Saturday, September 3, 2011

Oh dear... Year three?

Oh dear... hi stranger. I forgot to write to you. Well I didn't completely forget about you, you were always there in the back of my mind, guilting me into writing a post. Well, I retaliated. And it turns out that my uncouscious retaliation was so rooted that I forgot my own blog address. Well, I found it, I'm here! I had to google myself - it turns out that there are more obituaries and now defunct Jewish Esther Spindlers' than these blog posts on google. Creepy, I know.

Lucky for you, I ended my retaliation a few days ago when an encounter with an immigrant traveler moved me so much that I decided right then to share it with you. It's all quite poetic really, but today, I changed my mind. I realized it had been so long since we last e-did this, that you'd probably be wondering what I was up to. Well, I was supposed to end my service in July, and hem... I stayed. I'm staying here a third year just because I wasn't quite ready for i-pads, car insurance, 3-D TV, and a blackberry.

Here's a quick recap of Spring/Summer '11 - I was busy being a lunatic, trying to finish my infrastructure project (thank you for those of you who donated!!), coordinating regional HIV workshops, and helping with volunteer training. By the time I had to make the life decision on whether to end or extend my service, I realized that I had never gotten the chance to just stop and breathe. How could I bring to fruit my daydreams of Spain, Tibet, graduate school when I was still on fast-forward mode?? There was no real rationality behind my decision really, except for intuition telling me, "Estoy happy."

Thinking about it now, I guess I just never really transitioned into what was supposed to be my last few months of "rehabilitation" into the oh-so modern society. Truth is, I didn't have your cliche "I'm going to find myself writing among mud-hut villagers," type of experience (for the record, that does NOT exist in peace corps Guatemala.) Rather, I spent my last two years living in quite an urban town and meddling myself into any committee, project, work-anything I could get my hands on (don't worry, I think I still found myself.) In the end, I was so busy that I decided I needed this third year just to begin my year-long "rehabilitation" and adaption to this strange world that now exists without me.

I don't regret my decision. I got the chance to move to a different part of the country in a new site, and now I get to travel and visit volunteers, and work with a conterpart organization that I CHOSE to work with (I'll be working in reproductive health with a great organization called Population Council.) Basically, I get to do whatever I want because if you've made it two years, that's just what you get. It's street cred I guess.

My goals for year 3? Take the GREs, apply for grad school, re-americanize?, work on health promoter manuals, work on reproductive health education with sex workers, visit volunteers, and organize field trips - lots of them. So please have high blog expectations! A heart-warming blog entry on immigration is up first! As well as the usuals - ramblings about room floodings, flea problems, travel mishaps, diarrhea (presently active) and cultural awkwardness... You know the deal, get excited folks!

So thank you loyal and probably bored reader for two years of life, laughter, and sharing our own little piece of humanity.

And pictures please---

Picture of a valley on a recent trip to Huehuetenango to visit a volunteer

my new house! with my new Guatemala mum! and Tay'in's two new chucho siblings!

One of the toughest decision of my service - Getting Tay'in fixed.

My now-old health post counterpart and I during a good-bye trip they threw for me!

Myself and two other volunteers, tiara and sarah, during our Close of Service Conference

One of the women from our infrastructure project with her new stove!

Health Commission, families, and village leaders at our infrastructure project inauguration

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