Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last Post of the Year!!

Oh man I'm so bad at keeping this up! Since last time I wrote I have officially sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer!! It doesn't feel a whole lot different but the ceremony was beautiful and we got to eat some delicious cake. The ceremony was pretty long and consisted of various speeches from the governor of the department of Atlantico, the U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Michael McKinley; the Peace Corps chief of staff, Stacey Rhodes; and a few volunteers from the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers back in 1961. It was great to see all the support for our work here. The staff did a great job of making it a special event for us. The ceremony was also a celebration of the 50 years of Peace Corps service worldwide. To commemorate it, the Peace Corps produced a short film for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival called "Hijos de Kennedy" that takes a look back of how the Peace Corps was started in Colombia -- one of the first countries to receive volunteers. It was a beautifully made documentary that almost brought me to tears. I loved being able to see the history involved in the Peace Corps; it feels great to be a part of something with such historic significance and that I am so passionate about.

Me and my host family at the reception

Yummy cake with some fellow volunteers, Julie and Mike

Aside from that things have been very laid back. We have had a two week "vacation" or as the Peace Corps likes to call it "a split in training" or "community diagnostic"…call it what you want but it's been a vacation and I couldn't appreciate it more. Lots of rest, lots of beach, lots of reading, and a whole lot of NOTHING. Spending the holidays away from my friends and family has been hard but I am so thankful for all the other volunteers who make it a little bit easier. In Colombia they celebrate Christmas on the 24th with a big dinner, loud music, and drinking, as usual, and opening gifts at midnight. We got all dressed up and had a fabulous little celebration and my family gave me a great Colombian bag that I've been talking about, typical from the region of Guajira and a pretty bangle made of palm leaves. B-E-A-UTIFUL. I certainly was not expecting to receive any gifts from them and thought it was so nice of them to include me in their celebration. My mom sent me a package of gifts for my host family and thanks to the enigmatic postal system, it's been trapped in customs for the past 3 weeks. But who doesn't love receiving gifts at all times of the year anyway?! Hope they arrive sometime soon.

On Christmas day my family was kind enough to let me invite all the volunteers to our house for a Christmas potluck dinner. Since the 25th is like any other day here in Colombia it was so nice to have all us gringos together for some good American food and company.

In other news, Junior de Barranquilla, the local soccer team won the national championship. The celebration that followed their win looked more like the celebration of a world cup win or the newly gained independence of a country. It was wild! We had gone to a bar by my house to watch the game and when they won the streets went crazy. Everyone who had a beer began to throw anything that was in the bottle into the air, drenching anyone surrounding them. Also, bags of flour appears out of no where and people started throwing that in the air too. Dancing in the street, jumping on top of buses, climbing street lights, and an endless caravan of honking cars followed. We then went to Calle 84, which is where most of the night life is and watch an even wilder celebration. After running around in the street and jumping for a couple hours, we were tired and ready to go home. I found out the next day that my host siblings stayed out until 4 in the morning. Colombians have boundless energy when it comes to partying, I have found.


I'm off tomorrow to Parque Tayrona, a national park on the coast right outside of Santa Marta, to celebrate New Years Eve. I'm so excited to spend a weekend on the beach with some of the girls in our group. I'm going to go ahead and set a resolution to update my blog more often this coming year. Happy New Year everyone!! I hope that the New Year brings you many blessings, health, and happiness! Until next year!!


  1. Bacano!! Love the pictures of "Junior tu papa" celebration hahaha