Monday, April 25, 2011


Happy Easter! Ann and Erin came out to spend the Easter weekend here at the mission since it has such a warm and family-like feel, it’s a great place to spend holidays.
On Friday I went running. I ran out three miles and then back three miles—and had a young man ride his bike next to me the entire three miles back. He initially rode past me on the other side of the road, but he kept looking back at me and then eventually slowed down to my pace and biked along at my pace on the other side of the road. I was annoyed and wanted to tell him to get lost, but like a good PCV I breathed deeply and continued to smile at and greet everyone I passed. After two miles he biked over to my side of the road and said something. I had my headphones in so I pulled on ear out, “what?” I asked, annoyed. “Where are you running to?” he asked. “Laura.” (Most everyone knows my mission as Laura Vicuña Secondary School, or Laura for short.) “Where are you from?” he asked. “Listen, I’m not here to converse” and I put my headphone back in my ear. He took the hint and biked back over to his side of the road and continued to bike along at my pace all the way back to the mission. When we get there I took a sharp turn and sprinted behind his bike into the mission, so he wouldn’t be tempted to try to start conversation again.
Ann bought us a pack of cookies that we were thoroughly enjoying. At one point, one fell and broke open and I saw a little bit of mold on the inside. We both laughed and shrugged, oh well. And yes, we finished the cookies.
I was looking at capulanas in stalls in the market. One young man selling said “look over here at this side, they are the prettier ones!” “You mean the more expensive ones” I responded. He smiled, busted. “But of course the prettier ones are the more expensive ones right?”
A Spanish volunteer who was here a few months ago left with me a balloon kit that he hadn’t had time to use with the kids. Since today was Easter, we decided to break out the kit with the girls. Turns out I make a killer balloon dog. And my hat isn’t half-bad, neither is my sword. Add balloon shape-making to my list of strange-and-not-necessarily-useful skills I have acquired while in the Peace Corps (others include prying a window open with a garden hoe to break in when you have locked the keys inside, scraping out the insides of a coconut and makinge coconut milk, shaking out peanut coverings using the wind, changing the plug on an appliance cord from a Chinese plug to a Mozambican one, killing and de-feathering a chicken, smelling out a dead rat, etc). On that subject, a few weekend ago out at Tsene (which is very remote) a fellow PCV Jon’s flip flop broke. Since he didn’t have another option for the rest of the weekend until we left Tsene, he successfully tied it together with palm leaves.
Since we are taking the GMAT in July, Ann and I have been making vocabulary flashcards and keeping them on us at all times. Apparently people here don’t use flashcards. The people who have seen me use them (including my colleagues) have been completely mystified as to how this method of studying works, even after I explain it. I also try to use it as a teaching tool, since we are taking the test in July, but have started studying already (in a country where people study the night before or the day of). Even one of the Sisters who I love and who is really hard-working and motivated has come up to me a couple times and asked me to help her with English. I tell her I would love to and she said, great, because she has a test on Thursday. Sorry, but there is nothing I can teach you in three days that you didn’t learn in a semester of classes.

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