Up and Down, Here We Go

I know pictures speak a thousand words, but I hope my words alone can fulfill the same job in this month’s post. Writing a blog and illustrating it with pictures is another full-time job, I tell ya.

It has been three and a half months I have been in Colombia. Three and a half months of a flour-filled diet consisting of arepas, sweating until there is no water left in me, trying to speak like a Costeña (coastal person) and integrate hardcore, learning all about Colombia, its education system and culture, and keeping a solid and genuine smile on my face through it all because, hey, life is good.

Besides the technical trainings, we had sat in on sessions regarding resiliency. Peace Corps is not easy. For that reason, we come together to discuss how to overcome the lowest of the lows and keep moving forward.

So, backing up… getting to Colombia was all rainbows and unicorns, lots of happiness, Carnaval, laughter, and all that good stuff, but I am sort of a negative nancy and know that nothing is forever, such as all these good feels.

I remember asking during one of those resiliency trainings, “When will this happiness end?”

What a way to kill the mood in a classroom, I know.

One of our PC Leaders, Megan, responded with a smile and whipped out this line graph chart titled, “Cycle of Vulnerability and Adjustment.” In this chart, there’s this squiggly line that goes up in the beginning and down and then up and then down, then has a long period of up-ness, and ends with a down-ness.

There are descriptions of when those periods of up and down will be and right now, the period is entering into the down phase.

We are now entering the realm of the Peace Corps, because the honeymoon phase and training are over and on April 15th, we officially became Peace Corps Volunteers here in Colombia.

We had a swearing in ceremony where we declared out loud the oath that the US President takes, sang my favorite USA anthem and also the introductory part of the Colombian anthem, shook hands with the US Ambassador to Colombia, Kevin Whitaker, and finally took a sigh of relief knowing that we were at freaking last done with the arduous three-month training.

To remind you why I am here, I am here to serve the people of Colombia in aims of supporting bilinguilism. I will be serving in the education sector under the program, Teaching for English Livelihoods (TEL). I will co-teach with Colombian teachers to leave behind with them improved methods and practices of teaching English. At the same time, I will be conducting community projects on the side and serving as a mini-ambassador representing the USA, all while learning more about Colombia.

My job is pretty cool and to let you know, I am doing just fine.

We moved into our 2 year sites and I now stay with a host family that is made up of a mom, dad, a sister (age 7), two chihuahua’s, a cat, and a few chickens.

I have a blessed room with a discoball (this was the sister’s room before) and I live where mountains and its mist surround me and where a huge soccer field and Catholic Church are literally 5 steps away from my house.

My little sister talks to me way too much, but I see the innocence in her and hope we become close.

And I just saw a boy with a Dallas Mavericks jersey that he got from Venezuela and I kept talking to him because that’s my favorite basketball team. He probably was wondering, “Why is this Asian lady talking to me so much?” Relate-able things just make me so giddy.

The line graph says I am entering the down period right now, but I am entering it with a mindset without expectations and I see good in a lot of things now.

I complain and whine, but I snap myself back into the groove of things because I hate feeling like a cry-baby. Gracias a Dios – Thank you God.

I am tired of my butt sweat, but if you look around closely, I am not the only one sweating really hard. (grins)

I really crave noodles and other diverse foods, but that chocolate milk in that tienda – store that actually tastes like real chocolate milk sure knows how to make a person’s day.

Pretty sure the little things are going to help me ride the tides of the down waves.

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