Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Mt. Garfield

Had dinner with the Nelson's last night and then played pool with Ryan. I took last game for "All-Time Champion." He asked for a re-match but we finally compromised when I promised him we'd call it the "All-Time American Champion" and he could have my title in two weeks when I go international.

This morning I climbed Mt. Garfield with the Michigan Couch Surfers (That's a great name for a band if you're looking Stu... Josh can be your first groupie). The trail is four miles round trip, the kicker is that it is a 2,000 foot elevation gain. "Steep" doesn't begin to describe it. Add to it the fact that you are totally exposed to a 'rapid descent' for at least half of that and you get why the guide book describes its foot difficulty as "Difficult-Insane." There is probably about 20 sq. feet of shade on the entire trip and between 11a-1p, none of it is accessible. It's hot.

The boys smoked me but we got'er done in less than three hours including soaking in the incredible view at the top. You can see everything for miles in every direction. Looking West along the Bookcliffs, it feels like a life-size topo map and you should be able to run your fingers over the textures. Before you are too impressed, I will also add that it is an extremely "do-able" climb and that it gets an incredible amount of traffic year-round. However, you still earn the view at the top.

Josh also learned that lizard's tails come off when they are trying to escape predators. In this case the "predator" was a 22 year-old Jesus look alike. Did you know their tails keep flopping after it comes off?

Good luck guys...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Prayers and Pistols

Said "farewell" to the Sefcovic clan amid much food, beer and love. I walked away with a rosary, St. Anthony metal and pepper spray, or as I like to refer to it, my "Freeman First Aid Kit." I was told all I need to do is call and they'd come running with anything I needed (including firearms). My aunt reassured everyone that "ain't nothin' gonna happen to her, the Sefcovic's done prayed." My favorite; love through laughter.

Thank you.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I'm officially unemployed again. Last day of work was Thursday. Did well all day. Had a minor emotional break at the bar narated by a co-worker. But hey, if you're gonna do it, it's really best to do it some place public and involve as much alcohol as possible. :)

Drove to (Grand) Junction yesterday and hung with the El Salvador gang. We reminisced about third world emergency rooms, intestinal distress and Jalalajara the night club where we spent our last night in country. I think the best way to desscribe the club is by stating that the concept of "liability" does not translate. Anyway, rockin' bunch of people. Oh, I was also groped by a former client's mom. That was a little funky.

Two weeks tomorrow.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Close enough....

Last night I stopped by the restaurant I used to work at. (grammer check) I wanted to give an invite for my going away party to my friend Chata who's tending bar. She hugs me and introduces me to the bar line-up. Chata is amazing. One of my favorite people. She and I volley back and forth in Spanish. Well, her part in Spanish, mine comes and goes. She tells everyone I am "totally fluent." I tell them only in Bar Spanish.

"This is Kelley," She says, her accent surfaces when she says my name and it sounds like 'Cally,' "I'm so proud of her, she's going to Costa Rica with the Peace Corps." They nod and smile and one of them points to black braids touching just past my shoulders and tells me I remind him of Pocahantas. "That's a new one," I tell him. I chit chat while Chata works the room. Pooring drinks, calling customers by name with a sing-song familiarity. She tells them I'm saving the world. The guy next to me, introduces me to his buddy and says, "This girl's goin' to Puerto Rico with Green Peace!"

"Something like that," I grin.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jet Plane

Reservations have been made. I fly out of Denver to DC on Sunday June 10 at 10:50 am. For those of you paying attention that is, in fact, the day after my Ft. Collins goodbye party, not to be confused with the Grand Junction or New Castle farewells. Byron was kind enough to describe the traditional Korean GI flight ritual which, apparently, involves boarding the plane intoxicated because "it's the Army, it's what you do." As much as I am into "international" experiences, I think I'll do my best to pass on that one.

Would have liked to get in some "me" time before I left but that may have to be put on hold until after my training when I am culturally and linguistically isolated and suffering from "Ian withdrawals." (Symptoms include sobriety, general lack of harrassment and uninterupted enjoyment of Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews. Oh and many, many tears.;)

For now... I have two days left of work. Then two weeks to soak up all the Kelley you can.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The big envelope

I recieved my staging materials today. I will call tomorrow to book my flight. I will spend two nights in Washington, DC for a quick "orientation" type thing prior to heading to Costa Rica. I had thought I would be staging in Miami but apparently not. The whole thing was a little anti-climatic. I thought I would get contact info for other volunteers but there was none that I could see. I am a little worried about my luggage situation: I get 80 lbs checked, no one bag can weigh more than 50 lbs. That doesn't seem like much for 2 years. I figure at least half of that will be shoes and tampons. I also have to worry about being able to carry it all between airport, hotel and site. Ah, legistics! This part isn't so romantic. Three weeks! Going through a lot of "lasts."

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In the beginning....

I have come to view this assignment as a "cosmic do-over" of sorts. I was in Costa Rica for three months in 1997. I went there with my roommate and the mildly psychotic boyfriend she had picked up on a community service trip to Nicaragua. Needless to say his psychoses were not immediately apparent, but with time, they blossomed with the delicate grace of the purple budded thistle. I moved there on a week’s notice at his insistence that the job he’d found me was only available NOW, when I arrived we traveled in Nicaragua for two weeks because “When will you be here again? Your job is fine. Don’t you trust me?” In all fairness, I cannot totally rule out the possibility that the entire episode could be chalked up to a translation mishap. Is it not plausible that “My father is an important government diplomat” could easily be confused with “My father is the night security guard in a government building?”

The unraveling of his web of deceit was hampered only by my own staunch denial that I had actually followed a psychopath into the third world with no backup plan other than relying on the kindness of strangers in a doe-eyed “she too dumb to be a threat” manner. It became apparent that the longer I was associated with him the more likely it would be to emerge from a language hangover* married to one of his cousins. I had been working* in the office of a Diputado (equivalent to a U.S. Senator) and his assistant ultimately took pity on me and let me stay with her until my visa expired and I returned to the states.

Now, knowing all of this… I would do it again in a minute. I learned some Spanish. I snorkeled. I navigated the bus system. I saw cockroaches the size of tennis balls. I learned to ask for references.


Language Hangover: involves understanding very little of what is being said but being too tired or generally uninterested in asking people to continually repeat themselves and/or engage in elaborate charades until you do understand. Symptoms include excessive smiling and nodding.

Working: In this case to mean taking drastic measures to look busy and not understanding that due to cultural and linguistic differences, there were never any expectations for actual productivity.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


26 days til departure (give or take... no actual "official confirmation" but I'm nearly certain). Notice has been given... emotional distancing has commenced. No more $2 avocados, they shall fall from the sky like great big falling avacados. Until then however, jaded cynacism in the work place to establish my discontent with their abilities to function without me.... AND continually checking and rechecking the mailbox. Welcome to a government job.