Reconnecting, Exercising and Thanking…

Hello All!!

So the last few weeks have flown by! I got to go to Quito for our Reconnect training which is basically a week-long training for volunteers and their counterparts after 3 months in site.

When all of us volunteers got together after being separated for so long I was like…

love

Then after a couple days I was like…

easily offended

And in the end I was just like…

real and hilarious

 

During this training we got to present the results of our Community Assessment to the other volunteers in our program. I felt like my presentation with my counterpart was pretty much like…

change the world

And I worry that after 2 years we’re going to be more like…

mission failed

But at least we have good intentions?

My counterpart also had to leave after the first day so I pretty much got to sit through the rest of the counterpart training like this…

every-meeting

But after the other counterparts left, we actually got to some training specifically for volunteers…

Some of us were like…

excited

others were like…

bored

And the rest of us were like…

ignore your advice

While in Quito we also took FULL advantage of being in a big city with big city food and I was pretty much like….

cheese

And the other volunteers were just like…

treat yo self

And after all was said and done, I think I gained about 5 pounds…

friends_regret_nothing

Once I got back to site, I suddenly started feeling REALLY integrated. I made friends with my counterpart’s aunt, who is actually younger than my counterpart! We went to a fair that was in town and then she invited me to go to bailoterapia with her which is basically free jazzercise (or Zumba) classes that the government provides all over Ecuador.

I went yesterday evening and invited my German volunteer friends to come too and it was sooooo much fun! In my mind I felt like I was dancing around like this…

dancing

But I’m sure I looked more like this…

spazzoli

Regardless of my sweet dancing skills, I definitely plan on going back every week so I can get into shape, make some friends and make a fool out of myself all at the same time!

On top of everything great that’s been going on in the last few weeks, I’ve also gotten 2 care packages from my friends! I have now found myself saying this a lot more often than usual…

i ate it

Tomorrow we are having a super Thanksgiving with other volunteers in my area! I definitely have A LOT to be thankful for, everything seems to be falling into place and getting better and better. I am beyond optimistic for what the future holds and I feel extremely blessed to have such a great support system here and back home.

I hope all of you have a VERY Happy Thanksgiving full of food, football, family and friends and I hope all is well in your part of the world!

Peace Out!

The Shrimp, The Dinosaur and The… What are you supposed to be again??

Hello All!

I’ve been putting off writing a blog because I felt that nothing has really happened since the last time I wrote. I then thought about it for a minute and realized that I was mistaken. Although, this has been my normal state recently…

me

I have still managed to gather several interesting stories from my last few weeks so I guess something has been going on!

Let’s talk about Halloween… I decided to celebrate Halloween this year with my friend in a nearby site. She had arranged a huge event for the kids she’s working with and she also designed an elaborate costume and once I heard about that I was like…

lets-do-this

When I arrived at her site we quickly met up and did some last minute shopping/prep work for the party. I was in charge of making popcorn on the stove since I was the only one with limited experience and by the time I was finished, the kitchen was COVERED in popcorn…

pouring-popcorn

After we cleaned up the popcorn and finally got everything together we put on our costumes! My friend was a giant orange shrimp… Her site mate was a dinosaur … And I was supposed to be the Monopoly man, but I quickly turned into a magician that didn’t know any tricks…

crushed-it

Once we were dressed we then paraded across the entire town to the neighborhood where we were having the party. On the way we were told multiple times that we were very “guapa” (pretty) to which we were like…

brick-lol

When we arrived at the park, we were surrounded by 40+ little children in masks and outfits ready to see the giant shrimp and her friends!

We started the party with a couple games, pin the hat on the witch and bobbing for oranges (because apples are too expensive) and we quickly realized that Ecuadorian kids have NO PROBLEM shoving their face into a bucket of water to get an orange… When I tried to get my students in China to bob for apples they were pretty much all like…

michael-scott-no (1)

Then it was the time for trick or treating… My friend had already arranged with several neighbor ladies to give out candy that she provided, so we just had to get the hoard from one house to the next. This, my friends, was one of the funniest things I have witnessed since being here. Imagine a group of 40+ kids running and screaming in one direction, then a giant shrimp lady yelling that they were going the wrong way and then the entire group stopping and then running and screaming in another direction. They were all pretty much like…

emma-stone-excited

This went on for about 30 minutes. The kids had a blast, the adults had a blast and the volunteers had a blast. It was a huge success. And we then went to another neighborhood, and did it all again… At the end of it we were like…

Colbert-High-Five

sleepy

But I must say, it was definitely worth my trip…

When I got back to my site, I was informed that we were having a city-wide earthquake drill later on that week and that the Red Cross youth group was expected to participate.

Leading up to the drill I got to speak in front of both high schools and help give 2 First Aid classes to the volunteers and during this time we also recruited 15 new volunteers so now we have 30 volunteers in our youth group!

happy-moves

On the day of the drill, all of the youth were going CRAZY! They were so excited that when the sirens went off they were like….

elf

The drill was a huge success and the youth got to report about their experiences to the rest of the group. They all bragged about how many “wounded” they helped and were very proud of themselves. It was definitely a great week for the Red Cross ….

thumbs-up

So I guess all in all it actually has been a pretty eventful few weeks!

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

Peace out!