you join the PC?
I’ve always wanted to help people. I started a nonprofit when I was ten. Seeing its impact really affected my decision to take my service abroad. I really wanted to travel and I figured this would be the best way to do it and get work experience. 

Is this your 1st time out of the US?
No. I have been to Ecuador to help with an orphanage and Mexico to visit family and vacation. But I want to go everywhere. 

Do you speak any other language?
Yes. I speak French fluently. I think it’s easier learning Spanish, knowing French. But I also grew up hearing a lot of Spanish because I’m Mexican. So it helped having heard the words before. My parents don’t speak Spanish so I never actually learned. 

What was your family’s reaction when you told them you were joining?
I have been telling them for like six years I was going to join. So they weren’t surprised. Some weren’t as supportive at first but once they were sure I wasn’t doing this on a whim, they were super supportive and awesome. 

How are you liking Nicaragua? 
I love Nicaragua! I think it’s a lot different than I was expecting. I was expecting mud huts and like no internet, just really underdeveloped. I have been absolutely pleasantly surprised. The people are super hospitable. In general, it’s a super nice culture. 

What had been your top 5 best moments so far here?
1. Learning how to salsa and bachata 2. Going to Nica karaoke (it was freaking amazing with people dancing on tables!) 3. Eating and drinking with other PCVs 4. Celebrating my chikungunya recovery with an entire pizza 5. Getting to know my training town. Just walking down the street and having everyone know who I am and why I’m here. I feel so popular. 

How is it dating a Nicaraguan man? Is there a comparison to dating a man from the states?
I wouldn’t know, this is my first real boyfriend. Umm I would say it’s an adventure. I’ve had to get used to a lot of cultural differences and nonverbal communication styles. For instance, the nose scrunch. At first, I had no idea what he was doing. I would be talking and he would scrunch his nose. I was concerned I smelled but now I know it means he doesn’t understand what I’m saying. Also the lip pointing. He would ask me how I was doing and then to clarify he would point his lips at me. I can’t always understand what he’s saying and meeting his family was really stressful for that reason. It has gotten a lot better and I feel like I’ve interacted so much better because of that. They’re also very touchy in general and we had to talk about that. 

Do you have any concerns for living here? 
I think it varies day by day. I’m really excited to be here but then to look forward and get really anxious knowing its two years of my life. I feel really great about everything. 

What are you looking forward to in the next two years?
I’m really excited to find my niche in my community and make a really good group of Nica friends. And learn how to dance! 

What are your plans after PC?
Medical school and live in a tiny house. Have you seen them? It’s going to be so cozy and save the world and cheap!

How do you feel about training in business sector when your work experience is better suited to health?
At first, I was kinda disappointed but then I visited my site and realized how many opportunities I’d have to integrate my health knowledge into my work. So now I’m ok with it… más o menos.

Did you believe in Santa as a kid? Do you still believe in Santa? 
Believed as a kid? Umm yes. Hell yes. I freaking love Christmas and I start celebrating like in July. I believe in spirited Santa. Like the spirit of giving. My little brother is 7 and he believes right now too. So I always encourage it. 

What do you wish when you blow out your candles on your birthday cake?
Hmmm. I always wish I could fly even though I know that’s not going happen. 

What is one thing you wish you had from the US here?
Body pillow without a doubt! 

PCV Alex Iseri

I didn’t actually meet Alex until we were in Managua. I saw him but it was 40 of us, it’s hard to have lasting impressions. Despite that, I remember when he first got a haircut. He instantly went from like hippie, going with the flow to business and ready for action. I began to wonder why he was here. I could totally see him in a suit and tie and in my personal opinion he was giving me fish out of water vibes. He is very laid back and can find laughter in any situation. He’s great to have around when you’re stuck waiting for the Masatepe volunteers to arrive late ..again. Although, I didn’t think so at first, I can totally see why ALex is here! I am glad he is my friend and I know for a fact I am not the only volunteer that feels that way. Peeps and peepettes… Alex.
Alex Iseri
Age: 26 
Sector: Small Biz
From Traverse City, Michigan 
BA Political Science, Beloit College MA International Development, Western Michigan University 
Fun Fact: I don’t have many fun facts, but an interesting fact is that I’m a very experienced tractor driver 
Why did you join the PC? 
I didn’t really decide that I wanted to join the Peace Corps until my senior year of college- I had been pursuing a political science degree for four years at that point, but did not realize until my final semester that my capacity to serve as an elected official or bureaucrat was limited. That being said, I was still very passionate about public service. Prior to attending college I had lived much of my life outside the United States and was very interested in exploring new cultures and countries- Peace Corps provided me an opportunity to combine those interests. Four years and one degree later, here I am! Living the dream. 

What were you doing before PC? Does it relate to what you’re doing now? 
Immediately before I shipped out I was unemployed and was not doing much of anything, but before that I was pursuing a Master’s Degree in International development. Of course, working with Peace Corps is a perfect follow up to that program, especially as it relates to the role of capital development in growing economies.

Did you have an expectations abut Nica? Is Nica living up to those expectations (if you had any)
I had tried very hard to avoid building up expectations for Nicaragua, since it seemed like I would only be setting myself up to be disappointed (insofar as it would be difficult to form any specific vision, no matter how modest, that would be representative of the country as a whole). All I wanted to do was learn the language, meet cool people, and experience a new culture, and thus far this experience has exceeded those expectations. 

Is this your first time out of country? if now where have you been? 
My first time out of the country was in 1996, when I moved to India with my family. Since then I have lived in one other country (Indonesia) and have had the opportunity to travel to countries throughout Asia (Vietnam, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, Nepal, Singapore), Europe (Germany, England, Holland), the Middle East (Oman, the U.A.E.), and South America (Colombia).

What’s one thing that surprised you about Nica?
I didn’t come with many expectations, but I was definitely not prepared for how beautiful Nicaragua is- trees, beaches, volcanoes, lagunas, all of it is amazing. 

So far, favorite memory of NIca? 
That’s a difficult question, in just two months I’ve already made a lot of fantastic memories. One of the best would be climbing the Volcan de Masaya with a group of volunteers. Brutal walk, but well worth it. (See photo above.)

Now that you know where your site can you tell me what your first thoughts were/are? 
Excitement! I’m sorry to be so far away from so many of the friends that I’ve made during training but working in Nueva Guinea will be a great opportunity- the service there fits my priorities like a glove, and I’m excited to start exploring jungle. 

if you have to, do you think you can live without the internet? 
Haha eventually! I love the internet, but I can learn to do without almost anything given enough time. 

You can only listen to 3 CD’s for the rest of your life, what are they? 
My Dark Twisted Fantasy (Kanye) Demon Days (Gorillaz) The Wall (Pink Floyd) 

When your envision yourself after these 2 years are finished what do you see? (describe yourself or use a few descriptive words)
Well you can’t really see these things, but I hope to be more resourceful, more resilient, and more adaptive.

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! 

PCV Jimmy Doulos

I first met Jimmy in Miami, along with hordes of other people. I mean 40 people in one room, how many people really stick out in your mind? Then one day later, Jimmy stuck out as my hero. Literally. I had gone throrugh the airport in frustration, ready to get to our hotel in Managua. There was a man who said he was with PC and would take all our bags. So I let him and went through customs…. without my bags. When I came through empty handed several of the PC helpers were alarmed. They insisted you could not go back in and my baggage could not come out without my ticket stub confirming it was mine. My ticket stub was in my hand .. so after much spanish negotitation and charades through the window. I handed my ticket stub through the taped off area and Jimmy went to retrieve it for me, along with his bags. I think damsel in distress puts it midly when you’re in foreign land, and quickly realizing you cannot function with the amount of Spanish you know. When I thanked Jimmy, he was admant that it was no big deal. The more I get to know him, i see that’s just the kind of guy Jimmy is. If you need help, he’s going to offer it, free of charge. He’s very interesting and has great tips on cooking (which I desperately need). Ladies and gents.. Jimmy!
Name: Jimmy Doulos 
Age: 43
From: Boston 
PC: Biz Sector 
Middlebury college, BA sociology and art history culinary institute of American Napa valley 
Fun fact: I’ve been to 30 Grateful Dead concerts. 
Why did you join PC?
I joined because I am passionate about serving others. All my life I’ve had an insatiable desire to travel so it just made sense. 

What were you doing before PC?
I was working at a Christian ministry delivering bed and cribs to homeless in Boston.

Have you traveled before?
I sure have, I lived in Costa Rica for 5 years. In total I think I’ve been to about 25 countries (Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Aruba, Bahamas, St. Marteen, Jamaica, Bermada, St. Croix,  St. Bats.), 48 out of the 50 states, all through Europe, most of the islands. 

What has been your greatest experience in traveling?
I experienced “Running of the Bulls”, coolest experiece ever and drinking wine in Napal, Roisa, tuscany, Sonoma, Bordeux and Borgandy. Simply amazing. 

What’s one thing you have to do before you have Nicaragua?
Go to corn island for sure!

What is one word that you keep in mind while working here?
Laugh. Because I know they’ll be ups and downs but laughter makes it better 

What is your ultimate dream?
I want to establish a charitable organization that delivers beds, cribs and furniture to those in need in a Latin American culture 

Did you always know you wanted to do PC or was this  recent want?
It was recent.  If you had told me the process would take two years from start to finish, I wouldn’t have done it. 

Where do you see yourself after these 2 years?
I want to continue traveling and serving others in Latin America. I’ve been to every state except two. I prefer Latin America 

If you could have dinner with 5 people who are dead who would they be?
Ted Williams bob Marley jerry Garcia Martin Luther king Jesus  

When you were little, what did you tell people you wanted to be? 
I always said chef. Ran three restart ants for 15 years. One my grandfather started 80 years ago. Est1924 

If you could have a superpower which would it be and why?
It would be breathe under water. So I can go get fresh seafood. It’s my favorite thing to cook. It put me through college. 

Who is your guardian angel?
 My Grandfather on dad side, with no hestiations. I share his name. 

What do you enjoy most about the local culture?
I enjoy their sense of humor. It’s common across all Latin America. They laugh so much, despite having so little.

What has been the biggest challenge in adjusting to the local culture? Considering you’ve lived here before. 
The need to “quedar bien” which is save face as opposed to the truth.  They’ll beating around the bush instead of being direct instead of like Boston where I’m from. 

What have you learned about yourself in the process of adjusting to the local culture? 
I learned that when I need to I can really dig into my reserve of patience.  One of favorite quotes is, “serving others is not an obligation, it is a privilege and a joy.” Remembering that always helps. 

PCV Deshell Cole

I’m sure people think there are several commonalities between Deshell and I, that may be true but what neither of us can deny is that we are the only two black people in this incoming business sector. Out of 43 people, there are no black males. There is only us. When we first met for Staging in Miami, Florida, I remember thinking she is completely different from me but being so glad to see her. Yet, several hours later someone thought I was her. Weeks into training and another volunteer called me her name. To us, the differences are quite clear, from our personality, to complexion and hair but to others they only see a black girl, in a foreign land. My first instinct was to be angry and offended but the more I get to know Deshell, the more I don’t mind at all. I couldn’t pick a better person to swap identities with. She is truly unique. I think you’ll enjoy this little glimpse.. Ladies and Gents.. meet Deshell. 
Volunteer Profile:
Name: Deshell Cole
Age: 26

PC: Business Sector
University of North Florida, Bachelors Business Administration, International Business, Minor: Spanish
Fun Fact:
I dress up all the time. it’s really hard for me to be bummy. Like being wrinkled is a major problem to me.
Why did you join the Peace Corps?
I joined because I wanted to do something extraordinary. I wanted to do something to make an impact on others lives and, for myself, self growth. I could learn a different language and a different culture.

What has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about Nicaragua?
I can’t say that anything really surprised me, as they were pretty upfront about what we would see and experience here.

What is one thing you hope to gain from the Peace Corps?
I hope to gain lifelong memories of making an impact. I hope I create true change and then I hope I keep in touch with these people. I’m not going to be here forever and when I go home, I want to be able to look back and know I made true friends and have an extended family.

What is one thing you miss about America?
I miss my freedom of feeling more independent and driving in my car. I also miss communication, free of barriers.

If you could bring one person with you on this PC journey, who would it be? Why?
I would say my sister or two of my close friends. I wish they could come so we could see a different scene together. Having someone who knows you and completely understands you would make it easier. It can be difficult to explain it to someone else.

What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
I ate a soup here, with an actual fish. It was a whole fish, with the eyeballs and all. I ate around it but I have never had anything like that before.

If you could bring one character to life from your favorite book, who would it be?

I like to learn so normally the books I read are more educational, geared toward life tools, biographies, and world history and there is definitely no one I would like to bring to life from those books. However, the last book I read was the “Millionaire Next Door.” It’s a book teaching you that the people who have wealth and are millionaires are not the people living in mansions and wearing the latest fashions. To get your first million you can’t live this lavish life, you have to save. When I was young, I used to love reading Junie B. Jones books though.

Do you believe honesty is the best policy?

In some cases, yea. I think it’s just good to be honest with people and not beat around the bush. Sometimes, too much honesty can hurt other people. So you may need to keep it to yourself. You just have to pick your battles. If too much honesty is going to hurt another person then I think you should just be quiet. Just being an honest person in general is important. People respect you more if you’re just honest.

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.

PCV Janiece Stromberg

You ever heard someone laugh and knew immediately that it was genuine? You just knew in your heart, whatever they were laughing at gave them great joy. Ever heard a laugh that was so infectious, you heard it and wanted to laugh with them? That’s the kind of laugh Janiece has. You can hear it across the room. She has the type of laugh that makes you feel accomplished if you can produce it. Like, ‘heck yea my joke was funny cuz Janiece laughed.’ #boom #missionaccomplished #ishouldquitmydayjob but still underneath the compulsion to find joy in life was a wonderfully complex woman that I ‘d like to introduce to you today. Ladies and Gentleman, Janiece. 
Volunteer Profile:
Janiece Stromberg
26 (27 in April)
From: Idaho 
Bachelors and Masters in Occupational Health from Idaho State University
PC: Health Sector 
Fun Fact: Has a dog named Mustard, that she is training for therapy work with people 
Why did you join the Peace Corps?
I wanted to join since like the 7th grade. I went to the library and researched it on my own and just fell in love with it. After I got my Masters, in 2013, I decided to commit to it. 

How are you adjusting to Nicaragua? Is it living up to your expectations? 
It’s not so bad because I’ve had experiences in India. So I just keep reminding myself, this is not as bad as it can be. I didn’t really have any expectations, aside from my Spanish. I expected to struggle but it’s not an issue. My host family is very patient with me.

What’s your family like? Did they ask about your hair? How long have you been growing them?
They are awesome. They take me everywhere and ask me many questions to practice my Spanish. They haven’t asked me about my hair directly but my family has politely stared at it. She asked to touch it the one time I had it down and asked what my parents, specifically my grandparents, thought about it. I’ve been growing them for about 8 months. 

What do you plan to do after the Peace Corps?
No idea. I’m playing it by ear. I have been planning for the Peace Corps since the 7th grade, I am ready to see where life takes me afterward, no planning involved. 

What did you do before?
School, and traveling jobs through the states. I went to Europe, India, got certified to teach yoga then hung out with my family.

What’s one thing your host family has taught you?
They taught me that humor doesn’t need a language. We laugh and joke a ton despite the language barrier.

What’s your greatest accomplishment so far in life?
It wasn’t being financially stable, although that’s a big thing in my family or getting my Bachelors and Master’s despite being the first female in my family to do it. It was my grandpa, who I affectionately call “my a-hole grandpa” and I finally being able to connect on another level and having him tell me how proud he is of me. 

How long have you been into health?
Since forever. When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grow up I would always say some type of doctor. The last answer i can remember giving was neurosurgeon. 

Have you ever been out of the country before?
Yes, I’ve been to Spain, Italy, Europe, London, India and Mexico. 

What do you miss most about America?
I am going to miss the snow. 

What are your favorite hobbies?
It depends on where I am. In Texas, I liked paddle boating, yoga, climbing, and backpacking.

What is your greatest fear about being here?
I think it’s not realizing that I am enough or knowing my inner strength. It’s like the more I say it, the more I can actualize it. You know?