Movin’ On Up!

Hey Everyone!
So the last time I left you, I was in a funk… Since then I can say that my attitude has drastically improved! Instead of feeling like…
killer-bunny

Now I’m more like…

flesh wound

While my attitude has changed, things in good ol’ Celica have not…

To start off with, my apartment got approved by Peace Corps at the beginning of the month but I am still currently sleeping in my host family’s house….

leaving sigh

But even though I am still living in my old house, I have moved all of my stuff to my new place…

looney

Now let’s take a second to remember that when I came to Ecuador I only had 2 suitcases full of stuff. Well now after being in Celica for only 7 months I have managed to gather enough stuff to fill about 5 suitcases! Also, just so everyone knows, while moving my things I had to walk right through the center of town and everyone looked at me like I was doing this…

trotting
Living in two different places is way more difficult than I imagined, even when the houses are only a few blocks away from each other. Plus whenever I try to find something in my unpacked apartment I pretty much feel like…
kick to the head

So the reason why it’s taken me so long to actually sleep in my new place is that the local elections have been happening at the same time as my move (perfect timing). Just so you know, Ecuadorian campaigning is very different from campaigning in the States. The political parties have rallies in the city and in order to show how much support they have, people will march in the streets chanting to the event. For some reason whenever I hear large groups of people chanting I’m all like…

run away

Because in my head I always think a riot is about to start.

They also have caravans of cars drive around and just honk their horns, so it’s pretty much 20+ cars honking outside your window for what feels like forever! Also, they strap giant speakers to their cars and drive around playing the political party’s song (yes, they have those) or just yelling stuff! When all this commotion happens everyone in Celica is pretty much like…
looking

And I’m like…

rasberry

Soooo, my counterpart happens to be very active in his political party and also happened to agree to loan me a bed frame. So I waited for 2 weeks to get a bed frame moved and then finally decided to just buy my own and then I had to be like…

got one already

Fortunately for me, my landlady is very sweet and motherly and is letting me borrow a TON of stuff! She also bullied the delivery man into helping me put my bed frame together and brought 4 other women over to help finish the project. It was really cute and in the end we were all like…

dancing

However, after putting it all together we realized we didn’t have the right tools to tighten the screws in the frame so I am still sleeping at my old host family’s house until we can fix it…
you make me sad

On the bright side I am almost there (fingers crossed for tomorrow) and I think I have killed all of the spiders…

celebrate
(it’s the little victories)

As far as everything else goes, with getting sick, moving and the elections, this entire month of planning went…

bunny catapult

I’m not too concerned however because since I am the first volunteer here, a lot of my first year will just be setting up a base for future volunteers. Also, this is Peace Corps and change is just kind of the name of the game! And even though it is frustrating, don’t worry everyone…

had worse

Well once I am in my new place I am not sure when I will be able to get internet again so this might be the last blog post for the near future.
This weekend is Carnival so hopefully I will have more exciting things to share next time!
I hope everything is great in your part of the world!
Peace Out!

P.S. You may have noticed this blog full of Monty Python gifs! This one is for all of my friends in Spamalot this weekend! Break all of the legs you guys!!!

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Won’t you take me to funky town!?

OK Guys,

So I’m in a funk and not the good kind of musical funk, the funk that seems like it’s going to just keep dragging you down and down like….

faceplant

I know how funny this is, considering that my last blog was all about how excited I was to start all of my new projects and honestly about a week ago I was pretty much like this….

dancing-dog

Which is why I felt the need to get real for a moment and let you know the other side of life here! Some of you may be shocked to find out that Peace Corps isn’t all lollipops and rainbows. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Sometimes, being here is just plain hard! Peace Corps can be really challenging and frustrating and stressful. That’s kind of what we sign up for I guess, but before I got here I didn’t realize I’d sometimes feel like…

sad_face

disappointed

fangirl

conan_spaz

what

roxbury

And this is all before breakfast!

I feel like a crazy person sometimes or maybe just a hormonal teenager, but still, NOT what I was expecting.

As a volunteer (and I’m sure my fellow volunteers can back me up on this) sometimes I just feel bipolar. And of course, it all happens when you LEAST suspect it like…

chuck1

So I actually started February in very high spirits!

I went to a Superbowl party with other volunteers and the Seahawks won!

deal-with-it2

I had a meeting with the LGBTQ volunteer support group in Quito!

minion

I met the new training class and got to be all like…

jedi

I ate a lot of good food!

bacon

I continued with my old projects and started organizing new projects!

bam

And I started moving into a new apartment!

barney-confetti

Then after feeling super motivated, organized and basically on top of the world, the universe was just like…

bunny

I got sick… just a cold! Not even a big deal right!?

But it was JUST enough to knock me right off of my awesome, positive, motivated routine. Now I just feel like…

f-this

All of my projects are still moving (not smoothly, but still moving) with barely any of my assistance. I’m halfway moved into my apartment. There is SO much stuff to get done and I have the time but I just feel like….

boop

Fortunately for Peace Corps volunteers, we’re not the only ones here, which means we’re all usually going through similar stuff! So when I’m feeling homesick or exhausted or just plain crazy I’ll usually chat with another volunteer and they know what I’m going through… Also, it prevents people back home from doing this…

panic

when it’s really just nothing…

Well, I figured that the funk would pass but I still just wasn’t feeling that great… Then out of nowhere, one of my friends called and started venting to me about how she felt like she was in some kind of weird funk too! I was just like…

wait what 2

So we quickly realized that it wasn’t just me and it wasn’t just her and that probably a lot of us are feeling the exact same way. So this means that we’re not (totally) crazy and that it’s just a normal part of the transitional process that we have to work through. If nothing else, it was great to hear that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way! I mean, no one wants to be like….

i-feel-like-im-taking-crazy-pills

So while I’m not in the, perfect-volunteer-save-the-world, mindset right now, at least I have confidence that I will get back to that space soon.

Also, this situation has taught me to not bite off more than I can chew. Starting new projects is REALLY hard! Keeping current projects going can at least be a little easier, so finding the right balance can be difficult. Right now I’m balancing 3 different projects and wanting to start 4+ within the next few months! What was I thinking!? With that kind of timeline I’m not going to get anything accomplished other than making myself feel like this…

hard-life

So now it’s time to reevaluate, create other plans and not expect myself to do everything in a few months. I already thought I knew this and I usually try to be realistic when planning projects, but sometimes it’s hard to not get ahead of yourself. Which is why I guess getting sick was actually a blessing, it forced me to slow down enough to realize I needed to slow down even more.

I mean, who is going to want to do an activity with me if I’m like…

help

So don’t worry guys, everything is fine here! Just pulling myself out of THAT funk and hopefully into THIS funk…

funk

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

Peace Out!

So, what exactly are you doing down there??? (and so she said)

Hey Everyone!

So let’s talk about what I have done and what I’m planning on doing during my time here!

So the first 3 months I got to interview people in Celica and ask them what they think the problems are here and how they think the community could fix them. With that, I found a TON of information and got some really interesting ideas for projects that I could potentially start. So for my first 3 months, just imagine me like this…

hmmmmm

So after Reconnect training, our city-wide festivals and my friend visiting, I finally had enough time to dedicate to starting up projects. AAAAND It also happened to be January so of course it felt like a great time to get started!

dance

One of the activities my Red Cross youth volunteers and I have been discussing has been putting on an alcohol-free dance! Alcohol abuse is a huge problem here in Celica so we want to hold an alcohol-free dance to prove that we can still have fun without alcohol. Since our dance was scheduled for Valentine’s day and we were starting our fund raising in January, we all pretty much felt like…

overwhelmed

So for our first attempt at fundraising we sold hot dogs… twice… we didn’t make much money and it took A LOT of time and work so afterwards we were kind of like…

kirk fit 2

After getting slightly discouraged, I spoke with another volunteer and he suggested that we do a city-wide BINGO. My youth thought it was a great idea and within 2 weeks we had managed to organize everything! I honestly couldn’t believe that all of the youth did such a great job at organizing while still going to school, doing homework and taking care of all of their other responsibilities. I don’t have nearly as much to do and even I was still like…

whoa

In the end, the crowd was small, but we raised a decent amount of money and overall it was a success! We had a lot of fun working together and afterwards we were all like…

cheers

We also recently found out that there are 2 other dances happening on Valentine’s day so we are now planning on having an “End of the School Year/Prom” type dance (here that’s March 6th) so that the youth will actually go to our event! I’m glad we figured that out otherwise that could have been a big disaster! CRISIS AVERTED!!

jump

Also because of the date change we now have more time to raise money and there is less pressure to have everything ready so soon. However, since we’ve been so busy recently everyone’s pretty much like…

no

As far as my other projects are concerned I am also currently teaching English at the local military base. I have 2 classes that I teach 3 days a week. One class is beginners and consists of enlisted soldiers…. most of our classes are pretty much like…

lookingateachother

My other class is advanced and consists of only officers and doctors and most of our classes are pretty much like…

books

While my main role in Celica is not teaching soldiers English, this has really helped me get some important connections within the community. The Colonel has already requested workshops from my youth volunteers and he also wants me to teach parenting classes to the families at the base. Having this connection kind of makes me feel like…

cat

But then I remember my lesson where a room full of soldiers were singing to Taylor Swift and I quickly remember that I should probably feel more like this…

what

So on top of all of the awesome stuff I’m doing, I have also been searching for apartments! In Peace Corps Ecuador, after you have lived with a host family for your first 6 months in site, you have the option to move out and live on your own. In my situation, my host family wanted their space back and has kindly requested that I find my own place once my 6 months are over. Right now I have found one option that will work with me so hopefully it will get approved and I’ll be able to live…

alone

As far as my other projects are concerned, in February I am planning on starting a “kid’s club” for the elementary school kids to go to after school because currently they have no after school activities. I am really excited to work with this age range again but at same time I kind of worry that the kids are gonna be like…

attack

I am also planning on starting a “girl’s night” for the teenage girls in my community. I would like for it to become a kind of support group for the girls to talk to each other and learn different life skills that will hopefully empower them and improve their futures!

While I’m very excited to get projects started and to expand on my current projects I do find myself wondering…

strain

Honestly, some days I’m more confident than others!

Right now, I am very optimistic about things to come and I am hoping that February is just as busy as January!

I will try to keep you posted on my projects as they progress and hopefully they won’t progress like this…

bomb

This Original Star Trek Blog is dedicated to my Mother! I didn’t forget!

Everyone else, let me know if you have requests!

I hope everything is great in your part of the world! Also, I hope the Seahawks win… just sayin…

Peace out!

PS. During my Star Trek searches I discovered these gems on the internet and felt the need to share them with the world.

spock

wtf