Hola a todos! Since today is Sunday, my traditional blogging day, I thought I should start on my first in-country blog post…though I’m not sure when this will actually get posted. I cannot believe that as of tomorrow I will have left my house a week ago…it feels like I’ve been here FOREVER (in the best way possible). In this post I’ll just give you a quick overview of what I have been up to since Monday. I’m not planning on making every blog post an executive summary of my life but this one will be.
Monday: Bright and early Monday morning Brand and her Mama came to pick me up and drive me to Logan Airport. After a quick run back to the house (I forgot my jean jacket) we were on our way. The moon was a beautiful crescent hanging out with Venus (I think) as we made our way down Route 9. The whole trip to Miami went smoothly, I met up with one of the girls in my training class, Berlyn, in Boston and her cousin drove us to the hotel in Miami. Our first night was pretty low key; we had registration and then a short introduction. I just layed low that night, went to Panera, and sat in my room watching HGTV.
Tuesday: I started Tuesday off bright and early (are you sensing a theme?) with a trip to Pasión de Cielo, a coffee shop, with my hotel roommate Candice. We headed back to the hotel to grab something to eat and then were in “staging” sessions all day. Staging was a great opportunity to get out there and really start talking to people in our cohort. We all of course bonded over Trump’s ridiculous UN speech which was playing on all the TVs (including in the bathrooms). A group of us also went out to a sushi place for lunch (I got veggie fried rice) and bonded over being late getting back…Latin time right? That night, after packing and repacking and repacking Candice and I went out to a Spanish restaurant. It was so wonderful. I wanted to cry when I looked at the menu because it felt like I was back in Spain. We had a big pitcher of Sangria with dinner and talked about everything under the sun. One of the best parts of being in Peace Corps so far is the amazing access I’ve had to a diverse group of people who at their very core see the world as I do- a place for opportunity, change, and creativity. The people I’ve met over the last week are down to debate the education system, how we grow food, cultural norms, prejudices, etcetcetc. It’s wonderful.
Wednesday: If Tuesday was Christmas Eve, Wednesday we were up at the crack of dawn. We met in the lobby at 5:30am to leave for the airport and say goodbye to the staging staff. We all complained about the early wake up call, especially for an 11am flight, but it was warranted. It took us forever and a day to get through security and there was a lot of packing/repacking to get everyone under weight limit. The flight was short. I sat next to a very nice woman who I talked to a little bit about Peace Corps. When we got off the plane and went through customs, we came down the stairs to a band playing and Peace Corps volunteers and staff dancing and shouting to welcome us. There were definitely tears. Trying to get luggage, and everyone organized was very overwhelming, as was walking out of the airport. We all got crammed into busses and were taken to the Peace Corps office. It was a very overwhelming couple of hours but in a good way. The rest of that first afternoon was sessions and lots of information. I was really tired so after a quick walk around town and dinner at the hotel I went to sleep.
Thursday: After breakfast at the hotel and official pictures, we had lots of sessions on Thursday. My favorite part was having our second language proficiency interview. These interviews determine out training groups: where we live and who we work with during training. My facilitator was Felipe, he’s very funny and has been working with Peace Corps for a long time. He got me talking about Spain (how they speak multiple languages there) and my work with the International Rescue Committee, two topics that I could talk about for days. The best part of the day was after all the sessions when a bunch of us went to the hotel to change and then went back to the PC office to workout/play games/hang around. It was really cool to just share a space with a bunch of people and drift in and out of all the activities that were going on on the soccer field. Plus being barefoot in the grass was wonderful. Note to self: you only feel like garbage when you are trying to connect to the wifi.
Friday: Our last full day at the hotel was pretty overwhelming. I started off the day frustrated because I was still trying to connect to the hotel wifi and then we had a huge medical session. I’m all for learning about health stuff but getting our med kids and health manuals made me a bit queezy. We had our first language class which was good-our next one is manana! I walked home like a big girl after sessions and did some yoga/dance on the rooftop terrace of the hotel before dinner. That night we had our Bak’tun X (our training cohort) talent show. Y’all is was great. Throughout the week we also got to talk to lots of current volunteers and that was one of the highlights of my first few days in-country.
Saturday: Día de la familia! After a couple of sessions on Saturday morning we met our families, had lunch with them and then we were out of there. It was very exciting and nerve wracking and definitely a whirlwind. This was the time when I decided that I definitely packed too much-the torrential downpour when we were trying to get all of our stuff didn’t help. Eventually my host mama and I got back home and my Community Based Training (CBT) began. I’ll save the rest for another day, I just wanted to give you a quick view of my first week in PC Guatemala.