Monday, July 28, 2008

Take a lesson from the strangeness you feel

Things I am excited about:
Seeing my parents
Living with Jessica in Cambridge for a few weeks
Speaking Spanish and talking about Ecuador with Chio
Drinking beer with Kathryn
Shopping for gifts in Otovalo
Being in Greensboro without a thousand holiday related chores to deal with
Carolina and Norman´s wedding
Good bye parties (six scheduled so far)
My Dad´s retirement party
Volunteering for Obama
Visiting Angela, Benjamen, Jill, Cris, Michael, Trinity Lutheran, in New York
Having nothing in particular to do for more time than I can imagine
Drinking wine with Ted
Talking shit with Marcus

Things I am sad about:
Leaving Ecuador
Friendships that haven´t gone so well (one in particular)
That fact that I wanted nothing more that to meet someone and when I finally did it was exactly the wrong moment to meet someone
My terrible Spanish grammar

Things I am not excited about:
Job searching
Being in between things
Living at home
Losing my Spanish

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hometown Blues

(Apologies to Kathryn and Steve Earle for shamelessly appropriating their title...)

I will be home on August 27, after a red-eye from Quito to Atlanta to Greensboro.

Put the beer in the fridge for me?


¿Como se dice Ouch en Castellano?

I took a Spanish test today to see what level of Spanish I achieved with two years. According to the woman who gave me the exam, I have a great level of fluency, a terrific vocabulary, but systematic and basic mistakes in the use of gender and verbs that prevent me from testing any higher than an Advanced Medium, which is what I started out at. So freaking depressing that while I was busy living, having arguments, making people laugh, educating people on the difference between sexuality and gender, the ways to protect themselves from HIV, developing a community based organization, and all the other crap I did, it didn't mean anything in terms of my official language capacity.

And it’s always the dumbest things that make you cry inconsolably in the in-between-times.

I need a Microsoft word grammar check for when I talk.

Tomé un examen de español hoy día para ver que nivel de español he logrado en estés dos años. Según la señora que me dio el examen, tengo un gran nivel de fluidez, un vocabulario increíble, pero errores sistemáticos y básicos sobre el uso de género y verbos que me previenen de recibir más que un Avanzado Medio, que es la calificación con que empecé. Lo encuentro que tan deprimente que mientras que yo estaba ocupada viviendo, discutiendo, haciendo que la gente se reían, educando la gente sobre la diferencia entre genero y sexualidad y las formas de protegerse de VIH y desarrollando una organización de base comunitario, y todo el resto de las cosas que hicieron, no significaba nada para mi capacidad de español oficial.

Y siempre son las cosas más tontas que te hacen llorar inconsolablemente en los momentos entre los momentos.

Necesito una revisión de la gramática de Microsoft Word para cuando hable.

¿O es cuando hablo?


Saturday, July 12, 2008


I started today, tossed out all my workshops and posters, cut up a bunch of those plastic bound packets. (Harder than you would think.) I found my file of to do lists (I save then obsessively.) But I was relentless, even the ones with notes from conversations with friends, where I wrote down what the earrings that Pablo brought me from Chile are called. Trapelacuchas, they are Mapuche. I found the notes Julio made when he corrected the emphasis I put on words like sanduche y imagino.

I had a fit of melacholy, as the contents of the bookcase began to shrink, as I began to divide things up into piles to give to people. A cup of coffee and peanut butter and honey sandwich made seemed to provide some comfort. But yes I am settling in for the duration of the transition blues.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


One of the people that I talked to while I was deciding to do Peace Corps or not was woman who works in a large federal agency after having spent many years in Latin America. She asked me why I would consider interrupting my career to do something like this. She said I would need to start applying for jobs six months before I finished Peace Corps, because at age 35, to have a gap in my resume would be very risky. I tried to explain that learning Spanish and doing public health work in a developing country, albeit as a Peace Corps volunteer, seemed to be to be an enhancement of my professional skills, rather than a time out. (Although I must admit that my life here, getting out of the house at 10 am, scheduling endless coffees with friend beginning at 3 pm is terribly relaxed in comparison to working in a foundation in New York.) The idea was though that I would be prepared to do a wider array of international work, having been here, and that I would speak another language, a valuable job skill.

Blady blady blah.

Those of you who are following my process in the blog know I had a big interview, that is went great and that I was waiting to hear. I didn´t get offered that position and after the disappointment (it really would have been a coup) I decided to just chill out and wait. Gap on my resume or no, credit card debt or no, I decided to focus emotionally and mentally on closing stuff out here, finishing reports, curriculums, final meetings and the like. There will be time enough in September to circulate my resume to every person I can think of, haunt Idealist every morning, chat people up that I haven´t spoken to in two years or more.

There are friends to visit, elections to help out with, things to keep me busy. The job will come.

Of course ask me again in eight weeks if I am so tranquil. Then we will see.

Swimming pool diaries

We had our field trip with my group, the gay kids. We spent the day at a hosteria, ate lunch there, played pool, swam, did water ballet. Gustavo and I danced salsa in the front room, where the pool table was, overlooking the green mountains of Yunguilla. We had fun and it was a good closure to the long series of workshops that we started in December. Here are some pictures.