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¡Cuerpo De Paz, Perú 4!

GOING NATIVE!

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lilbeast8

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March 20th, 2008

I'm officially an RPCV! (Return Peace Corps Volunteer).  That's right, no more free medical care, no more $12.00/day, no more telling people where I'm at all of the time.  I'm sure going to miss it...but I'm excited.  It was my friend's Bianca's wedding today, and also my friend Dennis finished his service too.

In lieu of the end of this phase, and the beginning of a new one...I will no longer be posting in this journal page.  The first entry was my last day in the States before going the Peace Corps, and my last entry is on my first day away from Peace Corps....

To refresh your memory...

September 17th, 2004

Wow, its almost starting

Gosh, it's 1:00am Washington DC time and I just finished up my life and property insurance policy online. That's right, say I die, my parents will be 25K richer. I think I'm worth more than that, but oh well.

Its down to the wire. I have gone through more emotions this week that I ever knew I had. Excited, nervous, sad, angry, anxious, happy. You name it, I felt it. I had the greatest time going through the "tour across America" Cities included were: St. Louis MO, Minneapolis/Eveleth MN, Las Vegas NV, San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara CA and now Washington DC. I had more fun in the past 2 weeks than I could have ever imagined, and I saw more friends than I knew I had. I must say that saying good bye to everyone was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I met my Peace Corps training class yesterday it was really refreshing to meet a group of people that have gone though the same experiences of the past few months. We also share the same excitedness and anxieties. Only time will tell how this group interacts, but I have high hopes.

For my last night in the United Sates, I went out for Thai food (called Thai-tanic, cheesy name) and to the Bars where a Latin Band played. The band leader dedicated a couple songs to our group, making the departure night that much more special.

Ok, better go to bed, wake up is in 5 hours. (I stayed up for more than 40 hours, with only an hour nap in the past 2 days.)

Please wish me luck, I need it

And with that....I sign off.  Wish me luck...I'll need it!

March 19th, 2008

One Day to Go!

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Tomorrow is my last day as a volunteer!  I'm all done with the paperwork, and now I'm just finishing up a final project. I've sold my computer, have given away lots of things, had many goodbye dinners, and have a few more to go.  Its a bittersweet time, a chapter closing in my life.  I'm ready to move on, I have gotten all that I wanted to get out of Peace Corps.  Though a part of me is kicking myself for making the decision to go home for good, I am still following that darn gut.  The one that says that leaving is the right decision.  I have been here for almost double the amount that regular volunteers are....I guess I'm just one of those people that hangs on and is the last one to leave parties.  I took 5 years to graduate college, and worked at a summer camp for 7 summers....its just my thing!

Words cannot describe how accomplished I feel, how much the last three years have meant to me professionally, emotionally, and spiritually. I definitely am not leaving with any regrets.  

March 1st, 2008

1 month to go...

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I probably have 1 month left as a volunteer and in Peru...and just 15 days ago I thought I would have 2 months as a volunteer, 1 month to travel, and then 3 more months in Peru.  That has brought upon a crazy amount of stress...so I'm holding in there.

I'm actually quite excited about the month ahead.  I've come to realize that most of my projects will get done, I'm leaving on a much higher note than I ever thought, and I feel accomplished.  It will speed on by...contacting people here, there, writing articles, reading hollywood news, updating my resume, applying for jobs, planning my dream trip in a cost effective manner, putting closure here while starting a whole new life. 

I love the idea of starting new, of knowing when you reached your highest, and then moving on to something more challenging.  To start a new phase, personality, the possibilities of meeting people, where to live, where to work.  Its a clean slate. Going to college, going to camp for the first time, going to the Peace Corps....when I became a volunteer coordinator and moved out of Santo Domingo....those were all times when I was able to start new.  I tried new looks, tried new things, changed my thought process, and it was normal for everyone.  Though at times I feel a desire for the old, or connecting with the old is heartwarming...I've become addicted to change.  A little too much so, but now, this new life is change.  What will I be like, what will I learn, what will be my frustrations...so exciting!

Ok...more than anything else, right now, I have little time...I need to ORGANIZE, delegate, and hopefully not procrastinate! (the hardest!)

wish me luck!

February 25th, 2008

A decision

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Today at 4:30 am I had an epiphany.  I knew what I needed to do: go home  for good in April.  More than I surprised others, I surprised myself at how confident I was that this was the right decision.  It was actually kinda scary.  As I told people, most people said "good for you!" or a couple actually thought that would have been my decision, for since I came back from the states my mind just wasn't into it.  Though people were shocked at first (I have been talking about it for the last 3 years), when they saw how ok I was with the decision, they were extremely supportive.  That just helped with everything.

I wrote my bosses declaring that I would not apply for the technical trainer position, stating that it was for personal reasons and thanked them for all of the support.  Now I'm getting myself ready to go home!  Eeekkk.. 1 month to go!!!!  I'm probably going to end around April 1, travel to Chile/Argentina for 10 days, before heading to my sister's wedding.

yup...I'm going to do it...

February 24th, 2008

I gave in...

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I'm watching live from the Red Carpet....while cleaning my room and finishing my resume....I better proofread it well before I turn it in!

February 21st, 2008

Torn!

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I have a dilemma....every year I watch the Oscars religiously.  To the point that I even watched live from the red carpet in Santo Domingo (you can find the entry in the journal archives...it was in Feb 2006).  I've had "oscar parties" every year since I have arrived to Peru.

Well...this year I have a few things happening...
1. Gave up TV for lent
2. Have not watched any of the movies
3. Am wrapping up my service and therefore really busy

I still want to uphold my tradition, I was thinking of getting a few of the best pictures/nominated movies and watch them on my comp (not TV, so doesn't break the pact).  Though I am really busy, it seems like its still a fun tradition...and I only gave up MY TV for lent....I could always watch it somewhere else, right?

What should I do, I'm taking an informal poll....
1. Nothing, do my work and forget about the Oscars.  A pact is a pact!
2. Watch Live from the Red Carpet with some friends
3. Watch Live from the Red Carpet, some of the nominated movies, and watch the Oscars with some friends

February 15th, 2008

Today marks the 2 months countdown before my official Close of Service (COS) date....I'm going to be done!

To other news...

So, remember when I found out about my brother's engagement through a "by the way" email?   Well, when I thought a major announcement couldn't get any worst, guess how I found out about my sister's engagement?  Through her profile status on gmail chat!  That's right, I saw she was online, and read "I'm getting married!"

Well, to give my sister some credit..I am really happy for her, the engagement did occur the day before...so she told me right away.  I also think part of the reason why she put her announcement in the status update was because she wanted to tell me.  When I had talked to her she said that she didn't know she could call me....since I was the one always calling her in the last 3 years, I believe her.  Therefore, I can't be mad at her...but still, I was hurt...this is the second major event in my family's life that I found out through secondary means.

What's going to be tough is that the wedding is schedule for April 12th (yes, she already has a date/place set), 3 days before my COS date.  Because I took all of my vacation days to go to the States for my brother's wedding, if I want to attend (which would mean a lot to her), I will need to push forward my COS date at least 5 days.  That not only means I have to scramble more to finish my stuff (I'm already working my butt off), but it makes me think if I should go back for good.  And it would also mean I would not be able to do my South America travel to Patagonia I have been planning for the past 3 years!

I have extended here to try to become a tech trainer, a job that I have been wanting to do for awhile.  There were always a bunch of roadblocks set up, telling me to "go home" with the possibility of flying back to work here.  Well, I always saw that if I were to fly back to the states, the compensations of the job would not be worth the plane ticket and travel expenses (they supercedes what I will receive if I count opportunity costs of working in the States).

I'm going to sit on this decision, the job position was just posted, so I was going to apply this week for it, and in 3 weeks time I should have the final answer if I'm hired or not.  I will still go along with the process, just in case...but I'll be weighing my options pretty hard on if I should just return home to the states. 

ok, I'm super tired...but I felt like writing.

February 8th, 2008

Let the countdown begin

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Sorry about not writing for over 3 months, its not that I have not wanted to, but many things have changed in my life in the last three months, and all really fast and in a whirlwind.   Now I'm slowing down and taking a breath

I left off with the news about my brother's pregnancy/engagement....but then I went to the beach to celebrate thanksgiving with the volunteers, and instead of a turkey we had fish, yet we still cooked a very typical thanksgiving dinner...just ate it near the ocean, I got closer to Peru 7 and the most memorable thanksgiving ever.   Then I visited my old site and when I was with the weavers I asked how their lives have changed since forming the association and the answers put me to tears (answers: being able to buy property, save for college, renovate the house, buy medicine, buy dentures, and even having the husband respect her more), and learned that there are 3 baby girls named Lilian within the association and that they just opened up a store in Santo Domingo.  I am so proud of them.

Thanksgiving jump started 2 months of partying I call: Brian's farewell (my best friend and confidant this year), Christmas, New Years, my birthday, 2 weeks in the States (visiting for my brother's wedding, but stopping over in San Diego, San Francisco and Minnesota in the meantime), and then Carnaval. Medical tests said that my dad is still cancer free a pre-Christmas gift for the family, and had an amazing time with friends, over 5 birthday gatherings in the span of 3 weeks...and found out my sister is also preggers...so I'm going to be an aunt times 2!  And that is just the good news/things that have kept me going....other things have happened, leaving me emotionally drained, and thinking....now I'm reflecting, and when I reflect, I write...which makes for good times for you! Yay!

Now...

I am a little over 2 months away from ending my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Though most people in my group ended over a year ago, and have moved on with their lives...and probably my time is long overdue...it hasn't been until about 1 month ago that I finally was able to say "I'm ready to move on"  

The question is doing what?  The reason why I extended until April 15th was not only to make up for the 2.5 month emergency home leave but also to apply to be a Peace Corps Trainer for the upcoming training group, arriving in Early June.  Though I feel I have a good shot at getting the position, I have to be realistic that this may not be for me, and I may not be hired.   Through some unfortunate events that occurred in  December/January, I have also been thinking that I may not want to stay longer and made eager to try other types of work.

Right now, though, I decided to focus on putting closure to my Peace Corps career, and using the next two months to reflect on my life in the past 3 years, to finish off projects, and to talk with people and figure out what I want to do when I'm done.  I just recently started reading a Purpose Driven Life, and for someone who is not religious, rest assured, its very tough. I decided to use the as a complete challenge, to think things differently.  I'm at a crossroad, so I need different ideas to pave the way.  I'll be sharing experiences with friends, and am welcoming any ideas people have.

This weekend I'm going to kick start this 2 month process by updating my resume, and finishing my DOS: the Description of Service, a 2 page document summing up what I have done in the past 3 years.  I've been dreading doing that in the past 3 years...and probably has been a strong reason why I have extended (that, and mango season).  I've decided to turn off my TV for Lent as an extra commitment to the process, and just read, work out, meditate, write, and focus. 

Lets see how I do!

Oh, in other news, for those who follow my house cat...it ended up that she was not preggers like my family thought,  becoming a "feline/woman" actually just changed her personality.  The next month she was in heat again.  During thanksgiving, she got run over by a car, but miraculously survived, though she walks with a limp now.  Our relationship, sadly, has been forever changed because on Christmas, she was welcome into my room with open arms...and peed on my bed. The next day she knew I was mad at her, and she tried to make it up to me by killing a bird and giving to me as a gift.  I accepted her apology, but still will not let her into my room , she's been banned for life.  I feel bad about resenting her, and not allowing her in...and I'm sure she's very confused about it

November 7th, 2007

Gotta love technology

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Today I was filling out my passport application, when I had to write my parent's birthdate.  Though I remember  their birthday, I always forget the year....and I needed the info fast....I had to leave.

What do I do. ..
I could not call my parents, because I would end up talking to them and be late for my dentist appointment. 

A quick search in my email records and computer did not surface anything, and I did not have time to look for the info carefully.

I know my grandpa has all of that info in a finger's touch, so I tried to call him through skype.  He did not answer...

What finally worked: messaging my cousin, asking him to call my grandpa for the info.  In a few seconds I got a response.

Total time for all of the above: about 5 minutes. 

Gotta love technology, the quickest way to find out my parent's birthday was to write to my cousin, to call my grandpa on the phone....all between countries!

October 21st, 2007

Yesterday I got a phone call from my mom....it kept on not going through...and while she attempted to call me again, I kept thinking that my mom never calls me unless there is news: my dad's cancer and seeing if I was ok after the earthquake are about it.  So when she said "you are going to be an aunt" I was already ready for something...and I laughed.

"I FINALLY GET TO FIND OUT WHAT THE PRIZE IS!!!!"

I don't think that was the reaction my mom was expecting, but that's right, instead of saying, that's cool, weird, congrats...I didn't even ask if it was my brother's girlfriend, I just assumed that was the reason of the engagement.  It didn't matter anyway, its so much more exciting that finally someone in my family will get my grandma's prize.

For years my grandma has been obsessed about being a great-grandmother, to the point that she already purchased a big gift, and has been using that as leverage for years.  Two of my cousin's got married, and so seeing how my family we were all still single...I thought that the prize was out of our hands. My poor grandma was getting so desperate that she decided to lower her standards awhile back, saying that the baby can come out of wedlock, citing that she was a modern grandma.  Her appeals did not work...at least not anymore!  I'm so excited :)

In other news, today is one of the most useless days in Peru.  From 8am to 6pm, the peruvian population is not allowed to leave their homes, or they will face fines.  Why is that: because they are taking the national census.  That's right...to make sure that every person is counted, they have to force people to stay home, no busses are running, most businesses are closed.  Of course there are a few exceptions, in jobs like hospitals or the people that actually have to take the census, they have a special "pass" that says they have been surveyed.

We had the survey people come 2 hours ago...I want to go running...and I can't.  Therefore, I'm updating my journal and writing nonstop in my facebook page to pass time.  I am sad to think of how much money is lost today because of lack of productivity, because of a 30 minute survey that can be done by other means....in the US this would never fly!
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