Friday, May 23, 2014

Mwen pral pale kreyòl.

As of this Monday I was officially learning Creole. What I never considered was that I was going to be learning Creole in espanñol. Oh boy. 

I'm very surprised to say that everything went swimmingly. 
Learning Creole in spanish has taught me that I actually do know some spanish, and that Creole is a pretty simple language. (Not that I don't need practice, pero tu sabes

Because this was a jam packed, all-or-nothing kind of week, I will likely drop all knowledge as soon as I leave. Reality check, that's what notes are for. 

Taking a look at my notes, we see that being "trilingual" really just means Amanda doesn't speak any language at all. You see those notes up there? Español, english, kreyòl.. which one am I learning and which one do I speak? 

In all reality though, I learned a lot of spanish this week and a lot of kreyòl. I had printed off a BUNCH of spanish study material the other day, because I have also decided that my 24th year of life is going to be the year I can confidently say about myself that I speak spanish. Y entonces, I have studied spanish everyday. 

It's also really neat to see when kreyòl resembles english and when kreyoòl resembles spanish. 

As example: adapte (K) means "to adapt" 
As spanish example: viv (K) means vivir (S) which means "to live"

As probably just took it from each other blackout (K) means "blackout". 


C and A are discussing boys today.

C , with a glass half full attitude. "Okay! So he's literally taller than…"
A, with realism in her voice.        "Nobody."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Life lessons

Today, I had a doña tell me that I needed a boyfriend. She said there was work time and boyfriend time and I was seriously slacking in the boyfriend area. She also informed me that she knew who my amorè should be. Good job doña. Way to show off your awesome being a person skills. You, my friend, are way cooler than I could ever be. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Duarte Duarte Duarte!

I read this on an RPCV's blog. It is a statement about begin back in America and in my opinion it's relevant. Why isn't public transportation better in America? We have some cities that get it right, but come on America, I want a guagua to anywhere for 50 pesitos. 

  • "I find it very strange how taxis don’t slow down to follow me and ask where I’m going and if I want a ride."

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy Birthday!

I've now spent two birthdays in the Dominican Republic. 
Last year I turned 23 with the company of my entire training group. 
We were newly sworn in Peace Corps Volunteers. 
We were heading off to our sites the next day. 
It was all very exciting. 

This year was much the same, except my friends and I were all "very experienced" volunteers, and the newbies were the ones heading out the next day to their new sites. They were full of the unknown. I was living in the comfort of knowing my current reality, and being able to celebrate my birthday with friends. There was a bit of a shin dig last night. It was basically the exact same shin dig from last year and I am lucky enough to have my birthday fall exactly on the day of the shin dig. 

The next morning my friends treated me to this delicious masterpiece for breakfast. 
We had to share, because it was filled with sugar. What I didn't know what that when I went to the bathroom they worked it out with the restaurant that I would be given a birthday surprise. 


Peace Corps friends really are the best. I had a great birthday. Serpas didn't have to sing to me once, and he loved that fact. I also received a birthday card and a birthday text from other friends, so that was really nice. 


"Good job Amanda. Your boobs came through and blocked my body."-Ashley

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Was there ever a point where you seriously considered quitting the peace corps?


Peace Corps is hard, but I have known that I want to stick it out for the long haul. If anything, I don't want to be the one that didn't make it.

I have always lived my life after considering the advice of others. I think that if enough people say something is a definite yes, or a definite no, I should listen to them. I don't always follow through with the majority (most people told me to finish graduate school before I left for Peace Corps, and I decided the timing was right for me to say yes to Peace Corps), because in the end I know I am the one that has to live my life, but I always take advice into consideration.

So many people say that the two years were worth it. They tell me that there will be hard times. That is will suck, but that it is always worth the time we put into this crazy life we are living.

I've been right on track with what people said. I've wondered if it would all be worth it. In the end though, I have prepared for it to outright suck sometimes, and I think knowing it is supposed to have crappy times is what keeps me going.

"If it didn't suck sometimes, it wouldn't be Peace Corps."

Sunday, May 11, 2014


My life is funny sometimes. Here is a selection of funny moments.

"Amanda, you don't even wash your hair. What are you still doing in the bathroom?" -Susan

"The ears have walls."-Amanda

"Computers are magic." Brendan

"The cloud in powered by coal!" Brendan

"I'm going to have to take my Mom and sister to the Orange store when I go home."
"Amanda, did you just say "The Orange store?"
"Oh, yeah... What's it called in America?"


Oh my gosh Constanza!

Because I was out of the country when my region had it’s latest Mini-VAC meeting and the new country director was going to be going to this round of meetings I recently found myself in the coldest part of this island a little farther up from the town of Constanza in a beautiful cabin with some of my best friends and some new friends.

I knew before I left for America that my regions Mini-Vac was going to take place while I was gone. When I checked into the region next to mine (the same VAC meeting I went to when I went to Playa Grande) I found out it was also taking place before I returned to the island. When I found out Region 6 was going to be after I returned I jumped at the chance. I have a lot of friends in that region, and I hadn’t really checked out much of that area. I also really wanted to see what the new CD had to say, even though I’ve already met her. I am a big fan of VAC meetings. A lot of volunteers tell me they don’t go to their meetings, but our region is known for having great VAC meetings. I was ready to check out the competition.

Sadly, I was denied. Because this Mini-VAC was in Constanza at a super cool cabin way up in the mountains there was limited space… or something. I was hopeful, but Serp informed me that I was out. So I was home, planning my … whatever I was planning, when I got a call saying I was in. Really?! I was excited, but I didn’t actually know the details. I didn’t know the date, I didn’t know the time, and I didn’t know the route. I called the regional coordinator and she confirmed that I was in and that the meeting was the very next day. I packed a bag, went to a meeting in site, and headed off for parts unknown.

I’ll try to condense the 9 hours of travel that took place after my initial 6 hours of travel to get to this meeting. We started at Caribe Tours at 7 a.m. Wait… that’s not fair. Let me start again…

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. I got dressed, made pancakes, eventually my travel companion woke up and by 5:50 we were out the door. A moto, a bus, and a few steps later we were at Caribe Tours for the bus ride. We met some more of the group, ate some fruit, and took the guagua to Jarabacoa. After that it was the back of a pick up truck to Constanza. In short, it was curvy, cold, raining, and we had a tarp over our heads for a part of it.

Check out my boys! Especially the tan one on the right… the far right! My favorite! 

After that it was a Safari truck up to the national park (Parque Nacional Valle Nuevo) and we dismounted at a beautiful cabin. I’m not going to lie, it reminded me a lot of Colorado. There were mountains forever. It was really cold. We had on hoodies and blankets and no, it isn’t just because we can’t handle temperatures below 70 degrees anymore. I saw pictures that were taken there featuring snow. This is where the strawberries are grown. The beds had big heavy blankets on them… three layers, that we all gratefully used. I chose to sleep in jeans, because the idea of sleeping in the shorts I brought was so undesierable. Also, Serp never took his shirt off. He was spotted wearing two shirts at one point. What world is this?

I don’t want to talk about work here too much, but I will say that this was probably the most meeting heavy of any of my VAC meetings. We talked and talked and talked… and then the Peace Corps Staff left, and we talked and talked and talked some more. It was all policy this and rules that, but it was super casual and that is why I love VAC meetings.

This is where we had the meeting. Check out the website. Just look for Villa Pajon. The cabin in the back is where we stayed. 

Also, Spades. Also, wine. Also, story sharing. Also, staying up late. Also, why was Serpas wearing his shirt so much? I woke up the next morning and took a walk with two new friend through the mountains. We went to a rock garden and had many great chats.

I have to say, Region 6 didn’t fail to impress me.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Is there a Peace Corps "type"?

Short answer: Yes, American.

Long answer: No.

I think that I thought all Peace Corps Volunteers were granola muncher, hippie do-gooders before I joined Peace Corps. I went into this full well knowing I really believed I was right for Peace Corps and also didn't believe I was a granola muncher, hippie do-gooder. Did I somehow think I was a Peace Corps Volunteer exception?

One thing I have learned in Peace Corps is that all types of people join Peace Corps. The only thing that united us is that we are American... and I don't even know if that's true. Puerto Ricans are eligible to be Peace Corps Volunteers, but I don't know that Puerto Ricans consider themselves American... That's a question you would have to ask a Puerto Rican. I don't know that all Puerto Ricans would consider themselves American, because a Puerto Rican volunteer once told me that she thought PR should be a country all on it's own and not a territory of the US. Though, I digress, this is getting really off topic.

One thing that I know I've said in country is that I don't know how some of my friends and I could be friends if it weren't for Peace Corps. We are so different, would hang out with a different crowd, and in America, when there is an abundance of the "type" of crowd we would hang out with, it's hard to believe we could have found each other. For our friendship I guess I should thank the US government for clicking the wrong box and putting us on this island together.

All of that to say, Peace Corps Volunteers are all very different. We cross many different age groups, though still very traditionally the just graduated college age range. Some of us know what we want to do after Peace Corps, though most of us don't. Some of us have already lived long full lives and this fulfills a dream. Some of us are very well educated, while others went to less pristine colleges. Some love that we live in the campo and are eating this up, and others are counting down the days. Some are using this for a resume and others don't care about resumes at all. Some love running... actually, a lot love running, others are using this time as an excuse to eat pica pollo every night and not care about consequences.

All of this to say we come from different personalities. We don't fit a mold...

I will say something though, if someone were to tell me they were an RPCV I know I would consider them instantly in some kind of secret club with me. There would be a thing there. I think the type is, one of many types of people who can do this crazy thing called Peace Corps and make it through.