Kathryn's Peace Corps Adventure

The opinions expressed and experiences described in this blog are mine personally. Any musings that you read here are not affiliated or endorsed by Peace Corps or U.S. government. Or Starbucks. And I'm not making any money from any of this, so don't send a lawsuit my way. Got it?

Thursday, August 31, 2006

I've seen better days

Things have been kind of sucky since coming back to San Ramon. It's a combination of things rather than just one thing that is making me crazy.
1. Last night I took a shower in brownish water. It's the only thing coming out of my pipes. If I didn't play volleyball, I probably could have held off until the end of the week in Santa Rosa. Maybe.
2. The director of the colegio doesn't want any students checking out any books from the library. But there's no room for them to come in and do their research. And isn't that the point of a library, to take books home to read and return later? He also doesn't want anyone using the donated computers in the library. Look dude, they're from 1995, no minds will be warped or any hackers created. They don't even have Microsoft Word on them.
3. 13 days of almost pure English is bad luck. I'm having problems expressing myself in Spanish and not sounding like a moron. But that happens in English too.
4. I have become addicted to Grand Theft Auto Vice City all over again. Brayan and I are trying to beat this mission where we help the Cubans even the score in Little Haiti. 6 days on that dang mission and no success.
5. I've run out of Chocolate Avalance PayDay candy bars already.
6. I gave my neighbors some Sour Punch Candy Straws and now they want more. I don't have anymore. I gave them a pack each. They don't believe me. And yes, throwing rocks at my house will really make me want to give you more (if I had more).
7. I miss sandwiches.

But I put myself in this situation. I didn't have to go home but I did anyway. If I make it the 2 years, I'll let you know if it was worth it.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

fun with rumors

I find it amusing the way rumors spread about me and how quickly they can get out of control. You're told during training that as a volunteer, especailly in a small town you will become the subject of many conversations simply because you're something different to talk about. I'd like to think that I've handled it well for the most part but it can be really frustrating and embarassing at times.

At the end of July, the soccer team for the colegio (different than the one my ex-future husband plays for) had a game. Oscar came over to the library to ask me if I was going to watch the game, which I had no idea about at the time, and we walked over to the field together. So what right? He just walked with me or I just walked with him. We sat next to each other and lots of people started turning around and staring at us. Luis looked at me and made kissy faces at Oscar and me. At half time, several students asked me, "So are you and Oscar dating now? What's going to happen with Prof. Johnny?" I just sat next to him!!! That's it! I teased him about him liking the Yankees and the Lakers (because he probably only likes them because they're popular) but that translates to, "You we're talking to him and smiling at him. You must like him, right?" The idea of guys and girls being just friends
is impossible to comprehend here. And for the record, we aren't dating. We are just friends.

This past week I went to the feria in my municipality, Taluga. I went simply so I could go to the dance party after the crowning of the queen. I had a pretty good time, especially because it wasn't in my town, which at the time seemed like a great opportunity to dance with whomever I wanted, and yet so many people knew about me the next day. Teachers at the colegio said, "We heard you danced like crazy at the feria." Luis came over to my house and the first thing he said was, "So who's the guy in the white sweater that you danced with?" Are there secret spies out watching me? I recognized only a few people at that party! But so many people knew about my adventures the following day. It's crazy how quickly those rumors spread. Right now the "white sweater" guy is my "new boyfriend" and it's going to make Oscar "really jealous" if he finds out about him. Or so the rumor spreads....

trying times

I missed my flight from Guatemala City to San Pedro Sula. Let's just sum it up by saying that I'm an idiot and leave it at that. I ended up spending the day (and night) in Guatemala City (which was really great...highly recommended if you happen to be an idiot like me) and left early the next morning for Honduras.

Being back has been strange. When I was in the states, it felt like Honduras was a long dream. I went to sleep on September 19, 2005 and woke up August 3, 2006. But now that I'm back in Honduras, it feels like the U.S. was the dream, with all its' luxuries that I took for granted for 24 years and really learned to apprecitate while I was visiting. If I wanted to bake a cake, I didn't have to go to the main town to use the rest house to do it. If I wanted to drink water, I could turn on the faucet and put a glass underneath instead of boiling it. I had more food options. If I wanted to buy a book, I rode my bike down to the bookstore, not get on a bus for 4 hours and worry about my money supply for the rest of the month because I spent too much money enjoying sandwiches in San Pedro Sula. It was those little things that made me appreciate the United States.

Of course with the good came the bad, too many options (especially with candy bars), everything at a fast pace, always worrying about other people's schedules, answering the "so what's next after PC" questions (and no, I don't know what's next yet). The worst being that I wasn't able to see everyone I had hoped to see, which I still feel horrible about. 12 days was just enough to get irritated with the U.S. and remember why I wanted to work abroad in the first place, but it was not enough time to really catch up with everyone and just enjoy Chicago. I had a lot of personal errands to run and got little sleep.

My friend Juvini gave me some money to purchase a digital camera for him while I was in Chicago, which I did and led to problems. All the teachers at the colegio said, "Well, I wanted a camera too and a laptop, why didn't you tell me you were going to the states?"
Sorry guys, I'm not a courier service and I did tell you that I was going but you tend to have selective listening when it comes to me. They are all asking when I'm going back or when my parents are coming down so they could bring "gifts" for them. It's a tough situation. I want to get them stuff, but getting them stuff leads to them thinking that I have money, which leads to them asking me to lend them money or buy them stuff. I guess if I said no to Juvini in the first place, I wouldn't be having these problems.

The Thursday after I came back, I played a volleyball game with the teachers from the colegio versus the 9th graders. I am just learning how to play volleyball and I sucked. It was really embarassing how much I sucked and I was so upset about how poorly I played in front of everyone. I went home and tried to workout my anger away but that didn't really work because kids were knocking on my door all afternoon asking for glasses of water and candy. I had just arrived so I didn't have much clean water and didn't really want to share because there was no water that day from the pipe so I said no and Williams said, "You know what? You are just really selfish." That statement combined with my anger about the volleyball led me to snap. "Don't you dare call me selfish when I share my food with you, buy you juice once in awhile and always let you into my house. You can drink water from the
tap, I can't." Williams says, "Well we're doing you a favor by eating your food because you're so chubby anyway."

Well. There you go. What do you think happened next? I slammed the door and broke down. It was embarassing and I shouldn't have cried over it, especially considering he's just a kid. And it doesn't look good for me to cry and get angry in front of kids.

Later, when I had calmed down a bit, Brayan and Luis came over to talk to me. Luis, being the more sensitive one simply said, "He's an idiot. Forget about it."

I'm trying, I'm trying.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

take me out to the ball game

368 ivy* gentlemen, kindly remove your hats* America the beautiful* hey, hey* #23 Sandburg flag flying high* grilled dog on a poppy seed bun (no ketchup, naturally)* yes, the pitcher bats here* Old Style, Cold Style ($5.75 a pop!)* "throw it over the plate, it's the Pirates for God's sake!"* let's go Cubbies, let's go!* "throw it back!"* Crackerjack, superrope* Rich Hill, 9 strikeouts, 2 of them on the backwards K* "Fundamental base running guys, learn how to do it!"* Cubs scored in the 4th=free coffee!* hand operated scoreboard* frozen chocolate malts* salted peanuts* 7th inning stretch* "get off your cell phone, yuppie!"* 40,007* on your feet for the final out* Cubs Win

Thursday, August 03, 2006


After an insane day of travel, I am in Chicago. I arrived this morning around 2 am. Waited in line at customs for another half hour, met my friend Michael at the gate, screamed for joy to be home.

Getting to my parents' house was so strange because I have been gone for awhile. Everything old was new again. I saw shirts in my closet that I had forgotten about, their dog looked different, my room felt different. It was almost like I wasn't living the experience but someone who looked like me. Doorknobs felt different, carpeting and wood flooring definitely felt different. My stuff was still my stuff but it didn't feel like mine anymore because I had been gone.

What have I enjoyed up to this point?

*Water straight from the tap
*Sam's Club
*Banana Beligum Waffle
*A hot shower with pressure
*Paved roads
*Best Buy
*My bed