Saturday, October 13, 2007

Forever in my Heart

It's been quite a few months since I have written and for good reason. In June, my grandmother passed away. She had been battling a type of muscular dystrophy called polymyositis for years now and on June 16, 2007, it got the best of her. She was my first grandparent that I have lost and really the first time someone close to me has died. I was not able to go home for the funeral which was really hard. Besides my mother, I think she was the number one reader of my blogs. Gramay, you are going to be greatly missed. The holidays will never be the same. Every time I see a butterfly, I think of you. May you rest peacefully in heaven.

My time here in Costa Rica is almost up. All of my fellow “peacemates,” who entered with me, flew home two weeks ago. Me, I asked for a two month extension of service so I will officially finish up at the end of November. I want to travel in December before flying home for Christmas. Lately, I have been keeping busy with co-teaching pre-school, working in the orphanage, teaching English to adults, and other odd end volunteer jobs. I also have a new boyfriend who has been making my last few months here extra enjoyable. Actually, he is my ceramics teacher whom I have known for almost two years now. Typical story, student/teacher relations......hahaha. Anyhow, Juan Felix is wonderful and I feel like this is the first time in my life that I have found true love. It's hard thinking that I am going home soon but I know that this is not going to be the end of us.

On another happy note, one of my best college friends, Erica, is coming for a visit at the end of October so I am really looking forward to showing her around my site and doing a few Peace Corpsish activities with her.

Surely the next time I write, I will either be back in the States or married...OK, that was a joke mom!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

More photos from Panama

Happenings from May

Greetings from Santa Cruz!

It’s now June and I need to give a shout out to my dear friend Caroline Lynch who had a birthday at the beginning of the month. Sorry I couldn’t be there to share it with you but count me in for next year!

The month of May found me frolicking around Panama with my new Austrian friend Nadine who I just happened to meet when she was volunteering here in my orphanage during April. Upon meeting we became instant friends and she invited me to travel with her for two weeks throughout Panama. With the idea in the works for only one short week, we were on our way to check out the islands of Bocas del Toro, the mountain town of Boquete, Panama City and the islands of San Blas (the most beautiful place I have ever seen). While traveling we made friends from all over the world who shared their experiences and life stories with us. From the three Colombian cousins in Bocas to the 70 year old Canadian woman traveling alone to the Kunas (the indigionous people of San Blas), to the 28 year old Isralian business tycoon living in Panama City. It was a trip Nadine and I will never forget. A wonderful friendship blossomed in Panama.

Nadine has since returned to her country and I am back to the grind of PC life. I have my close of service conference next week (yikes!), English classes begin the week after that....and no, those are not for me to relearn how to speak my native language...and I have diligently been planning a three day retreat for 5th and 6th graders from my school for the second week of July. I’ve also received a few solicitations of visitor interest that may or may not be happening before September, si Dios quiere!

Before I close, I ask everyone to keep my dear grandmother, May, in their prayers as she has been having a lot of struggles with her health. I love you Gramay!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

April showers bring lots of work.

Another month has passed and I’ve finally got something to show for it. In April I took my domestic violence group to a one day event with other Peace Corps volunteers and their students. My group put together a puppet show about peace and violence to raise money to paint t-shirts for the event with messages of peace. We were the only group to do this for an artful reflection and everyone else loved the t-shirts. My students had a great time. My friend and fellow PCV accompanied us for the day. Unfortunately my design is on the back of my shirt. The same weekend, I spent about 13 hours painting the name on the church in my barrio. This was volunteer work of course. It turned out well for a first time experience but I am glad that it is over. Last week we took the preschoolers and kindergardeners to the pottery town of Guaitil (where I make my ceramics) for a field trip. They all had a good time playing with clay and eating popscicles. There are also a few photos of some of the projects I have completed in the preschool classroom. This past Sunday I spent the day at the beach with another PCV so I figured I’d send along a picture to entice people to come visit. School teaching and orphanage work always continues but now it is time for a vacation. I will be spending the next two weeks touring Panama with a friend. An update of that adventure to follow. My best goes out to everyone.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Casa Azul

It’s been quite a while since the last time I posted a blog. The big news is, I am now living alone in a little blue house in my barrio. I absolutely love it! I love it so much that I am actually thinking about extending service for an extra few months. Other than moving into my very own place, traveling to the capital city three times in one month, receiving a third new boss in the course of my time here in CR, and finishing up a workshop on domestic violence accounted for my time in the month of March. The daily work routine consists of co-teaching preschool 4 mornings a week accompanied by one of the following choose your own adventures in the afternoon: 1) visiting the children in the orphanage, 2) sporadic visits to the child welfare protection agency, or 3) teaching a domestic violence workshop. There are a few other projects going on but those are the highlights.

Just today, I got back from visiting a fellow PCV in her site on the beach. What a rough life, I know. Kathryn is actually done with service now and flies back to the States on Thursday. It was great getting to spend her last few days here together but once again I must say goodbye to another great friend. On a positive note, I will be receiving Kathryn’s old cell phone so soon people will be able to contact me directly.

That’s all for now. I hope everyone had a Happy Easter.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I'm back!

I’ve been back in country for almost a month now. It was hard to get back into the swing of things but now I am well on my way to finishing up the last leg of my service. Just about 8 months left. School starts this week so I will be busy helping the teacher get the classroom ready for the next group of preschoolers to come on through. Last week we celebrated Tony’s 6th birthday at the orphanage. He had fun helping me make his cake. See pictures above.

So I experienced something last week that seemed like the epitome of a typical Peace Corps moment until things got weird. I was out for a jog in my barrio last Wednesday evening when I ran into a group of little boys whom I know from the school. “Teacher! Teacher!” they yelled when they saw me and proceeded to beg me to listen to my MP3 player. I wouldn’t give it to them. They were headed in the opposite direction of where I was going but then decided to go on my exercise run with me. Uno, dos, tres!....and we all took off running. These little 10 and unders could outrun me on the rocky, dirt path and barefoot any day. It was neat to see these little boys taking interest in what I was doing and running a large lap around the neighborhood with me. This is what Peace Corps memories are made of I thought to myself. Then things took a turn for the worst. This little 5 year old, Alberto, who had been in my class last year, thought it would be fun to poke the Gringa in the butt with his finger. Not are we just talking about my butt, but rather my ‘culo”. Yes folks, for the next 20 minutes, I had a group of 4 10 and unders trying to poke me in the asshole with their fingers. As much as I tried to run behind the pack, they would try their darndest to get me from behind. To make matters worse, all the towns people were out in front of their houses watching the evening’s amusement take place. So much for my new exercise route through the barrio. Best to go solo next time.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Could you be so lucky?

Here is a sampling of the ceramics I've made in Guaitil, Costa Rica. You may just be a lucky winner of one of these hand made pieces this holiday season. :-)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

There's no place like home for the holidays.

Being reunited with my best friend Carrie after being apart for two years.

Home for the holidays 2006, what could be better? After arriving back in the good ol U.S. of A.this past Sunday night, I was greeted at the airport by my parents, brother, and my best friend. I thought this day would never come. It was a very happy time that just got better and better as the night progressed. It felt so good to be back in a place where everyone was speaking English and where you could actually put the toilet paper in the toilet. It's still taken me some time to get used to that old creature comfort. The warm water running from the faucets is also a wonderful perk. After a pleasant dinner together, we headed home, touring Old Town Alexandria and enjoying all of the holiday lights along the way. I could never have imagined the surprises that would lay ahead as I was reunited with my old house. Now you may be thinking, some kind of surprise welcome home party or something but that wasn't it. After almost 30 years, my parents had replaced the old, white fridge with a new LG side by side in brushed chrome. It was filled with so many good American products, it reminded me of Extreme Makeover Home Edition when they show the families their new home. If that surprise wasn't enough (I know you're thinking, she's getting excited over a new fridge?), there was more waiting. As I wheeled my 90 lb suitcase to my old bedroom, I found that it wasn't so old anymore. While I was gone (OK, two nights before I arrived home), my parents had taken down the childish border and changed the bubblegum pink walls to a fresh coat of seafoam green, making the room look a little more fit for a 26 year old and not a teenager of 14. I was so touched by the thoughtfulness. It was yet another wonderful surprise. I am very happy to be home and fear that time will pass too rapidly. Stay tuned for more adventures of Amy on holiday. And if you want to get together, please call.