Monday, July 9, 2012

Recovering my sanity

Not only is this the first moment I’ve had to write an update since the last one, but it’s also the first chance I’ve had to sit down and breathe since then.  To say the past month was busy is an understatement.  I’ve emerged from it with the following lesson learned: I seriously prefer my months of doing nothing.  Well, the ideal would be limited productivity, but this is Guatemala (TIG) and my life here knows no happy medium.  Sighhhh haha

What occupied most of my waking hours (of which there were too many) was putting together the project proposal I mentioned, to build a warehouse for the Trigales onions.  I managed to get all the basic paperwork in before I left for Costa Rica, but my vacation was rudely interrupted by an email asking for more supporting documents (at which point I almost decided to talk the group out of it…I warned you about my predilection towards doing nothing).  So I returned from my incredibly relaxing week in paradise only to wind my body up with stress once again.  The group and I got everything else together in record time, but due to confusion over the deadline, I submitted the whole proposal too late to be considered this month and now have to wait until August to find out if the project will be approved for USAID funding.  I hope it will be.  I’ve also been working with my ag leaders group on a far more basic project proposal for producing mushrooms, which will have to be majorly amped up if they’re serious about applying for a $25,000+ grant from the Inter American Foundation we learned about!

The other main thing keeping me busy was getting together the GAD (gender and development committee) raffle for our annual 4th of July party (held on the 3rd this year, don’t ask me why).  I spent a weekend hounding and cajoling last-minute donors, and then doing the same to poor PCVs so they’d buy tickets, and I’m proud of it, and of my awesome committee.  We raised about Q5,300 ($684ish), which is only about 75% of last year’s raffle sales, but with half the number of volunteers and amount of prizes.  Idk I’d call that a success :)  The party was fun even without the presence of all the friends who’d left.  It was just too bad that this was the second year I’ve worked the party without getting to fully enjoy it (read: I was sad because I was too tired to dance the night away at the after-party lol).

Now that I’m finally done with all that, get me back to COSTA RICA!  I flew in a day earlier than my parents to hang out in San Jose with Anais and Melissa, who made a special stop on her Central American post-PC journey to meet up with us (I also had the very lovely pleasure of sending her off from Guatemala when she finally said goodbye on the 3rd).  We bonded over the terrible acting and direction of Prometheus (seriously?) and the wonders of Costa Rican supermarkets :)  And then it was off the next morning to the airport to meet mumsyyy and daddyyy!  I hadn’t seen them since Thanksgiving, but time had really flown this time.  So basically I was equally excited to see them as I was to see the hotels mumsy had booked for us ;)  Let’s just say she knows how to do her job…fantastic (look here and here)!  Two nights at a private waterfall park/botanical gardens/exotic petting zoo close to San Jose and four nights in the wonderful combination of beach, mountains, and forest known as Manuel Antonio National Park.  Horseback riding, whitewater rafting, ATV-driving, forest-walking…all great (with the exception of horseback riding – never again) yet strangely dangerous.  I knocked my dad out of the raft while falling out myself, rode my ATV off the road and into a ditch (so much for proving to my parents that I still knew how to drive…quote of the trip was mumsy’s “where’s my hija??”), and gashed open my toe before even stepping into the park.  I think I’m channeling the combined forces of both Darren and Kate’s klutziness lol.  Nothing a good dose of sunbathing, sleeping, and eating and drinking couldn’t cure :)  And of course the daily sightings of sloths (I want one…I want to be one), monkeys (adorable), and Jesus Christ lizards (we saw them running across the top of the pool!) didn’t hurt – I must get back!

Some highlights from the week:

the Bohrers on horseback...
...and at the beach...
...and on ATVs
SLOTH! (a.k.a. Darren)
And now?  Can you believe in one month I will celebrate my 2-year anniversary here?  I don't think I ever actually imagined completing the 27 months, yet here I am.  Tomorrow I start Zumba classes in town with my sitemates, in a few weeks I may begin the onion project, in a month I have my COS (close of service) conference.  And I guess in October I'm done.  (The third-year project doesn't look like it's going to work out.  I'm secretly glad.  Except that now I actually have to open my GRE book and look for real jobs.  Luckily I've got lots of free time back on my hands!)