Two Weeks

I have been in Ecuador for a little over two weeks now as a Peace Corps trainee and in between the hours of tedious training we have in our 9 hour days, I have learned a couple things about living here.

  1. Ecuadorians are tranquilo and will avoid conflict at all costs which means they will not say anything to upset you.
  2. Do not trust everything an Ecuadorian says (this refers back to number one).
  3. If you say you like a certain type of food to your host mom, be prepared to eat it every day.
  4. Vegetarianism is foreign.
  5. Do not make friends with the guinea pigs in your backyard as you will most likely eat them for dinner.
  6. Living on a 3 dollar a day salary is possible.
  7. Chevere means cool.
  8. All words have –cito at the end of them. Un pancito con mi cafecito por favorcito.
  9. Anything you do is everyones business.
  10. Men and women relationships can never be platonic.

That is it for now. I’ll be back soon with more news on how the pre-service training is going.

Roadtrip

Two girls. Two states. A few thousand miles of driving. Three national parks. 10 days.

Having the reflex of looking in my non-existent side mirrors as I am walking because I drove over two thousand miles in 10 days. Eating fast-food as that is the only place open. Knowing how far down to put the window while driving so that any flatulence does not disturb the other passenger. Singing songs at the top of our lungs. Listening to a song over and over and over. Sitting in silence. Looking at the stars outside while driving through the desert. Peeing on the side of the road with only a cactus as cover. Looking at a map upside down for five minutes before turning it right side up. Pressing the lock button a hundred times when getting out of the vehicle. Sleeping in hostels, the car, a motel, an old converted school bus.

Oh, and this also happened…

Where are you now?

Where oh where has Laura been?

Please excuse the silence. I had to pack, move out all my things from two different countries, visit loved ones before flying to Texas, rewind to the last time I was in Houston, catch up to now, find a job, focus on getting medical and legal clearance for the Peace Corps, get enough vaccinations that I would most likely survive a nuclear war, avoid missiles that would lead into family feuds, eventually get hit, find my inner buddha as he was lost during battle, prepare for a road trip…

Exhausted from reading the list of things I did between the time I last wrote on this blog to now?

Yes, as am I.

In fact, I am going to take this opportunity to go take a nap and catch you up on the road trip I eventually took tomorrow.

Girls Weekend

It’s 9am and I am on a train to Cornwall for a three day girls only weekend. 

I’ll be honest, I might not survive this.

Also, I am a bit unsteady about walking up to a small town (population 100,000) with a proper born and raised East Londoner and a small town girl from the city we are going to but is now covered in tattoos and probably won’t be recognized in her own hometown. 

It’ll be one for the history books. 
These are the kinds of girls that when you think you’ve had a bit too much, they hand you a shot. The kind of girls that don’t stop and offer you a mimosa at 8 in the morning. 

No, I am not exaggerating.
It’s simple. If you are able to handle your liquor then you were welcome to the weekend. If not, please try again next year. 

I passed the test. 
However, I am not big on drinking but with my departure rapidly approaching, I could not pass up a weekend with the girls who were there at my lows, at my highs, occasionally being my eyes and ears and knocking the sense back into me when I was hung up on stupid boys. 

They are the kind of girls you’d like to have around. 

Also, a born and raised east Londoner will have your back in any situation though I have to give a bit of credit to one of my Irish housemates who when he thought I was upset over a boy, was waiting for a cue from another housemate in case he had to walk in with his bottle of alcohol. It might not be the healthiest method of recovery but we are in England, what did you expect? 
Now only a few hours before we walk into our chalet for the weekend. 

Cornwall, you do not know what is going to hit you.

Accepted.

I applied to the Peace Corps roughly six months ago and as soon as I found myself in a flat share with my closest mates, a job that pays well and is considered an institution in London, and a group of people that I have built solid relationships with, I finally received an email in my inbox with my official invitation to serve.

I was accepted.

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I had been waiting months for this answer and had partly given up on the idea of getting accepted that when I read the words congratulations…I was in shock.

I of course immediately sent a message, voice message, email, text, (surprised I did not use letters or pigeon carriers) to everyone I knew that had been waiting for a response with almost as much anticipation as I had these past few months.

Then, the sudden realisation that I was leaving the country in less than a month hit…

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I had a lot of tears to deal with from close friends but in my mind, I was not gone yet and before then I had a million things to do.

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Where to begin…? O.K., give notice to job and flat, get fingerprints taken, go to the doctor for a full checkup, go to the dentist, pack, sell bicycle, keep bicycle, sell bicycle, make my mind up about bicycle.

I was frazzled and now with only a couple weeks left, I have barely checked things off the list but I am calm…until I start panicking that is….

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…but for now, cool as a cucumber I am. I mean, end of September is far away, right? Kind of?

 

Goodbye Gothenburg

I had to admit, it was strange waking up and not meeting up with Adam. We had been glued to one another for the past few days that I almost didn’t know what to do with myself when I woke up. It was officially my last day in Gothenburg and I was finally going to spend it alone like I had originally intended for my entire trip…well, almost.

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I ended up walking along the canal, taking pictures and soaking in the last few rays of sun before heading back to grey old London. I sent a picture to Hugo near the canal as a hint to where I was. Apparently, water, boat, and tree was not detailed enough as he took a while to get there. He then took me on his own tour of Gothenburg which involved sitting next to the famous fish market in the city and eating salad. (He was hungover and slowly recovering). We joked about how watching him eat salad was an event not to miss in the city. We talked and walked around until I eventually had to take my bus to the airport.

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It was a relatively uneventful day and as I made my way through the airport, I thought about all the people I had met during my stay. I thought about the first night I met Adam. I thought about how two people in similar situations ended up finding each other and spending their entire trip together. Funny how that works. I thought about Hugo and all the people I met at Hops, my local bar. I thought about the conversations we had until 4 in the morning. I thought about how upon meeting him he seemed strangely familiar to me, like we had met before, (he said the same). Sometimes you meet people in completely different situations, in completely different parts of the world, but somehow you meet them again with a new face, in a new city, randomly (or not). I thought about Alex, the person who brought me to Gothenburg. I thought about whether or not I would see him again. Its rare to find true friendship in big cities, especially when its opposing genders but somehow we managed. I thought about how I was supposed to be on my own for the majority of this holiday and ended up never having time to myself. I thought about all these things which to me seemed like hours but in reality only lasted a few minutes.

Lastly, I thought about going home. I thought about how the next few weeks would be the last time I would call London “home”. Growing up, I named several cities, countries, continents home. Then I noticed that when I would move I would always think of home as the place where the person I was romantically involved with was. Eventually that changed and it became the place where I lived. It had taken me a couple years to finally think of London as home and I knew that as soon as I thought of it as that, I would want to move again. Now, here I was. A couple more weeks and I would go back to Paris and then to Houston, back where I started. I would go back to the diving board for a while before diving off again to another country, another city, another job…constantly moving until that one day comes where I don’t feel the need to move anymore. A time where the diving board no longer exists and all that is left is a pool I would finally grow roots in.