reflections of the first year

June 4, 2012 § 7 Comments

i have longish hair now. it constantly falls across my eyes, obscuring my vision and instilling new hand gestures into my corporal lexicon, you know, the type usually reserved for those most follicle-ly talented of individuals. for whatever reason, sasha vujacic, katie holmes and jay chou come to mind.

que mechudo!
que pelo mas largo!
que pelo mas negro! parece casi azul!
the people say.

six months have passed since my last ill-advised self-mutilation of a haircut, a benchmark only slightly eclipsed by another anniversary, that of one year as a volunteer. how it’s crept up on me, like the hair now grazing the back of my neck. if i’m not wary, it’ll drown me yet.

there’s a line in The Odyssey when Odysseus, battered but unbroken by the trials of his journey, reaches the shores of his homeland. his unkempt sea-conditioned hair hangs before his eyes twenty years removed from its last encounter with a razor. my luscious locks (yeah i just wrote that) are a point of pride because i’ve tried on numerous occasions to grow out my hair, failing miserably each time. but more so, it’s one of only a handful of physical indications (the others being my disappearing waste line and my eviscerated not so optical-white chuck taylors) that i’ve undergone any sort of changes during this peace corps odyssey. i’ve had my share of encounters with the proverbial siren and cyclop, caught between that rock and hard place. truly, deep reverberations of self-discovery are not of the physical realm.

i thought a long time about what i would write for this particular post. i listed a number of topics i wanted to cover, ranging from Costa Rica’s international relations with China and Taiwan, the capitalist/socialist character of the government and society, the huge cultural gap between this generation of youth and their predecessors, etc,….in a few words, there are more than a few great similarities to the US. anyway, i couldn’t write it. i also wanted to talk about some of the work i have been doing. i could’t write that either. it’s now clear that i’m far too entrenched in this experience to properly render a well developed thought or opinion. i find myself in the throes of great introspection. though a struggle, it’s been enriching, as has been the relationships i’ve been fortunate to have visited upon me. another year remains, and i wonder how i’ll feel at the end of it. there are points of  encouragement in my personal and professional worlds, which i sometimes wish didn’t bleed into each other so. but i am happy.

i’ve learned that a peace corps volunteer is a displaced individual, stranded in the sea,  forced to confront moments of great humility. it’s life experienced at your most desperate, at your most earnest. but the trajectory from the point at which i began to where i find myself now suggests to me that though displaced, the peace corps volunter (eventually) emerges the individual discovered.

here’s to another year.


musings and observations of life in an apartment

February 21, 2012 § 4 Comments

one month in. i have two plants now, i guess i am more or less settled. life has finally assumed an agreeable routine. no tv, internet nor washing machine, and i couldn´t be happier.  and with a motley crue of cookware, i couldn´t be fuller.

i`ve had a number of visitors already. the critter kind, that is. the first notable one, a coal black lizard that scampered through the space underneath the front door, up, then down a few steps and out through the space underneath the back door. it warbled in a most captivating manner, one in which i´d imagine a baby lizard would. the others, a variety of spiders that i would promptly show the door, or that would wonderously disappear through impossible crevices. i didn´t know they could do that. weird. the most prominent visitor appeared to be a young tarantula. despite numerous prongings with my broom, it could only muster a half hearted effort to crawl a few inches from its last position. it`s a terrible love and i`m walking with spiders tarantulas that no longer have the will to live.

visitors aside, i catch myself, red-handed, drifing off into different thoughts as though i were visiting a room or house for a moment to try out the furniture. my tiled floor is partly reflective and i wonder if my reflection were a parallel universe that moved in mirror to our own, but were actually completely different. i`m sure this movie has been made before.

i`ve only ever lived away from home thrice before, backpacking not included:  in the swankily named vista del campo,off-campus housing for uc irvine; in the ice box of an apartment that was northwood place during my final quarter of college;  and finally, a year and half in the cozy confines of an oakland apartment by a lake. they were all enjoyable experiences, but the last one particularly impressionable. i seemed to have incorporated my cooky cousin`s (she`s not cooky but she is pretty great) penchant to reuse her plastic bags and to concertedly avoid taking on or purchasing heavily packaged items. thanks cil. it`s a blessing and a curse.

i swear i had some insights that struck me as necessary to share, but sometimes you just get arroz con pollo. it`s good, though it should be better for the amount of preparation that goes into it, yet it`ll do.

that`ll do.


nature will reclaim everything*

November 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

mountains high, rivers wide, oceans lapping on either side. here, mother nature still resides, the population a receding tide. costa rica! the green jewel!

after living 8 1/2 months in a landscape continually reshaped by nature, i’m only now fully appreciating it’s subtle force.
shoes, torn and tattered by rocks and devoured by mold, fall the way side. my clothes would soon be clothed in mold themselves if not carefully watched. the fat ’round my belly disappears as quickly as it appears. the hills are unkind. and the latest development: a fungus now happily feasts on my skin pigment, leaving faint white patches where the sun once laid claim (no worries, parents! it’s hardly life threatening).

it’s amazing to see what nature is capable of, even as polluted as it becomes each day.

*don’t stop recycling just yet.

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