First Day 2.0

I have a new housemate. Technically, I have a lot of housemates considering I live with Ana María’s family. But late last night, a new long-term volunteer arrived and she’s living on the floor above mine. Her name is Roxana, she’s the same age as me and is taking a gap year as well!

Today was her first day and I got to play tour-guide. To my surprise, I wasn’t nervous or anything with having to show her around. In fact, it was almost empowering. It was really gratifying to be able to prove to myself how much I’ve learned about the community and the people who live here and I really loved being able to share that with someone new.

After a trip to the market, Roxana and I headed up to CEDED. Normally, I would go to CEDED later in the day because Voices of Youth is from 4-6pm. But due to the fact that I only had one avocado, a huge loaf of white bread and one-third of a package of crackers, I figured it was time to get some food.

Today was the Thursday group for Voices of Youth. Today we planned on having them work on organizing an economic activity, finalizing plans for their field trip that’s this Sunday to the Parque de Imaginación and starting to think about a menu for their first communal meal that will be in about two weeks. This afternoon proved to be a chatty one. The youth’s voices were heard. Very loudly and quite often. But nonetheless, we got business done and I’m looking forward to watching more than a dozen kids make arroz con pollo y papas a la huancaína in the little CEDED cocina.

All in all, today was a huge reminder of a principle that I’ve made a goal for my time here: always be aware of the “now”. As I showed Roxana around, I was mentally thinking back to when Emily was doing the very same for me only a short time ago. It may sound silly, but sometimes I think about the fact that “I live in South America” and “I am in South America” are phrases that are applicable to my life and I am filled with pure wonderment. Being as reserved as I am, I’m not one to make a big deal about things. But every so often, (mainly during mototaxi rides up to CEDED) I remember tremendous potential of this time in my life. It’s a little overwhelming, but I’m finding that any anxiety that spurs from that train of thought often dissipates once I realize how incredibly fortunate I am to be here.

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