Archive | June, 2013

25: A Year In Review

30 Jun

What better way to say farewell to 25 than creating a list, à la Buzzfeed, of the 25 most memorable moments of the past year?



25. Right after finding out I’d be taking my talents to Olmos for the next two years.



24. US Ambassador to Peru, Rose M. Likins, making it official at our Swearing In ceremony.




23. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner made in a traditional Peruvian kitchen during our vacation to Arequipa.




22. Tina and I sharing a laugh (probably at someone’s expense.)




21.  End of Summer pool party for our summer school students. Any excuse to escape the heat!




20. John, Annie and I tatted up and ready for our half-marathon race in Lima. Beat my own personal record by 20 minutes. Just throwing that out there. #champ




19. Gender equality workshop during our boys leadership camp. Our department-wide leadership camps are my favorite!




18. Papa Bear and I enjoying the view from the rooftop pool at our Cartagena hotel.




17. Being fun and young, for a change! Right before we hit the party streets of Huanchaco, a popular tourist beach town.




16. Helping Tina’s zoo team catch caymans so they could be transported to a new zoo.

*helping = observing from a safe distance and occasionally snapping a picture.




15. Lambayeque volunteers gathered to watch the presidential election.  You did great, America! O for Obama.




14. Leland (aka LeeLee, Looshkies, Leelusha) and I celebrate America’s Independence with some July 4th field day activities.



13. Hey llama lady! A casual stroll through the plaza and look who we run into…



12. We have a weekly radio show discussing a variety of environmental issues. “Bienvenidos a la Hora Ecologica con Cuerpo de Paz!” 



11. My favorite picture of Olmos. I never thought I’d be living in the very foothills of the Andes!



10. My super official business cards.  I came here to WORK, people.



9. Ready for a day out in the campo! Love the serenity and tranquility of nature on the outskirts of the city.However, the snakes? I dont care for ’em.



8. Ol’ buddy here probably has no idea what he’s wearing, but…MIAMI DOLPHINS #1!



7. The incomparable Kimmyyy Cole and I putting in some real effort to look like human beings for Peru 16’s going away party.



6. Scott and I hanging out for a few minutes before a meeting with the Municipality.  I’m almost positive Scott’s diet includes small children.



5.  Our youth health promoters! They are high school students who give their peers workshops on topics ranging from self-esteem to safe sex practices.



4.  The two day hike into and out of the Colca Canyon, one of the deepest in the world, is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life…but I got some cool pictures out of it!



3. My brother from another mother, Casey, and I promoting safe sex during a World Aids Day event. (We like to coordinate outfits on a regular basis).



2. Host mom preparing our Christmas feast.  My only request was to have the turkey killed when I wasn’t home. Sure enough, there was no trace of any animal slaughter when I arrived. Then I was kind of scared…



1. Nothing like a good thermal mud bath to keep skin fresh and rejuvenated!



…And one for good luck!

So there you have it! 25 was incredible in every way possible.  Among the many things I’ve learned throughout the year is this:

change you

This has been the most challenging but also most rewarding year of my life. I am markedly changed, for the better, forever.  I feel a connection to people, places and environment more than ever before.  I think it has to do with the lack of distractions during Peace Corps service. It’s made me more in tune with the range of emotions we, as people, are capable of.  I’ve felt everything from intense love, happiness and satisfaction to heartbreaking loneliness, disappointment and frustration.  These experiences have made me feel stronger at times, fragile at times, but always more human.  I think there are few opportunities in life to experience something that powerful. I’m grateful.

Cheers to 26!!!

birthday drink!