February has been busy busy busy! Which, after spending most of December and January in my site, has been a glorious gift.
I think it’s normal to feel like January is a never-ending month but this year, it felt especially long. I didn’t have much going on in my community and furthermore, didn’t have any trips, trainings, or meetings planned to break up the weeks. I was just counting the days until early February when my entire family was to come visit Costa Rica. I’m serious. I would get out of bed every morning and throw a big ol’ X on the previous day and watch the numbers slowlyyyy count down one by one. And ya know what? Some months are just like that when you’re in the Peace Corps and that’s OK.
Come early February, this girl was STOKED. I packed my bags and headed to San Jose to await the arrival of my family members, who were flying in from Wisconsin and my brother and his wife, who were flying in all the way from Ukraine. It was to be our first out-of-Wisconsin family vacation EV-ER. Continue reading →
Jenn is a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Tanzania and she is just two months away from completing her service! Way to go Jenn!
Above, Jenn is standing behind her house wearing a tradition ‘kanga’, a skirt/wrap that her host mother made her, while holding a jembe, which is a widely-used farm tool that locals use to garden and manage crops.
Today, Jenn is going to share with us her experience working and living in Tanzania! Continue reading →
It’s February and love is in the air! Sadly, for many Peace Corps Volunteers in long distance relationships, that’s exactly where it’s going to stay.
Making the decision to enter a long distance relationship (LDR) while serving abroad is no easy task. Let’s face it, deciding to join the Peace Corps in general isn’t an easy choice — two years living in a foreign country, immersed in a new culture, speaking a new language — it’s all a little overwhelming but hey, why not add more fire to the flame and make things even more complicated?
And that’s just what we did.
With the help of a few fellow PCVs and LDRers here in Costa Rica, today we’re sharing some of our greatest tips, advice, and our own personal experiences on being in love while being abroad. Continue reading →
In Costa Rica, the month of January sometimes feels like un mes de descanso (a month of rest). Coffee picking season has come to the end, children are on school vacations, and endless fiestas are still taking place throughout the country celebrating the new year…is it me or does January 1 feel like forever ago?
While many spend the month relaxing and recuperating, January is a very important month for many Peace Corps volunteers in Costa Rica who are working hard in their communities to facilitate JumpStart English Camps.
Over five years ago Jeanne served as a Youth Development Volunteer in Guatemala. Today, she shares her experience with us and the incredible projects she worked on in her community!
When and where did you serve in the Peace Corps? Did you get to pick your country?
I served in Nebaj, Guatemala from 2011-2013.
From 2011-2013, I served in northwestern Guatemala in the picturesque Maya Ixil town of Santa Maria. At that time, you could not pick your country, and were instead “worldwide available”. However, since I was in the application process for over 2 years (applied first with my husband and then on my own), my recruiter and I got to know each other really well! So, when it came time to nominate me on my own as an infamous SWOS (serving without a spouse) candidate, he gave me the choice of a region, and I picked Latin America. Continue reading →
Since arriving in Fila Naranjo, chia seeds have become one of the main staples in my diet. In fact, I might even go as far as to say that they are thee staple of my diet. I put them in my smoothies, my raw carrot cake balls, and whaddaya know even in my pancakes!
Chia seeds are incredible little guys – they’re packed with fiber, high in antioxidants, and rank as a top plant-based source of protein – and, not to mention, pretty cheap, which makes them the perfect food for a broke Peace Corps Volunteer like muaself. No wonder I’m so obsessed.
Just 2 tablespoons have 120 calories, 10 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and tons of vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, and potassium. Plus, once you soak them, they expand into a whopping cupful of jelly-like deliciousness! Mamma mia! Continue reading →
On December 26, 2016 I woke up with such a relief – I had made it through my very first Christmas away from home. I remember reassuring myself that my second year of service would be different; I would make it home to spend the holidays with friends and family. I would break out my winter boots, frolic in the snow, and snuggle up next to the fire with my favorite dog, Maple, and a massive cup of hot cocoa while the holiday tunes rang out in the background. Oh how glorious it would be.
My cute little Maple waiting for me back in Wisconsin. She’s all grown up!
But, when the final quarter of my Peace Corps service began filling up with new projects, community invitations and events, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to swing a trip home in December. After accepting that I would be spending Christmas again in my site – a rural community of 200 people – I did my best to do it right this time around. Continue reading →
Meet Sean, an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) who served in Ukraine from 2009-2011. Sean, a friend of my brother, was kind enough to help me out with this blog post and give us a glimpse into his experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in Eastern Europe!
1. When and where did you serve in the Peace Corps? Did you get to pick your country?
I served in Kolomyia, a town of 60,000 people in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast in western Ukraine from 2009 to 2011.
When I applied to Peace Corps, I gave a preference for Sub-Saharan Africa. I had taken a few classes and written my bachelor’s thesis on this region. However, no volunteer positions were available at the time I was planning to be ready to leave after graduation.
At that time, Peace Corps volunteers were asked to be flexible and willing to go anywhere – a philosophy that I appreciate. I was almost sent to Central Asia, but ended up in Ukraine – and the rest is history.
I’d like to think that I’ve been pretty positive about my overall Peace Corps experience. Even during the challenging times and moments of loneliness and frustration while living in rural Costa Rica, I have always gone to bed feeling humbled and grateful.
But after last night’s events, I need some space TO VENT.
Growing up on a farm, I’m no stranger to bugs, critters, and wildlife. As a teen, I even spent years living in a house infested with earwigs. They were everywhere.
But since moving to Costa Rica, life with insects has gotten intimate on a whole new level.
I have found multiple scorpions in and around my bed…
Came back to my room only to find a swarm of termites seeping out of the wooden ceiling and waterfalling down onto my belongings, bed, and clothing… Continue reading →
Even after living almost two years in Costa Rica I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Not only am I fulfilling my dream of being a Peace Corps Volunteer, I’m living in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world!
…even though it’s either just dumping rain or the sun is boiling off my tender skin.
Since being in Costa Rica, I’ve not only had the chance to explore places in country like Tortuguero and La Casona, I also went to Nicaragua and just last month, took an 18-day trip to Mexico.
It was glorious…y muy barato (very cheap) for all you money savers out there.