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?

Friday, March 30, 2007

looking in

The entrance to San Ramon.

Looking at San Ramon from the next town over.
One of the best views in San Ramon. This was taken above the court at the colegio.

5 apples for 20 lempiras. A house outside of San Pedro Sula. Many familes move the larger cities in hopes of better jobs but many end up living like this.

Friday, March 16, 2007

drunken ice cream

My friends Crystal & Simon came up Thursday to help out with my English classes, see what San Ramon is all about and meet the locos. After a pretty great English class (my kids were well behaved because there were 3 of us hounding them on their pronunciation) and a visit to the colegio (let's not get started), we went for a walk to a river about 45 minutes out of San Ramon. When you are walking down the main road out of San Ramon, it starts to get really rural--no houses, just farm land--so it's quiet and you don't see too many cars. Needless to say, it was surprising to us to see a parked ice cream van parked along the side of the road. It was warm and we had been walking for quite some time so ice cream sounded perfect. Here's how that interaction proceeded:

K: Hello? Hi!
Crystal: Is anyone there?
Simon: Hello? (He looks behind the curtain of the van) To us: Yeah, there's a guy in there.
Guy stumbles out of the car, drunk, messing with his Razr phone (fancy phone for an aldea man) and looks at us.

'Yeah? What do you want?'

K: Do you have ice cream today?

Now this may seem like an idiotic question considering it is an ice cream van, but you just never know in this country.

'Yeah. We have ice cream bars only.'

Crystal: Can we see them?

Again, may seem like a silly question--but again, you never know how ghetto this ice cream may actually be. If it's ice cream at all.

He stumbles into the van, pulls out the ice cream after much searching and it was real ice cream. We each get a bar, pay the guy and he stumbles back into the van. We continue walking and laugh about how this can only happen here and that while retelling the story may be funny, it just won't compare to having experienced it.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


I don’t really like spiders, but I’ve learned to tolerate them. But rats? I’m sorry but they just gross me out. I remember back when I was living my parents throwing out the trash and screaming and running down the block when I’d see a rat in the alley.

Friday night I was at my house and getting a glass of water in the kitchen and I hear this strange scratching noise. At first, I thought that it was the locos trying on my roof trying to scare me. I look at the ceiling and the noise starts to get louder. A few seconds later, a rat comes flying out of the corner (from the ceiling!), lands and runs toward me. Naturally I start screaming and run into my living room still screaming because it was nasty (and flying!). I stand in my living room with the door to the other half of my house closed (where the rat is) and stay there for a few minutes hoping that the rat may run out of the house through the back gate. Eventually, I head into the kitchen with a broom and a chair. I throw the chair into the kitchen thinking that maybe the noise will scare the rat out…nothing. I run into the kitchen with the broom, pick the chair up and stand on the chair. I decide to start hitting the refrigerator with the broom because that is probably the only place where the rat would hide. Nothing. I finally get the courage to get on the floor and see if the rat in under the fridge or under the table. I didn’t see anything so I am guessing that the rat left. But that didn’t prevent me from shutting all the doors and freak out every time I heard a scratching sound.

wake up call

Friday night (the 23rd) I was feeling a little homesick and called a friend in Chicago (we used to work at Starbucks together). I used my best material to get him laughing, talking about only buying eggs in San Ramon when my neighbor’s chicken lays enough eggs, the locos trying to tell me about a dirty movie they saw at the internet station (earmuffs!), and seeing that damn dog in Lajitas that ate my birthday cake. After a good laugh, he asked me the question that has become popular lately….

“What are you going to do after Peace Corps?”

…a year ago, this question wasn’t a problem simply because I’d say that I still had 21 months left. Now that I had 9 months left, I am starting to get nervous about what will be coming next. My planned end of service date will be towards the end of November or early December. A year and a half ago, I was planning to travel through Central America. But December 2007? I think I want to go home for Christmas this year. Then I began to think about money…should I try to come home before Thanksgiving and apply for a seasonal job (read: retail) to make some spending money? I’ll have to live with my parents again, which won’t be bad, but will be strange in the beginning just because I won’t be able to…

-listen to music at deafening levels & have solo dance parties
-take 3 pm siestas without being asked why
-come home late without worrying about waking them up
-not feel guilty about living with them as I will be approaching 27

Another problem is that I don’t know if I want to travel after the holidays because of money. But at the same time, I don’t think I’m ready to deal with cold Chicago weather yet. Plus, many people have told me that this may be the only chance I have to travel with no ties so I should take advantage while I have the chance. They’re right. But traveling is like the carrot on the stick (or dark chocolate bar in my case)…always dangling in front of me but I can never grab it. There will always be more places to visit, more places to discover, more adventures to be had. I will never feel as though I’ve traveled enough. But is that necessarily a bad thing?

Later my friend told me that he’s planning on going to grad school in 2008 and has applied for a store manager position at Starbucks to fill the time and make good money until fall ’08. I said,

“Are you crazy?! We made a promise that we’d never work there again!”


“If you’re store manager, can I have a job when I come back?”

Reality check.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

fatter than ever!

That's what Luis said to me when I saw him. Was he being a jerk or for real? Who knows? All I know is that I am ready to come home where people will never say things like that to my face but rather behind my back.