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?

Monday, July 30, 2007

a glimpse into the future

I spent Saturday afternoon packing for my upcoming trip to Chicago. While I won’t be home for another few weeks, I wanted to pack my bag because my project manager is coming to visit this week and I would like to take advantage of the fact that she has a car and will ideally take me (and my massive exploding bag) to Santa Rosa. I can leave my bag there until mid-August, when I leave for Chicago. It was hard deciding what clothes I would bring back and which ones I would keep in San Ramon and wear for my last (!) 3 months. Even harder was taking down postcards, letters, photos, and artwork off my walls that made my house a home. It made me realize that my time is almost up and this house will be occupied by a local soon and I will be a distant memory. I have been so caught up with the idea of my 2 years finally being up and being able to go to the U.S., that I haven’t given much thought to what’s next. I have fantasized the hot showers, customer service, produce section of Whole Foods, draft beers, games at Wrigley and jibarito sandwiches, but I have no idea what I am going to do in terms of a job or a living situation. Putting 2 years of my life into Ziploc bags actually started to freak me out. In some ways, I am more scared about coming home (in December) than I was about leaving for Honduras 2 years ago. I think it’s because I knew that my time in Honduras was limited. In my head, I thought, “Alright, Peace Corps is 2 years and then I’ll have it figured out.” Now 2 years have passed and I have more questions rather than answers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but as I was looking at my now blank walls Saturday night, it really blew my mind to think how quickly the 2 years have passed.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

in deep

I went to visit my friends Crystal and Simon last week and they took us on a morning trip to Pulhapanzak, a waterfall in Honduras. You can tour the waterfall with a guide but the guy was asking us for $5 a person (about 100 lempira). Five dollars isn’t much when you think about it but…

1. He asked for $5, not lempira.
2. Crystal and Simon paid 50 lempira the last time they were there.
3. There was a huge group of missionaries from the U.S. there and they were going to pay the $5.
4. A local would pay 50 lempira and since I am paid as a local, theoretically I should be charged as one as well.

We argued with him for about 5 minutes and I got pretty sassy with him asking why he was charging us more if people have paid less and why were there no other guides that day. Eventually, we got him down to 50 lempira and went on the tour. It was pretty cool. We went under the waterfall and into caves that were behind it. I was pretty nervous, especially considering that if I slipped on one of the rocks, the guide probably wouldn’t save me because I got so sassy with him, but more so because I have a fear of deep water and am not a strong swimmer (I need to sign up for swimming lessons as soon as I get back, I am excited to have my swimming skills be compared to that of a 7 year old). But I survived the tour and it was great. Exhilarating actually…having thousands of gallons of water rush down on you every second and being almost blinded by the water pressure really got the adrenaline running. I have to agree when people say “You feel more alive when you are aware of death” because while I was frightened, I felt so alive and energized after.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

adventures of the clumsy muchacha

I don’t think I come off as a klutz when you first meet me but if you hang out with me for a decent amount of time, you’ll begin to see that I can definitely be klutzy. This past week was a slow one because school is having its summer vacation week and the health center doesn’t have work for me at the end of the month, so I was in my house watching DVDs, reading and trying not to look at the clock too much. With little to do, I decided to clean, which really means just gathering all my trash to burn and mopping the floor, but factor in my klutzy ways and well, you’ve got a sitcom in the making.

After sweeping my floors and putting all my trash in a pile, I lit some newspapers and threw them into the pile; something that I’ve done for about a year and a half now and have developed my own method for it that I felt was effective. Or so I thought.

My host family came over to my house about 2 weeks ago to cut my grass and clean out my back yard; they also told me that I should start burning my trash under a banana tree so that the ashes could serve as fertilizer (?). I didn’t question it because I was grateful that they came over in the first place to do that work for me without me even asking for it.

Anyhow, I was back in my house, filling the pila up with water so I could mop the floors. I turned around to grab the mop from outside and saw that half the tree was in flames! (Note to self, moron: dried banana leaves burn really, REALLY well). I grabbed some dishes that I use to scoop up water, filled them up and threw water at the tree. The fire went out quickly but not fast enough because my neighbor was looking over the fence and laughing at me. “Were you planning on burning the whole back yard or just the one tree?”, he asked. I looked at him and couldn’t think of anything witty to say in Spanish so I just shrugged and laughed.

Later I mopped the floors in the house and was watching some audio commentary of the Simpsons (yes, I’ve reached that point in my DVDs; I’ve watched them all various times and now will watch all the commentaries). I got out of bed, put on my sandals to get some water from the kitchen, and not thinking clearly, took a step, slipped on the wet floor, grabbed onto my mosquito net for balance and managed to pull the net off the wall. With no leverage, I fell and slid a little forward. I stayed on the floor for another minute just thinking about what a clumsy girl I can be and laughed it off, because really, what else could I do?