Sunday, February 28, 2010

La grina que no podia limpiar...

For those of you gringos at home my title is the white girl that couldn´t clean.  I´ve been taught how to wash dishes and wash clothes without running water.  I was watched while cleaning my room by the 11 year old daughter as if´I´d never cleaned before in my life.  It´s all good though.  One thing we have to do in order to be successful in the PC is have patience and the ability to laugh at yourself.  Believe me, I´ve been doing mucho laughing.

Last night I did my first hand washing.  I´m gonna have some buffed out forearms at the end of all this!!!  I´m getting the hang of it, and my OCD is definitely going away, because there´s no way anything here will be to my US standards.  Perhaps, it will just be really bad when I get home in 2 years.  LOL...we shall see. 

Yesterday, we walked down to the river which was probably about an hour walk and swam.  The other American girl and I were both paranoid about accidentally drinking the water, but I think we did ok.  I´m not sick and I hope she´s not.  Haven´t talked to her today and probably won´t until tomorrow. 

In about 2 weeks myself and the other Business aspirantes (trainees) will be moving to Ojojona for about 40 days.  Then we come back to where we are now for our final week of testing before being sent out into Hondu.  Right now I´m at an Internet cafe in Valle de los Angeles.  Where I live, no hay nada!  It´s cool though, doin´like the locals...I dig it. 

Anyway, thanks for keepin´ posted!  Oh PS - shout out to my this city where I´m at right now which is about 20 min from my house is an Adventist Hospital!  LOL, we´re all over the world! 

OK crew, thanks for reading!  Gotta run ´cuz my lil ´sis is ´sittin here waiting on me getting bored, pobresita...I´ll go buy her a Coke! :)

Hoy es mi premir dia

I’m going to write this blog style even though it won’t get posted until who knows when. Basically, I feel I need to get it down because this is day 1 of about 820. Seems long when I say it like that.

This morning we were in Miami and had to be up and out of the hotel by 5:30AM. Our flight was at 10:15AM and we were about 5 min. from the airport. Crazy? I kinda thought so too, but with nearly 60 people that’s how the logistics go. It was not pleasant getting up so early as some of us had gone to our “Last Meal” as we liked to call it and enjoyed some Cheesecake Factory. By the time we got cabs back and repacked it was about 1AM.

Flight went well. There had been some concern about the Teguz airport and landing. I don’t get it. Perhaps we just had an amazing pilot. I did get a pic of the runway though and how it begins at the base of a mountain, so maybe that’s the deal. Getting through customs and our baggage was about the easiest of any country I’ve ever been to and on top of that the PC staff here in country were so on the ball, getting organized was not stressful at all. They had signs directing us as soon as we claimed our luggage, then again out in the main airport terminal. (PS – major props to the Teguz airport staff for double checking the baggage claim ticket to the ticket that’s actually on the luggage. Such security, I’ve never seen that either.)

Directly from the airport we went to our Training Center which was prob about half hour from Teguz. The country side is beautiful here…oh yah, and it’s HOT. I mean for Feb. No hotter than Modesto in July, but it’s FEBRUARY! Humidity isn’t that bad, but it’s more than I’m used to and it’s not even the rainy season yet. Bring it on Hondu…bring it on! (I’m pretty much already ok with the fact that I will be a consistent sticky, disgusting person and won’t do my hair again until May when we’re sworn in.) At the TC we went over what our host families living arrangements will be like. On the slide explaining which neighborhoods (aldeas) we would each be living in, it mentioned that eight of us would be living with families that had never hosted before. Guess whose name showed up on that list? Yep, yours truly! So after that, we were introduced to our host families and all taken home. My host mom is so nice! Her name is Merlin. From what I can tell she’s pretty much the cornerstone of the family. Mind you with myself here, there’s eight people in the house. There’s the husband, older son 23 and his wife, younger son, 19, older daughter 17 and baby daughter 11. The size of this house? Probably a little bigger than the garage and modified room at my mom’s house. Modest? Oh, yes. Is there indoor plumbing? No. Is there a shower? No. How’s the toilet? Um, can you say manual flush? As in pouring water in the bowl to flush. Believe me, I may be holding it most the time until I get to the training center. Tomorrow I take my first “bucket shower”. I’m thinking I should have shaved my head… I asked my host mother about “los bichos” (the bugs) and she told me they weren’t that bad. I’ve already seen two cockroaches and as I’m typing this in the dark there’s one that is attracted to the light of my screen. Not to mention, I was going to leave my windows cracked because it’s hot, but there’s a bug in between the screen and window. I will deal with him tomorrow. Rayito, el perrito, keeps barking outside, but I think I’m so exhausted I may actually be able to sleep. Oh yah, the roof is corrugated metal…can’t wait for the rains! Hmm, my aldea is furthest from the TC as well, so I have to be at the bus stop by 6:40 every morning. I have a feeling I will soon be a morning person. May as well, since there’s a 9PM curfew. Don’t think I’m complaining, just explaining! :)

My host mother made me an amazing dinner of beans, tortillas, cheese, plaintains with sauce and avocado. She likes that I’m not a picky eater. She’s going to teach me how to hand wash my clothes and make tortillas! Then after dinner and was cleaned up she asked me to go to church with them. They’re catholic. Mind you, I’ve never been t o a catholic anything besides one wedding. It was interesting. Long and I would definitely say a mix of catholic and evangelical practices, very upbeat singing/music and lots of it. The Adventist in me didn’t know what to do! My host family knows Adventists though and even knows where churches are here. Too far to get to sans car, but I’m glad to know they’re out there. Oh, and they love some coffee here! I’ve already had two glasses in one evening. Good thing caffeine doesn’t affect me! Oh and random side note. I believe it’s safe to say that while it’s only day 1, I’ve kicked my nail biting habit. Really?? Yes, hand washing and no running water don’t coincide well. So, while I’m not a germ-a-phobe in the US, I’m way smarter about it here, believe me! Oh and per PC rules, I have my own room, with a lock and extra perk for me -there’s a TV with cable! You’re thinking, small house eight people and I have my own room. Yah, I feel spoiled despite the huge differences between here and home. My room also just has a cement floor, no tile, no nada. Straight OG!

Sorry for randomness. Once again writing whilst exhausted and needing to sleep. At least you’re getting a blog post! Now, I see why people have a hard time keeping up with blogging. Writing one takes like an hour, there’s no Internet and we’re busy as all get out! From here on out, I make NO promises of posting. Just a heads up!

Hasta la proxima vez!

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm in Miami ____

You get the title if you know pop music from the past year! :)

Well, I'm gonna keep it short and sweet because I AM EXHAUSTED, but have no clue how long it will be until I'm able to post again. 

After a long night of not sleeping, I got to the airport with my mom, dad, stepmom and stepdad.  There wasn't much time before my flight so there wasn't time for much more than a curbside goodbye.  I was trying to hold it together just fine going down the line of hugs until I got to my mom and saw the tears in her eyes.  It wasn't a cheesy Lifetime movie or anything, but more emotion than I try to convey (publicly anyway) .  Cried as I checked in my bags, which the evil American Airlines woman wasn't buying because she still charged me for my bag being a little over the weight limit (OK 15 lbs...but c'mon it's for TWO YEARS!).  Not to mention the guy on the flight probably thought I was a weird basket case because I kept crying off and on for the first few minutes of the flight (as in "goodbye my beloved California, I don't know when I'll see you next" type thoughts).  Anyway, he turned out to be cool and was himself in the Air Force and heading over to Afghanistan soon, so we had a cool mutual respect of what the other was doing...and he probably got to understand why I was crying initially.

So, made it to Dallas and coolest thing ever.  The gate where I landed from Sacramento was about three down from where I had to board to Miami.  Believe me, I've had layovers where you have to catch shuttles and go to crazy terminals and barely make it in time for the next flight.  Flight to Miami was good and now, here I am!

After I got my approximately 100+ lbs. of luggage gathered and went in search of the hotel shuttle, I only ended up at the taxi bay.  There, another girl, who had equal amounts of luggage and myself kept giving each other the "You could be Peace Corps" eye and sure enough we were.  Together we were able to track down the hotel shuttle and we arrived, luggage and all!  Met up with some other H16ers and got dinner at a Latin/Cuban restaurant.  Seems like I'm gonna be with some pretty good kids the next two years! :)  Can't complain about anything for now!

Now, I'm in my pretty nice hotel room, with free wi-fi and my roommate is from Oakland, so obviously cool if from Nor Cal! ;)  Tomorrow is orientation all day and we fly out early Wednesday.

Thank the Lord for his provisions and blessings!  Whenever I embark on these kinds of trips my prayer is always that from Philippians 4:7, I ask the Lord for peace that passes understanding.  It calms me and I know His angels are en route with  me!  It got me through today and I'm sure it will on Wednesday too!

Don't forget to "Follow" if you haven't already and you know how it goes...

Hasta la proxima vez...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Don't know what you got 'til it's gone

Hello my faithful FOUR followers.  (Please, help me increase that number!  Scroll down the page til you see the little gray box that says "Follow" and click on it.  If you have an e-mail address through one of the providers listed click accordingly.  If not, click the other link and enter your e-mail address.  You're not signing up for anything other than updates of when I create a new post!  Do it cuz you love me! :)

This post is to update on everything in my life as I'm at T-minus five days and counting!!!

Last week was my last of work and it was super busy!  So much for that whole "short-timer" thing everyone kept talkin' to me about.  It was also my last week of the volunteer work I'd  done for the past 18 months.  Many of my customers at work were very sweet saying they'll miss me, wishing me the best and offering kind thoughts and prayers.  What truly amazed me were the gifts I was given.  One department, CAPE (Community Assesment, Evaluation and Planning), got together and gave me a $77 gift card to Marshall's.  Another girl from PT (Pina) gave me a 'scapalario', which she told me it's blessed and it brings protection.  I've tried to Google it, but no luck finding anything on it.  It was very sweet though!  There were many cards, flowers and stationary sets.  So, if any of my old customers have found your way here and are reading (I hope you are for all the cards I gave out!), thank you so much!  I'll miss you all and hope the new girl gives you just as much attitude as I always did! ;)  Thursday I also had the last lunch with the Marketing/Fund Development girls from where I volunteered.  They gave me such an amazing collection of goodies, it was better than my b-day AND Christmas!  Everything was so well thought out, from books to take on the plane, to clothes that will be Honduras appropriate, to a gift card for a local thrift store.  They also gave me a Certificate of Appreciation for the 658 hours of volunteer work I've done.  (That was my free time for the past 18 months!)  So Michelle, Christine and Monica - thanks so  much!!
All the goodies I got from customers and MFD girls!
Thursday night I got to see Jeff Dunham with my dad and he was hilarious of course!  Friday after I got more going away goodies from my other volunteer position, I took off to Napa for one last hurrah with "The Girls".  Stephenie planned a brilliant weekend for us with dinner at Rutherford Grill, wine tasting tour - with a driver!, trying a new restaurant Farmstead and of course our usual lounge in pj's DVD watching.  Of course I had breakfast at the fantastic Gilwood's!  The weather in Napa Valley was amazing and I got to see almost all the people at the old stomping grounds that I would have liked to.

The girls outside Peju

After I reluctantly pulled myself away from the Napa Valley, I headed home via The City, San Fran.  I met up with my dad and step-mom for an uber-touristy day of Alcatraz and Pier 39.  More great weather and super fun!
With my dad on Alcatraz

Tuesday and today I've been shopping - using those gift cards I got!  Got 10 shirts at the thrift store and only used half the $40.  Used all the Marshall's card and got 3 pairs of jeans.  Stopped in and got my mom power of attorney for finances.  (Basically, she will have to file my taxes for me while I'm gone.  Thanks mom!)  Tomorrow I've got to do some last minute Wal-Mart run and a few other random errands, do massive quantities of laundry and start the greatest task of packing.  Then all the going away festivities and flying out Monday.

So, everyone wants to know if I'm excited or nervous.  Those are the biggest.  All I can say is I suppose so.  I never get any nerves, good or bad, until I'm on the plane.  It's usually the first moment you get to stop and think about what's going on.  Your lists are done, your good-byes are said, you've obviously made it to the airport on time, past security and now it's just you and a couple hundred strangers.  Basically, I'm holding together because I've got so much to do.  Monday morning will be a different story.

Well, I will try to post again just before I leave, but as you can tell I'm nothing but long-winded and these postings generally take me a little over an hour.  Remember, FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW!  I'm writing this for YOU, not myself!  Thanks :)

Hasta la proxima vez...