Sunday, August 26, 2007 last

Hello faithful followers of my blog. Sorry it has certainly been a long time since I've posted an update. So here's a very brief wrap-up.

The past week has been spent preparing for swearing-in and departure. I passed my Spanish exam, and the other significant tests like safety and culture to swear-in with the rest of the group on Friday. Swearing-in was a formal but sweet occassion, other than the really crappy soundtrack (I mean they played "I will always love you" directly after the ceremony) it was really nice. We had the chance to meet the new Abassador to Peru, and we learned that Peru is one of the few countries that still has some appreciation and admiration for the U.S. It's a miracle, I know.

Anyway, we mingled and took a lot of pictures, but before we all knew it we were saying good-bye to our awesome training host families, and jumping on a combi to leave for Lima. We got into Lima late (because once again our drivers didn't know where we were going). Once we arrived at our hotel we took off for a nice dinner and some post dinner drinks with our trainers. It was really great to see everyone one last time. A lot of tears that day.

Yesterday, we hung out in MiraFlores and then late at night we jumped on an overnight bus to Cajamarca city. We got in literally 30 minutes ago, and I am excited to be writing about my trip to Catilluc. I head there tomorrow with my Counterpart, and I say good-bye to my Cajamarca crew and Peru 9 for at least a couple of weeks. I'm really ready to move in and get settled into Catilluc. I'm ready for the humbling that comes with being a US citizen in the middle of an entirely Spanish speaking, campo living community. There are going to be so many mistakes.

Well, that's the update. I don't know when I'll get to post again (I think my postings will cut back a bit) but I will do my best to post asap with more information about Catilluc and my adventures there. Thanks for keeping up with me.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Not a Hypochondriac

So, Pepe does exist, and Pepe has existed for awhile.

I have been unable to shake this cough (symptom of something bad happening), but a few weeks ago one of the doctors told me my stool sample came up negative for any parasite. I didn't believe because I had tried cold medicine and allergy medicine and nothing had worked. It didn't make sense.

So I went and visited my Doctors again and allegedly I got the wrong news about my stool sample. I do have a parasite, a bacterial parasite...can you have a bacterial parasite? Anyway, Pepe will be killed starting Monday.

I'm just glad to know that I don't have these symptoms from stress.

Now if there was only a pill to make my Spanish better, I would be lovin' life.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Feeling the Earth Move and other thoughts on earthquakes

I know everyone is concerned because of the International news about the 7.9 (last I heard) earthquake that hit Peru last night around 6:45pm. The epicenter was around three hours south of Lima in a Department (think state) called Ica. You'll remember I visited Chincha, Ica about two months ago. That's exactly where the earthquake hit...or should I say four earthquakes. According to the Peruvian news there were four, but we were feeling aftershocks even today. Felt two pretty awesome ones last night at around midnight.

I'm fine. All is well. I felt the first earthquake, all two minutes of it, and the ones following, althught we just thought they were aftershocks. But other than the climbing death toll in Ica (the epicenter) all is well. Allegedly Pisco, Ica (known for its amazing alcoholic beverage of the same name) is leveled. We have one Peace Corps volunteer in Pisco. Thankfully, she was in Lima editing the environmental newsletter. All five PC volunteers in Ica are accounted for. Coincidentally enough, they were all away on PC business, dance competitions, or vacations. Everyone in Peace Corps is very thankful for that.

We're all just going to have to wait and see how this pans out. There might be some disaster relief involved for the Peace Corps. Our swearing in is Friday the 24th. I have my final language exam Saturday. Please be thinking positive thoughts for me as if I don't make the right level I am delayed in starting my service in Cajamarca.

But the big news for my friends and family is that I am fine. Thanks for all the emails and postings. Feel free to email with any questions. You guys probably know more in the states than we do here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And the winner is...Catilluc, Cajamarca

Or maybe that's the other way around. I'm the winner, and I've won a trip to Catilluc, Cajamarca. I'll be living and working here for two years.

Catilluc (Kah-tee-youk) is a small pueblo anywhere between 300 and 800 people. There are 17 surrounding caserios. It is surrounded by green, hills/mountains, and cows. Dairy, potatoes and corn are the main exports and the main jobs in town.

It's also a very progressive town. They have built a youth center, and my job is to run it. But what they don't know yet is that I'm trying to work myself out of a job. I'm trying to make it sustainable. I have a great counterpart who is on board with me. And I'm replacing an amazing girl, Laura, who did some great work while she was here. Here's a pic.

I've tasted my first cuy (guinea pig). It's not bad and very nutrious. So I'm pretty excited. I really feel like a lucked out. Of course there is only one phone in the entire town. And internet access might be difficult so my blog might drop off a bit. But know that I love hearing from everyone.

Oh, and by the way. I think Pepe and I have parted ways. Although I still have this cough...I guess we'll just have to see.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Training can feel sooooooooooooo long sometimes

So just another quick post today...

Lately I've been bemoaning training. Don't get me wrong I appreciate training, I just want it to end very soon. Apparently this is very common among trainees. It seems to get to a point where you just want to be at your site doing your work, but fortunately (and sometimes unfortunately) they need to teach you how to do your job. I know this sounds like I'm complaining about a good thing. And maybe I am, but I want to be honest about the trials as much as the successes and this is one of them. Training can feel soooooooooooooooo long sometimes.

But we only have three more weeks left. And we find out our new sites on Friday. Interesting story behind sites. It's a somewhat common topic of conversation among bowel movements and food we love from Peru and miss about the States. We are all speculating about where we could possibly go. Our APCDs (Associate Peace Corps Directors) work very hard to find the right placement for the right volunteer. This is important because if a volunteer isn't a good fit with their site things can get messy. Like the volunteer being incredibly frustrated and give up or leaving (which is always bad for any given site as there is a good chance they won't host again). Sometimes when the fit is not as good as it could be, the APCD will make an exception and move the volunteer. My APCD allegedly has a great track record at this, and to this point I have no reason to doubt her. I am one of the few youth volunteers that doesn't have even the slightest clue where I am headed next week (for site visits, one week only and then we return to training). So Friday is going to be like Christmas the years I don't make a list and leave it to fate. So everyone wish me luck.