Saturday, March 17, 2012

Last Post!

From this point on, I will be blogging on! It's easier to keep it all it one spot. Love you all, whoever is still reading this :)

April 2013--

Friday, March 16, 2012

Leaving for Philadelphia today

My staging event is in Philadelphia. Staging is a 2-day event where all of the soon to be Peace Corps Trainees arrive and get a basic orientation before taking off. It is spread out to allow for everyone all over the country to show up in this one location. Pretty neat stuff.

Tuesday we will be taking a bus together and heading to JFK to fly to Casablanca. Crazy stuff!

I requested to go to Philadelphia a few days early. I am going to spend the weekend with my grandma, maybe see my aunt and cousin, and do a yoga class with a bunch of soon-to-be PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteer) on Sunday. Apparently a current PCV's mom owns a yoga studio and will let us all take a class there on Sunday. I am looking forward to it.

How are you feeling? Are you excited? You're going to be so great! I'm/We're so proud of you. Be careful. Don't get pregnant.
--These are the comments I keep getting over and over again as the days slowly tick down to the leave date.

I'm glad it's slow, because I have spent the past week squeezing in 2 months of a social life. I had my goodbye party (amazing), random gathering on the front porch (I tanned) and cried in the teacher's lounge (that was a blast). I am quickly falling too much in love with Colorado and my group of friends. They make it too easy. If I waited any longer, I probably wouldn't be leaving at all.

I was talking to someone about the idea that I'm not overly excited about heading out, but that I feel some sort of weight or responsibility and necessity to go through with the Peace Corps. He brought up my favorite method of decision making--> cost/benefit analysis!!

2 years
2 years of my friends
2 years of my friends, weddings, children, puppies, break-ups, heart-breaks
my amazing puppy
the school where I work

educating Americans about Moroccans
educating Moroccans about Americans
doing a little bit of good in the world
sleeping in a hammock
adopting all of the puppies and kittens and monkeys in Morocco
being able to say "I DID THAT" ******

...So you see, there are costs and benefits to both sides. But in the end, time moves onward and forward and don't stop for nobody. So I'll do it, and the worst thing that happens? I say "I DID THAT"... but don't get to sleep in a hammock.

Not a bad deal.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


It'll be one week til I hit the streets
Gonna have a great time in Philly
It'll be two years til I see you again
So long Colorado it's been a slice of heaven...

That's all I've got on a whim. Think Barenaked Ladies, "One Week".

Leaving in one week!

Saw the dude-person in California and went to the San Diego Zoo with my mom. Getting pumped, excited to leave the State Assessment tests behind that I have been proctoring.

This is how I feel:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kids Class Capoeira

I don't know if you know this, but I play Capoeira. And, lovely enough, I like kids!

I have been practicing Capoeira for about 11-12 months by now; I started in Istanbul, moved on to Santa Ana, CA, and now I'm in Denver, CO. I'm hoping to continue my practice in Morocco when I move there in the next few weeks. If there is not already a group, maybe some young people will be intrigued enough to learn a few things.

To practice-- and prepare myself-- for the possibility of teaching others Capoeira solely in order to have somebody to play with, I took a Capoeira teacher training course. Also, I wanted to hang out with my friends some more and become an awesome-r Capoeirista (someone who plays Capoeira).

What I learned is, first and foremost, that I have a loooong way to go before I will feel comfortable calling myself a Capoeira teacher. I respect those who have been putting the sweat an' tears into practicing too much for that.

What I learned next is, I am TERRIFIED of being upside down. So, naturally, I spend the majority of my time with my head on the ground and feet leaning up against the wall.

Lately I have been helping out with the kids class (3-4 weeks), to see if I can get a better understanding for how to teach the little people. Monday, I "subbed" for my first kids class, and it went okay. My teacher-ness didn't shine through, and one of the kids kept peeking at my curriculum.

Today though... today I turned it around a little! After we did our basic warm-up, we learned a dodge called a "cocorinha", where you bring your feet together, squat down on your feet, and keep one hand above your head for protection. I think of it as the best dodge, or duck.

Speaking of ducks! I placed 7 yellow rubber duckies on the floor around the room (7 kids) and explained the game we would play. Just like musical chairs, the kids would run, skip, or walk around the room. When the music stops, the kids crouch down in cocorinha. The last one to find a duck and duck into cocorinha was out--and took the duck out, too.

Using a "fist of 5" strategy--5 fingers on a hand, 5 is the most positive, 1 is "I hated it"--the kids all gave it a 5. It definitely needs some subtle tweaking, but the kids had a lot of fun with it, and everyone could participate.

I like teaching kids! Today was a happy day.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

18 days

Since I am leaving the country in less than 3 weeks, I have had a lot of questions about how I feel. About the process, the impending cultural mind-warp, the food, the dress--everything. I have not been able to put pen to paper or fingers to white square contraptions and epitomize what is going on in my head. Am I scared? Nervous? Anxious? Excited? If I am, why? If I'm not... I probably should be.

I decided today that I am ready to not hurry up and wait anymore. I have invested 3 years of my life more or less waiting for something bigger to happen, for something to swoop in and change my life. Push me into the pool, up the mountain, etc. These past 3 years I have known exactly what that big event or whatever would be, and I've been crossing the i's and dotting the t's (no, wait, that's not right...)

I'm done with the talking and the chatting and the "are you ready, steady Freddy?" I'd like to stop---no, wait, cut down on the planning and plotting nonsense. I had a list of things I want to do before leaving Colorado, but I'm happily stuck in a pattern of going from yoga to teaching to Capoeira, and I'm going to miss it. The longer I stay and grow these roots, the harder it is to be replanted someplace else.

Let's goooo!!!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ready Steady Freddy

I always knew I led a fortunate life. This past week shown me exactly how fortunate I am with the people I know. It's pretty amazing; I've had great meals with coworkers and friends, and I'm lucky enough that the two terms overlap. I flew across the country to spend the weekend with my cousin, my closest family member. ....Unless you're another family member reading this, in which case that previous statement was a lie. I am leaving soon for brunch with family members that I won't get to see for 2 1/2 years, but I get to see today--because it's not that hard to get a plane ticket across the country.

I got to spend this weekend in NYC seeing this guy Jeremy Lin play, which apparently is a big deal. I will be trying a few more Capoeira classes around the city, which may even leave some time for salsa dancing! I get to see Katina & Brox & maybe even Gabby and Robyn. After Wednesday, I return to Colorado for a week and a half before I leave yet again! 5 days in SoCal, visiting Austin and going to some relaxing, beautiful place north of San Diego. Maybe even going to the San Diego Zoo! (life goal right here) Back to Colorado for 2 more weeks, have some kind of party, then off to staging on March 18th. Day and half later, we get on a bus and head to JFK, where we fly to Casablanca, Morocco. It might be getting close to the leave date, but I'm going out in style.

Between reading the blogs, newspaper articles, and watching youtube videos, I keep wondering if I'm up for all this. I know I must be, since I will continue to do it anyway, regardless.

On a side note, on my main website I will be keeping track of training for the Marrakesh Marathon!

Reading previous blogs I've made and used for my travels makes me homesick for Istanbul... I plan to take up any opportunities to travel with volunteers as I can! Seems like other Peace Corps Volunteers have the same bug for traveling as me, which is awesome. I will offer to be the chaperone/guide on everyone's trips to Istanbul!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mola (one month to go!)

Right now, I am sitting at a Starbucks during my teaching break, sipping on a hot cider and listening to elevator music. Gonna miss this.

As the title foretold, we've got about one month until I officially ship out. On either March 18th or morning of the 19th, 120 people are flying from all around the country to DC for STAGING!!! We will be receiving/organizing our plane tickets 2 weeks prior to that date.


March 1-10th, receive plane ticket!
March 18-19th, fly to DC!
March 19th, Staging and heading to Casablanca!

Once in Casablanca, we are finagling over to Rabat for our two month language and cultural intensive program until we are sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers!

So exciting.

Despite all the ridiculousness I have witnessed while subbing over the past five months, I'm going to miss these kids. At times they can be insufferable, stubborn, and just plain rude. Yet, they've taught me more about what kind of teacher--and person-- I want to be than sitting in a classroom could ever do.

Plus, I've pretty much mastered the various glares.

"You did NOT just do that"
"Pick that up"
"Say please, please" (also=manners??)
"You get a Bling Buck!" (Bling Bucks are what the scholars use to purchase additional school supplies. They are dealt out as rewards for exceptional behavior)


Last week, I went to a Batizado (t=pronounced "ch") with my Capoeira group. A Batizado is a ceremony that can be translated as "baptism". Around the world, Batizado's occur at different times. Depending on the cord level, you may not be an active participant until your teacher says you are ready.

The more inexperienced capoerista fights against a mestre (master) or someone with a much higher cord level. It is like baptism by fire. At a lower level, one fights until they are tripped--last time, the guy I played against tripped me, picked me up over his shoulder, and carried me over to get my next cord level. The tripping signifies the humility-- and humiliation-- necessary to join a higher rank. Not only do you get a cord, but also have a greater responsibility to pass on the knowledge and teachings that were given to you.

"With great power (of knowledge) comes great responsibility (to pass it on)"

This time around, I didn't get as much time on the floor. However, I did get a nickname!

Part of (most) Batizado ceremonies is receiving a nickname by your peers. Historically, it was illegal to practice Capoeira, and the punishment for being found practicing the sport was vicious. To maintain secrecy, the capoeiristas gave each other nicknames-- usually from a particular trait or characteristic of the person--to protect one another from persecution. This tradition is continued today, usually during the Batizado ceremony.

... and I finally got a nickname!

Mola. It means "spring".