My routes of travel

Obviously I am not a photographer or a knowledgable world traveler, but maybe I'll get there someday :) For now, I just love to see things and explore.

Program Required Letter

Hola Sami!
   Como te vas? I am sure you cannot believe it has already been a half a year since you left Perú. Pretty crazy, huh? It still in all honesty probably does not even feel like you have been here, but I am here in this moment of your life to tell you that you most certainly have been to Perú.
   I hope at this point you have figured out what ELAP meant to you. I have yet to see what is in store for me on the last day of classes, but I am sure it will be very much fun! It is interesting to think about how at this point it does not seem as if you have made a BIG connection with Nido Acuarela, which is actually a little strange for you. Feeling connected to the people and experiences in your life is something you normally do not have a problem with. Maybe that is why you went through a rough patch while on this trip. I hope at this point you can answer that. But really though I would like you to remember a few things…
- When you were told that you looked like two different little girls from the school because they had big eyes and cheeks like yours (at least that is what I am assuming is why they said that)
- How many words you did not understand at the beginning in comparison to the end (Who would know the word for tambourine?!)
- Getting vomited on :P
- The class of 3 year olds and how they brightened your day
- “Miss”
- Miss Paola’s class of 4 year olds that had no idea how you tried to predict a future for each in every one of them
- The crazy boys that you were always in charge of keeping under control
- Jared, the little boy that you swear looked just like a little man… Literally! But his voice was too cute (same with Estéban!)
- The reactions when the kids found out you spoke English/were from the US :)
   I am sure this list could keep on going for way too long, but those are definitely some special things. I know you did not actually get to teach English like you had expected, but it was still fun to listen to the English songs/hear their pronunciation. So, at this point I would like to say, Thank you self, for creating an experience like this for you to live through. I really don’t believe it will be forgettable.
Gracias,
You know who

It’s amazing how you don’t realize how much you’ve enjoyed something until it’s over. While packing for a another weekend trip I started to look over the clothes that I have with me and I brought down my suitcase and started folding things just thinking about packing… SLAP! That hit me pretty freaking hard! I’m ready to leave Lima… Kinda :/ but I’m not ready to leave Perú and this experience. Yeah I have had a lot of difficulties, but honestly it has made me appreciate more this experience. I think I could live in another country (Sorry mom and dad!)
All in all, I do know this was a great new experience for me. I’ve enjoyed my time and learned an enormous amount. Some things I may not even realize until I return back home. It is amazing how 2months appear so long until it’s over. I still have a few more days left and you all better know I’m going to live it up!!

Life’s like a staircase..You can take one step up, fall two steps down, skip a step, linger between two at once, crawl jump and/or run, but no matter what when you reach the top it’s always a relief and a pleasure to see what you’ve accomplished.

I’ve been been avoiding mentioning this because, well, I’m pretty sure my dad wouldn’t like it. BUT here we go :)
I’ve been pretty terrified about after college if we are being honest. I have all these questions like, Why did I get a Spanish degree? Do I really have to go to grad school? I can graduate on time, right? Most importantly, what in the heck do I do now?
I thought that college was supposed to help you with all this?! I’m calling BS!! If anything I feel even more lost than before because college has showed me that, holy freaking crap my dreams are possible! (Minus the ones about finding the love of my life and actually being a mermaid…) it’s that whole process of making it happen that only you are on charge of. Yeahhh, that’s part of the hard part.
Here comes the part I don’t think my Dad would like too much. He has always told me to stop being so selfless and I understand why he has said that to me. However, part of me just wants to make an impact. Volunteering and doing work for others makes me feel as if I am doing something with my life and the world? It’s like this amazing fulfilling sensation that I know many have felt before. Each and everyone is different, but we can share his genuine bliss when we find something that makes us feel so purposeful and content with life.
SO, I have this dream. It is to join the Peace Corps for a little while. Before any thoughts cross some of your minds (like ‘That’s way too dangerous!’ or ‘What’s the point!’) just wait a second. Yes, I like the idea of working to better the world. I mean, who wouldn’t really? And I am mesmerized by the concept of TRULY living within a brand new culture and life. I’ve been through a few travels. Lived in a few homes throughout the world (not many but a few!) But I still have this desire to know what it is like in a culture drastically different than my own. (Maybe I should have become an anthropologist…) I believe that the Peace Corps would be my chance to do this. A chance to do what I am good at and feel a sense of bliss. I want to learn how to not live with much and realize even more how thankful we should be each and every day. If I could live my life with that, I have won.
I’m not dreaming about doing this to be selfless. That’s what I want my Dad to know. I am not dreaming about this without knowing that it is dangerous. It’s actually quite terrifying. I’m dreaming about it because it is what I want for myself. And honestly, what matters more?

Yeah sometimes

In all honesty, this ELAP placement was not like I had envisioned. I loved being surrounded by children who are just happy to be alive, but I did not feel like I was in an experience that was truly unique. To work anywhere it is important to know what you are doing, what is expected of you, what is needed of you. I learned while working at Nido Acuarela that sometimes you may not know any of those things though sometimes and you just have to find your way and learn.  I do not want to sound as if I am saying that working in a preschool in Perú is not beneficial to the world or to myself. Rather that what I did was not exactly what I had hoped to take part in during my time here. I was hoping to feel more as if my presence was necessary. In my placement I felt as if I was shadowing the teachers there. That was very entertaining and I learned quite a bit, but at the same time I felt as if my time was not needed by them. For my ELAP experience I had the intention to come and volunteer by working hard. I did not like that I felt as if I was often standing in the back of the classroom just overlooking everything all day. By all of this, what I am really trying to say is that I wanted to feel more involved.
I did, however, have a great time. I have learned that I do think that I could be a teacher someday if that is what I decide I want to do. I have also learned quite a bit of new vocabulary because I felt as if I was truly immersed. Although it was not what I had expected I do believe I needed this trip. It made clear to me that things are not always going to play out how you expect or better than you expect. Sometimes they will just be different. I needed to go through a tough time abroad in order to realize that I am growing up and I do finally think I could possibly live in another country someday.

Different or just Difficult

Being thrown straight into classes with preschoolers here in Perú has been, of course, a challenge. It has not been the challenge I thought it would be though. I realized with in the first day that I was there, I had no idea what I was doing. Back home I have had experience watching after children, but here it feels very different. I have learned that really the set up of the school day and how things are run really are not that much different. When things were first starting out I started thinking that everything felt much more chaotic than what I was used to. Then I began to realize that it was not because of the difference of here versus back home, instead it was the fact that I was completely out of my comfort zone.
It is not too difficult to tell a child in your mother tongue, “Don’t do that!” or “Stay right there”. But that is just the thing, this is not my mother tongue. I immediately blamed everything on the notion that I did not know how things are done in this culture. I thought that it must be so difficult because I do not know how people are supposed to act in a place like this here in Perú. Am I allowed to yell? Am I allowed to sound mean?
Really, none of it was the actual difficulty I was facing. Everything truly followed down to, I am yet to be completely confident in this language. I had thought that I had learned so much about communicating in this new world that I am living in. And in part, that is very true!  I am just now seeing though, that there is so much more I would like to know.

Food Talk

The food here is delicious and rich. My host family mostly just eats bread for breakfast and dinner. But the bread is fantastic! There is always “two courses” for lunch and the second always includes rice. Unless we have pasta.

So I promise I am not complaining, but some foods I miss right now:

  • Peanut Butter
  • Oatmeal
  • Mexican
  • Spicy foods in general
  • Salad
  • Vinegar?
  • Certain Vegetables
  • Chocolate Milk

One of my favorite pictures from the trip.

Fixed. theme by Andrew McCarthy