The Simple Life

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Despite all of the exotic and awesome illness that we are exposed to probably on a daily basis, I am have had all my energy killed by a combo of the common cold and the flu. I had the flu which nicely transitioned into a nasty cold over the past two weeks. Basically, this means my energy is completely shot and most of motivation with it. It’s weird being here when you’re sick. During training I hated being sick because every time I so much as sneezed my host family would worry and then force feed me tea every hour and on the hour. I mean really, that’s not too bad. I didn’t like that they worried but it was nice having someone there to take care of me. Now, I’m at site. All alone. Feeling tired and ill. It’s not like I’m too weak to cook or do anything for myself. It’s just hard when all the things that I would normally do for myself are unavailable. I miss orange juice. There is a version here, but it is certainly not Simply Orange. I would drink that by the gallon when I was sick in the states. If I shower for longer than 10 minutes my electricity goes out. Which includes my shower, so the hot showers to clean the sinuses are not available. I struggle to find comfort in what I have available, random chick flicks on my computer, the familiar sounds of raindrops on my rooftop, Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate packets. All of these things will hopefully get me through my cold and on to the next adventure… I’ll check in soon and hopefully be high energy and germ free.

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Rain, rain has come to stay

Now as many of you know, I am from Seattle and so I am no stranger to rain. In fact during training here, I must say I did miss the rain a little bit. Things seem fresher after the rain, everything smells clean, plants grow, etc. Here rain is a little different. In my aldea when it rains, it pours. I mean I can walk home with an umbrella and a raincoat and I’ll still be drenched by the time I reach my house. The power goes out all the time, which is fine because the lightening lights up the entire house. This is immediately followed by crashing thunder that shakes the entire house. Every night I wonder if my entire roof is going to cave in and I honestly would not be surprised if it did. I wouldn’t really mind, except that the thunder scares my kitten and she is already crazy enough as it is. I think she might be teething or something because she chews on everything right now. I’m attempting to get her to stop trying to eat plastic wrappers.

I was at Lake Atitlan this weekend. It makes me miss living near water, despite the buckets and buckets falling from the sky right now. The lake was so beautiful and peaceful even with the algae bloom giving it kind of a green tinge. It was nice to get away for a little bit and see a new part of Guate. I also got to meet some of my sitemate’s friends from training. They are really awesome people. All of them have been in service for about a year now, I hope that I have everything as together as they do when I’m a year in. Being only two months I still feel kind of lost and like I’m still getting my footing. I am hoping that it comes with time like everything else. I have been in my house and my site for officially three weeks now.

The lights have started flickering so that’s my cue to log off for now. The power will probably be out in a few minutes. Wish me luck not drowning!!

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Dia de Madre

Well it’s mother’s day here in Guate. Unlike in the states, Dia de Madre is always the 10th of May regardless of the day of the week. I spent my morning in an elementary school with a mother’s day party probably not unlike many would be in the states. They made gifts out of egg cartons and paper plates and put on little skits and songs for all the moms in attendance. It was very cute, but it made me miss my own mother…a lot. Peace Corps Volunteers deal with all sorts of different “challenges” as they like to say in training. Each site comes with it’s own unique set of challenges. I talk to my friends in different places and some of the stuff they talk about I couldn’t deal with. I really hate spiders. I don’t think I would handle a different tarantula in my room every day very well. Some of my training friends don’t seem to have a problem with it and prefer the warmer environment that those spiders enjoy so much. I myself don’t get out much. I live in an aldea, meaning very tiny town. There isn’t much to do here and I don’t always have electricity. It actually doesn’t bother me that much. I can read with my headlamp and I am becoming more appreciative of my computer when I have the ability to use it. I am sure some people would be freezing and miserable, but kitten and I have each other to entertain ourselves and plenty of candles to light the way. Right now, my biggest challenge is missing people back home. I am an only child, very close to both my parents. They have always been a huge influence in my life and it’s difficult to be so far away. I can only hope that they are saving up advice and hugs to smother me with when I return. Feliz dia de madre para mi madre y todos madres en el mundo.

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And Work Begins!!!

Well work has officially begun! I have been doing my school visits, which this week was just a meet and greet with the directors (principals). It’s been a lot of walking because I’ve been walking from school to school, usually I’ll only be going to one at a time and that will make my legs much happier. Usually, it’s about an hour hike to each school for my meetings. Yesterday, when my legs were killing me and I was struggling for breath after walking an hour for a ten minute meeting, I thought about my life in the states. Granted, I didn’t hike very often but when I did I would have to drive an hour in my free time to hike. During a typical work or school week I would go to the gym for an hour, if I was feeling motivated and then sit in my car for an hour or hour and half to get to work/school. During finals week, I would only even be at school for a test that might only be an hour long. When I’m here, I can combine exercise and transportation while enjoying a hike in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Fresh air and beautiful mountains, corn fields as far as the eye can see. It’s not too bad, as long as I leave enough time in the morning to enjoy the hike and not be huffing and puffing down the hill. Anyway, I will update you more later with projects and plans, but it feels good to be starting and sleeping wonderfully after an exhausting day of travel.

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Easter and the Rainy Season

Hey everyone! Tomorrow is the big day! Yup yup, I will officially be living in my site tomorrow. Only about a month late, that’s actually not too bad. I’m excited that Felicity and I will be starting our life together in our new site. If I haven’t mentioned it before, Felicity is my tiny little kitten. It started raining today, while most volunteers are dreading the thought of the rainy season, I am kind of enjoying it. It reminds me of home. I miss the rain sometimes. It smells like Seattle now. It’s going to be a pain once I have to start drying my clothes inside, I’m not a huge fan of mold but we’ll see how it goes. Also, it’s Semana Santa this week. It’s the week before Easter Sunday. In the states we normally only celebrate on Sundays, but here this is a week long celebration. I can hear processions happening outside the house as I type. It’s kind of nice to see the community come together every night and do something new each night. Also, the strike is officially over which means I will be able to start work on Monday. I am excited to have something to do and to really get started with my job, it is after all why I’m here.

Speaking of my job, for those of you who don’t know exactly what I’m going to be doing here’s a little secret…I don’t know either (shhh don’t tell). I am a Healthy Schools Volunteer which means I’m going to be working with rural schools, developing lessons plans with teachers to teach healthy habits to kids. What this means on a day to day basis, you will have to stay tuned to find out. Anyway, I’ll check in after the big move and let you know how it goes!

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Life in My 20s the Average Parts

So I am sitting here in my borrowed pad, on a freezing Sunday morning attempting to make pancakes. This comes fresh off my Friday night attempt of making French Toast. I’m not sure if it’s the gas stove or the elevation, but I am discovering something about myself…I cannot cook. My mother told me the other day that no matter where you live being in your 20s kind of sucks. I’m finding that she is absolutely right. Right now some of the hardest part of my life is learning how to cook and keeping up with the cleaning. I mean it sucks that we don’t have trash service so I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to end up doing with this trash that smells. I really need to buy or make a scratching post so that my cats stop climbing on the furniture, but honestly these pancakes are kind of killing me right now. Don’t get me wrong, my life isn’t bad and these would be struggles that I would be dealing with no matter where I was living, but seriously I miss being a kid. I suppose this is me growing as a person and I’ll probably be better for it.

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First Month in Site

Hello everyone! I am sorry that I have not been blogging as faithfully as I should, but honestly there isn’t anything really to tell. Here in Guatemala there is currently a teacher strike. I am not exactly sure on the details on why but according to the newspapers school will resume again after salary negotiations are completed. Unfortunately, it did not say how far along the negotiations are. It is difficult to work as a healthy schools volunteer when school is not in session. Speaking of negotiations hopefully I’m going to have a house soon! I am hoping that we can get the windows fixed up tomorrow so that maybe I can move in this weekend. I am excited to start integrating into my new community. Currently, I’ve been busy hanging out in my house working on my tan and trying not to trash the volunteer’s house that I’m currently staying at. Anyway, I will check in more once I actually start work. Today we helped build a wall at one of my schools out of bottles. It was pretty cool, but I want to get a feel more my job too.

If you want to send me anything I have a new address:

Voluntaria Rebecca Corcoran
Cuerpo de Paz
San Cristobal Totonicapan, Totonicapan
Central America

I realize that there isn’t any zip code and it doesn’t make sense, but it seems to work.

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