Monday, April 16, 2012

March Recap

March was easily my busiest month so far this year, which is good. I get busier all the time and I love it. It started out with a training in Huaraz, Ancash with some of my fellow Youth 17 volunteers and our community partners. Then the day after I returned from that event, I held a 2-day afternoon training workshop for the English teachers of my province. I had 26 of 29 schools represented and 11 fellow volunteers there to help me out. The one-on-one personal attention and opportunity for the teachers to practice with native speakers was very well received by the teachers and pretty fun for the volunteers. That event is far and away my favorite thing so far that I've done work-wise in Peru and I am looking forward to doing it again in May. Following that busy week, I went to the beach with my host family for a relaxing Sunday. And since I love the beach so much, I made 3 more beach visits last month: 2 in Magdalena de Cao for beach clean-ups with school district staff and students, and one to relax with volunteers during a really busy and slightly stressful month. I was also able to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with my friends and World Water Day with probably close to 200 kids throughout the week. Overall, March was a busy, productive, and really fun month. Here are some random notes from the month. 

>March started in Ancash, which I love. I think it gets prettier every time I am there. You should put the Cordillera Blanca on your list of things to see if you're into mountains. 

>Seeing fellow volunteers is always a treat. Everyone is doing pretty well and I'm proud of their projects and successes so far. Peru 17, I love you. 

>I have fallen in love with choclo con queso. Corn on the cob served with fresh cheese. More common in the sierra, but delicious no matter where you are. 

>My running took a hit this month. The heat and my hectic schedule are combining forces to ruin my training progress. 

>March brought the most heat I have ever experienced. Which makes sense, because it was historically one of the hottest months ever, in terms of being over it's average temperature, or so NPR tells me. I survived, but between the sunburns and heat rashes, my skin is not happy with me. It was nice being in Ancash for a little break from the heat, but I thought it would be better when I came back, and it very much was not. Everyone here tells me this is the hottest it has ever been for March, so it wasn't just the Midwest, my friends. Strange weather patterns... the end of the world? Dun dun dun. 

>I found a Beatles crossword puzzle listening exercise online to use with my English teachers. I love the internet. The Beatles used more article phrases than I thought. Super fun for me, a nice listening challenge for the teachers. 

>During the middle of my English workshop, I found myself next to the two fellow Wisconsinites who live in my region. Naturally, we were asked to pronounce the word 'tag,' then publicly ridiculed for our 'accent.' Pssht. Accent. I don't see it. 

>When you ask native Spanish speakers to sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb," the line "whose fleece was white as snow" will sound a lot like "whose fleece was white ass now" and send a room of 30+ people into a fit of giggles. 

>Further to that, it seems as though the average male Peace Corps Volunteer doesn't know the lyrics to the song, "Rain, Rain Go Away," and will therefore teach a group of Peruvian adults, "Rain rain, go away. Come again another day. If you don't, I don't care. I'll pull down your underwear." And again, laughter will ensue, and some explaining will need to be done. Boys. 

>Piere didn't know how to make sand castles. I didn't know how to catch sand crabs. Our family beach day was a success. We each left Puerto with new skills. A good day. 

>Between my aunts Annah and Patti, plus my friends Eva and Sara, I continue to be spoiled with love through the mail. Thanks guys! Patti, your green beads were a big hit. And Sara thanks again for the Girl Scout Cookies! 

>Volunteers get crafty when it comes to celebrating here the way we do at home. I don't know where or how they found that food coloring, but I had green beer on the 17th :)

>There is an eighties cover band in Trujillo. They are good and seem even more impressive when you find out the lead singer doesn't speak a word of English outside of his songs. So bizarre, yet so wonderful. Dancing around to Queen, Journey, AC/DC covers, etc. on St. Patricks Day, I felt like I was in America. Awesome night with great friends. 

>School started on March 1st. Piere is in first grade now! Woohoo! 

>Speaking of Piere, he has evened the UNO gap and finally caught up to me. So he doesn't get bored, I am enforcing an English-only rule and he's kept to it better than anticipated. We're almost to the point where he doesn't need to use his fingers to count in English! 

>I have been really busy with the Red Ambiental and am making lots of teen friends in the process. It's fun hanging out with them and their teachers. And it's inspiring to see how much the teachers care and watch the amount of time and work that some of them put into it. 

>I love beach clean-ups. It means that I get to find beautiful hidden beaches all over the region, even if it also means I pick up dirty decomposing diapers without rubber gloves. You win some, you lose some. I do these things for mother earth. 

>There are dead baby jelly fish littered all over the beach in Puerto Malabrigo. Strangely pretty, but a running hazard. I slipped on at least 2 of them. 

>Running on the beach is one of my favorite things to do in Peru. An amazing feeling of tranquility and energy all at once. For me, it's one of those moments that the world gives you to make you feel so small in the best kind of way. 

>When you ask Ascope for a parade, damn do they deliver. The biggest parade I have ever seen happened on the 23rd for World Water Day and Tuberculosis Awareness Day. Huge success. Great morning. 

>The kids from my summer school classes and some of my neighbors are turning out to be huge assets to my successes within the schools. I mean, I was told that would happen. But it still makes me happy. 

That's enough about March. Onto April where it doesn't get any less hot or busy... stay tuned it's a good one :)

Our training group in Ancash with our community partners.

Choclo con queso. 
So good. It looks fancy here, but usually I buy it in the street and eat it from a plastic bag. 

English Workshop: Day 2

Host mom and Piere at the beach. 

Fun Facts: World Water Day. 

Ascope loves parades. That girl in green and the kid ahead of her are my neighbors, aka the gateways to the grade schools. lol. 

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