Poco a Mucho

Hello Everyone!

Sorry I’ve really dropped the ball with posting recently! So much has been going on that time has flown by and I haven’t had much motivation to write everything down! Now it’s April and I get to catch all of you up on everything that’s gone down since last year! I know you’re all pretty much thinking…

But I hope you change your mind once you’re done reading this post!

Fortunately for you, January was pretty uneventful, I finally got out of my immobilizing brace and started physical therapy on my knee. I can’t say that it was enjoyable. I later found out that my physical therapist was having me do exercises that I shouldn’t have been doing at that level of my recovery to which I was like… 

Then after only 10 sessions, the medical staff decided that I was OK to stop physical therapy and ended my sessions without prior notice. I immediately felt like this…

I tried to go about my normal routine but I quickly realized that my original concerns were correct and that I was in no way ready to stop physical therapy. Fortunately, I brought up these concerns with the Peace Corps doctors and then requested to go to a different physical therapist and things have been going A LOT smoother!

At the new physical therapy office, I met with a doctor who gave me an evaluation and designed a treatment plan for me with my physical therapist. I’ve been going there for a while now. Last week I had to get another MRI done to make sure that my damaged tendons were healing properly and tomorrow I should get the results from that. I will then find out if I need more physical therapy or not.

Honestly, I’m sick of not being able to use my body properly, I’m STILL not able to run or jump but I am very pleased with the quality of care I’m receiving so I know I’m in good hands and that I will be able to recover and eventually do this…

In February, I got to celebrate my last Carnival in Ecuador on the coast with my friends. I had a blast going to beach and getting to relax, eat coastal food and do whatever we wanted. While most of the places were packed with people, we were in a hostel that was right on the beach a little further down from all the crowds. It was perfect! Because of my knee I was unable to do most activities so I was pretty much like…


Around that time I also was able to participate in and co-direct the 3rd annual Vagina Monologues in Quito! Last year I participated in them and it was a very simple performance. We each read our monologues and they were all in English, nevertheless we had a full house and a wonderful time but this year we had bigger plans.

Since women’s empowerment is still a huge issue here in Ecuador, we realized that it was crucial to have the majority of the production be in Spanish. My friend also found an actual theater that was available for us to use so that we would have a professional space. We originally didn’t have much luck recruiting women to participate but we soon found the proper space to advertise and the response was AMAZING!

In the end we recruited 18 women to participate and in just 2 weeks, with only 5 rehearsals, we put together 2 performances and raised $300 to donate to a local organization that works to eradicate sex trafficking in Ecuador!

It was extremely challenging but I was so proud of the women we worked with and the professional performance we were able to put on. It was an experience I will NEVER forget! After all was said and done we were all pretty much like…

Then shortly after all of that, 2 of my friends came to visit me from the States! We went to the Galapagos and let me tell you the entire trip was pretty much like…

We got to see giant turtles in the wild, crawl through lava tunnels, snorkel with sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, sea horses, marine iguanas and penguins! We got to see giant manta rays leaping out of the ocean, blue footed boobies doing a mating dance and watched the sun set over the ocean while drinking cocktails at a bar on the beach! All in all, I must say it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken and I’m so glad I got to share that experience with my friends!

Since returning from that epic vacation, I’ve been able to increase my workload since my knee has been recovering more and more. I have started going to my counterpart regularly again and am now working on my final projects. It’s hard to imagine that I will be leaving in August!

I wish I could just do this job forever but I know that I’m meant to move on to other adventures.

Well, that’s all I have for now! I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!

Hashtag Blessed

Hello Everyone!

So, the last time I posted, I was getting ready to go to a Cheese Festival in another volunteer’s community. Let me tell you it was…


I got to hang out with a lot of my favorite people and eat ALL of the cheese!!! At one point, we were pretty much like…


The festival included not only cheese, chocolate and friends but also, a cheese relay race where teams had to run around town with a 40 pound block of cheese (the volunteers got 3rd place), a best dressed cuy competition (look it up, it’s great), llama races and much much more! It was pretty amazing!

After the festival, I got back to work and wrapped up the HIV/AIDS prevention group and my two substance abuse prevention groups. We had official graduations with snacks and certificates for all the groups and it was so adorable! My little kids were pretty much like…


During this time, I also had a friend visiting me from China! We didn’t get to do too much touristy stuff but he did get an authentic experience and got to meet and hang out with my Quito community! The entire time we were pretty much like…


After a week in Quito, my friend and I then boarded separate planes, heading for the same place…



We both headed back to the homeland to spend some time with friends and family and to attend my big brother’s wedding!

I arrived the day before Thanksgiving and my sister-in-law and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner together! I was pretty much like…


It was great to spend Thanksgiving with my family and then afterwards I got to go hang out with some of my friends! We were pretty much like…


I spent the rest of my time back home eating everything I could get my hands on and drinking ALL of the Dr. Pepper I could find! I got to catch up with friends, hang out with family and relax. It was amazing! Then I got to see my brother get married!


It was a beautiful ceremony and reception and I couldn’t be happier that I now have a new sister! My heart is like…


I am so glad that I could make it back and spend that time with family and friends.


So, after all of the celebrations I returned to my Quito family. I had a Christmas party with my co-workers and was getting ready to celebrate the holidays. Then a week after my return, I was dancing with a friend and I dislocated my knee! When it happened we were pretty much like….


My friend had to put it back into place and I was pretty much just freaking out the entire time. I then called the Peace Corps doctors and was taken to the hospital the next morning. They did x-rays, an MRI and put me in a brace that immobilized my knee and then sent me on my way. I now feel like this when I’m walking around…


The next week I went to see a specialist and they said that I needed to keep my knee immobilized for 3 more weeks. After that we’ll check everything again and if it’s OK, then I will need to do 2 months of physical therapy. While being immobile makes me feel like…


The fact that I don’t need surgery makes me feel like…


So right now, I’m working from home. I still have around 2 more weeks of immobilization time but I’m doing alright. I can walk for a couple hours a day so I can run small errands and also, I was able to go to my friend’s Christmas dinner and celebrate with them!


I have also now had some time to start looking at Master’s programs and to start studying for the GRE so at least I’m being productive!


This weekend I am also planning on having a dinner with friends for New Year’s Eve and then going to watch people burn effigies at a safe distance! Not my original plan, but I’m glad I’ll get to be with friends and participate in some of the celebration!

Well, that’s all I have for now! I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!


Check Meowt!

Hello Everyone!

A lot has happened since I last posted and now that my life has gotten busier it has been difficult to find the time to sit down and write more often! Hopefully I will be able to post every two months or so from now on but we’ll see. I know you’re all like…


After my last post, one of my besties and my cousin came to visit me at the same time which was pretty much like…


We did sightseeing around Quito and we also made it out to the beach which was like…



It was a wonderful trip and I’m so glad I got to spend quality time with both of them, it makes being abroad a little easier when people you care about come to visit!

I am also glad that they both now know more about my life in Quito. It just makes our relationships a little more close like…


So, once vacation was over and all the trips were done, I was able to get back to my projects!

In September, after almost a year in planning my biggest project in Peace Corps finally came to fruition. The CEO and Founder of an organization in Dallas called Rainbow Days came down to Quito and trained 18 Peace Corps volunteers how to facilitate their substance abuse prevention curriculum! It was a 3 day training and the entire time I just felt like….


I had previously seen their curriculum in use when I was working in substance abuse prevention in Fort Worth and when I arrived in Ecuador 3 years ago I definitely saw a huge need for that work. So, with time, persistence and the unwavering support of Rainbow Days we were able to make this project a reality and start the process of bringing the curriculum to volunteers in Ecuador!


Since the training I have been getting wonderful feedback from the volunteers that have been able to implement the curriculum and I’m looking forward to hearing more!

My work with my counterpart organization has also been going really well over the last months. School started again in September and I have been able to organize and start several different projects. I restarted the youth group with my coworker that will use soccer to teach about HIV/AIDS prevention. I have also started an English Club and this week I started 2 substance abuse prevention groups! All in all I’m pretty much like…


Throughout all of this I also was able to go help another volunteer with a vacation camp that she held for children and youth in her community! I was only able to be there for 3 days but it was great to be able to get out of the city and be around volunteers and work with kiddos from another community. Afterwards I was feeling like this…


But also like this…


This month we also had our cluster meeting for all of the volunteers that are in the nearby provinces to us. As a Volunteer Leader I am responsible for running these (with the help of the other Quito Volunteer Leader) and it was great to get everyone together to share and connect. I was pretty much like…


This week I also was able to participate in a Girls Leading Our World (GLOW) training provided by fellow volunteers and staff about gender empowerment. It is part of the Let Girls Learn initiative that Michelle Obama spearheaded and we are now one of the pilot countries for this program! I missed the last day because I was sick but I’m definitely feeling like…


As far as future plans are concerned, we are going to have a 5 day weekend at the beginning of November so we are going to go to a small town’s cheese and chocolate festival! I imagine I’m going to be like this the entire time…


Just replace the watermelon with a giant wheel of cheese…

I also have a friend coming to visit at the end of November and I am going to be going back to the States for my brother’s wedding at the end of November as well! All in all I’m pretty much like…


I will hopefully be able to post in December about all of that fun so be ready!

Well, that’s all I have for now! I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Also, Happy Halloween!!!


Can’t wait to see some of you for Thanksgiving!

Peace out!


When it Rains, it Pours…

Hello Everyone!

Well as much as I had wanted to continue writing in my blog around once a month, the universe is conspiring against me and I have found myself with no time.


As the title of this post suggests, yes, more has happened since the last time I wrote and a lot of it hasn’t been good.

I continued working on my Substance Abuse Prevention classes with my group of kiddos at work and I also started a youth group with my coworker for the HIV prevention through soccer program.

I was very excited with how everything was going, I also adopted my kitten, Pippin! All in all I was feeling like…


Then I received the news that my cousin had passed away suddenly from a heart attack. When I found out I felt like…


And I immediately bought a ticket back to the States to be home with my family.

It was very difficult but I’m glad I went back so that I could support my family as much as possible. I also was glad I went back so I could grieve with everyone instead of being abroad. It’s still unbelievable and my family is all still processing everything so please keep them in your hearts and minds.

While I was home, my landlady found out that I have a kitten (I forgot to tell her previously) and the then declared that she hates cats/has a phobia of cats/is allergic to cats so insisted that my roommate and I either get rid of him or move. To which we were like…

bye felicia

So immediately upon my return from the States, I had to look for a new apartment. My roommate and I took this opportunity to look for our own separate apartments since when we first moved to Quito it was not an option because we didn’t know Quito very well.

Fortunately, through a friend, I was able to find a great apartment within my Peace Corps budget. I also was able to move into my new apartment with the help of my coworker and his nephew. I am extremely grateful for his friendship and seriously couldn’t have done it without him…

thank you

So needless to say, everything has been pretty stressful these past couple months. The kids are on vacation right now so all of my projects have been put on hold for vacation camp at work. I am enjoying the field trips with the kids and my coworkers but I’m feeling a little discouraged since I haven’t been able to follow anything through. Work wise I’m kind of feeling like…


Fortunately, for my mental health, I did get a visitor this month! My friend came down and while she was here we got to do some sightseeing in Quito and she joined me for a hike to Quilotoa, a crater lake in a dormant volcano. The hike took us through farmlands and indigenous villages tucked away in the mountains. The views were breathtaking!!! The entire time we were pretty much like…


However the hiking was way more difficult than we originally thought and at the end of the day we were like…


While it was definitely a challenge, it was definitely worth it. I am so glad that my friend was there to do it with me and that we got to have that adventure together. We are definitely like…

sam and frodo

Those are some memories that will last a lifetime and that visit made me feel like…


So now I am in my new apartment, with Pippin, and I am preparing myself for another visit! My friend and my cousin are planning on coming to visit in August! We are going to go to the coast for some relaxation and then do some sightseeing in Quito!

While I feel bad about taking vacation after so recently being in the States, I am definitely pumped about them being here with me and getting to show them around Ecuador! We’re going to be like…

beach spud

Hopefully after this trip, I’ll be able to start planning my projects for the new school year that starts in September. We will also be having the Substance Abuse Prevention training that I’ve been working so hard on and I am hoping to expand my projects at my work and with Peace Corps. If all goes to plan I’ll also be attending a training on Women’s Empowerment so…

feminist rants]

While this year has been very difficult, I still remain optimistic that things will all work out.

In the meantime, I’ll try to keep you posted as much as the universe allows.

Well, that’s all I have for now! I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!

Picking Up the Pieces…

Hello Everyone!

I am sorry it has taken me so long to write again, as you may have noticed in the news, things in Ecuador have been pretty hectic recently.

March and April were rough months for pretty much everyone I know.

In March, two of my friend’s mothers passed away within weeks of each other which just felt like…

how can it be

All I wanted to do was go home and support them but unfortunately, volunteer budgets do not allow for last minute trips to the States. Instead, I am trying to support them, as much as possible from here, but I must admit it’s difficult.

Then on April 16th there was a 7.8 earthquake on the coast of Ecuador that killed over 650 people. Fortunately, Quito (where I live) was not severely impacted by the earthquake and all of the Volunteers were safe. However, there were THOUSANDS of Ecuadorians that were injured, many missing and now even more are currently homeless. Watching all of this unfold in a country that you consider your second home was like…


After everything happened, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers stepped up and immediately started collecting donations to help the affected areas. Since currently serving volunteers can’t accept financial contributions, they were the link that made it possible for us to help on the ground.

Also, since currently serving volunteers were living in some of the most impacted areas, we were able to communicate with local community members and ask what resources they needed so that we could send supplies to the areas that weren’t receiving media attention.

Once the immediate emergency level of the situation subsided, the volunteers decided that it was now best to focus our efforts on the rebuilding process. As I mentioned before, THOUSANDS of people are homeless and since most structures in Ecuador are built by cement, the reconstruction effort is daunting at best. There are now tent cities popping up all over the coast which will create a different set of issues ranging from hygiene to crime. So with the media attention subsiding, it is even more imperative to focus on different kind of relief efforts in the affected areas. It’s going to be a long process but this small country is strong and will hopefully rise to the challenge.

I want to take this time to say THANK YOU to everyone who reached out and donated to the relief efforts. It means a lot to me that you helped support in any way you could. While we all feel very helpless, we are trying our best to help our families here in Ecuador. So,

thank you

In more personal news, the Substance Abuse Prevention Training project I was working on was postponed because of the earthquake which was disappointing, but also expected once the details of the disaster started coming in.

Fortunately, the project will continue, but I’m now concerned about sustainability since they also had to cancel the arrival of the newest group of trainees that were supposed to arrive this week. I am sure it will all work out but my 4th year definitely looks a lot different than it did a couple months ago. I’m still feeling like this though…

everything alright

Now that things are getting (kind of) back to normal, I have been able to start different projects at my counterpart organization. I am currently working on substance abuse prevention classes and I’m also going to start teaching the HIV/AIDS prevention curriculum my counterpart and I were trained in a couple months ago…


I am also looking forward to having several visitors over the summer! In July, one of my friends is coming to visit and in August, my friend AND my cousin are coming to visit all of which makes me feel like…

happy 2

I also recently bought a ticket back home for my brother’s wedding in December so ALL of my current and future vacation days are BOOKED! I better get medically cleared to stay another year or I’ll be like…

freak out

But I’m obviously optimistic about everything so no worries!

In other small (but big to me) news, I got a slow cooker and I’m considering adopting a kitten! Both unrelated to one another, but equally exciting…


Well that’s all I have for now! Hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!

PS. If you’re interested in helping out with relief efforts please feel free to contact me and I can get you any information you’d like!

Big News in Little Ecuador

Hello Everyone!

I have a lot of stuff to share with you all and this post might be a little long so…

deal with it

At the end of January I got to be a judge for an English singing competition at a high school a volunteer works at in Quito. They sang songs ranging from “Eternal Flame” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and we were all pretty much like…

this is awesome

Then in February Carnival happened! I went to the beach like I do every year and I got to go snorkeling with a fellow Volunteer Leader and visited some of my favorite beaches. I ended up camping with some of my other friends and I pretty much felt like this the entire weekend…


Then on my last night on the coast my roommate came down with some of his friends that were visiting from the States and we had so much fun!!! We played Carnival, which basically involves getting soaked with water and spray foam. It was pretty much like…


Also during Carnival weekend I got terrible news that my aunt wasn’t doing well with her chemo treatments and she ended up passing away shortly after I received the news. It was difficult news to get and it was even more difficult since I was so far away from my family. I am grateful to my friends here in Ecuador and my family and friends back home that helped support me during that time. Thanks guys…

i love you

After Carnival we had a meeting for the LGBTQ volunteer support group which is one of my favorite times! I got to hang out with volunteers that I don’t usually get to see and then after we supported each other, we went out dancing! I was pretty much like…


It was so much fun!!! I am so happy to be a part of that lovely group with all those amazing people! It just makes my heart feel like…


Work has also been going great over the last few months! I’ve been starting to suggest different project ideas at my counterpart agency and they’ve been super receptive and supportive of all my ideas. At the end of this month I’m going to have a volunteer come do a training on positive reinforcement with my coworkers.

fist pump

I recently got permission for one of my coworkers and I to go to a Recycled Art Conference that Peace Corps is putting on. I also got permission for another coworker and I to go to a training in Guayaquil on Grassroots Soccer which is a curriculum for HIV/AIDS prevention that’s combined with soccer!


My projects have also been growing a lot with Peace Corps and I’m super excited! An organization that I collaborated with in the States has not only agreed to let us use their substance abuse prevention curriculum here but they are also flying down to Quito to train a group of volunteers for FREE! I’m so excited I’m like…

high five

They’re also going to make me an official trainer so I’ll hopefully be able to continue training volunteers here and keep the project going!


Because of my projects growing and taking off I have some other big news to share!


say what

Yup! I’ve decided that my projects would have a better chance of becoming sustainable if I’m around so I decided to go ahead and stay and keep working on them for yet another year. I’m still in the process of finalizing everything but I wanted to go ahead and let everyone know that apparently I’m going to stay here forever…

for ev er

This now means that (if everything goes smoothly) I will be finishing with Peace Corps in August of 2017. Don’t worry, I am going to come back for Thanksgiving and for my brother’s wedding in December so I will get to see everyone over the holidays. This also means that people can come visit me in Quito for another year!


Speaking of visitors, I am actually going to be getting 2 visitors coming down in a week! My friend who has already visited me twice (she’s a better friend than you’ll ever be) is coming down to visit AGAIN! At the same time my Spanish professor and friend is also going to be coming down that same week! It’s going to be so much fun! I will let you know how it goes I’m sure it’s going to be like…

party fun times

I’m so happy with my life here and my projects that I am very excited to see where this next year and a half takes me!

Well that’s all I have for now! Hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!

Fiestas, Fiestas, Fiestas!

Hello Everyone!

I knew that living in Quito would be slightly busier than Celica…


But these last 2 months have definitely been some of the busiest of my time in Peace Corps!

As I mentioned in my last post, I started working at a new organization, which is basically a before and after school program for children. We help them with their homework and also provide healthy activities for them to do in their free time.

I started working at my new counterpart at the beginning of December, right before the fiestas of Quito. My first week was basically watching various programs that the kids put on for the festivals, helping with recycled art project and moving groups of kids from one location to another which was basically like…

herding cats

After the festivals were over, it was time for all of the Christmas celebrations! During these weeks I helped take a group of kids to see the Nutcracker on ice which was pretty much like…

what just happened

And the kids were pretty much like…


We also had a Christmas program for the children that involved a soccer demonstration, baton twirlers/dancers and a magician! During the entire program I was pretty much like…

thats awesome

After the Christmas celebrations I took some time off of work because one of my friends from the States came to visit me for Christmas! It was pretty much as magical as this…


Her first night here we hung out with several volunteers and some of our Ecuadorian, Peruvian and Brazilian friends. We spent the whole night dancing in our apartment and we had a BLAST! We were pretty much like…

whip nae nae

The next day we went to the historical center of Quito and magically got pickpocketed along the way to which we were like…

sad whatever

The next day we went to Mindo, which is a National Park in a transitional zone so it’s kind of like the jungle. While we were there, we went to a butterfly sanctuary and were pretty much like…


There were so many butterflies EVERYWHERE!!! It was amazing!

Then we went on a hike to see some waterfalls at the end of the hike it started raining and I was pretty much like…

No 2

So we went and hung out at a shelter and a nice couple gave us a ride back to town.

After Mindo we came back to Quito and spent Christmas Eve/Christmas Day with volunteers! We had a potluck and a white elephant gift exchange! On Christmas Day, we went to Chili’s (yes Ecuador has Chili’s) and then went to watch a movie. It was pretty much the epitome of…


After Christmas we went to Otavalo, which is famous for it’s market. While we were there we did some Christmas shopping and also ran into some volunteers and got to hang out with them for a while!

The next day we went to hike around a crater lake called Cuicocha with a volunteer from my training class. We loved the hike and the scenery and I could not stop staying…

so beautiful

Seriously one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to!

After that we went back into Quito and just went around the city. We went to my favorite museum here and mostly just got to hang out and relax together. All in all it was an amazing and relaxing trip. I’m so blessed that I have friends that will come and visit me so far away during the holidays!


Also a big shout out to Lesley who sent goodies down for me and my kiddos!


You make me feel so loved!

After my friend left to go back to the States I ended up staying in Quito for New Year’s. I was going to go to the coast but by the time my friend and I went to buy tickets, they were all sold out…


However, I was pretty tired (and broke) after my vacation so it actually wasn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened. So I ended up getting to hang out with some of my friends in Quito and we went out and watched people set of fireworks and burn things. Then we jumped over the burning things for good luck so hopefully 2016 is lucky!


After all of the holidays and traveling I finally went back to my counterpart. Right now I’m currently helping kids with their English homework, helping my coworkers with whatever they need and mostly observing everything to see what projects I could potentially start.

In Peace Corps I am doing various training activities with volunteers and staff, working on organizing site visits and hopefully getting a substance abuse prevention training organized for the spring!

fingers crossed

Overall I have been pretty busy either with work or play so we will see what happens next! I’m hoping I can really take off with my projects at my new counterpart and Peace Corps over the next months. I’m still loving life and all of my visitors in Quito.

living the dream

Well that’s all I have for now! Hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Peace out!