Costa Rica

I’ve been ignoring this blog. However, my co-leader and I kept a blog for the parents of the kids we brought to Costa Rica for the month we were there doing community service work. You can see it here: http://cscostaricaa2012.goputney.com/

Costa Rica proved to be one of the toughest and most rewarding things I have done. The physical work was difficult, but not as challenging as coordinating things in Spanish and organizing high school students, as well as coordinating with another leader! I learned so much about myself (strengths, weaknesses, things I love and hate, things I want to improve), more so than I had in classes or working a conventional job.

I would suggest Putney Student Travels to everyone, so if you know someone who is interested in traveling (as a leader or as a student) send them in that direction!

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Guess who will be spending all of July in Costa Rica?

Yup, this girl right here. Being a trip leader for this. Not much, but it should be fun. AND I get paid/free travel. Bam.

Guess this blog will be updated soon once again! Hooray! Stay tuned, just need to finish my thesis and graduate first!

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” -Albert Camus

Two Week Stint in St Lucia

It’s been two weeks since I got back from St. Lucia. My tan is hanging in there (barely) and I’ve started to analyze all of the data I recorded for my thesis. My winter break did not feel like a break in the least, but I have one more semester left and I’m planning to ravage it and then be done, degree in hand! I should be doing work, but I’m going to upload a couple more pictures so you can see all the hard work I did 😉

Petit Piton

Water was as cold as the stuff in the 802!

The Perks of Studying Abroad

The semester is already shaping up to be awesome. Minus the whole writing a thesis thing (which is stressful), hanging out with all these new kids and reconnecting with people has been amazing. & this is mostly because a bunch of the people I haven’t seen in a while (over a year!) is because they studied abroad in the Spring whereas I went in the fall. Which also means that 100X more people have study abroad stories to share and understand everything that I went through like I understand them. And it’s awesome.

 

Last days of summer in the BTV

Besides that, my thesis in on communities in St. Lucia, so I get to go visit/do research/vacation? for two weeks in early January. So pumped! Although this is probably going to be the most challenging part of my undergrad career, I’m really excited to be challenged in a way that is intellectually stimulating rather than having a hard time because the professors are horrid or that I’m bored (which has happened a lot surprisingly. What happened to college being the best education?) But besides that being a senior is a bit nerve wracking. I keep getting questions about my next year and I, of course, have no idea (well, kind of. see below). And my response, you ask? “I’m running on Nica time, it’ll happen when it happens.”

Far fetched, random aspirations for life after college (these are most likely going to change and/or never happen, but dreams!):

  • Travel the world!!!!!
  • Ok, more realistically, maybe lead a group of high school students to a foreign country during the summer (travel and get paid sonnnnn)
  • Intern for (/I would love to work for): 1. Charity:Water  2. TOMS shoes
  • Americorp? Teach for America? Peace Corp?  These seem more plausible, as I had a TfA meeting the other day and the guys was like SIGN UP DAMNIT. so.
  • Travel the world (seriously)
  • Grad school: King’s College in London? UCL? Sweden? McGill? Hmmm.
So yeah. Here’s to senior year!

Reminiscing.

I can’t believe it’s been 4 months and change since my last day in Nicaragua. And I definitely did not remark on my last days in Nicaragua, mostly because I was sad to leave all of the friends I had made behind. And I definitely got drunk the last night while saying goodbye to some of the amazing people I had met while there. Thank GOD Maria was there. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She seriously was my rock throughout the entire trip and I am so appreciative that she experienced it with me. We get to have little reminiscing moments and have so many inside jokes that are going to last us until the day both of us are dead.

And now I’m writing an article for UVM’s global awareness magazine about sustainable tourism in Nicaragua. And throughout my Spanish class this semester I’ve focused group projects on Nicaragua. I can’t really shake it. It’s amazing what 5 months will do to you. And I’m sitting here at my computer, just thinking about stupid little things, like dancing to salsa, or being made fun of for not speaking Spanish, or wandering around in the streets before going to go get breakfast at McDonald’s. Of all the friends I made and how we don’t keep in touch like I wish we did.

The vision that comes back to me the most though, is sitting squished in a bus on the way back from SJDS. It’s one of my favorites.

Maria and I were sitting in this old school bus with a local, making us three across. You can barely fit two grown people in those seats. It was tight. In front of us, a teacher from South Carolina (maybe?) who randomly helps out in Putney VT travels, was chatting with him about the plants out the window. We didn’t know what they were, so they were conversing in Spanish and this old man was explaining the fact that this tall, flowing plant with a white top was sugar. He continued to talk about tiburones (sharks) in the great lake and the little things that make Nicaragua so great.

It was just hearing him talk so passionately about his country. About how he really wanted us, the tourists, to see it from his point of view. The passion seeped from him even though he was poor and his government is corrupt. And it was beautiful and one of the extraordinary talks that will be seeded with me forever. It makes me really value my education and makes me sure that helping others and traveling will always be a part of me.

Azucar

Travel.

I’ve been having a hard time trying to come up with how to describe my last couple nights in Nicaragua. I’ve been in the states 2 weeks now, and it’s still hard to write something. So I’m going to post a bunch of stuff about travel that I didn’t write until I can write about those last three days. (My reverse culture shock is still hanging in there).

So here we go:

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Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms.  It’s old television sets and slow internet connections.Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers magically becoming the most interesting people in the world.  It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter.  It’s McDonald’s being a luxury.

It’s the realization that you may have been bornin the wrong country.  Travel is a smile thatleads to a conversation in broken English. It’sthe epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world.  Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white t-shirt again tomorrow.  Travel is accented sex after cheap wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back of a bus with giggly strangers. It’s nostalgia for studying abroad that one semester.  It’s a street full of bearded backpackers looking down at maps.

Travel is wishing for one more bite of whateverthat just was.  It’s the rediscovery of walkingsomewhere.  It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a new friend. Travel is: “maybe I don’t have to do it that way when I get back home.”  Travel is realizing that “age 30” should be shed of its goddamn stigma.  Travel is fucking invigorating. –Nick Miller

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When a traveler returns home, let him not leave the countries where he has traveled altogether behind him.Francis Bacon

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Ya se conocía de memoria todas las ciudades de la región, y ésta era la gran razón de su vida: viajar.— Paulo Coelho

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the worst part of traveling is it’s easy to meet people but hard to say good bye.— Yah

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When we’re traveling, we very simply can determine our own existance. We can go where we want, when we want to. We can be who we want. We can make friends, or we can be anti-social. We have the entire world in front of us, with perhaps nothing more than a start destination and an end destination. Travel is in a sense mini -lives. With traveling we are born when we get off the plane, and we die when we get on a plane to leave. The difference is, however, that in between we are in control over every responsibility we have, and to a degree, there is no responsibility. We have the opportunity to make a life for ourselves, a life so separate from reality that we transcend our own real lives. Our existences are what we make them. –Katie