Alright, it has been forever since I last posted a blog. I remember before coming here that I was determined to post a blog at least once every two weeks, now it is barely once every few months. I guess it just goes to show how different my life has become. I no longer walk in the door, go for my laptop and flip it open to check my email everytime I step foot in my room. Instead I come home and usually sit down to have a conversation with one of my family members and eventually find my way to a cozy spot in the house to read a book.
My life has also become a lot more comfortable. I can't remember the last time I cared about "doing" my hair or puting on makeup. Not that it should have ever been a concern, but here (unlike America)no one really goes to extreme lengths to look better than they already do when they roll out of bed in the morning. I guess they do like to polish their shoes every morning, and for some reason believe it is essential to wet their hair everytime they get the chance. However, rather than adapt to their standard of grooming, I have decided to give the majority of it up.
I have continued to go to the gym on a regular basis, and feel great about that. I wish I could get my diet more in check, but it is hard when food is such a central part of the culture here and rejecting any meal is like a slap in the face to the chef. So I basically eat anything they put in front of me. I have, in the meantime, perfected my yelling skills,"poco, no mas!" ("Just a little!")is what I yell everytime my host mom goes to dish me up. She gets the point now... She loves to tell people that I will eat anything, but that I just cannot eat a lot because I don't know how. LOL!
Oh trust me lady, I know how...
In other news, someohow my camera broke. It just stopped working one day. So there will be a hiatus on photo taking for a while.
I also bought a puppy! After my family decided to banish Little Louie to the Chacra (farmland) for eating all the chicken eggs, I took it upon myself to find another dog. Her name is Lady-Chica, she is mostly blind, but i'm pretty sure she can see anything right in front of her face. She is so cute, and loves to sleep. She eats, plays, sleeps... all day long. I have started to let her spend all her time outside in the back of the house and she loves it. She isn't scared of the crazy cat or the crazy chickens that my mom has back there, and I'm almost positive she has no interest in eating the chicken eggs either.
As for work in site, I took a break for the holidays, and am feeling a bit guilty that I havn't gotten back into the swing of things yet. One thing after another just seems to pop up and every week it's a different reason for why I cannot get much work done. I do see in the next couple weeks that I will be able to get some work done towards a few projects I am launching.
I plan to start a youth entrepreneurship club at the comedor, as well as host a preventative medical campaign at some different locals in my site. I also am in the process of applying for a PEPFAR project that will educate my community members on the dangers associated with HIV/Aids. Aside from all of this I am still trying to find my way into the artisan community. I have yet to have any success working with the artisans, so I think it is time to change up my approach... As before I am still working with the organic avacado association which mostly involves getting the various forms filled out so they can move forward with the project.
As for my social life, well lets just say I am integrating well. My family is almost too comfortable with me. My host brother loves to come to me daily to get advice about his 'difficult' life... He has no job, hardly does any school work, and is always in a fight with his 15 year old girlfriend. My advice is almost always the same regardless of the issue, "be honest, grow up, and stop making excuses..." I can only hope that some part of my advice will rub off after two years.
My host mom is definately opening up as well. She was very quiet and reserved for the first few months, but now she is more willing to speak up and talk to me. She is still reserved and doesn't have much to say, but I'm 99% sure that it is just the way she is, and she just doesn't really care about talking to me anyways. My host dad is still excited to have me around, he checks in on me daily and I really think he is someone that is looking out for my best interest (but you never know...). One day he came home really drunk, like i'm talking stumbling around and yelling to the top of his lungs that he "loves me like a real daughter." When he apologized the next day for the way he acted, I told him in wasn't a problem, and acted like it was no big deal (even though I will never look at him the same again). He was obviously relieved to know that I wasn't upset, and I think it helped build some trust with him. It's funny how these things work.
Well I am sure there is much more to talk about, but this will have to do for now. I promise I will post more blogs in the NEAR future. For those of you that might still be reading any of this, I appreciate you for following my blog, it makes me feel closer to those of you that are so far away ;)
I also want to give a shout-out to my Grandma in the Oh-hi-OOOOH! I hope you are doing well, miss and think about you a lot!!!!
And to all those who have sent me care packages and letters, they are amazing, and whenever I receive one it literally makes my day! Thanks Mom, Hedy, Aunt Nancy, Grandma, Kelsey, Penny, Steve and Amelia Gage, The Esquiros, Abby, and Melissa.
I hope everyone is doing well back home ;)