Sunday, January 24, 2016

Amazonian Adventure!


Status Update

Hello all! It's been awhile since I last wrote. I'll admit that I wasted plenty of time asking what I should write about. All manner of topics came to mind: coping with homesickness, culture lessons, spanish lessons, or some profound inspiration I came up with. Instead, all of those seemed... not ready. Instead, I thought I'd present a regular life update!

Calm down Shaina.
Christmas in Moyobamba proved so delightful! I enjoyed taking a spot as an honorary member of the family and two days later I flew to Iquitos to meet Shaina for our Amazonian adventure.

Iquitos is in the province of Amazonas. For our christmas break vacation Shaina and I discussed going somewhere exotic and the Amazon Rainforest seemed appropriate. Since this was mostly Shaina's idea I let her do all of the planning and weighed in whenever she had a question. So months later I found her in Iquitos at a small hostel the night before we leave for the rainforest. Our gleeful reunion included two friends from Germany working as lawyers at the German embassy and two Spanish student backpackers. With our party formed we headed out to the Great Amazon Rainforest.

The Amazon was.... a dream. Specifically it was Shaina's dream, but I certainly found myself staring at everything like it was brand new. The Amazon river. Bamboo lodges with mosquito-netting beds and hammocks. Canoes to fish in.

Night time tarantulas. Late night Caiman searching. We held sloths, capuchin monkeys. We fished for (and ate) piranhas. Pink-bellied dolphins swam past us as we rafted out to the local pueblo to buy some beer. It was beautiful and I wasn't as accommodating to Shaina as I could've been.

We're very different personalities. We're very different people. Put us in a room for too long and we'll find something to fight about. In the same way we're the only ones we got. There are no other YAVs in Peru so we stick close. I'll admit there was plenty of clashing. It was kind of a reversal of the time Shaina came to Moyobamba. Thankfully the conflict resolved itself as my defenses crumbled from the pressure. I may or may not have shed a tear or two. We may still fight, but at least we have a reasoned mutual understanding. We get along a lot better now.

Coming home from Iquitos was like coming back to Earth after visiting Mars. Work started slowly but surely. Considering most of our bosses were out of the office in Lima I set myself to menial tasks. Clean out the archives, learn how to do a few things I need. I took a short trip to Tarapoto with Ruben, our lawyer, that was unfruitful. The only positive thing I can say is Ruben and I get along well now!

In fact, I've gotten particularly comfortable with everyone around the audience. This showed at our 20th anniversary celebration in Lima. After a 26 hour bus ride there I enjoyed five full days with my coworkers from the Paz y Esperanza office in Moyobamba. We met the offices of Huanuco, Ayacucho, Andahuaylas, Apurima, Lima, and San Martîn. I made a lot of friends! The Huanuco girls were very nice to allow me to dance with them. I roared for the Ayacucho team after Moyobamba lost. Andahuaylas even took me under their wing for a short period before I left Lima. HUGE shoutout to Andahuaylas for looking out for me! I absolutely appreciate everything they did for me. They may have won first place in the
games, but they've won second in my heart (first goes to Moyobamba, obviously.)
A little pre-games warm up dancing to help stretch.
Clara taught everyone sign language!
It took me forever to catch a fish. I was so proud!
Meet the Moyobamba Crew (plus a few minus a few)
R to L: Erika, Ana, Me, Jorge, Karol, photographer, Evelin's husband, Evelin, Joel, Janina, Clara, some Lady
On my 26 hour return to Moyobamba I practiced the sign language Janina taught me. I came up with some ideas for projects to do around the office. I felt rejuvenated. After a long vacation and a short interim period I'm ready to get to work. As I told Jenny and Jed over lunch right before I left: I've hit my stride and I'm ready to hunker down to get good work done. They told me that's exactly how the YAV year goes. It takes months to fit in and find your place, but once you have it (roughly after christmas) everything picks up and time is going to fly by.

I finally feel at home in every sense of the word. I've figured out what I needed to. How am I going to feel when I leave? What will it be like to put this new world behind me? It's tough to ponder, but thankfully I'm already planning for being home. I need to line up a job and an apartment to come home to. From this point forward I'm going to keep my head down, work hard, plan well, and live fully in the life Christ has directed me towards. Keep your eyes peeled for new, exciting style blogs! I'll be back on shortly!

Gracias y Dios te Bendiga,