Passing Afternoons

Hello Again!

When I last left you, my host family and I were enjoying delicious delicious meatloaf and mashed potatoes together which can best be described through this gif…

perfection

Since then, my host mother has actually requested that I make it again and that I teach her how to make it as well! I feel like this…

self_high_five

I have also started helping out more in the kitchen! My host mom works so she usually has to wake up super early to make lunch before she leaves. Since I’m usually at home and/or don’t have a strict schedule I have offered to help cook throughout the week so she can relax. She seemed very pleased, she was pretty much like…

excited

One of my reason for not contributing sooner is that in Celica, they don’t have a lot of the ingredients or American types of food that we grow up with. For example, here, they don’t sell pieces of chicken nicely packaged, separated, deboned and whatnot. If you want chicken, you get half a chicken or a whole chicken and you chop it up yourself. Well, coming from the great United States (or at least from my family)… I honestly have NO IDEA how to cut up ANY animal so I’m a pretty useless woman here in Ecuador. Because of this I haven’t felt comfortable cooking anything that involves chicken… Soooooo I have asked my host mom to help me and next Monday she is going to buy a chicken and I am going to cut it all by myself! Knowing me, it will probably end up like this…

turkey

But chicken dancing or not, it will be an experience!

Also, apparently, my host family has decided that I’m a health nut. To which I’m like….

me

I am also apparently the family health expert, which is only because I don’t like mayonnaise on everything and also because I don’t drink coffee at night… Regardless of how valid these titles are, I have still been taking full advantage of the situation by requesting more of ANY kind of vegetable PLEASE DEAR GOD GIVE ME SOMETHING GREEN TO EAT!

In reality I am nowhere near an expert on health, any of my family members or previous roommates or pretty much anyone who reads this blog knows how much I LOVE FOOD… and I am really not that healthy! I’m pretty much like…

eat everything

My host family has also caught me (multiple times) eating Oreos late at night in the kitchen like this….

caught eating

So I really have no idea where they came up with the idea that I am healthy… but I’ll take it!

So other than playing Top Chef in Spanish things have been pretty slow here… My counterpart has been involved with the local elections and my youth group has been pretty inactive. Last weekend I actually had multiple plans and then all of them got cancelled, then my counterpart went out of town and I was like….

buffering

But I keep reminding myself that the first 3 months in site are supposed to be slow because this is our time to adjust and to integrate into our community. If I tried to start projects right now then they probably wouldn’t be successful because I haven’t built relationships and the community doesn’t know and trust me yet. In October my counterpart and I will start our community survey and after that is complete I will probably feel more like…

yessssss

In the meantime I’m just going to as many community events as possible and introducing myself to everyone.

I actually met some other volunteers in the community recently!

I had heard of other volunteers being around and I was like…

what

And then I was like…

excited

Because being a foreigner in another country is hard! I figured we could probably be friends and support each other and our projects since we’re all helping the same community.

When I saw them I was like…

greetings

And I immediately walked right up to them and introduced myself and was like…

friend

They were pretty much like…

Gary-Coleman-wtf

But we exchanged numbers and I later received a message from them about hanging out in the future! So I can say that I’m already pretty popular… I have like 5 friends now (2 of them are children)…

proud

Today I also received a care package from one of my friends and I am beyond excited! I was literally like this when I got it…

cookie-monster

Thanks again to everyone who has sent me something, it means the world to me! I feel so blessed to have such a great support system even when I’m so far away from you!

This weekend I am going to a festival at another volunteer’s site! I’m really excited to meet some volunteers from other training groups and to enjoy some time in other places in my province.

Well as usual I have more to write but I’m going to save it for another day!

I hope everything is great in your part of the world.

Until next time.

Peace out!

La Vaca Loca!

Hello again everyone!

When I last left you, my counterpart was busy with his personal activities and I was still recovering from being sick on my weekend off…

pouty

I’m obviously still upset about that.

Since then it’s been pretty slow and I’ve mostly been keeping busy by finalizing my community survey, making plans with the local youth group and hanging out.

Last weekend my host mom asked me if I had any plans and I was like… Of course not…

duh full house

OK that’s not fair, sometimes I have plans on the weekend but this particular weekend I didn’t… So she asked me if I wanted to go visit her family in a nearby town. I was like ….

coming

YAY! Something to do all day!

When we arrived I found out that this town was also having their founding day celebration! Then I was like….

dance 2

However I ended up quickly wondering why my mother invited me to begin with… she tended to just sit me down in random places and run around doing things for hours at a time. I was beginning to be like…

how rude 2

But I realized that I needed to try to analyze why she might be behaving this way as to not misunderstand her actions.

I first thought, well, this probably ISN’T rude in her mind/culture… Then I thought, actually she probably thinks just sitting around doing nothing is awesome… and finally I thought, well if I want her to include me in things I should probably just force my way in…

So from then on out instead of being offended, I just followed my host mom around like a lost puppy which she seemed to enjoy… However I was still kind of like….

waiting

But that’s just because there really wasn’t anything to do.

Later that evening however, I got to experience Ecuadorian fireworks, which I have only experienced once before, and something called “la vaca loca” (the crazy cow) which I had heard of before but really didn’t know what in the world it meant….

So my host mom pawned me off on her teenage niece and her friends for the evening and together we went to the central park of the town. They were having performances in front of the church. I couldn’t decide whether some of it was cute or just messed up and in general I was like… What… Is… Happening??? And I was also kind of like…

fun night

Then it was on to the VACA LOCA!

After having experienced fireworks here before, I immediately looked at the teenage girls and asked, “Is this going to be dangerous?” To which they replied… more or less…

no way 2

Well, let me tell you what happened next…

A man then walked into the middle of the street as the crowd patiently waited on the sidewalks for the show to begin. He then put something over his head and shoulders that resembled a paper mache cow that was covered in… you guessed it… FIREWORKS… and I was like…

not surprised

Another man then lit the fuse and “la vaca loca” marched/danced back and forth along the street with the fireworks going of one-by-one into the crowd! I was like….

shock

And by the end of the display all of us were cowering in fear behind strangers in the crowd and I looked over at the teenagers and said, “You said that it wasn’t dangerous!”

After the vaca loca we then watched the traditional “castle” of fireworks that are set up in a tower formation and have a fuse that is measured out like a timer so that different levels of the tower go off at different times… It’s really impressive but also terrifying because sometimes fireworks just go flying off of the tower into the crowd… but you know… I like to live dangerously…

dangerous

So after the fireworks, I went back and told my host mom that we were almost killed by the crazy cow and whenever a firework would go off in the distance I would start screaming, “The crazy cow is coming to get me!” Which she found rather entertaining…

Well after last weekend’s shenanigans we decided to stay in this weekend and my host mom asked me if I wanted to cook… Nice way of saying… I don’t want to, will you do it instead? I was like…

got it dude

Well honestly I hadn’t made an effort to cook anything here since tuna sandwiches because,

A) She is always cooking

B) I don’t have most of my American cooking ingredients here

and C) The market makes me nervous

So yesterday morning my host mom took me to the market and I made us pancakes for breakfast with homemade syrup and then I made us meatloaf and mashed potatoes for lunch… As you can probably imagine I was like…

pasta

And my host family LOVED it! They both got seconds and we were all like…

dancing full house

So all in all things have been pretty great here!

You may have noticed that all of my gifs are from the TV series Full House… This post is for you OC… Mission accomplished.

I will now be taking requests for future themed posts!

Hope all is well in your part of the world!

Peace Out!

Month 1 Done!

Hello all!

As usual a lot has happened since the last time I wrote so hopefully this won’t be too long!

Well after the Red Cross camp a few weekends ago, the activities have changed quite a bit in my site…. I’ve been finding myself going…

wait what

A lot more recently… But of course that makes for a lot of new experiences that I would probably never have if I were back in the States!

So we’re no longer having to fund raise like crazy people for the aforementioned camp… However,  when I got back to Celica we had an activity with another organization that I’m working with called Huellas,… I know what you guys are thinking…

spanish

Well don’t you worry! I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish skills since I’ve been here…Huellas means Footprints (or Tracks, if you’re talking about animals)… Now everyone breathe a sigh of relief… I’ve got you covered!

ANYWAYS!… Huellas is an animal rights organization that was brought to my site by my counterpart and his wife.

In Ecuador animals are often neglected or mistreated and it was really hard for me to witness that since in the States that is usually considered unacceptable. So having a chance to work with this organization is AWESOME, there are a lot of children that participate and I think that teaching them empathy for animals is very important and hopefully it can be transferred to how they treat other people.  This is how it all makes me feel inside…

rainbow kitten unicorns

So the first few days after camp were dedicated to rounding up local dogs and cats and getting them FIXED!!! Wasn’t exactly how I expected to spend my first couple days back in site but you know…

tina thumb

AND We ended up getting 49 dogs/cats fixed in TWO DAYS!

like-a-boss

Which was soooo amazing and will really benefit the community!

But needless to say, after a weekend of camp and a couple days of dog whispering I was pretty exhausted and ready for my weekend off…

Each month we get 3 days of personal time to get out of site so we don’t do this…

crazy

And I was ready to take mine and eat delicious American food and see my friends from training and visit another city… But mostly eat delicious American food (I have a problem?)

Well on Wednesday evening I got a phone call that said that we were going to go to a meeting the next day in another town for Red Cross… I was like…

shrug

On the way there I was told that this meeting would be about helping local farmers because there had recently been a drought and the Red Cross of that town was providing relief!

Well, once we arrived, I realized that this wasn’t a meeting… There were at least 30 people gathered around waiting… apparently for industrial sized farm hoses!

duh

My counterpart then told me that the contracted engineer responsible for the hose project had just bailed which then left US responsible for distributing said giant hoses to the farmers! My counterpart and I were pretty much like…

beats-me

So I did what any flexible Peace Corps volunteer would do and put on my manual labor pants and went to work… Again… Not exactly what I was expecting to do on a Thursday afternoon…. But I was pretty much like…

awesome

or probably more like…

whats happening

Sooooo needless to say after carting around hoses that were WAY heavier than I ever expected, I was even MORE ready to take my personal days…

The next day I left for Cuenca and once we all arrived we were like….

happy-dance-

And then I promptly got sick… all weekend…

garfield_faceplant

But even though I was sick the whole time, don’t think that I let it get me down… I still had a blast!

eating_approval

I ate my face of, went shopping and saw the sites!

However, It did get so bad that on the last night I actually resorted to Ecuadorian Shaman remedies and made one of my friends rub an egg on me to get rid of my “bad energy”… and you’re not going to believe me but… It worked…

tumblr_m4cb06eIC11r98u24

Fortunately the egg rubbing continued to work for the entire bus ride back to site and since I’ve gotten back things have been pretty slow. My counterpart seems to be pretty active with the million other personal projects he’s working on, that in no way involve me so I’m pretty much like…

not my chair

(^That one’s for you Natalie!)

So  I’ve been working on my Community Assessment Tool that I will start doing later this month and I’ve also been helping him with Red Cross projects and of course I’m still kind of recovering from being sick and taking it easy…

Side Announcement-

I have recently started participating in the Peace Corps World Wise Schools program and I wanted to let any of my educator family/friends out there know about it!

World Wise Schools is a program that gets teachers in contact with a current Peace Corps volunteer that can be a pen pal for your class or contribute in other ways depending on what you’re looking for. It’s way cooler than how I’m describing it, so if you want to check it out here’s the website:

www.peacecorps.gov/wws

I am allowed to participate with at least one other school, if not more, so if you’d like to pen pal or Skype with me in your classroom then just let me know and I can request you to be my school!  Or join in and meet some other cool volunteers, it’s a great resource for teachers and it’s free!

Ok just wanted to mention that for all my teachers out there!

costanza-wink

Alright I had more but I’m gonna save it for later… I hope everything is great in your part of the world!

Until next time!

Peace Out!