All Good Things

All Good Things

Sanibonani!

Today marks the first day of my second week in Africa. Another fun statistic: I’ve now visited six continents! (When the Peace Corps invited me to serve here, I did check whether South Africa was close to the South Pole. It’s not.)

Ask any of my fellow trainees, and we will all tell you it seems impossible that only a week has gone by.

Read the rest of this entry

As Long As the Sun

As Long As the Sun

Less than twenty-four hours after our staging event (first day of training), and life as a Peace Corps trainee is already an adventure.  We arose at o’dark thirty this morning for a bus departure time of 2:30am. Would you believe that it is more cost efficient to host us in Philadelphia and shuttle us to JFK than renting hotel and conference rooms in the Big Apple?

Some of us didn’t bother trying to sleep last night–and some of them shut their eyes for three hours the night before while flying to Philadelphia.  The bus ride to New York City might have been killer, but I’m thankful that staging took place close enough for my family to drive me there.

Read the rest of this entry

All That We Can Desire

All That We Can Desire

In February when the Peace Corps accepted my application to teach English in South Africa, my brain started turning over the all-important question: What to pack?

“I’m hoping to go with just a backpack,” I told a friend.

She was aghast. “No!”

Maybe she has a point, I thought.  It doesn’t seem like much for two years and eleven weeks of living abroad.  What if I’m not ready?

Read the rest of this entry

Riquisimo

Riquisimo

What’s it like to eat in Peru? Smile at the menu. Divide the prices by three. Round down. The exchange rate is over 3.20 dollars per sol.

Fresh squeezed fruit juice? $2.50 for a double-sized glass. Chicken avocado sandwich with coffee? Three dollars.

On top of that, the food here is all “organic”–without the label and without the markup. When you shop for fruit, you let the seller know if you’re planning to eat tomorrow instead of the same day. That way they can bring you produce a shade less ripe.

Read the rest of this entry

The Seven Day Miracle

The Seven Day Miracle

Seven days ago, I did not know I would be flying to Peru. By Monday the 14th, I had booked tickets for my departure on the 21st. Still more amazing? The lady leading the trip hadn’t known she was headed to Peru until the day before.

It all started with a bag of clothes. My family was cleaning house, emptying our basement of ten years’ accumulated detritus. The friend who came to help us dislodge the furniture offered to drop our clothes off with a friend of his from church. She was accepting accepting donations for her upcoming trip to an orphanage in Peru. Yes, he agreed upon further questioning, she was accepting travel companions, too. Read the rest of this entry

Celtic Steps

Celtic Steps

DSC_0282After riding the Ring of Kerry, we collapsed in our room at Lar Kinley. I refused to succumb to road weariness for long, though, because dancing awaited me.

Dancing! Irish dancing! Irish music, too, as it turned out. My angelic father accompanied me to a local performance, “Celtic Steps,” starring five musicians and four dancers. Despite the relatively small size, the show impressed with its sheer talent and irrepressible charm. Read the rest of this entry

The Jewel in Ireland’s Crown

The Jewel in Ireland’s Crown

DSC_0783 Bed & Breakfasts save you money. First, they feed you enough for breakfast and lunch. Second, the good ones double as travel agents.

Thanks to Fernroyd‘s hosts in Cork, Avril and Tony, we abandoned our plan of traveling the length of Ireland to visit Derry and instead skipped off for a two-day detour to Killarney Read the rest of this entry

Kissing Castles

Kissing Castles

DSC_0336Our jaunts on Ireland’s southern coast have revealed to me the secret of obnoxiously touristy attractions: People flock there for a reason.

We were happy to visit before the flock had migrated there for the summer, however. On a gray, drizzly, nippy Saturday, we shared Blarney Castle with just half a dozen of our new best friends: the brave and the few. Read the rest of this entry

Living to Eat

Living to Eat

Whoever disparaged Irish food can’t have spent very much time here.

Dublin/Skerries Highlights

Dublin/Skerries Highlights

DSC_0769After dividing our time between the capital city, Dublin, and the lovely coastal town of Skerries, we bid farewell to Ireland’s east coast today and headed south to Cork (home of the Blarney Stone). The Lord has blessed us with excellent weather these last few days. When we left the White Cottages in the morning, we met a mother on every block pushing her baby carriage; when we returned in the evening, we passed joggers and walkers on every corner. I wonder if the locals love fitness this much when it’s raining? Read the rest of this entry

Two Households in Fair Dublin

Two Households in Fair Dublin

DSC_0773Our second day in Ireland (Wednesday, 4/22), my parents and I parted ways: They caught the bus to the Guinness Storehouse, while I patronized the Gate Theatre in Dublin. The Irish playhouse promised me Shakespeare; how could I resist?

Romeo and Juliet has claimed my affection since my freshman year in high school, when I convinced my classmates to focus our group analysis project on Romeo’s Myers-Briggs personality type–but I had never seen a professional production until now. Read the rest of this entry

Arrived in Ireland

Arrived in Ireland

DSC_0265The morning of our second day in Ireland dawns; I open my eyes to white and light. It’s hard for a Bed&Breakfast to live up to a website that looks like this, but the White Cottages have not failed to impress so far! My parents and I are staying in Skerries, an idyllic coastal town separated by a 40 minute train ride from Dublin. When we arrived at the station with nothing more than an address and our aching feet, a tax driver offered us a ride to the cottages. Since he had come to the station to pick up his daughter, he refused to accept any fare. This vignette reflects how the Irish folk have treated us since our arrival. Read the rest of this entry