Saturday, August 29, 2009

I've never been so alone. And I've never been so alive.

Food at the local market. Everything is locally grown..(my dad would be pleased)

A little girl at the market, getting scolded by her mom. I think her expression is priceless.

Famous St. Lucian statue.

Catholic church in Castilles. The vibrant colors they use in the murals and stained glass make the church very unique.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Amazing still it seems, I'll be 23

Today was definitely the best day so far. For the first time all week, we were let out of the retreat and were sent out on a scavenger hunt through the city of Castries, St. Lucia. Not quite as aesthetically pleasing as the villages of St. Lucia but the richness of the culture easily made up for it.

The Caribbean people as a whole are some of the nicest and most modest people I have ever met. The lifestyle which they have acquired over hundreds of years has an interesting blend of casual seriousness, if that makes sense. They are typically easy going, readily available for assistance, but take their culture, family and pride very seriously. I can't think of anything more perfect. The Peace Corps warned us about the constant 'cat calls' from men. But to tell you the truth, I kind of like it, haha. Never before has a man hissed at me (because that's literally what they do) while I'm looking as desheveled as I do when I'm walking the streets of St. Lucia. I've given plenty of descriptions of my current appearance in previous blogs. [insert here].

One local beer down..many to go. This beer is locally brewed in St. Lucia, but can be found on many of the surrounding islands. It was gooood.

I bragged to the other volunteers about how I never get burned. WRONG. I only laid in the sun for about 2 hours today and am already burned. I'm definitely going to have to be careful while I'm down here.

Monday we leave for our site and I can't wait! I will be living with a host family for 7 weeks and then on to independent housing. It'll be nice to finally unpack my bags. I am extremely excited to start working within my community for the next two years. I have spoken with some volunteers already there and they said I am pretty close to the beach and other PCV's.

Time to go play some cards. I will post sometime next week.

'Be the change you wish to see in the world'--Gandhi via Lauren Hershey

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And we'll all float on ok

I have a crust of sweat encompassing my whole body. This is honestly the dirtiest I've been in a really long time. My body oozes sweat from 7:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night (which is when I go to bed). DH and my sister would be having laughing if they saw how I looked right now. Glasses, frizzy hair, no makeup, a grey sweaty dress...and a headband. Duh. But not to worry, one of the girls took a picture as I'm standing on a huge rock (for height emphasis) and I'm making my typical 'i hate taking pictures, but secretly love it' face. I'll make sure and tag ya'll in it.

Some of the other girls and I are waking up at 6:45 tomorrow to go for a long walk. I need it. The food here is amazingly fresh but disappointingly fattening. And when am I going to get a chance to eat real Caribbean food again? Oh, that's right--for the next two years. I need to slow my roll or else they're going to require that I purchase two tickets home.

Here is the view from my balcony. I know, I know..I have a really hard life. It's weird having so many amenities right in your backyard and not being able to participate in any of them. Monetary control is going to be the toughest part for me. The PC specifically gives you just enough money to survive on. For the first time in my life I will be a lower class citizen. Government-supplied health care isn't sounding so bad right about now. (Please don't forward this to my dad...)
I'm excited to move onto the next stage of training on Monday. Right now we are definitely getting a lot of work done, but it will be nice to finally be in my village. We recieved our assignments today and I will be working at the New Grounds Primary School in New Grounds, St. Vincent. It isn't too far from the other volunteers, so that will be nice.
I'm exhausted and getting ready for bed. I will try and post again soon.
"Everything is changeable, everything appears and disappears; there is no blissful peace until one passes beyond the agony of life and death" -- The Buddha

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Free Falling

Exhaustion has finally set in--permanently. It will take me weeks to recover from the activities of the past couple of days. However, I’m not sure if the excitement of my arrival in Saint Lucia or the Dunkin Donuts coffee I just chugged is the reason for my current rush in energy. Hence this blog.

I’m not confident that I packed an appropriate amount of clothing. I get an awful feeling that I am missing something--besides my make up. I almost feel bad for the other volunteers. For the next 27 months I will be battling a caffeine addiction sans make up.

The diversity within my training class has given my projected experience an interesting twist. My impression of the Peace Corps was altruistic, single 20-somethings, fresh out of college. However, most of the volunteers have been out of college for a couple of years. And, about 20% of the group is over 50. Two retired married couples, one celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, are here as well. They are probably two of the happiest couples I’ve ever met and definitely the most interesting. I think this would be an awesome experience to share with someone you love. I’ll save that for when I’m 60.

A volunteer and I were talking yesterday about all of the things we wanted to do while living in the Caribbean, so I have put it in writing. Now I actually have to complete it…

Learn how to grow avocados
Have dreads (for a little bit at least)
Try the local beer in each of the islands
Learn to surf
Learn to read Creole (the native language in St. Vincent)
Get a dog
Travel to a different country every month
Take a ‘vacation’ to Haiti
Find the best SCUBA spot
Build a boat (..not sure if I am joking yet or not)
Learn to play the guitar
Live alone--and be ok with that.
Catch a fish and actually cook it

Ok, coffee has worn off. I will try and post again after I get some more training out of the way.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”--President Obama