75% Completed: Months 12-18 as a PCV

I’m not going to lie May feels like FOREVER ago.

I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing but for the sake of optimism I’m going to say that it’s good. A LOT has happened since May, so maybe that’s why…

I remember when I was just a trainee back in pre-service training and one of my favorite training sessions was when the veteran volunteers would come talk to us about their experiences. We were just little buoyant nuggets full of hope and determination and SO eager to know the real deal with being a PCV.

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Back in the PST days…so young and full of life.

We were always loaded with questions. After a while, I noticed this recurring theme of volunteers telling us how the second year of service was so different from the first and ohhh the second year really flies by because you’re just so busy and yadda yadda yadda.

I brushed it off until my mid-service crisis hit me like a bag of bricks and I was deep down in the dumps. I was feeling useless in site and the women’s group I worked with was just a complete hot mess. Things truly felt like they were getting worse by the day and the little work that I did have to do in my tiny community of 200 was slowly slipping away.

I was nervous because all I had lined up for this amazing “Year 2” were two Camp GLOWs (young female leadership camps), which I was working on with another volunteer. While I was super excited for those to happen, my squeaky clean calendar post-July left me feeling nervous and frankly, a little terrified…

What was I to do in Fila Naranjo for another 12 months?

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The queen of pensive mid-morning walks

But just like all those volunteers said, things started to change for the better. I came back to site with a fresh attitude and a new perspective, ready to take on my second year of service.

And now I feel like Months 12-18 have been some of my most productive months ever.

From May – November, below is a recap of the first half of my second year of service. Let’s take it all the way back to May!

1. I hiked Chirripó, the tallest point in Costa Rica. It took 9 hours to reach the top but it was well worth it. It was almost exactly timed up with our one-year anniversary in site, which made it that much more special.

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2. I  made pancakes two ways: Chorreadas (a Costa Rican corn pancake) and Protein Style (aka not your grandma’s pancakes).

 

3. We Hosted Camp GLOW! I know I’m not done yet but this is the highlight of my service.

 

4. I visited my boo in Denver and we hiked Mt. Elbert, the tallest peak in Colorado! (from 0ft to 14,440ft…I died).

 

5. I made an executive decision to stop going to church in my community. It just wasn’t my thing. But hey, I gave it a shot.

 

6. I visited Playa Hermosa. Isn’t it hermosa? Aren’t we hermosa?

 

7. I interviewed my friend Steve on Peace Corps in Peru. Read about it here.

 

8. I lived through another Tropical Storm, Nate, and ummm can I mention this ridiculous rainy season? Dry season cannot come sooner. December, I welcome you with open arms.

 

9. Got my hair done…campo styleNo laughing.

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10. In other news…my mom bought life jackets for our dogs.

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11. Of course, saw epic sunsets in site…back when it wasn’t raining every afternoon.

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12. Helped organize a marketing workshop for the women’s group. Finally getting the wheels moving with these ladies.

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13. Got my new ID. Basically sums up the transition from Year 1 to Year 2.

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14. Visited Tortuguero which is now definitely one of my favorite spots in Costa Rica.

 

15. Participated in the annual Public Relations & Communications Committee Retreat. We strategized on ways we can improve the Peace Corps Costa Rica Facebook and Instagram pages and planned for the upcoming year.

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16. Hosted a Marketing & Media workshop for the women’s group I work with to help improve their rural tourism site. My fellow PCVs Jackie and Princess came to give presentations (thanks ladies!)

 

17. Spent boatloads of time applying for a $5,000 grant for the rural tourism site. After months of revisions and meetings we finally got it approved and are currently waiting for the money to come through. Updates and more info to come in the near future!

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Cleaning the trails at the rural tourism site.

 

18. I frollocked around a mall in San Jose (GUYS, there was a Forever 21). I ate the world’s cutest donut. It.was.delicious. (not pictured: chocolates and 3 more donuts…they’re mini it’s fine right?)

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There it is! The third quarter of my Peace Corps service in a nutshell. While I wish I could say it “sped by” it didn’t. And maybe that’s a good thing…slowing time down and enjoying the opportunities to explore more of Costa Rica, work on projects, and spend time with some of my fellow PCVs during our final months.

Now, onto the fourth quarter! The final chapter! The last 6 months of service!

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