"Be the change that you want to see in the world." Gandhi

Monday, July 9, 2012

I am a horrible blogger...8 months, no posts.

With my last 6 months of Peace Corps service I am going to TRY and be a better blogger. 8 months worth of events is a bit much to catch up on, I'll just write about the exciting parts...

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Messi Mala.

I've been bad about updating my blog in a timely manner the last couple of months. I swear I'll do better...I hope.

Back in August my host mom got a call from a neighbor. She hung up and asked if I would like do a quick errand with her. I had nothing better to do so I got in the car. We drove down the street, turned into a driveway and got out. When we got up to the house I saw a cat with a litter of the cutest kittens. (Well to be honest when have you ever seen an ugly baby kitty?) My host mom said I could pick one out to have and maybe we could train it to hunt the rats residing in our house. (Yeah right. That cat will be babied to no end there will be no rat hunting)

She was so tiny. I was terrified the first week she would die. But the neighbor said the mom had already abandoned two others, mine as well take one. So I did! No need to tell me twice. Messi is doing great and not my little baby any more, she is so big.

Its  nice to have a little buddy to pal around with. We take naps together. Its great.

First Day with Messi, Aug 2011
All Grown up! October 2011

I did it!

After AVC, All Volunteers Conference, a group got together and BUNGEE JUMPED off a bridge! One of the scariest things I've ever willingly done. Can't wait to throw myself out of a plane next!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yesterday was a learning day.

Yesterday we had a ferria to celebrate San Carlos, the region where I live. A day off from school means extra study time for the FSOT, which is coming up this Saturday! However, instead of studying I spent the entire day walking into bad luck.

My host bother asked if I wanted to go see the pig he is going to buy for Christmas dinner in Santa Elena. I agreed, because he said it was a quick there and back deal. (Note to self- it is never a quick there and back trip, always allow for 2-3 hours extra) He seemed kind of in a hurry so I jumped in the truck with my flip flops instead of actual shoes. After all, its a quick trip, right? On the way we picked up a few of his friends, arrived at the farm with the pigs and walk around for a bit. It started to rain so we waited under a tree for the heaviest part to pass. As we were waiting I kept feeling something pinch my heal. I thought it was a fire ant, but could never brush it away. Turns out it was a chunk of wood that went through my sandal and kept stabbing me in the foot. I should have respected the foreshadowing. Instead of going home where it is dry and safe, my brother and his friends decided to pick mamones chinas from the trees. The best trees where at the other side of the farm, so we hopped in the car a drove over. To get to the trees we had to jump up a dirt hill and climb under a barbed wire fence. As I was climbing under I hear my shorts rip...right in the seat. NO! Okay not awesome, but maybe my host mom can sew them later. Up the rest of the hill we go and fill two bags with mamones. It continues to rain and my flip flops are now muddy and slippery. Instead of falling down the hill on the way back I take off my flip flops and walk barefoot. Yep, barefoot right into a huge pile of cow poop! The most disgusting part about having cow poop on your foot is the feeling of it squishing in between your toes. I'm screaming, my brother is laughing and everyone else is just plain disgusted. I wipe the poop off best I can and then threaten to wipe my dirty foot on my brother if he doesn't let me back into the car. We drive back to where the pigs are to say hi to yet another friend of my brother's. There are lots of puddles now so I try to stay by the car, determined not to get even more dirty. But as luck would have it my brother says, "hey all you need now is to fall in this puddle," as he pretends to push me, I fall. In the puddle. Thanks. My flip flop gets sucked into the mud and breaks, so now I only have one shoe, even better.

Fortunately that was the end of my bad luck for the day. I laugh about it now, but a the time I just wanted a shower.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What didn't happen on my vacation?

After being gone for 9 months I finally got to go home! A quick little vacation, 10 days, then back to work. It was a surprise trip for a lot of people, my family and friends.

The Stress

During the planning of my trip I found a "cheap" airline, Spirit Air. DON'T EVER FLY WITH THIS COMPANY! They advertise cheap tickets then charge the absolute hell out of you for everything else. I was charged $43 for a checked backpack and $40 so I could bring a carry-on. WHAT?! (No where in my confirmation e-mail did it advise me of charges or where to look for them) Thennnn, after going through security, I bought a $3 water at the airport snack counter, Spirit searched my bag before I got on the plane and made me dump it out so they could charge me another $3 for more water. They were late, disorganized and I've never felt more stress during travel than I did that day. I was so afraid I would miss connecting flights and get stuck...I only had 10 days with my family...or so I thought.

My Baby

So I had a crappy flight. The important thing was I made it to Boston and my family was there waiting. My bags were accounted for, sweet, ready to go home! Then my mom told me that Clancy, our chocolate lab, was dying and wouldn't make it through the day. That was that absolute saddest thing anyone could have told me. He is such a good boy and my baby. I waited 9 months to come back and see him and he was dying. When we got home, he was laying on his bed and wagged his tail when we came in, such a sweet pupppy (a 13 year old puppy). He was so skinny, couldn't walk, didn't want to eat or drink. I sat with him a cried and cried and cried. Later my friend picked me up to go North while my dad took him to the vet. I love my Clancy.
Clancy, Summer 2010 <3

Friends, Family and Fun

Since a bunch of friends and family didn't know I was coming home it was a great opportunity to surprise them. First on the list was Courtney. My sister, myself and our friend James drove up to Laconia. Courtney has a lake house and was up there for the 4th celebrations. I went in through the back and jumped into the living room where everyone was waiting. We all expected her to start screaming but she just sat there looking at me. (What the heck friend! I flew from Costa Rica to surprise you! Do something!) After a minute she just kept saying What? What? What are you doing here?! We hugged, it was great.

We drove back down home the next morning to help set up for the party my mom had been planning. A 4th of July celebration/Julie is back party. Most of the party guests didn't know I was home so there was more fun in surprising people. I spent the day visiting and spending time with my family which I missed.

During the week it was decided that I would extend my vacation by a week, because 10 days was a silly idea and ridiculously short. YAY! The one thing Spirit Air didn't charge me for was to change the date of my return... weird.

The weekend of the 8th I met up with Nicole! We graduated Simmons together and were on the crew team. She planned the whole thing and let me tell you there wasn't a boring moment. Red Sox game at Fenway, Tequila Rian, shopping, restaurants, couples massage, Park Plaza Hotel! 

The only draw back to my visit home was that my stomach was constantly acting up. No, I will not go to the doctors during my vacation, so that was that.

The Surprise

As the extended part of my vacation came to a close, I packed my bags and went out for one last meal with my parents and sister. Bertucci's...pizza and ice cream, that's right! It was so hard getting to sleep my last night. I probably would consider it more of a nap, because I had to be out the door at 3am to make it to Boston and on my flight. I rolled over on my stomach and what a mistake that was. All of a sudden my chest was on fire. One minute the pain wasn't there and BAM! It was burning, burning, burning. I couldn't breath and I was sweating. I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone. It never lets up for a second. It starts horrible and stays horrible the whole time. (I've broken bones before...I would take a broken arm to that any day) The pain from my chest spread to my back and that's when I went to my parent's room. Give me something, anything to make it go away please please please. To be fair my mom was telling me all vacation to go to the doctor because of past episodes of pain I had while in Costa Rica as well as my stomach issues while home. She told me it was my gallbladder, she should know, hers was taken out years ago. I went back to my room. I'll just put the a/c on an wait it out, if I miss my flight I'm screwed. I opened a bottle of milk of magnesia and took shots...nothing. Still sweating and shaking and I'm going to die, I'm going to die of pain... so I gave in. Take me! Hospital! Run the red lights!

We got to the ER around midnight...I still have 3 hours until I need to go to Boston...we're good. It was like a reunion with all your old friends. My mom is a nurse and worked 10 years in the ER before she transferred to endoscopy last year. I waited a few minutes while my mom registered me and spoke with the nurse. Then went back to a room. Blood was drawn, then beautiful, glorious, most magnificent pain meds were given, Diloded. Thank you tiny baby Jesus. Everyone said, yes most likely your gallbladder. However, the hospital is relatively small and the ultrasound tech goes home around 6pm, so I had to go home and come back in the morning to confirm and decide where to go from there.

As soon as I get up from the bed, I feel like  absolute s**t. The pain in my chest and back was gone, instead I feel like I could barf all my insides onto the floor. Lets just go, go to the car now, I'll lay back and feel better.  The nurse asks if I want to stay and hands me a bucket as I'm walking out the door. Thanks but no, I'll feel better at home. WRONG. I make it to my room and puke my brains out, lucky my mom the nurse has cat like reflexes, no a drop outside the bucket. I lay down, but don't sleep. Diloded makes me itchy as hell, then it wears of an pain pain pain again. I'm thirsty but can't drink anything in case of surgery the next day. We go back to the hospital earlier than my schedules appointment with ultrasound, maybe I can get the images soon and check back into the ER. That would be marvelous! Finally some luck because they take me early and I'm done with the ultrasound in 20 minutes and back in the ER 5 minutes later. This time instead of Diloded I get my best friend Morphine. She is a good friend. I feel brand new! No pain, no nausea no itching, it's fabulous! From there things go quickly- yes its the gallbladder complete with stones, thickening of the walls and an infection. All of which means surgery and I am so ready to get it out and be done with the trouble of it all. Sign this, initial that, have you eaten? No. Anything to drink? No. Great, ready to go then. My dad took the day off from work (he is also a pharmacist and worked in the hospital with my mom until a few years ago when he decided Siemens was a better fit). My poor sister had slept through the entire ordeal and was still at home sleeping, having no idea I'm in the country still or about to have surgery, surprise! She comes and sees me before I go under. I get a little extra medication and I'm in the OR. The last thing i remember is moving myself from the ER bed to the table and giving my apologies for flashing everyone. Those gowns are not the concealing type and slide so quickly.

I vaguely remember waking up and feeling sick, then getting sick and blacking out again. I stay over night. There is pain, but different from the burning and this time there is a nurse to shoot up my IV. Breathing deeply is out of the question, laying down is best and I'll just hold my pee because no way am I moving out of this bed. I get these two blankets rapped around my legs that give massages. How awesome! But really its to keep up my circulation. Oh those silly blood clots.

The next day I eat...more like drink, some broth and jello. That's about all I can handle anyways. I slip in and out of sleep all day. There are some visitors. I get a pillow pet! No idea what that was until I was given one. That little guy was my sidekick! I used him to hold against my sutures when I needed to cough or move, which helped so much. By that night I could get up to walk to the bathroom. What an accomplishment! I felt well enough to go home, after all home comes complete with a nurse and pharmacist, no problem in that. I get some Vicodin for the road and off we go. Throughout the next week all I do is sleep, watch a movie, eat a popsicle, sleep, watch a movie, eat a popsicle and its wicked awesome! Two weeks pass and I can walk around no problem, I get tired easily, no heavy lifting and all that, but I feel much better. I got 3 weeks added to my already extended vacation, which I was thankful for in more ways then one.

My House

The last eventful moment to my vacation was that my parents sold our home! Something they have been trying to do for a few years, but the market hasn't exactly favored those trying to sell. The best part is that they are moving to one of my favorite places, BOSTON! Looks like when I go home for Christmas I will be living in an apartment in Brighton across the street from my sister's new high school, St. Joseph's.

End of Vacation

Peace Corps Medical clears me to go back to Costa Rica August 11th.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I want to live here...

Bahia Ballena, Uvita

Finally made it to the beach. 6 hours and 3 bus changes from Coope Isabel to San Jose then another 7 hours and crowded bus down to Uvita. It was so worth it. Ballena is beautiful, hot and the beach is shaped like a whale's tail!

Because I'm on a Peace Corps budget and this place is wicked cool I stayed at Flutterby House Hostel. Tree house bunking and the ocean = awesome!
A plus to Flutterbly is that they are super conscience about how they treat the environment, lowering their eco-footprint and recycling recycling recycling! Just remember to follow this very important rule...

Can I change sites to the beach? So hard returning to reality.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dear Teachers

Dear Teachers,

I would like to take this opportunity to give you; a high five, pat on the back, shake your hand, hug, bow in honor, curtsy and generally say THANK YOU for all that you do.

After exactly four months of teaching under my belt, I have come to the scientific conclusion that teaching is tough. I tested my hypothesis, followed the experimental procedure and was able to formulate a new law of science which states; teaching is difficult, very difficult.

Each generation depend on teachers to give their children the best education possible and to create bright, creative and successful adults. You are never given enough credit, pay or respect for the monumental task you agree to take on at the beginning of every school year. You are educators yes, but many times throughout the span of your career you also inspire and motivate. You the teacher, motivate students to set goals, work hard and  darn it, hand in your homework! You inspire students to make it happen! To fulfill dreams that were once thought impossible. You work; during the day, at night and on weekends. You plan, grade, organize, glitter, paint, type and bedazzle papers, chalkboards, bulletin boards, posters and classrooms to name a few. All of this is done during your vacation time, sleep time, lunch time and any other time that's considered "you" time, because when you are a teacher "you" time is really "how can I make things better for my students" time. During June you get landed with the classroom that smells funny and a fan that doesn't work. In winter you wear two sweaters to class because budget cuts have forced the school to cut back on non-necessary items like heat during a blizzard. In every group of students you have at least one who is rude, interrupts, distracts or refuses to participate. That student makes you want to pull out your hair, burn your teacher id badge and cry yourself to sleep. But, instead, you take that student under your wing, give them extra help and get them on the right track. During that same student's graduation he or she gives you a big hug after they receive their diploma and head out the door to college. You my friend, are a hero. You are patient, dependable and selfless beyond what is possible and never hear the words thank you enough. Thank you!

I have walked in the shoes of a teacher for 4 months and they wear pointed toe, 6 inch spiked heals as their leisure shoe. I now have blisters. I believe everything I have just written to be true about the teachers who helped me throughout elementary, high school, college and beyond. I hope I can be as generous and hard working as these people are, but I don't know if I'm that strong. Here is to 1 and half more years of retesting my experiment and hopefully coming out the other side in one piece.

I take my hat off to teachers, where would we be without them?

Much respect,