Monday, December 31, 2007

Last post of 2007

I have survived a US Christmas. As many of you may or may not know, I am in the States for the holiday season. The trip was a precursor to a work trip that was to be in Toronto Canada, but that ended up being canceled, and is now, a home for the holidays visit. It is great to see friends and family, but I admit that the US holiday season madness is more than a little over-whelming. That's all I'm gonna say about that besides my traditional Christmas "Bah-Humbug."

I spent the first week and a half doing the shuffle on the Western Slope of Colorado. I gotta say... it is COLD! I have definitely turned into a class A light-weight when it comes to cold. In Salvador, if it dips below 70 I start putting clothes on. Needless to say, it is significantly below 70. That and a distinct lack of (public) transportation feels very confining. Lots of time indoors. I do get to see snow though. That is good. There is really no point in being cold if I am not going to at least see some snow. We are going to go snow-shoeing this week so I am looking forward to that.

I have made pupusas for the fam and they have gone over well. Not too bad for a gringa if I do say so myself, although it helps that there is no previous pupusa experience for comparison. So I can say with confidence, that they were the best pupusas they have ever eaten. :)

I am headed back to Salvador on Saturday. It has been a good trip. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with friends and fam although there are too many that I have missed this time around. For those of you on the "missed list" I apologize and assure you that it is not a reflection of your importance to me, but the fault of the age old adage that there is just never enough time in one lifetime. Hope you all have the Happiest of New Years.

See you in 2008!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Birds of Flight

Anyone flying out of El Salvador will immediately notice one very Salvadoran tradition. No... it's not the multiple security check points and body cavity search. Each departing flight out of El Salvador smells like chicken. Not just any chicken, Pollo Campero. Campero is a fried chicken chain that is actually Guatamalan but is practically a sacred ritual in El Salvador. Salvadorans swear that the best chicken is Campero chicken and only in El Salvador. Tico Campero does not stack up. It is rumored that even in Guatamala, the chicken is not as good as it is in El Salvador. There are even a couple of restaurants in the US, in LA and DC where there are large populations of Salvadorans, but they still don't compare to authentic Salvadoran Campero chicken. So.... whenever Salvadorans fly, so does Pollo Campero. At least a dozen people on every plane are transporting boxes of chicken to their salivating relations on the US side giving Salvadoran flights a truly unique flavor.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Living on the edge...

Two big developments in Kelley’s transportation world.

First of all, I got to drive!!!!! I had my first sola excursion on Salvadoran Highways last Thursday when I went to a meeting in the Southeastern part of San Salvador. I went in the SHARE vehicle all by my lonesome. Things went much smoother than expected thanks to Google maps and satellite imagery. I went straight there and realized that I over-compensated for traffic as I was a full hour early for my meeting. So, I did a little more exploring. I had forgotten how much I like to drive. It is even more fun here since the traffic laws are much like the pirate code… more like “suggestions” than “laws.”

On Saturday, I had to go to another meeting which required taking a new bus. Well, it was a mini-bus to be exact. Mini-buses are interesting because, although you can’t tell by looking, they can accommodate just about as many people as is recommended for a regular-sized bus. This is accomplished by implementing a physics-defying mechanism commonly known as “the clown-car technique” in which large numbers of people are magically stuffed into small spaces. The best mini-buses brandish shark-fins and black lighting while pumping loud music and require two operating personnel. One, the driver, whose job it is to drive as fast as possible occasionally slowing just enough for passengers to scamper on and off. The second is an ayudante or “helper” that collects fairs, calls out the stops and whose legs fly out perpendicular to the bus on highway curves.

I arrived at my meeting without problems. On the way back, the mini-bus was a little crowded, which means that I was left standing in the doorway with the ayudante. I've gotta say that as I watched the asphalt blur by just inches from my toes, I was kinda psyched. I felt all the rebelliousness that comes with violating traffic laws and safety bulletins. I was living life on the edge…. of a mini-bus. Then we took the on-ramp at mach-ten and the centrifugal force bent my body backwards into a perfect C-curve with my fingers white-knuckling the handrail on the ceiling and my toe-nails scraping through my shoes desperately trying to maintain contact with the steps. At the next stop, when a man chivalrously offered to trade spaces with me, there was absolutely no feminist indignationn as I squickly moved into the inner sanctuary of the clown car.

In another tale, of what is looking to be a theme, I didn’t have water Sunday morning. As I have previously mentioned, I don’t always have running water, but I generally do in the mornings. Not having water Sunday morning was major inconvenience in that I had been planning to do some laundry. (In a quick aside, my washer had been down with a clogged pump. Apparently the previous owners had been using the tub and agitator to mix cement.) Normally, when you don’t have consistent running water you either install a cistern, which is basically a big tank that stores water and pumps it into your house so that you don’t notice that you don’t have constantly running water, or you fill barrels and pilas (deep cement sinks) with water and dip from them. The house doesn’t have a cistern and they are difficult and expensive to install. We haven’t gotten around to buying barrels yet. I have a pila, but took for granted that I would have water Sunday morning and didn’t fill it. So I was really without water. No cleaning of the house; bummer. No cleaning of myself? Well, after having done a hearty 40+ minute run; intolerable. I eventually ended up locking all the doors and taking a bucket bath in my laundry room with the little water that was left in the pila. Time to buy a barrel.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hanging with la Mara

It’s been a bit since I last wrote. I have a good excuse though.. I all of a sudden got a raging social life!!! Yahoo!!! Another big difference between here and Costa Rica.

We inaugurated the house last Saturday night. I invited over a few friends, I had a grad total of four at that point, and made hummus and falafal. Both turned out quite well I might add. One thing led to another and I think there had to have been at least, at least 10 people at my house. Get back! So, the next thing I know, it’s 7:30 am and I am somehow (I’m not completely sure I am awake at this point) getting myself out of bed and heading to the beach. YEA!!!!

We were all going to go to San Blas with Hugo’s family, but it ended up that of the party attendees only Hugo (friend of a friend I met the night before) and I made it up the next morning. I accomplished this huge feat primarily because I didn’t know there was an option to back out and sleep in. So I end up in a mini-van with a group of people, all but one of whom were complete strangers. We went to a rancho, which is a house by the beach, which people generally rent out for the day. The current, pretty much everywhere in El Salvador is “carry you off to sea” strong, so I didn’t swim a whole bunch. The waves however are amazing for watching. They are famed to be great for surfing as well as long as you don’t end up being “carried off to sea.” Not a beginners beach is what I am trying to say. Anyway, had a great day, even if I was a little (ha!) tired. I made ANOTHER new friend, Lupita, who works for the Office of International Labor at the UN. The rest of the group consisted of amazing nice people that welcomed me immediately and acted like my beach party crashing hadn’t imposed on them in the least. In fact, they promised to include me in future excursions. We stopped for pupusas on the way home to round out the day.

The most amazing, and BEST part of the weekend was that Sunday night when I got home, the roomie, Armando, had cleaned up after the party that I threw. AMAZING! He gets the “Best Roommate of the Year Award.” Pretty much blew Necio out of the water on that one. (That cat never cleaned a dish in his life.)

Anyway, the rest of the week has been a rush of work and a little afterwork hanging with la mara. "Mara" in this sense meaning “gang” but not in the “pandilla, lets get tattoos and pillage” sense. Tattoos are completely optional.

In the area of immigration difficulties, my co-worker Erin is being kicked out of the country to renew her visa. Not that unusual, except for the fact that she is married to a Salvadoran for the past 3 years. I only mention this to put to rest any fears that I will be marrying for residency. It really wouldn’t help and I am not all that opposed to getting a vacation every three months.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Land of Plenty

So I thought I would point out some of the bigger differences between El Salvador and Costa Rica. Some personal, some general social observations. The social ones needing to be taken with a grain of salt as I am shamelessly going to make sweeping generalizations.

It is pretty safe to say that Costa Rica is more developed. I have jokingly referred to it as Third World “light”. When I say “more developed”, it is not necessarily just because it is less poor or has more conveniences. It is a little more complicated than that. Costa Rica still hosts some breathtakingly poor populations, they are just better hidden. Tourists don’t want to see that. Also, they have had a peaceful, relatively functional democracy for many years. There is effort being made, granted it is made on Tico Time, but they are getting there.

El Salvador is much more raw and the government barely feigns consideration for the poor masses. Luxury wise, they have everything, if not more than, Costa Rica has. Major shopping centers, better highways, amazingly luxurious restaurants and hotels, made more striking by the contrast of abject poverty. Whereas in Costa Rica, there were often venders selling cell phone covers or fruits at intersections, here there are ALWAYS people in the intersections, selling things, but more often washing windows, pan handling, or (my favorite) spitting fire out of their mouths with gasoline and a flaming baton. There are more children also, young boys, barefooted, old filthy clothes, on a Sunday morning sidewalk squatting in a circle like little crows picking at a piece of bread. The only thing more heartbreaking than seeing them, is when you realize that you don’t notice so much anymore and you wonder what kind of person you are to not see it.

There is also the legacy of the war. Everyday amputees. The violence that has been a staple for so long that most people can’t imagine a place where you can be out after 8pm and not worry about being robbed or killed. It is an interesting mix, life here is precious, yet cheap.

The other big difference is that in Costa Rica, so fewer people emigrate. Many ticos hardly ever travel outside of their city or region. When I told people that I was living there for two years, they couldn’t understand why someone would want to leave their homeland. Although there are definitely exceptions, few people understood that someone would seek out more than what they were born to. I even had people tell me that my parents must not love me for having let me leave. I told them that they wanted me to be happy and they said, “I still wouldn’t let my child leave.” In El Salvador, everyone leaves. Literally, everyone has a member of their immediate family living in US, sometimes Spain or other countries. They never ask me how I could leave, they ask why would I come here?

Personally, I am adjusting to living much more bourgeois. The hardest part is that I am forever away from a grocery store that sells cheap things. It is sometimes a blessing and a curse that I can get nearly everything I could get in the states, in the supermarket next door to my house. The produce is much better when you can buy it in the mercados rather than the grocery stores. I do miss my farmer’s markets. There is also a distinct lack of ocean in the city. It’s only about an hour away by car, but that is significantly further than five minutes walking. Living without running water is an adjustment. I should be thankful that I at least have it in the morning, but there is still a moment of shock and disbelief when I turn the faucet and nothing happens.

All in all though, I like it here. I am learning my way around and finding my place. Yesterday, I still felt like there was plenty to be thankful for even if there wasn’t turkey, family, or football. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A place to hang my hammock...

Lots going on lately. I found my house, I think I already mentioned that a few hundred times. :) So the last week has been spent trying to make it habitable. I got the keys officially Thursday night. Generally in Central America, if a house is not furnished, it means that it is really NOT furnished. No stove, no fridge, nothing. So I have been scouring the papers looking for appliances. I am going to have a roommate and he has put himself in charge of providing living furniture and a TV and Playstation. The last two I can really do without... mainly because I will probably become addicted. So I move in for real tonight.

Last week I also attended a retreat for VMM. It is the organization that is sponsoring my volunteership. I gotta say I was a little nervous going into it, truth be told because it is a Christian based organization and it has been a REALLY long time since I have been associated with non-sinners. ;) Granted it is a VERY liberal organization, if it weren't I wouldn't have applied for the position. But there was a moment when I was a little worried that I had misrepresented myself. During the retreat, I met the other volunteers in the area, there are a couple in El Salvador and also in Nicaragua and Guatamala. It turned out that I really enjoyed getting to know them. I also appreciate the diversity that was in the group. I realized also that no matter the language we use what inspires us to do this work comes from the same place.

There are only 12 of us (well 17 if you count the bichos) so the group is much smaller but life story-wise very diverse. There are two families in the group. One has two kids (The Morans) and the other (The Fosters) have three. I have to say, I think that is absolutely gutsy and amazing. I guess the idea of having kids period seems, to me, akin to having my arms ripped off, having kids and trying to navigate Central American buses would then be like being beaten by the freshly removed appendages. There is also a couple serving in Guatamala who are in their 80's. It is amazing how much the age diversity changes the dynamic of the group. In the Peace Corps, most of the volunteers were 22 and fresh out of college. Alicia, is my age and a nurse. We really hit it off which is great and also a bummer because she is serving in Guatamala which is a neighbor, but still a ways away by bus. But, we are already planning to take our visa trips together. (Another BIG change from Peace Corps.... most likely my residency plan will be leaving the country every three months to renew my visa.) I had to chuckle, Alicia said that she became a nurse because her father suggested that she learn a practical skill that she could apply wherever she wanted to go. Good advise. I then thought about it and realized that maybe sociology doesn't fit in that category. I don't know if sitting in a hammock devising abstract social theories can technically be considered a "practical skill." I'll keep working on that.

Anyway, I left the retreat feeling good and appreciative for having a community again. I think I had been mourning the loss of my PC community and didn't realize it til I found another one. So... all is good. All will be great when I get settled in the new house. I will try to send some pics, but my camera has been slowly dying so I will do my best. I have added links on the side to VMM and also to Alicia's website and blog. She is really a much better person than I am so I thought I would include her link in the spirit of diversity. :)

Salvadoran Vocab:

Bicho: insect, pest or child

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So... funny thing happened to me on my way home from work the other day.

The neighborhood I am in is really pretty tranquilo. It's kinda got a distinct feel to it cuz it's close to the University and has all these chill restaurants and bars.. kind of a Che Guevara meets Jack Kerouak ambiance. Anyway, so I was starting to get pretty comfortable and thinking that it's really not all that rough here, at least not where I'm at.

It was about 4p, broad daylight, I turned the corner onto one of the main streets and there were all these cops in front of this barber shop. They had the sidewalk taped off with the yellow crime scene tape. One guy was taking a picture of a shell casing next to one of those little triangular tented number things. They had another little number thing a few yards away near a browning blood stain. I walked past it and followed a blood trail down the street for about 20 feet. I thought someone must have just gotten hurt because I really didn't think that the stain looked big enough for a death, but when I told my friends about it later they said that they don't bother with pictures and crime scene tape if someone just gets injured. But, it wasn't news enough to make the papers. I guess that rates it somewhere between yellow tape and newsprint.

So.... I'm gonna go ahead and keep my guard up a bit.... and go somewhere else if I need a haircut. :)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Con hogar

YEA! I have a home!

I found a house to rent this afternoon. I was getting a little worried because everything that could be a slight possibility in the paper was already rented and I was afraid of getting a little desperate. But, all my days of hitting the streets and asking everyone I saw have finally paid off. I actually ran across this place on accident, I was wandering around, asking all the guards if there were places for rent and this one told me a couple of weeks ago that there was a girl moving out of a house this month and to stop back by. I did on Tuesday and he said that she had left and gave me the name of the owner. So I called her, went by to see it today and now I have a place to hang my hat. Good thing too because she told me that she has already had about four other calls and she hasn't advertised it at all.

It is really, really cute. It's a little bit out of my price-range, so I am going to have to have a roommate. Looks like I will be living with Maria's boyfriend. jajajaja! Now all I have to get is... everything. Houses here are rented with the bare minimum... there is no fridge or stove so I will need to get that. As well as a bed. It does have closets so that is a big plus. That is not standard. Location is great though, it is right next to a supermarket and only a block away from the coffee-shop. And I can walk to work, so that will save me bus fare. AND it comes with hammock hooks.

What more could I really ask?

oh yea... I mentioned earlier that I was looking for a house with a cistern so that I could have water 24/7.. well, everything that I mentioned above won out over having water in the afternoons and evenings.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Gringa Perdida

My explorations got me a bit turned around twice this week. But, not a problem, that's how I get to know new places. The first time, I took a "shortcut" from work and hung an "izzy" when I should have gone right and ended up somewhere that wasn't where I was trying to get to. Although it turned out well because the next day I went to look at an apartment that was in the same area so by then I already knew it. The other funny part about that street, is that when I was looking for the apartment, I had a hard time finding it. But generally the security guards are helpful with directions. There are shotgun armed security guards on nearly every corner, at least in this part of town. Anyway, I was walking down this seemingly normal street and I asked this security guard for directions, he was in front of a plain looking white building, and as I talked to him I realized that there were a lot of really nice cars parked in front. A car pulled up with two business suited guys in it and the security guard called on his walkie-talkie and said "Send two more girls." Just then, I happened to notice that above the door in gold letters was the name Week three and I stumble upon my first high-end brothel. I giggled as I walked away.

So then yesterday, I decided to expand my world and see where the bus would take me. I was trying to get to a mall that has a bookstore. There are various commercial centers and two mega-malls here that are monstrous alters to high-end consumerism. (I think they build malls here so that you can more easily avoid eye-contact with the destitute masses.) Anyway, I couldn't remember the name of the mall with the bookstore but I could picture it in my head, from the little crappy map I had I thought it was called "Metropolis" because they showed a Metroplis commercial center and the thing is so big, it could have it's own zipcode. So I hop on the bus and figure, I'll just get off when I see it.

Fine plan. I am on the bus for a while, one minute I am watching two cops with M-16's shake down some teen-age boys and the next I am pulling into the busbarn at the end of the line. OOoops.... I asked the busdriver about the centro comercial and he tells me that we passed it a while back. So I asked him how to get back there and he was nice enough to walk me down to the busses headed back, explained to the other driver that I was a foolish, lost gringa. The next bus driver didn't even charge me to ride, which was lucky because I was scraping pennies to come up with the 25 cent bus fair and didn't want to be the idiot that tried to pay with a $20 bill. So I made it to the centro and realized that it was not at all mall I was looking for. So... (got some change) hopped another bus and went to the MetroCentro which is Mall 1 that is near where I live and that I know how to get back and forth from. I never made it to the bookstore, but I'm sure another day will come along with time to kill learning new bus routes.

Another funny addition to the story: I was walking down the main road that the MetroCenter is on (I stopped at a convenience store to buy a better map) and while I was waiting for the light to change I heard a honk. I look up and the first bus driver was waving at me. I laughed, he probably thinks I was completely lost. jajajaja!

Anyway, I wandered, I saw some stuff, I didn't stumble into gang lands. All is good.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Una Gota de Agua

I've got week two under my belt already. I sound like a broken record, but time is really flying. It seems like I was just in Costa Rica!

Overall, I have to say that it has been a pretty smooth transition. So smooth in fact, that it seems a little strange, but I am trying not to question a good thing. I'm sure I've mentioned that I am staying with a co-worker and her family. Actually, it is her in-laws that we live with, so we have Erin and her husband, his parents and his grandfather. The husband and parents are in an Andean band (lots of pan flutes) and spend most of the day rehearsing while we are at work. The grandfather is a miserable, crotchety little old man whose wife fled him and went into hiding in Guatamala. He doesn't really speak to anyone except for his grandson. He spends most of his time sitting under a tree across the street, unless it is raining, and then he stands in the carport with a little radio cursing the rain and mumbling about wishing his ex-wife were dead. I kinda feel bad for him, and then I think, "Well, Kharma's a bitch." Anyway, in the two weeks I've been living here, we have worked up exchanging a "buenos dias" (initiated by me) and then he ignores me the same as he does everyone else for the rest of the day.

I guess the really big news this week is that I have found a coffee shop I could die in. So, needless to say, it has become the focus point of my housing search. Which is going very slowly so far. Partly because I don't know the names of the colonias (Salvadoran word for barrio) so that slows things down. Also because it seems that everything so far is either tiny or huge. Tiny I don't mind so much, but another problem is that even here in the capital there is only running water in the mornings. The current administration in El Salvador seems to concern itself primarily with finding new and inventive ways of funneling funds directly to the aristocracy and barely bother to feign concern for citizens in general or the overwhelming masses of the poor in particular. The current strategy seems to be to grossly mismanage water safety and distribution to justify privatization. Water privatization in the third world means that prices will skyrocket and people will simply not be able to afford water. Have you ever stopped to think about how often you use water? To drink? To clean? To cook? To flush? There are an amazing amount of health issues that center around access to clean water.

Anyway, back to me. As I was saying, one challenge I have in finding a place to live is that I would really like to find a place that has a cistern, which means that I would get to have water all day long instead of just in the mornings. Otherwise, I have to find a place that has extra space to store a big barrel, which is in itself would be livable, but so far the places I have seen, simply don't allow for the space. Well, truthfully, I am willing to pay more have water at my whim and I am not yet desperate to find a place; two things that put me in the top 5% of the world's population.

oh... and yesterday I bought a thermos. :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tattoos and Tacos

I have officially been here a week and have also gotten in my first week of work. (Technically the first full week of real work in ... oh... over two years.) The job is good. I am still learning the ropes and figuring out what I am doing, and what I will be doing. As well as have already been given two pretty big projects to work on. The first being a youth delegation consisting of 100 kids/young people. AHHHHHHHhhhhhh! No.. it's fine. It'll work out. The second one being getting a Theology Consortium off the ground. I am pretty excited about this project, there is a lot of potential there and I see it being "my baby" for the next two years.

I am also getting used to being back in the non-profit or in this case NGO world. Meaning that today my computer crashed on my about 6 times and I could cure kimchi in the time it takes for it to up or download anything. But I figure I will wait for Week 2 before I start complaining about being the low man on the totem pole. The office is next door to a tattoo parlor, which offers tattoos (obvio) as well as musical accompaniment and a contact high. Today however, they took a back-seat to the mexican restaurant across the street that was offering a Friday special. Not a bad deal, except that their primary advertising medium was blaring cumbia music and placing a guy in a Whinny the Pooh suit on the sidewalk to wave people in. The music was so loud that we had to shout over it in our office.

I have actually been pretty busy this week. Besides putting in a staggering 40 hours of work, I have also had a pretty active social life which is a big change from my Peace Corps life. I don't think I have stayed in one night this week. Carlos and Gloria have been keeping a close eye on me and are spoiling me to death making sure that I don't want for anything. I met up with other friends, Alejandro and Marielos, last night who have also sworn to be at my beck and call while I am here in El Salvador. All in all things are going pretty well. I am looking forward to having some free time in the daylight hours to wonder around the neighborhood and see what there is to see. I really like the neighborhood I am in now. It is safe (relatively for El Salvador) and close to lots of services, including (are you ready?) coffee shops, bars and even a vegetarian restaurant! I am hoping to stay in the general area when I find my own place.

Anyhoo, I am hoping to stay in tonight for a change, and also because I have to work early tomorrow. But if the call comes in... someone will have to answer it. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Anti-Terrorism Law in El Salvador

Here is an interesting story that NPR did about El Salvador and their Anti-Terrorism law that was modeled after the U.S. law. It also gives a good description of what the political climate is here. Click on the entry title or cut and paste the following into your browser....


Warm nuts and la Sele

I am officially in El Salvador! I have actually been here three full days already but this is my first crack at the internet. Not to be the last though because I am actually blogging from my new, although transitionary, home. Anyway, to say the least, this next adventure in Central America is going to have much, much more internet access. Yahoo!

Anyway, I arrived in El Salvador Thursday evening. I have to say that as much as I have enjoyed the regal quality of King Quality bus service, flying first class in an hour beats 20 hours and three sweaty borders any day. Two highlights of the flight were that they served warm nuts and that I traveled with La Sele, the Costa Rican national soccer team. I, of course, did not recognize any of them, but thankfully they were all wearing t-shirts with the Sele logo on them so I didn't have to work too hard to figure out what all the fuss was about. Carlos and Gloria picked me up at the airport, we stopped for supplies and made pupusas at Carlos' house. They are quite yummy.

Friday, we chilled through the morning and then hooked up with the Mission staff (Four Peace Corps volunteers that are returning to the U.S. via bus). We took them to the sights, which includes the tomb of Monseñor Romero, and the museum at the UCA (Jesuit University where in 1989, 7 Jesuit priests, their cook and her daughter were massacred by government forces) Rob said it was definitely more of a downer than Chucky Cheese. We then found a restaurant in town where Rob and Billy would be able to quench their baseball addiction. It was kind of touch and go there for a bit, but we finally found some place. We then drank a lot, A LOT of beers and then went to another bar to drink a few more. I was accused of keeping the Mission staff up past their bedtime. Anyhoo... Saturday was "el día del goma" for Kelley and was spent moving very slowly. The Mission took off Sunday morning and I re-located from El Espino to San Salvador.

While I look for a permanent place to live, I am staying with Erin, a Share co-worker and her husband, and her husband's extended family. The husband and in-laws are all in a band so the house promises to be lively. Also, they have two dogs, a cat, and multiple fish so it is much like living with Dara. I am working on getting a cell phone, which is cake for everyone in the country except for me, it seems, the lines were down today so I will try again tomorrow. It should happen soon though. Things here are much cheaper than they were in Costa Rica so that is nice. For example, I payed nearly $90 to get my cell phone service in Costa Rica, here it is going to cost me about $18. Yea!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I'm blogging at the airport. I feel so bourgeios. :) I've said my final goodbyes. The best I can anyway. I realized sitting here that I am in the quintessential transition phase. My American passport reports my Canadian birth; my residency card is Costa Rican and expired 11 days ago and I'm on my way to my new home in El Salvador. But right now I'm at the airport. I am sitting in front of the duty free shop where they are offering whiskey samplers. I keep going into the bathroom, changing shirts and coming back for more. :) Just kidding.

Brandon stayed with me Sunday night. We decided that I have the restaurant preferences of a mid-afternoon gay man. Maybe that's what's kept me single all this time. :) I hung out with Irene and Inti on Monday night. We had meatless sushi. It was pretty good. I wish I had taken advantage of hanging out more with Irene while I was here. Where does the time go? Tuesday Zoey came to town and we ate real sushi. Even better! Wednesday I COS'd and went out with Travis and Laura to Feliz, Feliz for tico chino food. Today Scott got his goodbye's and I am off.
The next time I write, I'll be in El Salvador!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It's official....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:08p.m.

With the stroke of a pen, I am no longer a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Que Disilusion

CAFTA passed.

I will never doubt again. From now on it is pure, unadulterated cynicism.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Adios Puerto

Friday morning I said goodbye to my neighbors and walked out of my site to the bus stop for the last time. It's been a bittersweet process.... on Wednesday my viejitas held a despidida after dance class. They are very sweet, there were tears, me towering among wrinkled huggers, tugging lightly at my clothes, not so patiently waiting their turn to tell me to "go with God" and to never forget them.... Jamas.

Marina, the director of Share-El Salvador is in Costa Rica right now for the Referendum election (more on this in a minute). She was able to come to Puntarenas for the day to meet and visit with me. We had a very pleasant day. I was able to introduce her to some of the families that I have lived and worked and shared with over the last two years. I think (I hope anyway) that I was able to put her mind to rest that I was worth the pressure I threw at them to hire me. It was really good too, to talk to her, it actually made the goodbyes a little, not easier, but maybe put them in perspective. I am going to something really exciting. I am confident that in two years, I will have made friends and found cariño and fulfilment.

Friday, I spent the night in San Ramon with the Barrantes clan. They are, of course, intensely involved in the referendum process. Putting aside for a moment, my cynical nature, I have to say that my hopes are rising that the "No" camp may actually pull it off this weekend. For those very few of you that know that the TLC (or CAFTA), is not a done deal, that Costa Rica still has not signed-on, may also know that today, Sunday, Ticos will head to the polls to vote "Yes" that they will sign the TLC or "No" they will pass. It is a really big deal. The world is watching. One, because Costa Rica is the only country that has put the option to a vote, to ask the citizens what they want. You know... democracy. As opposed to other countries, El Salvador for instance, that signed the accord in the middle of the night in a classic clandestine process. On Thursday, the national paper reported a poll putting No at 55% and Yes at 43%. I am generally one to put my money on the minority with the fiscal resources, but events in the past few days have got my hopes up. While the Yes camp, plays flashy adds and elegant banners, the No's have been busy utilizing manpower, there have been parades and caravans of cars driving around the city honking horns and waving banners, there are hundreds of volunteers canvassing public areas and talking to people. Anyway, it is an exciting time to be in Costa Rica.

I'm in San Jose now. I have some things to close up in the office. Paperwork to get done. I hung out with Scottie, Max and Mateo. We reflected on the in's and out's of living in a foreign land as we watched college football on 8 different screens in a casino full of gringos. They're good guys, they're amazing volunteers, they're about as real as it gets.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Packing up and Moving on

I am slowly but surely getting things packed up and me ready to move on. It is amazing how much stuff you accumulate in two years and how little of it fits into two suitcases. Anyway, I am getting there. My neighbors are very excited for winning the "Rifa de Kelley," as are a couple of volunteers. Marianne got the bed and the stove today, tomorrow Max gets the fridge. Sarah gets a whole pile of stuff for work and/or whatever she chooses to do with it. Necio left with Marianne. He bolted the minute they got to her house. Not too surprising considering that the last (and only time) he rode in a car he came back without his testicles. I'm sure he'll find his way back around dinner time.

Wednesday my Little Old Ladies are throwing me a Goodbye/Dance party. I am pretty excited. It is crazy to think that soon I won't be seeing all of this anymore. There is a lot I am going to miss. I guess that's all part of it though.

Tico 13 said their final goodbyes this weekend. They are really an amazing group of people. We had a cafecito with the office and then began going our different ways. It is kind of a surreal thing. This goodbye isn't really unlike the ones we always say after a get-together, except that somewhere in the backs of our minds is this nagging thought that "next time" isn't as sure as it was before. As exotic as this life was in the beginning, now it's hard to imagine past it. I think that even with those of us who have "plans" we all leave feeling just a little lost and disoriented.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Tico 13 Tea/Cafecito

Tico 13 said their goodbye's to the office staff. Tomorrow is our official COS date. WE MADE IT!!!!! We gave the following picture to our latest (and greatest) APCD. We super-imposed
his face over the old guy! :) The caption said... "Feels like you were here all along!" he, he!

Monday, September 24, 2007

It's official.....

I just bought my plane ticket AND changed my magazine subscription. There's no turning back now! :)

Also... for those of you concerned for Necio.... he will be going to stay with fellow PCV Max in Herradura. I think it will all work out of the best as Necio has been talking recently about picking up surfing.

Los Caminos de la Vida

I was working on having things set up to move to San Jose.. okay I was procrsatinating but the intention was there when all of a sudden I got a big wopping "Díos no quiere." Actually , the position I applied to in El Salvador came open again and I GOT IT!!!!! YEAH!!!!

The position working is located in the capital, San Salvador ,with an organization called Share ( ). I will be the Grassroots Education Coordinator. Basically I will be organizing exchanges between the US and El Salvador in that I will be organizing large delegations of Americans to visit El Salvador and learn about the history and present situation. I will also be collecting testimonies from Salvadorans, documenting them and possibly even seeking publication opportunities. I am really excited!

I will leave Costa Rica somewhere around October 10 and start with Share on Monday the 15th. I still have a lot of logistics to work out, like if I am going to go in bus or plane. Packing everything up to make another international move. And generally getting ready to REALLY say goodbye to this place. AHHHHHHhhhhhhh! It'll all work out. The real bummer is that my camera has decided to take a digger. My good buddy Sarah has been available for being my personal photographer lately, but I am bummed that I won't be able to fully document my final moments in Costa Rica or my arrival in El Salvador. We'll be looking into getting that remedied. Si Díos quiere, of course.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Down to the Wire...

It seems as though this thing may actually come to an end here sooner than I think. Sarah, the new volunteer that is going to pick up where I left off (she hasn't quite got her hammock yet but it's on the list) arrived in site last night. It is kind of funny to talk to her in the very, very beginning stages and remembering when I was in her shoes. It seems like forever ago but at the same time, I wonder where the two years that once seemed like an eternity have gone. I am really psyched she is here. She has really great energy and I think will do an incredible job. I tried my very best to set her up as best I could so that the challenges were inherent in the work rather than due to neglectful site development. I think things will turn out well. I told her that in many, many ways the prep I have done for her is the most sustainable thing that I have done here. I hope she doesn't mind me taking credit for her work. he, he! :)

I find myself indulging strange waves of nostalgia. I only just resisted running up to a Puntarenas beggar woman, hugging her and saying "I'm gonna miss you Crazy Lady That Hits!" But, as you may have guessed from her name, I thought that might not be a great idea.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Independence Day

I am back in San Jose for a VAC dinner. We are all getting together tonight for general mayhem and shenanigans. Today is also Costa Rica's Independence Day celebrated with parades and "typical" dances. Lots of little girls in long skirts and little boys with coffee-ground beards. There is also a lot of political activity. Although now it is old news in the US, if it were ever news at all, Costa Rica has not signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). There will be an election at the beginning of next month to decide if Costa Rica will sign or not. So, there is a lot of talk and debate flying around. The Sí camp, or those in favor, have blanketed the country and airwaves with flashy banners and television commercials. The opposition, lacking the funds privy to those in favor, has still managed a very impressive grassroots resistance. Mainly consisting of squads of volunteers passing out flyers and educating people about what the agreement says and then what will most likely result from it. As a Peace Corps volunteer I am prohibited from expressing a political opinion so I am not officially allowed to tell people that "les va a joder."

Most likely it will pass. Most likely the people with the money and the power will do what they want and what they generally want is to protect their own interests. But maybe, just maybe, this year the people of Costa Rica will stand up and celebrate their independence by maintaining it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Soaking up the life

Well, I am in the last few weeks of my uber-tranquila lifestyle. The end of the month is rapidly approaching which means that at some point I am going to have to start working in the traditional sense of the word. "Que pereza!" as they say.

I am in San Jose again. Kicking it at the Boulevard. I must say that the new addition of plastic sheets at the Boule does not inspire confidence. Neither does the fact that the hotel staff knows me by name. I keep telling everyone that I am just checking out my new site. :)

Anyhoo... I am headed to a Flamenco show at the infamous Jazz Cafe tonight. It is actually my first venture to the cafe, long overdue I would say. I am excited, should be a good time. Tomorrow I am back to my site. It is probably about time that I started getting serious about preparing myself for my next move. At this point where exactly I am going to move to is still up in the air, but I think I at least have a lead on a roommate... besides Necio that is.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dengue Ultra Lite

26 months into service, 1 month to go and I get Dengue. It's a pretty easy case, I felt a little down on Saturday, worse on Sunday (I didn't stray far from the hammoch), yesterday was a little better and today got the infamous Dengue rash. Still moving pretty slow but looks like the worst is over. I got off pretty easy. Didn't even have to go to the hospital.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tsunami time....

As you may or may not know, Puntarenas was recently given an evacuation order in response to the tsunami warning after the Peruvian earthquake. Don't worry though... it was a false alarm. There was general hysteria, bottlenecked traffic leaving the pennensula and taxi drivers charging $100 American to drive 10km, but no real harm done. Actually, I missed most of it as I was in San Jose for a training session. I left pobrecito Necio to fend for himself and watched a movie. All turned out well though.

I am currently hosting two trainees. Normally we only host one at a time but my compañeros are slackers and I ended up with two. Not a big deal though. They are both cool. Saturday I introduced them to the Puerto tradition of beer and patacones. Today we went to the beach (the waves were very rough due to the approaching tropical storm) and tomorrow will be the grand finalé with the booze cruise. :)

Tuesday I am accompanying them back to San Jose. I have my close of service medical appointments lined up. I will also be using that time to find an appartment to live in for the next year.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Just under two months to go in the Puerto

Carlos and Gloria made it back to El Salvador. We had a really great time while they were here. The next time I will see them will probably be in February when I go there for their wedding. Looks like it is going to be a great party, and I am not one to miss a great party. :)

Since then, I have been working on developing a site for the next volunteer. I actually drug Carlos and Gloria to a site development meeting. Don Flaco was there and just missed bringing up traigamonedas as a critical social problem. The meeting got a little sidetracked, but ended up pretty good. I have been running around ever since trying to find a place for he/she to live. The new volunteer, whoever he or she is, will be here for their site visit on the 1st of September, so we don't have a whole lot of time.

Other excitement this week... I have been starting to take care of my medical stuff so that I can be cleared to stay another year. So far, all I have been able to do is lab work, which mostly involves taking fecal samples into town via the public bus. It occurred to me that one of these trips would have been the perfect time to be mugged. Surprise! Too bad they missed out on that one. :)

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pupusas hecho de mano gringa

I am on the road again. This constant vacationing in tropical paradises can really get tedious. At least that is a theory I have come up with. So far it is not tedious at all, but I am determined to find out, so on I go.

Carlos and Gloria got here at about 1 am Thursday morning. Carlos tortured a group of English tourists with his lumberjack snoring and then we headed to Puntarenas. Saturday night Gloria taught me to make pupusas. They turned out pretty dang good if I do say so myself. I shared with my neighbors and ended up receiving a fish that is about three times the size of my head. I had to cut it in half to get it to fit in the freezer! On Sunday we left for Puerto Viejo. Carlos and Gloria really wanted to see the Caribbean Sea, so I sacrificed and brought them here. Today we took a taxi to a beach a little further down the coast called Punta Uva. It is basically a string of white sand beaches dotted with touristy restaurants. It was amazingly beautiful. We ate some Caribbean food that was also incredible. We were set to ride the bus back to Pto. Viejo and Carlos ended up hooking us up with a ride in the back of a pickup truck. It was raining and the roads are horrible, even if you are going 50 mph. It's a great story though. ;)

Anyway, so a little earlier, I faked exhaustion and sent Carlos and Gloria off on their own so that Carlos can give Gloria an engagement ring without an audience. Tomorrow we are headed back to Puntarenas and then they leave to El Salvador again early, early Thursday morning. Then I am back to work until the next paseo.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Round and Round we go

It was a pretty busy week. Monday half of Tico 17 arrived in my site for the gira or site tour. Five of them stayed with families in my site and we took them around to all the "must sees" in Puntarenas. It was a pretty interesting visit. We went to an activity in the school in Chacarita (next door to my barrio). I was expecting to do a quick and dirty activity with one of the classes, instead, I found myself having to sing the dedo song during an all-school assembly. They went all out to welcome us. Barring one minor sunburn incident involving a large gringo declaring to the world "Soy en fuego! Adios!" it was a very successful visit. On Wednesday we had lunch at the local restaurant/brothel and pobrecita Marianne got her purse lifted.

Then Thursday, I came into San Jose to do some training sessions with the newbies in their training sites. Zoey came in Friday so we got to hang out a little bit. Today I am going to pick up some San Jose supplies, primarily peanut butter and catfood, sit in a coffee shop and write in my journal, and then tonight, a student group from UC Santa Cruise invited Marianne and I to go to the Quinta Estacion concert tonight. I'm not sure who they are, although I have been assured that I will recognize some songs, but the tickets and a ride back to the Puerto are free so I am there.

Next week I am working in the Puerto, on Monday I have a meeting to facilitate scholarships for teen moms and then Thursday I am back in San Jose for meetings and trainings. AND... Thursday night, Carlos, Gloria and two other Salvadoran friends will be here to visit me. It should be an utterly insane, fun and ultimately exhausting visit. I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

That New Bus Smell

As you may have guessed, the big news in the barrio is that we have to brand spanking new buses running. They are quite shiny. Makes that 15 minute ride into the center that much more enjoyable. It even has that "new bus smell". Ahhhhh! What else... I feel like i have been running like crazy and I am not sure what i have been doing. I spent the afternoon in the AIDS clinic. I am helping the nurse there design a study to find out the level of AIDS awareness in Puntarenas. As a sociology geek, I am totally psyched about it. It is not going to be completely scientifically infallible, but I think it will at least be useful. I may even sell the results to the WHO. (No that is not a 1970's rock group... it is the World Health Organization) The other big news in the barrio is less praiseworthy. Tuesday morning some people broke into the CEN-CINAI, which is the local daycare and nutrition center. They took all the food and even trotted off with the refrigerator! I know what you are thinking "How do people wonder off with a refigerator without being seen?" The answer is that they don't. As in they were seen. In fact, some neighbors actually bought the fridge from the robbers because they knew that it belonged to the CEN-CINAI. So here is where the social justice breaks down. The OIJ (Tico FBI) came in, "investigated" and left. All the neighbors, and the CEN-CINAI workers, know who it was that did it, but their not talking for fear of retribution and in the long run it really wouldn't matter anyway because if they don't take a HUGE amount of money, nothing will happen to them anyway. The neighbors that bought the fridge from the robbers aren't talking cuz they are drug dealers and they don't tend to mix well with law enforcement. So.. that little annecdote pretty much sums up the crime atmosphere in the barrio. Most likely, the robber's girlfriends/wives/babies momma's will show up on Friday and wonder why there is no food for their kids. It's a vicious cycle.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Okay.. I have officially spent one consecutive week in my site. Big excitement! I actually got some work done also. It is nice to be in one place for a while.

I am trying to get manuals written for the projects I have done. The main one being adapting the Love and Logic program to PC and Ticos. It is a big program so it is taking a while. It also doesn't help that I have been procrastinating! The same goes for writing out the HIV workshops I did in the High School and with professionals.

As for community work, I am trying to concentrate my efforts in supporting the infant HIV commission here in Puntarenas. So far we have had two meetings that have both gone well. We have a third planned for the end of the month. It works out well that I will be moving just to San José this fall so that I will be able to continue to support the commission. I am looking to get them hooked up with some NGOs in San José to have more long-term contacts.

My other "big" project is helping the office out with site-development. Tico 17 is actually already here and in training in San Jose. So, we need to get them places to live for September. My counterpart wants to replace both Scott (in Miramar) and I, AND put another volunteer about an hour away in Esparza. I am not psyched about putting somebody in my exact barrio because, it really sucks to directly follow a volunteer and I have run into so many obstacles finding projects in my school and neighborhood that I think a volunteer would have more success somewhere else. It looks like we are going to put them in Chacarita. The non-porteño would probably not even recognize it as a seperate barrio, it is so close to where I live now. It is only about four blocks from my house and sits directly betwen me and the highway so I walk through there often to catch the bus. I met with the counselors and principal at the school on Friday and they are very excited about the possiblity of getting a volunteer there. I am already a little jelous of whoever the next volunteer will be. I think they will get a lot of support and be able to do some great things there. We are planning a community meeting for the week of the 23rd.

It is already July. On the 13th I celebrate 2 years of living in Costa Rica. It is also the last stretch of my PCV service. I am excited but also trying to soak up my favorite things about living here. (Like right now I am sitting in an internet cafe listening to the Little Mermaid Soundtrek in Spanish.) I am really going to miss living on the coast. I hope I am able to do it again in my life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Finally a little time to rest....

I think I am finally looking at a little time off... from vacationing! :) I spent about four days in my house after my whirl-wind trip to the states before I went to San José for our COS (Close Of Service) conference. We were put up my Peace Corps in a swankity-swank hotel. (Rooms included, coffee-maker, hair-dryer AND bathrobe!) All of Tico 13 was reunited for the conference (both CYF and MED programs) so we were back to all hanging together like we were at the beginning, except for the fact that we have lost 12 of the 31 we started with. During the conference we were able to present the projects we have done and our "accomplishments" both professional and personal. It was actually a very inspiring presentation, my compañeros have done some really incredible things.

I also applied and interviewed for the PCVC (Peace Corps Volunteer Coordinator) position that will be available after I finish service. I just yesterday, heard from the El Salvador position and did not get it as there was another candidate that had more experience working with faith-based groups. So it seems that Díos no quiso as they say. All is well though, I am pretty excited about the PCVC position. I will be able to continue to support the newly formed HIV commission, albeit from afar. I am also excited about being able to work on volunteer support and other projects on a national level. I think it will be a great experience. I am disappointed that I will not yet be able to go to El Salvador, but now I am looking forward to spending some time there in early 2009 to work during the elections.

On Saturday, I was able to have a quick visit with Heather and Oscar before they headed back to the states. It was great to see them and catch up, even if it was a fleeting visit. :) That afternoon we went to Playa Hermosa for one last Tico 13 trip. We rented a house on the beach from a sketchy French-Canadian and had a battle-of-the-sexes Charades marathon wherein the women, once again, proved superiority. My friend Kathy, who I initially met in El Salvador was visiting so she received a massive Peace Corps immersion. She insists she wasn't traumatized but the rocking and babbling incoherently say differently. :) Kathy and I took the bus back to my site yesterday and I showed her around el 20 and the Puerto. It was a lot of fun to have here around. I put her on a bus this morning and sent her off to San Francisco. Hopefully it won't be another three years before we hang out again!

Anyhoo... I am excited to be able to spend a little time in my casita in the next couple of weeks. My cat, Necio is living up to his name. I guess he is now officially mine, as the neighbors to whom he technically belonged moved away and left him to me. My first act as his official owner will be to take away his manhood. I think he's pretty excited about it. :)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Still No Word

Well, for those of you that have been pacing, wondering what it is I am going to do with myself after Peace Corps, well... join the club. I still have no idea. I am waiting to hear about the job in El Salvador. If that doesn't work out (it is seeming less and less likely by the minute), I will be staying here in Costa Rica (but in San José). That is of course, if they accept me for the extension. If all else fails, I may be wondering around Central America nursing my wounds and picking up the pieces of my self-confidence. Regardless, I'll end up where I am suppose to be. I always do.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Demasiado Poco Tiempo

I believe I spent the last week in the states. I can't say for sure because it went by so fast and much of it passed in a blur, but I have some tickets stubs that say I was there, so I must have been.

I got in to Denver last Wednesday night at about 9p. I left Costa Rica at 7 am that morning but spent most of the day at the Houston airport. My flight was delayed (thanks to high winds) and then I almost missed it due to having a couple of beers bought for me and being too accustomed to la hora tica (thanks to Darren (?) and Costa Rica respectively). The first indications of reverse culture shock came when I was unable to speak English in the Houston airport (possibly due to said beers) and when later that night at Qdoba, when the burrito boy asked if I wanted salsa I said "si" and then spent the next five minutes trying to convince him that I am accustomed to speaking Spanish and was not one of those dorks that says "si" instead of "yes" in all Mexican and Mexican-esque restaurants.

I spent Thursday morning at the DMV trying to get my driver's license back, a logistical remnant from the mugging. While waiting, I decided to walk over to the Rite Aid and pick up an Economist to read and pass the time. I searched high and low through a plethora of bridal, hotrod, celebrity and porn magazines but couldn't find it. I asked the girl working there if they had any news magazines at all, I would have settled for a Time or Newsweek even. She looked confused and offered a Discovery Magazine. "Never mind," I said. I guess campesino does translate.

Friday I had lunch with the Island Grove group. It was kinda our last she-bang as Nicole is moving to San Diego. Chris will be working on his post-doc. I suggested that where I come from, when someone is unable to finish going to school, it is sometimes referred to as being "held back." :) Lisa told me I was old, I told her "yes WE are." She is desperately avoiding motherhood although I think that any man that will still love you after you set his apartment on fire is one that maybe needs to be duplicated. :) Em looks happy and great and is learning to love a Republican. Donna is still amazing, still my hero and still working with the people everyone else wants to forget about, all the while suffering the British shenanigans of Dr. Hottie. And Mason.... Mason is still Mason, swinging from apron strings and looking for a lap to lay his head in. Headed off to counsel torture victims in Eastern Europe. Wei Wu Wei my friend.

Friday night drove to New Castle and hung out with the fam and 5 rapidly growing nieces and nephews. It's hard to miss that part. Billie and Rod have one more on the way, so soon there will be six. Saturday we headed to Grand Junction and hung out with a few select Sefcovics along with my girl Holly and the little man Ky. We had a very pleasant afternoon. Saturday night I met up with Aaron, Maria and Will (Bill) my buds from the initial El Salvador trip. We swapped some stories, did some shots, I lost Holly, but then I found her again. I am still getting used to American cell phones. Not sure what the big difference is, but I seem to be deaf to their ring tones. :) I learned that speaking Spanish makes me invincible at Shapiro’s although the big gringo standing behind me may have had something to do with that. :) Holly and I went to an after party at J-Dogg's or some other dreaded rapper sounding name. I spent most of the night staring at Grand Junctions alternative crowd thinking "you people are definitely not ticos." Sunday morning was back up to New Castle. I taught Holly about tico time she seemed to catch right on. We had breakfast with the Burns' et al. and then headed back to the Fort.

Monday, I kidnapped Sarah from her infant twins and 4-year-old and took her shopping. It was lots of fun. There was giggling involved. I had just enough time to squeeze in an hour of drinking coffee and writing in my journal at Starry Night before I met Shawn and Cassie for dinner at the Rio. They are expecting their second child or "young mind to corrupt" as I like to call them. Caroleena and Andy joined us and we ended the night with a PBR at the Trailhead. They are also doing well, finishing up school, working for Island Grove and hunting shrooms. Cool.

Tuesday Byron and I were going to go hiking but it was raining. (Did I mention that I froze 97% of the time I was in Colorado?) So we went over my financial stuff. I got a couple of "bad monkey" speeches but other than that, all went well. Byron seems to have inherited all of the "adult responsibility" genes, I predict that this will not be the last time I am found crashing on his couch. Dara still likes animals. I can't seem to talk her out of it. Although there maybe be hope for her after all, she spends her days cutting them up and placing their insides on glass slides, or watching other people to make sure they do said cutting correctly. Jack got onto my computer and learned to play chess. I may try to learn also and play with him next time I am home but that will probably end with tears. Not generally a problem, except that they will probably be my tears and that's not nearly as fun.

Wednesday I spent packing and desperately looking for quasi-formal shoes just in case I ever need to wear something besides my Chacos. Failed miserably. I have been cursed with gargantuan feet and they just don't make shoes for me. I have thought about shopping where drag queens shop, but I think I would be hard pressed to find a sporty-and-outdoorsy-yet-appropriate-for-semi-casual-drag-queen store. If you know of one, please let me know. :)

Wednesday night, I left. We, logically, flew from Denver (left at 1:30am) to Newark then to Costa Rica. I was only quasi-conscious through most of the flight. I got back to San Jose, grabbed a cab to my bus stop just in time to squeeze into the last space on the bus to Puntarenas. My house is in good/excellent order, thank you Marianne. My neighbors are already hooking me up with their husbands’ co-workers and my cat is MIA. Although I'm not worried about the cat, I know he has been around because there was half a mouse on the kitchen floor when I got back. He is probably just pouting because I was gone so long. He is so catty! HA! Anyhoo... like I said, I spent most of my time running frantically from one reunion to another. I learned that one week is not nearly enough time after being gone nearly two years.

I am still waiting to hear about the El Salvador job. So I still don't know, for sure, what I will be doing come October. Well, that's about as good an update as I can give you. I have a work report and a close of service report due soon so I will be spending the next couple of days at my computer.

Peace Out

Thursday, May 31, 2007

T minus 4 months

Today I picked up my COS (Close of Service) packet from the encomiendos office (aka the bus stop.. you can send packages on the passenger busses.. .it's fun AND relatively convenient). I now have to think about wrapping up this whole crazy experience and sumarizing it in 2 pages or less to be filed away in the D.C. office for posterity. That'll give me something to think about for a bit.

Other than that, I am hanging out in the Puerto again. I am recovering nicely from the hernia opperation. It involves a lot of wandering around and watching it rain. It is not, really, much different than what I normally do.

I did have a pretty productive meeting with a group from the Ministerio de Salud (Health Ministry) about forming an HIV commission in Puntarenas. It sounds pretty promising, although I am still a little gun-shy about getting my hopes up. We have another meeting in a couple of weeks, so we'll see what happens.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Que Pereza!

I am "recovering" in San Jose. I am BORED! I am actually feeling quite good. I am moving a little slow but the drugs are good so things aren't so bad. Anyhoo... I thought I would share with you all some of my favorite tico-isms (or translations that make me giggle):

The word for 'lesbian' is 'tortillera'

The word for 'vibrator' is 'consolador' (Ha!)

The word for 'handcuffs' is 'esposas' or 'wives' (a tad bit machista, eh?)

Anyhoo... that is my most recent cultural update. Hope it serves you well. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

El Chunche

Well, I have four months left in Costa Rica and I figured one thing I havn't done yet is get cut open in third world hospital. So yesterday afternoon I remedied that. Yesterday, I had a hernia operation. I would like to point out though that the "third-world" hospital that I was in, was not really that. It was the private gringo hospital and is arguably better than most of the US public hospitals. Private room, cable, it could definately be worse.

I got a shiny gold star for my surgery. I have been pleasantly surprised that I have had very little pain and discomfort. The Surgery doctors and anestesiologists thought I was a little nuts because when they gave me the spinal, I couldn't stop giggling and saying "Hormigas! Hormigas! Me siento boracha!" Apparently the hernia was in the top of my leg muscle rather than my abdomen and it was BIG. (I try not to do anything half-assed.) But, all is well now. I am on the road to recovery and should be fine within a couple of weeks. Right now I am staying at a hotel in San Jose. Zoey has generously come into town to take care of me and cater to my every whim. I will be here until Saturday so I will have lots and lots of internet access. Yea!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Back to life in the Puerto

I have been in my site for over a whole week now. (I am not counting a quick day trip into San Jose to run errands). I was pretty excited that I was here on Friday and got to go to the feria de verduras (farmer's market). I havn't been able to go in about two months and I really miss it. It is definately the perk of my exciting weekends.I went to the beach and played in the surf with some kid friends on Saturday and got a pretty heinous burn on my right side. It's fading though so I really can't complain too much.

Miracle of miracles, my PANI office has internet up and working so I am taking advantage of the free internet time. It is definately not something to be taken for granted. I am waiting for my new APCD (boss), the infamous Dan Baker to get here so that we can have a meeting with my counterpart about where they are going to put Tico 17 volunteers. I have a couple of places that I would like to see them place some people so I am hoping that they will be able to happen. Other than that, there is not a whole lot to report. I have some stuff to be wrapping up, but I am mostly procrastinating. I still have an entire season of CSI on DVD to watch, it's tough work, but someone's gotta do it, and since Katheryn left, that leaves it all up to me.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Back in the Puerto

I am back home again. And I have been here for more than two days in a row. It is a little strange, but I think I can get used to this again. It's not quite back to normal yet though cuz I had out-of-town visitors Monday night. Kevin, a friend from the states that was a PCV in the Republic of Georgia was visiting so I got to hang out with him and his buddy Jairo. We had about as good a time as you can have in a seedy port town. Did some dancing, sang some kareoke, really, really badly and drank a couple of cervezas.

I am focusing most of my efforts now into wrapping things up here and preparing for the next step. I only have a little more than 4 months left til the end of service! I am still planning on going to El Salvador for a while when I finish here. I just don't know what I am going to be doing when I get there. Figuring it out is all part of the fun though right?

That's all for now.

Friday, May 04, 2007

La despedida mas triste

Me and Maria in Costa del Sol, El Salvador
I am still running. I think I have been home a cumulative total of two weeks in the past two months and a week and a half of that was hosting guests. I am beyond exhausted, but not yet done.

I spent last weekend with Maria. We went to Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and then I finally made it to her site. It was our farewell tour, you might say. Maria is headed back to the states on Saturday. She got accepted into a really great grad school program this fall and is headed out early to spend some time with the fam and go to her brother's graduation before she hits the books in Vermont. I'm really excited for her but I will also miss her terribly. I have spent the last two years figuring out how I am going to fill my time until we can hang out again. I'm not sure what I am going to do with myself. I actually think I am still in denial. So far it just feels like we are hanging out again and then we will go back to our sites. I think it will hit me for reals in a couple of weeks when I get the urge for coffee and Maria time and there is none to be had. Que tristeza!

Anyhoo... we are in San Jose now. Zoey, Maria and I went to our favorite restaurant, Tin Jo last night. Zoey heads back to her site tonight, I'll be here to see Maria off tomorrow. Then back to Puntarenas tomorrow, and hopefully I will get to stick around a bit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

One Small Good Thing

It's done! The following is what I submitted to the Cadena about my HIV Workshop:

The entirety of my service seems to come down to this. It wasn't an accident. I've been calling it, "my baby," my "legacy project" for months. And it has literally taken months for this one day to come together. The HIV infection rate in my barrio is estimated to be one infected person for every ten residents. One in ten. 10% of the population. So I give some charlas, start talking about what no one wants to talk about. Inevitably, I know that my voice, is just one voice, in one small place in the world that not even Google Maps can focus on. Christian mythology says that hope springs from the tiniest mustard seed, but futility was beginning to lap at my mustard seed. I was sitting in a meeting of my Junta de Proteccion zoning in and out of consciousness as they ranted about the dangers of traigamonedas. I could hardly mask my indignation... Drugs, alcohol, domestic violence, delinquency, HIV/AIDS and the group that is suppose to be protecting kids is worried about glorified pinball machines. "I'm outta here" I thought, and then my do-gooder conscious part said, "Quit whining and do something about it. Teach them."

I had done some work at the local HIV/AIDS clinic and suggested to the nurse there that we host a taller(workshop) for professionals educating them about HIV/AIDS. The hospital was already involved in doing some education in the schools and other organizations although their reach is severely limited in that they spend a great deal of time treating patients and they don't have the time or resources to dedicate to organizing charlas. I have the social connections I told him. I have drank coffee and talked about the weather in pastel colored cement buildings all over this city. The theory is that all service workers that work with the affected populations are working in HIV/AIDS, they just don't realize it. It's up to us to tell them, I said. He agreed. Well, he said, Where would we get the money?

We had no budget. It was made pretty clear that there would be no financial support from the hospital or any other social institution. (Speaks volumes doesn't it?) Our biggest expense would be the food, and there has GOT to be food. Whoever said, "There's no such thing as a free lunch" has never been to a tico taller. Not only is there a free lunch, you also get two cafécitos. "If you feed them, they will come." I decided I would write a PCPP and try to get the funding for the food. That would leave the facilities, all resources etc. up to the community to provide. My hospital counterpart had a contact at the Rotary Club and he thought he would be able to get the building donated, the clinic staff would be giving most of the presentations so that would not be a cost and the rest we would hunt and gather. We had a plan, we were good to go. We were on it. First things first let's pick a date. It is such a simple thing, you look at a calendar, you chose a day, you write it down, then you get to work.

We changed the date 3 billion times between November and April; the space wasn't available that day, he scheduled it during his vacation, then the doctor wasn't available, then the "donated" space became a "discounted" space and we were back at square one. This called from drastic measures. Fortunately, while researching "stress management techniques" and greater "community integration" on the Paseo de Turistas I met the brand, spanking new gringo owner of a bar/restaurant and ended up talking him into donating the upstairs of his building, and he would work within our budget for the food. Rockin'! Now I have a space, AND the irony of giving an HIV taller in a bar was really just too good to pass up. The good news; things are coming together. The bad news; it's becoming increasingly clear that this is my baby and very little help is coming from my "counterpart." I decide I am just going to have to live with that. It's not that they don't care or even that they don't want to do anything, it's that working on big problems with few resources tends to breed what looks like apathy, but is really just hopelessness and resignation.

The "S" word (sustainability) keeps popping up in my head. If I'm the only one invested in this, it's not sustainable. "One good thing," I think. "If I can just do one good thing during my service. I'll be happy." I had it in the back of my mind, but I hardly dared to whisper it. I wanted to create a Red de Prevención. There are a ton of HIV resources out there, but there is not any one organized entity in Puntarenas that is working on getting them there. It's a pipe dream, I know. But, I thought that if we could just get people together; the people that are already out there working in the most affected populations. If we could just get them to be aware of it. If we could get them to start talking about it, even in the smallest way, then that would be something. That would be my seed.

The week before the taller, the date was finalized (for real this time). We cranked out some invitations, I took half and my counterpart took half. I hit the streets. I walked all over Puntarenas with a stack of invitations and a sweat rag. I was running about half and half of those that said they would be able to go, and knew that probably about half of the ones that said they would make it wouldn't actually come. I spent the rest of the week typing up the agenda, pre and post tests, evaluations and surveys that would be the measurements and accountability portion of my project. My counterpart was working on getting us some folders donated.

Monday morning, the day before the taller, I got to the hospital to go over final stuff with my counterpart. He, the doctor and the psychologist are scheduled to present in the morning. I booked an amazing woman from Associacion Americas to come from San Jose to present in the afternoon. I got to the clinic Monday morning, the day before the taller and my counterpart has come through with the folders. Yipee! Then the psychologist walks in and I ask her if she is ready for the big day and she says, "yeah, I don't think I'm gonna make it. I think I am gonna be 'incapacitada"(sick) tomorrow." So I did what any mature professional would do... I told on her. My counterpart told her she had to go or at least had to find someone to stand in for her if she couldn't go. I confirmed the Associacion Americas woman that afternoon. I had all the speakers lined up with one exception, me. But I still had a good ten hours to get that together.

The morning of the taller I show a the restaurant at 8 am. The taller was scheduled to run 8-4, so needless to say, I was early. There were two minor (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!) catastrophes first thing. The new owners changed the name of the restaurant recently and had bought a new sign. The name I put on the invitations was in little-bitty print on the new sign. I had also mistakenly written "Oeste"(West) on the invitations instead of "Este"(East). I was on the verge of a breakdown. Was it all really going to fall apart due to one little extra 'O'? One little 'O', as in "Oh f*@#, everybody's lost." My ever so generous machito compañero helped me out, signs were made people came. Not a lot of people, but people none-the-less. I ended up with 11 professionals and 6 PCVs.

All in all, things went pretty okay. The presenters presented. The food was good. The service was good. People participated. The Associacion Americas presentation was incredible and impactful. It still had it's idiosyncrasies of course. It was Puntarenas HOT. The doctor sweat through his scrubs during his presentation. Don Flaco; so named because he is amazing emaciated (I think that taller provisions are his sole source of nourishment); still managed to bring up the evils of traigamonedas. The afternoon presenter was an hour late and my counterpart left after lunch. But then people started talking about the future. Shirley, this incredibly powerful and compassionate woman, starts talking about planning another taller for her coworkers and for MEP and IMAS. The women from the schools ask about scheduling the doctor to present at their school. And then it happens, the heavens open, a man from the Minesterio de Salud (Health Ministry) says it; "I am going to work on putting to together a commission to work on HIV prevention in Puntarenas."

I don't dare get my hopes up. There is excitement, there is energy, there are promises and sometimes they don't make it out of the building. When I leave here in September, the HIV infection rate will still be high. The social workers and psychologists will still be over worked and overwhelmed. Vital programs will still be under-funded. Important information will not be distributed because it is uncomfortable to talk about. The impact of the taller will fade. But maybe, just maybe, one small good thing remains.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This thing may actually happen

I don't want to speak too soon, but it looks like my HIV workshop for professionals may actually happen. The newest and latest date for it is next Tuesday. We are having it in a bar. No, the irony is not lost on me. I am running around today hand delivering invitations (read: begging people to come). I am not sure how this thing is going to turn out. I may be in tears come Wednesday, but at least it will be over and done with.

More irony: Last week I was in San Jose giving a talk to the new group about filling out Incident Reports after having been mugged and/or a victim of theft. When I got back to my house, I found out that the local crackheads had stolen my towels off my clothesline in my back yard. Oh those crackheads! You just never know what sort of shenanegans they'll be up to next!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Back but not completly

We got back to Costa Rica Sunday night at about 9pm after over twenty sweltering hours on a bus without air conditioning. To say the least it was good to be back. I was home for two whole days before I had to come into San Jose to do some training work. I am giving a training on safety and how to fill out an incident report since I have, unfortunatley, got the process down now. I am looking forward to spending some actual time back in my site.

The date on my HIV/AIDS workshop got changed again. It will be nice to have a little more time to get things together but I would also really, really like for it to get done. It has drug out a really long time. I am a little worried that I am more invested in it than my counterparts, but that is a pretty typical scenario. After so much anticipation, I am just hoping that it gets done without bombing too badly. On a good note, the food is paid for so I don't have to worry about people showing up! :)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Quick Note from El Salvador

I'm back in El Salvador. Zoey, Maria and I arrived Thursday night. We have been running like crazy. We have already eaten pupusas, been to the kareoke bar (twice), scoured San Salvador for the best jugo de naranja con vanilla, and went to a music festival. The girls are getting a crash course in Salvadoran history and culture. It's a tough one to swallow at times but they are hanging in there. We toured the UCA campus where 6 Jesuit priests and two women were murdered by the government death squads during the civil war and we went to Cinquera and hiked in a nature reserve and then spoke with the town patriarch about the war. Zoey caught the bus back to Costa Rica early this morning. Maria caught some sort of bug that kept here in the hammock all day, but seems to be doing better.

Anyhoo... that's all for now.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Pre-trip check in

I am still in San Jose. Dan Baker Day was a success. It will be nice to have an immediate supervisor again. Work-wise things are going well. Trying to get some stuff done between vacations. It's a tough, but I have nearly a month worth of days to take before June when I am no longer allowed to take vacation days. So... it must be done. :)

Tonight, or more specifically, tomorrow morning at 3am, Zoey, Maria and I are headed to El Salvador. I am really excited that they are going with me. We are all staying with Carlos. He gave me a quick rundown of our itinerary and it seems that the phrase "we'll sleep when we are dead" translates perfectly.

I went to the art museum today. It is in a building that used to be the airport. It is really pretty. It is not huge, it is not the DAM (Denver Art Museum), but it was nice. Although I was a little disapointed because they had advertised a special Rembrandt exibit which ended up being a special timeline of his life. It did not include any originals nor reproductions of his actual work. But, the other stuff was pretty cool and just the right amount of things to see that I didn't get kindergartner antsy before the end.

Anyhoo, I'll try to get a post in from El Sal!

Monday, March 26, 2007

It's a tough gig....

I am having a hard time keeping up with the blogs. Been running a lot lately. All this paseando (vacationing) is tough work! Dad, Carol and Dee Dee were here for a week. I saw them off on Friday. It was a lot of fun and quite an adventure navigating the cultural divides. But, we went fishing, ziplining, snorkling and even saw some dolphins. (Oh yea... there were monkeys too.) We even drug Dad and Carol kicking and screaming to a Japanese restaurant so I could get my sushi fix. It was really good, but I gotta say it is tough to switch between English, Spanish and Japanese. It was funky.

I was hostess for volunteers all weekend coupled with trying to get ready to go to El Salvador for a week. It is also Dan Baker Day on Tuesday so I am headed to San Jose. Then to El Sal on Thursday. Dan Baker Day, for those of you who do not yet have it marked on your calendars.... is the welcome party for our new program director.

Anyhoo... I had better get going. I have got some actual work to squeeze in between vacations!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Last Dance of Malcrianza

Okay... well, my AIDS presentations went very well. Or at least they ended on a very good note so that has rosied my recall of the disorder and chaos that they started out being. Overall, I am quite happy with the results. I was able to train two other volunteers also so that felt sustainable. Although I can't say that they were overwhelmingly effective as one of the girls kept unbuttoning her blouse and making eyes at Jacob, the male volunteer helping me out. And at the end of one of the presentations, a kid came up to me and said (to my breasts), "I know I don't look it, but I am 15 years old and I know what to do with a condom." I said, "well, I feel like my work here is done."

I spent the day Saturday in Jacob's site. He lives across the gulf in a small town called Jicaral. They were having their fiestas civicas or civil festivities whose main attraction was the last ride of a world(Tico)-famous man-killing bull called Malcrianza loosely translated as "Born to be Bad." Supposedly he has killed two men and is very vicious. So we packed into a little arena, and I do mean packed. We were sardines on wooden benches. It was not comfortable. The most exciting part of the evening was marveling at the natural consequences of a country without liability laws. The arena was not all that big to begin with, probably only about 30 yards across in any one spot, and there were about 20 spectators in the ring with the bull that would taunt it and then try to scurry up the fence as it came their way.

I have to say that the riding and roping styles were interesting. I consider myself to be a fair judge as I have been to a rodeo or two in my day. It was announced that the first rider would be riding in the "free hand" style, which means that he would be riding with both hands held in the air. I was pretty excited to see how this would be done as I have seen many a good rider not make eight seconds, even while holding on with at least one hand. He came out of the shoot, flopping around like a rag-doll, both hands in the air and I was amazed, until I saw that his feet were strapped to the bull. The purist in me insists that this is cheating. That was pretty much the end of the excitement. Many of the riders made the full eight seconds. Generally there would be 2-3 seconds of rough bucking followed by and equal amount of half-assed bucking and then the bull trying to get past the harrassment of the spectators to get back into the pen. Each "ride" was seperated by at least 20 minutes of what I assume to beintensive preparations, while the spectators shifted uncomfortably trying to keep their bums from sleeping.

The roping style was also quite distinct from that which I am used to seeing. I have to say that it was right online with the tico cultural trait of indirectness, but much more fun to watch. Although I didn't get to examine one upclose, the larriats looked to me slightly less rigid than american ones. The loop was huge, it looked like it was about 6-8 feet doubled, or nearly big enough to run it around the entire bull without touching it. To throw it, they would spin it on one side of the horse, flop it over and spin it on the other and then sort of lob it over the bull. Their accuracy wasn't 100% but it was really fun to watch. It was like the trick ropers that would spin their larriets around themselves and their horses.

Anyhoo, we left after the third bull and according to the Brittish woman that stuck out the entire thing, we missed very little, although ticos insisted that we missed the ride of the century and assured us that Malcrianza was surely possessed by some sort of evil spirit that would make him so blood-thirsty. I can't speak for the level of demonic possession, but I can imagine I would have been seeking blood if I had waited out the entire show. Of course, a seat cushion may have changed my outlook on the entire event.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I guess it has been a while since I wrote. Not a lot going on, mostly just killing time inbetween vacations. Just kidding...

Um what's new. On the subject of barrio wildlife, I spent about a half an hour helping my neighbor capture a ferrel bunny rabbit in the dark. I told her next time to get a white one, they're easier to see.

Next week I have a bunch of HIV/AIDS presentations I will be doing at the local high school. 11 in 4 days. I should be certifiable by Friday, just in time to give a presenation on NOT beating your children to a group of moms. I'm also working on getting my HIV/AIDS workshop together. I am pretty excited, I found out that the grant proposal I wrote was accepted and the project was fully funded. You all should be excited too cuz it was originally a "hit up folks from home" grant. So, consider this your "get out of donating" free card.

Anyhoo... I have to give an aerobics class to my little old ladies this afternoon and then I have penciled in a big, fatty nap in the hammock.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

7th Street Bookstore and Café Milagro

Here's a pic of me in one of my favorite San José hangouts. The 7th Street Bookstore where I am able to have a cup of Joe, read a book (or magazine) and write in my journal. It is full of gringos, but the closest thing I have found to stand in for Starry Night.

Monday, February 05, 2007

0 to 12,530 ft

Maria, Zoey and I spent three days last week climbing Chirripó, the highest point in Costa Rica. (On a clear day, you can see both the Pacific and Carribean Coasts.) Thursday we hiked to the albergue or hostel-like thing located 14.5 km up the mountain. Friday we climbed the last 6 km to the summit and ended up doing so with a group of Ticos that included the former director of the parks who was able to tell us a lot of "insider information" about the park history and geology. We also summitted with the sports reporter from one of the local channels who, although I had never seen before, is apparently quite famous in Costa Rica. They were a really fun group and ended up offering to give us a ride back to San Jose on Saturday, which we jumped on like we do any other opportunity to avoid 6 hours in a hot, dusty bus. On Saturday we climbed down and were absolutely, totally and completely exhausted by the time we reached the bottom. We collapsed in a heap but were ecstatic that we had completed our journey and, even better, that the guys had waited for us and we still had a ride back to San Jose. It was an amazing trip! Day 1 5:30 a.m. Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed
View of Costa Rica's West Coast from top of Chirripo (The coast is just underneath the clouds.)View of Costa Rica's East Coast (Coast again just below clouds)
We collapsed at the bottom... but we still arrived to a round of applause!

Sunday, we watched the Superbowl at the Boulevar. Go Colts! Today, I am so sore, I am moving like a little old lady and actually cried out trying to climb the stairs to board the bus. Well worth it though!

Tomorrow... I am back to work!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Yes... there is some actual work going on

Okay... beyond all the mugging excitement, I have actually been getting some work done. I gave three charlas to Tico 15ers on Monday. Yesterday I had a meeting with a doctor at the children's hospital that works in the AIDS clinic. It was really interesting, a little depressing, but a good opportunity for project colaborations. The most disturbing thing I found out is that the hospital only places HIV positive kids in PANI foster homes if there is absolutely no other alternatives. The education level for PANI workers regarding AIDS issues is abysmal. The doctor told me that they had actually treated PANI babies for mal-nutrician because the caretakers didn't feed them because they were afraid they would get the disease. So... to say the least there is a need for education campaigns.

Luckily... I am currently working on an education workshop for PANI workers. I will be saying more about this later and asking for your help with it so... be sure to watch for that.

Today, I will finish up in San Jose by giving another charla to 15ers about Love and Logic parenting/discipline techniques. Love and Logic is a parenting curriculum that I used to use when I worked in the treatment centers in the states. They generously donated the curriculum to me to use here.

Anyhoo.... that's what I'm up to lately. Later today I will be headed back to my barrio and tomorrow I'm headed to the OIJ (Tico FBI) to report my mugging. Let the good times roll!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

As long as we are keepin' it real...

I debated about whether or not I should post this blog as it will probably get some hearts started, but to stay true to my honesty policy I guess I had better fess up. I was catching the 4am bus to San Jose Monday morning to do trainings for another Tico group and I was mugged by two guys with a machete crossing the runway between my barrio and the main road where I catch the bus. Not something I am anxious to repeat, but all ended well. They got my wallet but I got to keep my camera and my laptop. Lost my Peace Corps ID and my Colorado Driver's license but nothing irreplaceable just inconvenient. Today I am going to go the the bank and see how many days it will take me to get a new bank card. Anyhoo... life goes on.