Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Half-Way... oh snap.

Hey There, Hi there, Ho there -

What's been up: If you didn't get the That 70's Show reference up there I'm dissapointed in you. Monday night Lili and I watched American Beauty of netflix. Lili had seen it before, but I hadn't. It was a super weird movie and I liked it a lot! Tuesday was an extremely boring day at work because almost everyone was gone for some reason or another. Christofer and Isaias were the only two present and they both were so sleepy the whole time that they basically slept all morning, but of course they woke up when the nurses decided to pass out candy and popsicles!
Showing off what I made him
Woohoo! Candy!
I ended up watching some spanish cartoon called El Chavo that was extremely disturbing and it was all I could do not to fall asleep. After work we went on a tour of "The Palace". It is similar to our White House because it was built for the President of Guatemala but they don't live there... they just hold a bunch of special occasions there. They hold tours on days that nothing big is going on and we happen to get to go on a tour. It was in all Spanish so I didn't learn much but the building was beautiful and had a lot of great art/murals. Unfortunately we could not take pictures with flash and it was very dark in there so I didn't get very many.
There is a really busy area right across from the Palace that is called Central Park. There was a great piece of art work done by some protestors that are still really angry with the government. A lot of people have missing family members that mysteriously dissapeared within the mess of the Civil War and most people believe that the government got rid of them on purpose. It rained yesterday though and it washed most of it away. I was so sad that I didn't get a picture of it before it was ruined. The faces you see are bsically old missing person ads.

The protesting art/graffiti around town is definitely my favorite. It is so awesome and there is such an intense story behind it all. I've already randomly posted a bunch but here is another one of my newest photos (I pass it on the way to work every day).
Missing Persons Collage
The main area across from the Palace has a lot of shops and businesses around it and a ton of people hang out there during the day (and pigeons.... lots and lots of pigeons). Birds really freak me out so I don't like to go near that area too much. People feed them and they go nuts and fly 100 mph at your face. Plus Lili is like the Queen of getting pooped on by birds so I think my chances are like 75% higher when I'm near her. The fact that the words "I've only been pooped on once this trip", says it all. I tried taking a video to document how scary it is there, but of course it was pretty tame as soon as I started recording.

 The guy in the video is Don Fransico... our driver :) He is really awesome.


When I got to work today Brena informed me that today was Jose's last day. WAIT A SECOND WHAT!!! I had no clue. I DIDN'T EVEN BRING MY CAMERA TODAY!!!! I was no where near prepared for this. I have really grown an attachment to this kid. I think he is like the coolest person alive. He can't leave!! I know this means he is able to finally go home and get out of the unit but oh my gosh I am so sad. I tried not to show how emotional I was getting about the whole thing but it was hard! I didn't even get to make him anything. So really quickly I put together one of those old school "fortune teller" things you make out of paper and instead of putting fortunes inside I wrote little notes to him. I got Brena to translate it all for me so it would be in Spanish. I think he really liked it :). We were all hanging out in the main area and he was talking to Brena and I could tell whatever he was saying was really nice because she had a giant smile on her face. Let me share with you this life-changing statement an 11 year old boy had in a conversation about me today (I was in the middle of making his present):

Jose talking to Brena: Abbey brought me a present.
Brena: No she didn't. She didn't know you were leaving... but she is making you something now.
Jose: No, yes she did. She brought love. Lots of love.
Brena: Yes, love is free.
Jose: Yes, and so are smiles.

Oh my gosh ya'll. My heart melted. This is why I am here! And I really feel like I had an impact on this child and I can't explain to you how this moment felt. It was un-real. This is one amazing kid. I am going to miss him so so much. He also told Brena that he was going to tell his brother all about how he wasn't bored and had fun while in the unit thanks to me and the last CCS volunteer Harriett. Ah! Leaving work was really difficult today.. Brena was telling me he was avoiding saying bye to me and honestly I cried a little when I left. I am so happy for him but man... it's hard to say good-bye. Work is definitely not going to be the same without him. :(
Good Luck, Jose! (Oldie, but goodie)

Ohhhhhh, We're Half Way There
So the time has come that it is officially the half-way point of the trip. We have been here for 2 1/2 weeks and have 2 1/2 more to go! It doesn't really feel as if we have been there that long but then again looking back on everything we have done so far, it kind of does! Either way, as you can tell, the time spent here has been a blast. I am really fortunate to have the opportunity to have such an amazing experience such as this one!

That being said: In honor of the mid-way point I would like to discuss a couple of things that I have missed about the United States, not including all of my friends and family (because that's a given).

  • General Tibbs!!! I don't even care if ya'll are thinking, "wow what a freak". I am not afraid to admit that I am missing my cat. Thankfully he has Lily back home so I know he is in good hands. Also shout out to Steven and my Aunt Sissy for also taking care of him when needed. :) Lily has been sending me some pictures so I decided I should share with you how cute he is.
zZzzZz meow.
  • Television. I am seriously having withdrawls. I think it may be due to the massive overdose I had before I left the U.S. but either way it hurts. It's killing me on Wednesdays knowing that Modern Family and the Challenge are happening and I have no clue what's going on. I need Claire, Phil and Cam in my life. Also I have a bet going for who's going to win the Challenge. And not to mention my man, Stephen Colbert. I don't even know what he's been making fun of lately. Not cool. I'm telling you... I have a problem. Last night we got drinks at a little restuarant off 6th and they were playing ESPN!! Holy crap was it nice to see Sports Center. I caught the Top 10 and it was great! By the way.... what is about soccer players?? Gah, I'm a sucker for soccer boys.
  • Texting. Okay I know that sounds super "First World Problemish" but seriously. You really have no idea how much you miss it until something happens, or you think of someone and you can't just pick up your phone and contact them. Basically those of you that I text on the regular, you know I'm missing you a ton in those moments. You know who you are. One of them is Lili so at least I have her haha.
  • Clean Air. This town has some serious smog issues. Can a playa get a fresh breath? The answer is no. If I haven't mentioned that there is no air conditioning use anywhere, let me do that again. There is no AC. This means that of the windows in the house, car, etc are always open. The worst is the car rides. Especially in the mornings with all of the traffic and my long drive to work. A bus will take off in front of you and BOOM you are now ingulfed in a cloud of a black, smelly mess. Our driver Don Fransico likes to make fun of all the ridiculous faces I make when that happens.
  • Wearing My Aggie Ring. I have been told multiple times not to wear any flashy jewlery but for a while I was still wearing my ring. Then 3 different mothers at the hospital told me that if I didn't stop wearing it I was probably going to (and I quote) "get my finger cut off" when someone tries to steal it. Considering I am really attached my fingers I decided it was time to retire the ring for the trip. I have freaked out multiple occasions when I feel that it's gone and also I just feel lost without it in general.... but hey I'll live. Ps- Whoop!
  • Johnny Carinos/Cheddars: First of all shout out to Elizabeth Stewert. But seriously - I'd probably pay $100 for a meal at either of these places right now. Well not really but you at least sense my desparity. I'm not saying that the food here isn't awesome, because it is great! But this wasn't going to miss my list of things I miss .... and while I'm at it I'll go ahead and throw Ramen noodles in there as well.
  • Flushing Toilet Paper: I know this sounds super weird and gross but let me explain. The pipes here are very old and therefore very small. You cannot flush toilet paper because it could easily build up in the pipe and back up the system. I am still really bad at remembering this and half the time I like realize half way through a flush that I messed up and I'm like ahhh nooo! But I'm getting better. (Virginia if you are reading this don't hate me). You really take advantage of something as small as this because it sucks and I'm ready to flush away once I get back and not feel bad about it.
  • Driving. Those of you that know me pretty well you know that I get car sick to the max. For all reasons... no matter when or where. Usually the solution is that I drive because it really doens't bother me if I'm in control of the vehicle. Well first of all I don't have that option here and even if I did I wouldn't dare set out on this INSANE streets in a vehicile, or a bike, walking is even pretty scary. So I've been getting car sick a lot and also fearing my life every 5 minutes because everyone drives like a nut around here. But the funny thing is every around here is actually good at driving and they seem to know what they are doing. Especially our driver, Don Fransico, but he still scares me lol.
  • Pinot. I need some wine up in my life. And if you remember from my blog from the Winery.... Guatemalan wine doesn't count.
  • Not being the only Blonde for miles. Having blonde hair, light skin and light eyes in a place like this really gets you noticed. A lot. It's basically screaming.. "PLEASE STARE AT ME CREEPILY!! or if you are a girl go ahead and shoot me a bad look" At first it was kind of cool because I felt famous or something but now it's just getting creepy and I realized being "famous" isn't really that fun. It's just annoying. And I officially feel like a) there's something on my face or b) I have turned into a giant piece of meat.
That's all I can think of for now. Doing laundry is another one... but I didn't include because I don't really miss doing my own laundry it's just nice to be able to do it whenever you would like. We finally figured that mess out and now we have clean clothes but we are going to try and make it last until we leave... so we will see how that goes.

Also I am still in the middle of waiting to hear back from Grad Schools so wish me luck on that!!

That's all for now. Thanks and Gig 'Em!


  1. Well, I knew this experience would grab your heart. The best present you are giving all of these children and their parents is your loving heart and wonderful spirit! Those are the best presents because they come from your heart. I know you are doing an awesome job and making a difference in their lives. Keep up the good work and I'm sure I know someone who will make sure all those things you are missing will be taken care of when you get back by someone who misses you!? Love ya, Karen xoxoxo...

  2. I'm so sad Jose left! I'll miss reading about him! He was so lucky to have you there. And I think you were lucky to meet him as well! (I keep crying when I read about the kids and see the pics. Mostly happy cries because I can see how happy they are around you!!) When you get back to CS I'm taking you out to eat wherever you want!!

    Love you and keep posting!