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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two Months

Two months from today I will be flying home to the US. Wow.

A few weeks ago, we had our Close Of Service conference in Valle de Angeles. It was the first time that the entire group of people who flew down together in 2008 got to be back together since our training months. It was really fun to see everyone, and talk about the last two years, and we got alot of information on job hunting in the US, resume writing and interviewing. Apparently, it will be inappropriate to us Spanglish when in an interview...guess I have to practice my English again. We also spent time talking about how to wrap-up everything in our communities. It's hard to imagine how you say goodbye to people who have been your family and friends for the last two years...and who we may never see again. This is going to be an interesting, and tough, transition!
As for my work right now, I'm really just trying to tie everything up. We finished our girls group, which has been really fun. I am also working really hard with our Yo Merezco team to finish up a working curriculum/manual for our pre-teen boys abstinence and health initiative. We are also just finding out the training schedule for the new peace corps trainees who are flying in this month. So, at some point, I will be able to meet them and help with a part of their training.

I forgot! I'm also now 26 years old. So, thanks for the birthday wishes everyone sent my way. I had a great day and ate lots of yummy food.

That's all for now, I'll see everyone soon :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

follow-up pictures

Two posts in one day!? Wow, I AM feeling ambitious.
I just wanted to supplement my last post with some pictures from my trips to Guatemala and home, enjoy!

The first 5 are from different places in Guatemala:

The next few are from my trip to the states:

Happy Holidays (belated)

I know, people are complaining that I never update my blog...despite all my best intentions of posting regularly, I have always manage to find something else to do while online. I apologize :)
So, here's an update:
The holidays have come and gone, I hope everyone had a wonderful time. I know I did.....
My Thanksgiving was spent with two other volunteers vacationing in Guatemala. We hiked an active volcano, jumped off some waterfalls, held tarantulas, went to Mayan ruins, and just generally had a great time. Guatemala is a beautiful place, and it was amazing to see how the culture varied so much from Honduras, even though they are such close neighbors.
Christmas was also wonderful. My friends in the US (who I really can't thank enough) gave me the best present ever: a plane ticket to come home. I got to spend a week back in the states hanging out with friends and family, I even got to build a snowlady! It was a great trip and I felt so lucky to have a chance to see everyone for the holidays.
New Years I was back in Honduras in an apartment style hotel complex with some of my friends. It was beautiful and sunny (quite the switch from the blizzards in Michigan), and we spent our time just laying around and swimming in the pool.
So there you have a brief rundown of my holidays.... the last few months have really been flying by, so I can only imagine how quickly April is going to arrive when I have to say goodbye to Honduras and move back to the states. There are really no words to describe how it feels to know that I am almost finished with my time here. In a matter of 3 months I will be saying goodbye to the place that has been my home for 2 years, and return to my life in the USA. It's exciting and terrifying all at the same time.
In the next months, I will be working on finishing up my ongoing projects. My favorite project right now is the girls group that another volunteer and I have in a local village. Twice a week, I head up the mountain and we do a class/session on a health topic. It's been alot of fun, and really exciting to see the girls open up and feel confident to ask us all kinds of questions that they might not be able to ask anyone else. Our plan is to finish with the group before February when school starts again, although the coffee harvest has started so attendence is already being affected as the girls have to help their families with the picking. It's been alot of fun working with them though, and I will be sad to see the group end. Hopefully, we will be able to keep up some sort of meeting time throughout the school year, even after I leave.
So there you have it. My last few months summarized in a few paragraphs. I really hope everyone enjoyed their holidays, thanks for all the messages and cards, it's always wonderful to hear from people at home.
Also, let's keep the people of Haiti in our thoughts and prayers. It's horrible to see the devastation of that earthquake in a place already so devastated by poverty.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Long overdue post

Sorry everyone for such a long absence from the world of blogging...it has certainly not been due to a lack of news, many things have been happening! I suppose I have just been lazy, and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say next :)

Today is a beautiful day here in Gracias, the sun is shining and there is a lovely little mountain breeze. It's the kind of day I love to spend laying outside in a hammock reading a book! Work is, predictably, very slow right now as a result of the current political situation down here. So, I do what I can, and I wait.

On a more exciting note, a project that I have been working on for the last year reached a new stage last month. There has been a group of 4 volunteers (including myself) working on putting together a manual focused on women's health, and last month we had our first workshop to share the completed curriculum with other volunteers, and their honduran work partners. The workshop went very well and I think we are all happy with the results of all our hard work. Then, a few weeks ago, I got a call from a honduran woman who came to the workshop and has since started her own women's group, she was calling to see if I would come help here lead some of the sessions in here small community about 1 1/2 hours away from here. It was really exciting to hear that someone has already started to use the manual, and I can't wait to go and meet her group.

That's all for now...
Coming up next time: an update on my visit home! :) Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Time for some pictures!

These first three pictures are from a trip to a nearby village to weigh and measure the children (with World Vision). It is a process that has been going on for about three weeks, and has taken us to almost all of the villages in the areas surrounding Gracias. With the data from these trips, we will be able to make better work plans based on need. If a certain area has a very high rate of malnutrition, we will know to focus more education attention there. Of course, it's also fun because I get to spend time playing with kids :)

These are all pictures of the trip to DC and inauguration. So much fun....but so cold!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

So much has happened since my last blog entry, I hardly know where to start! So, first I want to wish everyone a very Happy Valentine's Day, and also wish myself and my fellow Hondu12 group a Happy Anniversary (We've officially been here 1 year, WOW!). Its amazing how time is flying by down here, it feels like only yesterday I was boarding that plane in Kalamazoo at 4:30am to meet the people I would be spending the next two years with... And let me say, that after a year of being here, no matter how hard it was to say goodbye to everyone and wave to my parents as I walked through the security line, joining Peace Corps is still one of the best decisions I have ever made. Life here is a bizarrely satisfying blend of complete frustration and unabounded happiness, and I love it.
I recently discovered a new zest for Peace Corps life after I made my first trip back to the good old USA. It was a super exciting, fast paced trip to Washington DC to watch as our 44th president took his (albeit misspoken) oath of office. The entire trip was amazing, and totally overwhelming.
I was lucky enough to recieve a ticket to the inauguration from Rep. Fred Upton, which was truly amazing, and very much appreciated. I got to attend a little reception the day before the inauguration to pick up my ticket and found that all the great food and drink was nothing compaired to the support I got from that room full of complete strangers. Everyone was incredibly kind and supportive of me being in the Peace Corps, a number of people came up to me to tell me how much they appreciated what I was doing here in Honduras, and it was a really great feeling. I can't really explain how helpful it is to know that even strangers appreciate what we do as PC volunteers. It is something that I definitely brought back with me.
The day of the inauguration was amazing. It was freezing cold, we got lost a number of times on our way to the mall, we almost didn't get let in, and the crowds were unreal....but it was the most incredible experience. I can't believe how lucky I was to get to experience the entire thing first hand. I cheered, jumped up and down, cried and clapped with a million other people while President Obama took his oath, and spoke to us about the future of our country. There was so much hope in that moment, I will never forget it.
The few remaining days I had in DC after the inauguration were filled with me running around town, trying to take everything in and attempting to catch up with friends and family who were also in town. Amongst the crowds, food and traffic...I realized how much of an outsider I feel like in the hustle and bustle of US life. I would go into a restaurant ready to devour a large animal...and would completely lose my appetite in the rush of ordering. My goodness we move fast! Here, I'm lucky if the food comes out even made the way I asked...let alone in a timely fashion. I, literally, backed into a corner at Cosi because the woman behind the counter was scolding me for not ordering faster...There were just so many choices! Ay dios mio. I also got yelled at by a flight attendent on our way in to DC because I put a can in the trash instead of recyclying bag. It was completely disconcerting, I consider myself a concerned citizen...I dont want to add to the global warming crisis....but I hadn't seen a recycling bin in a year! And since when is it ok for the flight attendents to scold people? I felt like a reprimanded kid, and it was not a feeling that I enjoyed.
Let's just say that it is a very humbling experience to feel like you don't belong in the place you have lived your entire life. I spend everyday in Honduras sticking out like a sore thumb, I complain about many things here....but I didn't realize how much I had adjusted to life here until I tried to fit in back home. It was such a relief for me to get off the plane in San Pedro Sula, I know how things work here.... and as I stood in the customs line for 20 minutes with Sarah and Matt, waiting for the agent to stop talking on her cell phone with her friend so she would help us, all I could think was "ah, its good to be home".

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Tomorrow I will be on my way out to Ocotepeque to celebrate Christmas with some friends. People keep asking me if I´m sad not to be at home, and the honest answer is that right now I can´t even believe it´s already December! It´s defenitely sad when I think about people at home celebrating together and getting to see eachother, however, it is very hard for me to truly think of it as Christmas here because it is about 70 degrees and sunny...I´ve never lived in a place where there is no snow during December! I´ve tried to get some spirit in my apartment with lots of xmas music, a mini tree and lots of cookies, but it still feels a bit false. Maybe we will do some caroling in Ocotepeque? :)

I hope everyone at home is having a great holiday season! I miss everyone....
Happy Holidays!!