Trip Start Jun 14, 2004
27Trip End Jul 30, 2006
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My mom said that it might be a big year for snow this year. I miss the snow and the cold! Although its still "cold" down here. I can tell how much my body has acclimated since last year. Im wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts in the evenings and mornings and need to drink coffee or tea to warm myself up. In reality, its probably between 60-65 in the mornings, but man it feels like its icy out. Next winter will be a tough one for me in the Adirondacks!
Today marks a momentous day in my Peace Corps experience! I finished 50 books!
I read a lot down here, although I have begun to read more lately
But, back to life. Things since I returned from Nicaragua have been good but challenging. I am amazed at how much I am still learning about myself. At night I spend my time writing in my journal or lying in my hammock thinking or reading. I often contemplate the life I lead down here and also the life I lead in the states that seems like it is just on pause until I return. Have I come up with any profound thoughts about life? Sadly, no. I have realized I am not a philosopher. But I do know that I have a family that loves me and I want to live my life in a fresh way. I want to keep challenging myself and seeing amazing things. I want to have a family of my own someday and that I always need to remember that the options in life are infinite and not to settle. I see some many people here that HAVE to settle because they get pregnant or just because life is hard. I can see that I am different because I DON'T have to settle and I can be anything in the world
Yesterday, I went to visit the Chi family, who I have become rather close with. Miss Rosa, the mother, had been in the hospital for almost a week because her diabetes was so bad. The doctors thought that she was going to die. When I saw her yesterday, I was shocked at how sick she really looked. She couldn't walk and she had lost so much weight while in the hospital. It was sad to see her like that. I also found out that Awe, the 16 year old daughter is pregnant. Shelli, the 18 year old daughter, who also had a baby when she was 16, now has all the responsibilities of the house because her mother is sick, and that also is hard for her to get used to.
When Miss Rosa was still in the hospital, I ran into the father, Oni. We were talking about Miss Rosa and he seemed genuinely upset and emotional over the whole thing. He kept saying "Rosa HAS to get better, she HAS to get better." But then he said something that made me realize yet again how cultural different I am. He told me he was scared that Miss Rosa would die and she wouldn't "attend" to him anymore. He went on to explain how he never has to wait for his food and never has to clean. That he always has clean clothes and that his two daughters cannot attend to him like Miss Rosa can. Maybe it was the language barrier because he speaks mostly Spanish and cannot express himself very well in English, but maybe it was because that is really how he looks at his wife.
I thought to myself how lucky I am to live in the US. How grateful I should be that my husband will want to be with me because he loves me and we want to share our lives together. So often in situations here, people are married because someone gets pregnant (Awe is planning to get married to the father of her baby) or because the man can provide a life for the girl
Today I am doing three sexuality sessions for 15 year olds at Eden High school which is an Adventist school. My first went really well and we had a good time. Its difficult to teach at religious affiliated schools sometimes because I want to talk about so much, but also need to be respectful of the schools beliefs on Abstinence, contraceptives and sex.
I was talking to the class about self-respect and asked them how self-respect relates to their sexuality. One girl who hadn't said anything yet, spoke up and said "self-respect means using a condom every time you have sex." I didn't expect that to come out of her mouth, but I was happy that it did and prompted a great discussion about how self-respect not only is about respecting yourself enough to not have sex until your ready, but being responsible if you decide you are ready for sex.
Even though it is still very challenging to be here, and at times I believe it is getting increasingly difficult to be here because I miss my family and home so much more everyday, I am glad that I am.
Yesterday I had a bad day and wanted to just come home. I talked to my mom and while I was talking, I thought to myself that I was being really self-absorbed. I do miss all of you desperately sometimes, but I didn't choose to be in the peace corps and come live in belize for two years for myself. I came to try and help where I could. Its not about me down here. That's a hard thing to swallow, especially because I want to improve MYSELF, do things for MYSELF, make MYSELF happy. I need to do that, but I also need to balance that with doing my part to make things better
Ahh, but I want to stop talking about such things.
I've been thinking about possibly becoming a teacher when I return to the states. Not right away of course because I have many plans post-peace corps and I want to fulfill those as well. I have looking into teach for America. It is a two year commitment like peace corps, but you teach in schools in the united states, either rural or urban areas in need. It would be good for me because I would get my feet wet before committing myself completely. Its just an idea, and I wouldn't do it for a couple years after I got back, so who knows. I get very excited when I think about my future because the options are limitless.
I love you all! Have an amazing Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.
PS. I attached some pictures from around Halloween. I know that mom always complains that I never put up pictures of me working, but a lot times it would be too distracting to take pictures while I am. But enjoy these!
2. The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo
3. Rivertown - Peter Hessler
4. Nickel & Dimed - Barbara Ehreneich
5. I know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
6. Beloved - Toni Morrison
7. The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan
8. White Oleander - Janet Fitch
9. Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now - Maya Angelou
10. White Teeth - Zadie Smith
11. Spending - Mary Gordon
12. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
13. Ghosts of Boyfriends Past - Carly Alexander
14. Lost in Translation - Nicole Morris
15. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom
16. Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
17. The Silence of the Lambs - Thomas Harris
18. Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquirel
19. Joy Luck Club - Amy Tan
20. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
21. Desert Solitaire - Edward Abbey
22. Dear Exile - Hilary Liftin, Kate Montgomery
23. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
24. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent - Julia Alvarez
25. Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
26. Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
27. Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris
28. The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
29. Different Seasons - Steven King
30. The Good Earth - Pearl S. Buck
31. Siddhartha - Hermann Hesse
32. The Woman in the Dunes - Kobo Abe
33. Random Family - Adrain Nicole La Blanc
34. Wonder Boys - Michael Chabon
35. Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince - JK Rowling
36. Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
37. Of Love & Shadows - Isabel Allende
38. Harry Potter & the Order of the Pheonix - JK Rowling
39. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
40. The Toughest Indian in the World - Sherman Alexie
41. High Fidelity - Nick Hornby
42. Resistance - Anita Shreve
43. All the Wrong Men & One Perfect Boy - Spike Gillespie
44. Watership Down - Richard Adams
45. All the Pretty Horses - Cormac McCarthy
46. The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
47. The World According to Garp - John Irving
48. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
49. Alive - Piers Paul Read
50. The Woman Warrior - Maxine Hong Kingston