Woops. Looks like I started a blog and didn't continue to write in it. I haven't even been writing in my journal that much either, which leads me wonder: what the hell have I been doing?
Working, exploring, taking care of a cat, bike riding, cleansing, etc etc.
Yes, working comes first. Believe it or not, I came to Oaxaca to work. In fact, I spend most of my time upstairs at Callejon Hidalgo 122 surrounded by it's pastel yellow walls and the sunshine that comes through the 2 large windows(yay!). I'm a Program Advisor for an international service based organization called ProWorld Service Corps. We facilitate projects with local non-profits around the world in Belize, Brazil, Thailand, India, Ghana, Peru, and...MEXICO! I'm the person that talks to students who want to build clean burning stoves in Cusco or the 60 year old social worker from Portland who wants to volunteer for an NGO in San Ignacio. Most of my time is spent familiarizing myself with all the work we're doing (which is a lot!), contacting our team in the states who meet with prospective participants, harassing site directors for more project info, and getting people excited to go contribute their time to one of our community based partner organizations. This -no surprise- isn't difficult to do, considering my passion (cliche, but true) for travel, cultural exchange, and service learning (Not to sound like a brochure for a Jesuit institution or anything). I sometimes visit the local NGOs here and help out in our "mini projects" or go to the weekly dinners with our Mexico participants. I really believe in ProWorld's impact which is important to my somewhat naive, idealistic, bleeding heart 22 year old self. Although I might work late at night or answer emails on the weekends (aka put in a lot of hours for my modest pay check), I'm more than content. Plus, it's always refreshing to put my consumerist tendencies in check.(What do I really need today? Is it a pair of sale boots at Urbanoutfitters online? No. Is it a pineapple, amaranth, strawberry, orange juice drink for breakfast? Maybe.)
I usually arrive at the office around 9-9:30 and leave around 7-7:30, only to come home and finish a few more emails. I suppose those aren't the hours of a finance mogul or business owner, or maybe even my coworkers for that matter...but alas, it differs from my college schedule. While I arguably was active for just the same, if not longer, period of time- I am now focusing on one thing and one thing only. And coming from the student with 3 jobs, 5 classes, volunteer work, and trace of a social life, it certainly is a change!
I've also made it a point to try and explore and aprovechar of what's around me. Two weekends ago, when I was still living with a host family, I was invited to a 10 year old's birthday party (son of a family friend). After napping on the hour car ride to the farm-ish area, I arrived to- HOLA- a Mexican birthday FIESTA. Complete with a barbecued Goat, guacamole, the cutest abuelitos ever, pounds of tortillas, styrafoam bowls of limes, cilantro and salsa at every table, and not one but TWO Pinatas. Their bathroom might have been a latrine, but they had Toy Story 3 decorations! I think I might have consumed a Thanksgiving dinner's amount of food. "Tu comes, manana no. Pero TU comes mas!!"
"Oh, whats this soup? Its kind of tasty. And what are these sea urchin looking things?"
"That's the goat's stomach. Delicious"
Needless to say, being invited out as the honorary guest to blindly finish off the first pinata was the highlight, NOT the goat stomach soup.
As I sit here sipping on the lavender tea I just made, I have a companion curled up on my neck. Her name is Matilda and she's kind of a pain but really cute. My friend Maria is out of town and I'm house sitting which signifies many "firsts"
1. Cleaning a cat's litter box. (Not looking forward to that tomorrow)
2. Playing and loving and showing more than 15 minutes of attention to a cat. (Got to admit, sometimes I do look forward to it)
3. Consecutive days of cold showers. Surprisingly, you get used to them.
Other highlights besides my morning bike rides and the 3 day papaya cleanse I did this week (yes that means eating nothing but papaya or fresh juice with papaya in it)???
I saw one of my favorite bands, Belle and Sebastian, last Saturday! They're playing this weekend at a music festival in San Francisco and I was pretty bummed when I realized that I would miss them. Turns out they came to Mexico this October for the first time, well, ever.
And so... Its 10:30PM on a Friday. I worked late tonight and want to go to yoga tomorrow morning. I just got a text from a new Belgian friend I've made inviting me to go out. But I think I'm going to finish my tea, read Matilda to sleep and leave you with a video I found that someone filmed at the Belle and Sebastian concert I went to:
"There's a lot to be done while your head is still young"