May 25, 2009

First week down…103ish or so to go…wow. I don’t want to seem like I’m counting the weeks because I’m not…right? I don’t even know what I would be counting down for…sleeping in my own bed (even though it is smaller, it’s mine)? having a home cooked meal with my family (a salad would be just fine, as long as I’m with them)? being a tour guide in San Francisco (I miss you, Louise, Hannah, Bo, and every stranger I have yet to meet)? I don’t know…it’s weird. I was talking to a PCV homie about it last night. We have similar sentiments about the whole thing: we want to live each day to the fullest and enjoy every minute BUT we also don’t want to forget to keep the big picture in mind and what this experience means for our futures. It is relieving to hear that I’m not the only one having these mixed feelings, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are still tough to have…

Work...there’s a lot of it…and that’s good. I just want make sure that I manage myself well enough that I’m able to meet my counterparts’ goals as well as fulfilling my own. For the Vivero, my main and immediate task is to design a curriculum covering basic accounting concepts and administrative controls (i.e. sales register, cash flow statement, etc.) to teach the students from the Escuela Taller. For OCH, I am supposed to assist with the creation of several proposals so that the organization can continue with their plans of renovating the municipal market. The designs are done and the team is ready, but the money has yet to come. (Story of every dream, right?) My main involvement in this process will be designing and detailing a business curriculum to be included in the proposal that shows how the vendors will obtain the knowledge and skills necessary to form a cooperative. I think that most of my time right now will be dedicated to the Vivero since the students only have six months left before they are released into the business world to hopefully manage their own companies. (I really cannot tell how much the students have actually been taught to date about business administration and am thus preparing myself for the unknown.) The research and work that I’m preparing now for the Vivero will hopefully be applicable to my work in OCH. My “normal” work day thus far has been spent doing research in the Escuela office from 8am until 3:30pm with an hour break for lunch. I am hoping/sure that this will change/fluctuate as I become involved in other side projects. Right now, I (and other volunteers as I learned after several conversations last night) am so unsure as to how to do this right: taking care of others while taking care of myself. It’s quite a daunting task, and I don’t want to fail on either end.

Family…ya, I definitely got the hookup, and I was initially stoked about that…but then my feelings changed. I am living in probably one of the nicest houses in Gracias. It has unoccupied rooms, a huge backyard, a washer and dryer, electro-duchas in every bedroom, internet, and a live-in muchacha. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer; I don’t deserve to stay in a place like this. I am in no way put out by my lodgings. Shouldn’t I feel a bit like I need to suck it up? Isn’t that part of the learning process? On that note and for the fact that I am not given keys to the house and thus must live by someone else’s schedule, can’t make my own coffee in the morning but instead must wait until dinner (I’m sorry but this became a necessity during long days of FBT), and got scolded by my mom c/o the muchacha for taping pictures of family and friends on the wall, I am ready to live on my own. Three months was enough for me.

Health…could be better. I am eating well as the muchacha is a monster over the wood burning oven and with the blender. I am not able to counteract the food, however, with a plentiful amount of exercise. I do not have enough room in my room or any of the others to do my strength training exercises (dang my big bed! I knew it was too good to be true…) nor am I able to run on my own as the streets are cobblestone and clustered with construction. The only place to run is on the main highway out to La Esperanza, and it is probably not recommended to traverse alone. The one thing I did find a spot for was jumping rope on the side of the house. I got a workout routine from a friend during FBT and am hoping that I can start doing it every morning. I guess if I am able to combine that with yoga three times a week, I should feel better. I think that I am just going stir crazy because I can’t run. You all know how obsessed I am with it! I am in the process of trying to coerce the other female PCVs in town to go with me…

Spanish…sigh. Good and bad, like the rest of the story. I think I will always need to work on it. Siempre.

Highlights of the week…yoga, rain, milk and cookies, a cocktail, Skype, aguas termales, PCV chats…

Master of disaster with chocolate: Kalin

Bar of goodness

You can pretty much dip anything in chocolate and it will be good

Hopeful highlights of this week…jump rope, yoga, rain, Tilapia, a baby shower, aguas termales, pizza…

Overall, I’m very happy and very sad. Just thought I should write it down…


  1. Faddle! I miss you so much! It sounds like you are having your ups and downs, as everyone back here supporting you has too. We are all rooting for you and love you so very much! So so so very glad to hear that you are ok after that massive earthquake. Be good to yourself Shannon and live it up! This is an experience a lifetime!! :-D I love you cuz!


  2. Hey lady!

    You GOTTA find a place to run - I'm sure that would do wonders for your overall well-being.

    Keep writing things down (the good and the bad) and keep on making the best of things (it sounds like you are)!