Category Archives: Inspire

May We Aprovechar Peace Corps

In May 2014, we used the ideas of May Day to start a new tradition in our family: setting intentions for the following year together. Just as May Day has been a celebration of spring and new life growing, we wanted to plant the seeds of our intentions with the hope that they would grow over the year to come. And grow they did!

In May 2015, we began reflecting on those intentions, taking a deeper look at our journey into the Peace Corps, Pre-Service Training, our first few months at site and into our first year.  It took a bit longer than we anticipated to reflect on those first five intentions, and we set our “May Day Intentions” a little late (in August) last year.  We chose to focus them on the rest of our Peace Corps service.

Thus, to celebrate May Day this year, we are echoing these intentions and for duration of our time left in Peace Corps Nicaragua:

May we seek to empower others so that our service means more than 27 months.

May we continue to set healthy expectations for ourselves.

May we embrace the present as our time here is limited.

May we be as intentional in our relationships as we are in our to do lists.

May we realize that our Peace Corps Experience is what we make of it.


We’d love to hear from you, too.  What intentions do you have (or want to set) for yourself?

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Education, Gender Equality, and Cultural Ambassadors: Our New Year’s Resolutions

“What are your New Year’s resolutions for this year? What if, in addition to hitting the gym on a regular basis and ditching those midnight snack sessions, you had the power to affect the lives of countless individuals living in extreme poverty?  As 2015 comes to an end, we’re taking a look back on some of our greatest achievements and challenges in the fight against extreme poverty. In September alone, we witnessed something extraordinary – 139 world leaders committing to 17 Global Goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and fix climate change.

Now is the time to begin thinking about what we, as global citizens, need to accomplish in 2016 to carry out these goals.

GlobalCitizen.org recently sent out this email challenging us and the world to take on one or more of the Global Goals as our New Year’s resolution for 2016.  We’re excited to take on the challenge!

We commit to working as hard as we can to make these three more of a reality in 2016: Quality Education, Gender Equality, and Partnerships. Continue reading Education, Gender Equality, and Cultural Ambassadors: Our New Year’s Resolutions

2015 Seasons Greetings

2015 Christmas Card

Dearest friends and family,

If 2014 will be remembered as a year of adventure for joining the Peace Corps, 2015 will be remembered in our family as a year of anything and everything Nicaragua. We spent the entire year living abroad, working with teachers and community members, learning a new language and new ways of living, as well as trying to build bridges between our cultures.

As the year comes to a close, we enjoy looking back at how far we’ve come. A year ago, everything was new, strange, and well….foreign. Over the year, though, things changed. Andrew likes to say we are Gringo Pinoleros – a combination of our identity with a Nicaraguan national saying of pride. Every day it’s a bit more true. We’ve mastered some slang, set intentions and lived into them, accomplished some incredible feats, and made great friends in our PCV and Nicaraguan communities.

Slowly but surely, Nicaragua has become one of our homes and part of our hearts.

We continue to be thankful for the love and support of all of you. We are proud of the work we are doing here and know that on some level it is making a difference. It is still an honor to be serving our country and soaking up all the lessons this adventure has to offer. Thank you for reading the stories on our blog, for Skype, Facetime, and Facebook chats and messages, and for the hand-written cards and packages. Know we miss you but feel your support from afar.

May your holiday season be filled with love and light. May you embrace the adventures and life lessons that surround you as we try to do the same here.

Feliz navidad y prospero año nuevo.

Emily and Andrew

All I want for Xmas is Camp GLOW

Tis the season of love and gratitude, of generosity and caring for your fellow human.  So this Christmas, what I’m asking for is your support in the chance of a lifetime for some incredible, deserving, creative, and passionate young girls like Cristell: Camp GLOW 2016!

As it explains on our grant page:

“In Nicaragua, certain cultural factors, such as machismo, prohibit women from taking advantage of education and employment opportunities in order to fill socially constructed gender roles in the home. Camp GLOW aspires to break these social frameworks by exposing young women to a wealth of opportunity and providing tools for creating change in their society.

At Camp GLOW, young women will attend engaging workshops on topics such as sexual reproductive health, gender equality, gender and global human rights, and strategies for future planning. The camp will promote leadership skills and encourage the girls to return to their communities to implement activities that stimulate gender equality amongst their peers.

Continue reading All I want for Xmas is Camp GLOW

Wholehearted Living – The Journey in Review

A year ago today on my 27th birthday, I had a desire to live more wholeheartedly. Every month we selected one of Brené Brown‘s Guideposts for Wholehearted Living as a lens through which to see our adventures and encounters here in Peace Corps Nicaragua.  I centered myself in what our blog is all about: embracing that life is beautiful, hard, and worth living, that love and light are actually all around, that this moment, whoever and wherever you are in life, is the best part of your life.

Living into these Guideposts was rarely easy.  They always sounded so pretty, so simple.  Forget about what others think? Awesome! Cultivate authenticity, creativity, or laughter?  Sign me up! But when it came down to it, to actually walk the walk was more challenging than I anticipated. Continue reading Wholehearted Living – The Journey in Review

On Jack-o’-Lanterns and History: Cultural Exchange Chasing Away the Darkness

November 2015 Guidepost to Wholehearted Living
Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

–Max Ehrmann, from Desiderata (1924)

As Emily mentioned in her last post on chikungunya, we’ve had a bit of a rough spell these last two months.  We’ve had some great successes and high moments (among them a great site visit and class observation from our Peace Corps boss, facilitating trainings for trainees and Estelí teachers, and seeing tangible counterpart improvement), but we couldn’t quite shake these dark feelings that’d creep up on us during our down time.

This Saturday, Halloween, was a good example.  Despite a wonderful Friday spending the morning with our community of practice, eating lunch with four trainees from Nica 66 who will be in our region, and chatting away the afternoon catching up with multiple Nicaraguan friends, our joy from the day before evaporated and we found ourselves stuck, focusing on what we were lacking: pumpkin carving with family, pumpkin patching with friends, the comfort of tradition.

We ended the day with a plan of action to make the most out of our Sunday.  We’d reach out to relationships we are cultivating here, bring our traditions to Nicaragua, and snuggle with some babies in the process 🙂 Continue reading On Jack-o’-Lanterns and History: Cultural Exchange Chasing Away the Darkness

Intentions for Year Dos

In May 2014, we used the ideas of May Day to start a new tradition in our family: setting intentions for the following year together. Just as May Day has been a celebration of spring and new life growing, we wanted to plant the seeds of our intentions with the hope that they would grow over the year to come. And grow they did!

In May 2015, we began reflecting on those intentions, taking a deeper look at our journey into the Peace Corps, Pre-Service Training, our first few months at site and into our first year. While it took a bit longer than we anticipated to reflect on those first five intentions, we still want to keep this tradition going and set some new ones.   It may not be May, but today is still a big day in our Peace Corps Journey.

A year ago today, we were flying Washington DC, scared, excited, nervous, and completely unsure of what our Peace Corps journey would bring. Now we’re settled into our site, working hard, and trying to live up every moment. Our service seems to be flying by! With all of these things and more in mind, we want to set our intentions for our next year:

May we seek to empower others so that our service means more than 27 months.

May we continue to set healthy expectations for ourselves.

May we embrace the present as our time here is limited.

May we be as intentional in our relationships as we are in our to do lists.

May we realize that our Peace Corps Experience is what we make of it.

Check back in another 365 days to see how we did.