Saturday, February 28, 2009

Worry Wart

Beyond Borders is truly a great experience..

The only thing is latley I've started having this gut wrenching worry about the whole thing and I can't really tell you why. Maybe it's because of this ten week countdown, my upcoming appointment at the clinic or the fact I know zero spanish, or maybe a combination of the three.

I've met some really great people in the program who can now be a great support system, my fundraising is almost finished and my immunizations will be taken care of after this week.

Why then i ask you am I slightly freaking out about this whole thing?

There just seems to be so much to do and really no time to do it. With my sorority, part-time job, volunterring, class and BB as well as trying to see the fam-jam and friends every now and again is starting to serisouly stress me out. Joanne said it's like having a bunch of plates spinning in the air.. but she never did tell me what happens if they fall. I'm sounding slighly like Debbi Downer at the moment and by no means do i want to, I just think the reality of the whole experience is starting to hit me.

I've really wanted to learn some basic spanish before I go, but finding the time has been impossible. I've been told by a BB alumini that Los Pipitos has no English speaking workers. I am sure the other students from different schools will be great but I am just afraid of the isolation. I mean, I already know I'm going to feel isolated at least at the beggining or at many points in between because it's an adjustment.. But if I can't even speak to people that will be surronding me everyday I know I will have a very hard time at least for a little while. Maybe I'm under estimating myself due to my recent mound of worries, or maybe not.

However, on the bright side of things I am very greatful for all of the journaling exercises we've completed throughout the seminars this year. I think they will be a great resource for me while I'm gone and especially while feeling isolated. I know all these worries are a bit much ..

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dance Party

After checking out You Tube I came across this video, and if this is any indication of the people or atmosphere I think I am headed to the right place!

Less than 3 months..eekk

Less than three months to go.. I am really having a hard time grasping that in less than three months I'll be gone ..away from home..and in a completely new environment. The excitement as well as the anxiety is mounting. I was once again reminded of the love and generosity that exudes from my family. This weekend I spent the majority of it with family especially because it was my Uncle's birthday. Sunday was great because I was able to reconnect with a lot of people I rarely get to see and I was amazed at their interest in the program as well as their overall worry for me. Not only was it great sharing all of my thoughts with them but one of my Aunts asked me if I needed money for it and before I could answer she picked up a birthday hat and walked around the room asking family members if they wanted to donate. It was really nice to see them helping without giving a second thought. I must admit though I was a little embarrassed because I really feel uncomfortable asking people for money just because I don't want anyone to feel like they 'have' to cough up some or else. Needless to say though my family was great donating and I can't ever thank them enough!

On another note, I spent another great afternoon at The Working Centre in Kitchener last week. Even though I've only been there two weeks I'm really starting to feel like I 'belong.' People remember who I am, they ask how I'm doing, what I'm taking in school and in return we have some great conversations. The people are all really friendly and great to hang out with. Not only is the atmosphere welcoming, the working I'm doing in the art space is really refreshing. I have never been given the opportunity to do some of the things they work on, I love it. I've learned how to weave a bit and last week I work with Leanne, a TWC volunteer and we created some really tasty herbal teas. I have never worked with herbs before and it proved to be quite a science. I love my days at TWC because I always leave with a smile. The work is refreshing, the people welcoming and everything is really relaxed. Since I am at home for reading week I won't be volunteering this week, and to be honest I think I am going to miss it!

Since I'm home for a few days I am trying to tie up any lose ends before the trip that I can. It's crazy to think about it but this week may be the last opportunity I have to see friends until Christmas! I love reconnecting with my close friends from home and it kind of makes me a little sad to think I will miss the summer with them! I mean I know my time in Nicaragua will be both amazing and life changing, but there is that little part of me that thinks about the things that we do every summer. However I will not miss my usual summer job, and I know what in store will prove to be great!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wierton Willy & the Eco foot print

Just a few days ago Wierton Willy was supposed to jump out of his little hole and shout to the world "SPRING IS COMING!"I'm not sure whether the little guy saw his shadow or not but I certainly think we should all speed this process up, crank up the temps and melt the snow, no? As this consistent ice and snow continues to rain on my parade I can't help it but day dream of the smiling faces, tropical fruits and adventures that await me in Nicaragua. If you can't tell already, I'm not really a fan of winter. I miss my sandals, hate the layers and layers of clothing and would rather not freeze my tush off every time I wait for the bus.

On that note as promised I will deli ever some much needed facts about Nicaragua and all that it has to offer;
Located between the borders of Honduras and Costa Rica, Nicaragua has a population of 5 785 846. Their rainy season is between the months of June- November while December - May being the dry season. The dominant language spoken is Spanish which unfortunately i know very little of! (Kind of a minuscule worry!) The capital of Nicaragua is Managua which ironically lacks a focal point. Managua, like most of Nicaragua has both active and inactive volcanoes. Managua became the capital with no more than 24 000 people in order to settle a dispute between neighboring areas Granada and Leon. The land Managua stands on is very unstable with recorded earth quakes approx. every 40 years.

Though I will not be headed to Managua, Esteli is only about 150 km from the capital. Esteli is not only the third largest city in the country but they are also known as a transport hub and the biggest commercial centre in the North. While I am busy loving up the sun in Nicaragua I will be volunteering at a local organization called Los Pipitos, which translated means 'little seeds!'
Los Pipitos is a social program run by the parents for both male and female children with or without disabilities. Los Pipitos was founded in 1987 and since then has provided awareness for the general public and a better life for those who are affected. Since the development of Los Pipitos more than 15 000 families have been positively affected whether they are volunteers or participants.

While researching Nicaragua for a recent Beyond Borders class I stumbled upon information about travelers watching the impact of their Eco footprints. While traveling..
- look for accommodations that are both environmentally aware and that they work with ethically based principles.
- spend money on locally produced goods
- use common sense while bargaining because the few dollars you save may actually go along way for someone else
-watch water and electricity consumption because tourists are often give more while the locals are over looked
-ask permission before taking any ones pictures
All for now,


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Free Hugs :)

Who doesn't need a free hug once in awhile?
This video doesn't really relate to my placement but I believe in the power of hugs..
and you should too.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Professional Weaver on the way

Okay! So yesterday was my very first day actually working at The Working Centre, ironic right? And just like I expected.. it was fantastic, still like oz with a twist of willy wonka . I wasn't even in the door for 2 minutes and Mischa (who runs the art space) had me sitting at the loom ready to weave a rug- for sale! Another young volunteer by the name of Kat was very helpful especially considering I was pretty sure I broke the loom ..twice. Not to worry though, no one was hurt in the production of my very first rug, thankfully. It was really neat to see how people can use scraps of cloth and other old materials to create something really beautiful. Mind you, mine looked a little rough around the edges but I just pass it off as character. While at the art space I met a group of great people who come in weekly just to let their creative juices flow- man am I in the right place or what!?

John came in for an hour and helped make some natural lip balm and Tracy ironed hand made paper while Kat sewed a quilt and I weaved away in my own little world. We all had a quick break together for some deliscious tea straight from The Working Centre's Organic garden- which is super cool, if I might add. Every time I come into The Working Centre it's busy with people coming and going for lunch or coffee or just to say hello to one of the employees. By the end of the afternoon I felt pretty accomplished learning an entierly new skill with very little assistance and only a few..minor.. hiccups... and if no one wants to buy my sad looking rug I will because clearly not everyone can say 'hey i learned to weave today,' but i can, and i was pretty excited to do so.

On my way to The Working Centre I ran into fellow BBer Ruby and we were able to ride the bus together. She had already started volunteering and her own excitment got me ready for my own! I'm already looking forward to next week, who knows what I'll learn to do or who I'll meet. The art space offers many great life skills, especially if you never learned how to sew on a button,use a loom or learn about fresh herbs, and since apparently I've been sheltered my whole life from any of these great skills, I have a lot to learn!

Untill next time,