Tag Archives: Culture

Personal PC Goals: A Review

It seems like ages ago that we made these goals, and indeed it was! A few have changed over time and a couple we didn’t quite finish, but it’s still fun to look back at how far we’ve come:

By the time we rang “the bell” to signal the end of our service in Peace Corps Nicaragua, we wanted to:

  1. Reach Advanced levels in Español
    • Andrés – 8.2014 Intermediate Low / 11.2014 Advanced Low /9.2015 Advanced Mid / 2.21.17 Superior
    • Emily – 8.2014 Novice Mid / 11.2014 Intermediate Mid /9.2015 Intermediate High / 2.21.17 Advanced Mid
  2. Learn some local slang: Dicho Doce
  3. Buy a Nicaraguan-made guitar: Meet Camilo
  4. Read a bunch in español
  5. Learn to cook some delicious Nica foods
  6. Visit all the departments of Nicaragua (sin R.A.A.N.)
  7. Join a basketball/volleyball league and/or yoga studio 
  8. Visit the houses of our counterparts: Ana Cecilia, Meysel, Regina, Cristina, Rolando, Zeily, Mariela
  9. Have all of our counterparts over to our house 
  10. Visit at least 20 Peace Corps Volunteer sites: Final count 32
  11. Host family/friends from the U.S. Best Surprise of My Life, The Payne Gang, Molding Memories in Nicaragua, Allen Christmas,Visiting our Peace Corps Family, From the Eyes of the Old Tiger,Cigar Tour with Adopted Family
  12. Run a 10/25 K: Taking Back the Run
  13. Start a new tradition in our family so that we can continue them for years to come, regardless of where we are in the world: 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2014, 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2015From May Day to May We, May We Reflect, Intentions for year dos, May We Aprovechar Peace Corps, 12 Days of [Nilsen] Christmas 2016
  14. March in a parade with our schools
  15. Climb/board/swim a few volcanoes. (Yes. You read that right.)
  16. Make Nica friends: It’s Nice To Meet You, EstelíEvery Nica Cloud has a Silver LiningSmall World, Big HeartsAdventure and Company30 Miles to IntegrationAndrew’s First NicaBdayOn Jack-o’-lanters and Histroy: Cultural Exchange Chasing Away the Darkness, #People: Photo Challenge, A Woman who is Changing My Life
  17. Follow a telenovela¡Mi Corazon es Tuyo!
  18. Start the STEP program in Estelí through Fundación Uno: What is STEP?, Permiso, Meaningful Work One STEP at a Time
  19. Return to visit our training towns/families: New Years in Masatepe
  20. Learn at least 5 songs together with some sort of fiddle/banjo/guitar/voice combo
  21. Learn the Nicaraguan National Anthem: Somos Voluntarios
  22. Swim in both Oceans
  23. Participate in Nicaraguan traditions (i.e. folkloric dance, holiday traditions, etc.): Home is where the holiday is, Easter morning, 30 miles to Integration
  24. Visit Ometepe IslandVisiting our Peace Corps Family, From the Eyes of the Old Tiger
  25. Kayak in the Rio San Juan: Adventure is Out There! – Rio San Juan Edition
  26. Visit Corn Islands
  27. Visit Indio Maiz Nature Reserve: Nil Sibs
  28. Facilitate the start of a Community of Practice with the English teachers in the Estelí area: Community of Practice in Practice, We Share a Passion
  29. Don’t adopt a pet, even though they’re so cute!
  30. Help run camp(s): ACCESS Camp 2015, 2016, and 2017, GLOW 2016, and CHACA 2016
  31. Visit the Community of Christ congregations here in Nica
  32. Visit the GU Winter term group 
  33. Go to a Real Estelí (futbol) game: Comparing Christmases
  34. Publish an average of 6 blog posts every month during PC
  35. Feel as comfortable in the Nica street market as in La Colonia:Produce Paradise
  36. Learn/create 10 different ways to braid my hair (Emily) 
  37. Challenge Donald Ugarte to a ping-pong match (Andrew): was challenged…but never was able to find a place/time for the match.
  38. Watch an Español based TV series from start to finish
  39. Buy a hammock: Meet Paz
  40. Visit and/or learn the history of all the sites on the (now old) Nicaraguan currency:
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Peace Corps and the Cultural Blogging Community

One reason we currently write May We Suggest is to work towards the Peace Corps’ third goal: to help promote a better understanding of other peoples (in our case, Nicaraguans) on the part of Americans. We want to share our experiences and a bit of the Nicaraguan world with as many as possible state side and beyond.

And while we think our blog is pretty sweet, we are obviously not the holders of all knowledge.  There are un montón of other blogs out there that deserve to be read.

This post aims to share some of the networks of bloggers we’ve developed over our time in Peace Corps.  Whether you’re looking for country specific information, what to pack, cultural insights, travel tips and routes, general information on Peace Corps, or just good stories, we hope these lists are helpful, inspiring, and insightful. Continue reading Peace Corps and the Cultural Blogging Community

Combating Late-Service Burnout (Part 2)

Miss Part 1?  Find it here.


Coming from a profession that also has a high level of burnout (teaching), I think it’s important to be aware of the difficulties life-encompassing work like Peace Corps can bring. When you care so much, how can you not give your all until there is nothing more to give? Instead of pretending it doesn’t exist, the more we can acknowledge and affirm each other’s struggles, the more supported we will feel. From this place of affirmation, we can then look towards steps to counter burnout, and re-embrace our passion for life-changing work.

Here are some steps that I am taking to help combat my burnout and to ensure that I am still able to give my best during our 4-month extension as well. I invite PCVs (and even those in other high burnout professions) to join me and give one or two of them a try:

 

  1. Remind yourself of why you made the 27-month commitment.

Continue reading Combating Late-Service Burnout (Part 2)

Combating Late-Service Burnout (Part 1) 

Being a Peace Corps Volunteer demands your full attention, resources, and effort. You left your friends and family to move to an unknown land to work with unknown people. The lessons to learn and the family to gain continue to make it the “toughest job you’ll ever love.” But let’s be honest – toughest is also a part of that description. Sometimes, it’s a completely draining job. Unlike many 9 to 5 state-side positions, at the end of the day, you don’t get to leave your work at the office. In fact, you probably don’t even have an office outside of the room you’re renting from your host family.

As I sweep the puddles of water out of my house after it runs down the stairs and floods in the rain, I can’t help but remember the warmth that is to curl up by a fireplace. As we check for rocks and bugs in our rice, I can’t help but remember a clean pantry where animals and bugs didn’t run the show. When I stand on a crowded bus for 4.5 hours to ride from Managua to my site, I can’t help but remember that I used to own a car and drove to work in style. When mosquitoes make people sick and the regular fumigations worsen my asthma, I can’t help but long to be out of the tropical zone of strange diseases and not have to worry about our health.

This far into service, some of those US memories start to be idolized. The States becomes a land of dreams and hope and cleanliness and prosperity. It’s easy to forget the struggles that also exist there and that nowhere is a perfect paradise.  Continue reading Combating Late-Service Burnout (Part 1) 

Firmas Galore

firmas

Every semester we write reports in Spanish to summarize all of our work: with counterparts in the schools, coordinating STEP, staffing camps, and more.  We compile it with the beautiful firmas of our counterparts and MINED representatives.  A few even have their own seals to make it super official.

Familia sin fronteras

Guate

We had the incredible honor of visiting family in Guatemala this past week.  As we spent the week learning about the culture and traditions of Guate, we couldn’t help but notice the similarities and differences between them and those we have here in Nica.  The biggest similarity – the most important part of life is the people you spend it with.