Fellows' Blog Archives

Cultural Exploration: All Posts


Apparently, I’m on TV…
by | July 9, 2015

I awoke to see three missed calls on my phone and could hear “Buenas noches,” being repeated from my front door from a familiar voice. Admittedly it was only about 9:00pm, but it’s surprising how late that feels when it gets pitch black by 7:00pm and the rooster insists on waking you up at 5:30am every morning. I ran out of my room, half thinking I was crazy and it was all a dream, to see Andy peaking his head through my rebar window by the front door with two other men behind him. Needless to say, I was thoroughly…Read the rest »

Feliz Navidad
July 9, 2015

That week alone, I had read 3 novels. I don’t think I’ve ever read and completed 3 whole novels in even a year. Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but, honestly, not by much. Point being, I’m far from an avid reader. But I felt like I had no other option. It’s amazing how true it is that even between Fellows within your same country cohort, or even your regional cohort, can have such vastly different experiences. Some Fellows felt they had the best Christmas they’d ever had. I, on the other hand, did not. During Re-entry Training, they…Read the rest »

by | June 19, 2015

In my second week in Ecuador, my family invited me to a velatorio, which, in that sense, was a Kichwa Ecuadorian memorial service. I was exhausted from work and it was about 8 at night already, so I hesitantly asked how long we would be out. No mas que una hora. No more than one hour. Okay, no problem. We’ll be back by 9:30 latest and I’ll have time to read a little before bed. Off we went, all piling into the family pick-up truck. On the winding cobblestone streets, we passed many small groups of people walking in…Read the rest »

A La Cruz
June 2, 2015

I had already been living in my homestay for about 3 weeks before I met my host-dad. I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I sat across from him that morning for breakfast engaging in basic conversation when I asked, solely out of curiosity, about the giant cross atop a prominent mountain far off in the distance. He explained that it is a long, intensive hike through the jungle but if you survive, the view from the top is well worth it. He asked me if I wanted to go and I nonchalantly replied yes, assuming he meant in general,…Read the rest »

Why I Can’t Call it Wanderlust
June 2, 2015

I had just returned home to California for the first time in 8 months. Its was a rampage of greetings, hugs, smiles, and then me casually slipping in, “By the way, I’m leaving again in a week!” You can imagine the reactions. Why would I choose to go away so soon? Well, it wasn’t a choice for me. Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world. But for me, it isn’t just a want or desire, but a hard fact. My life is to move and travel and learn. That…Read the rest »
last blog pic

A Year of Attaya (Tea)
by | May 29, 2015

The first time I tasted attaya I couldn’t finish it. My host brother in Dakar had made it, and even a sip out of the small shot glass was almost overpoweringly bitter and sweet. The first time I finished a glass of attaya was in the house of the woman who is like my father’s mother, since his actual mother lives in another region of Senegal. “It is not a tea that you can drink quickly,” my father warned, “You just have to sip it.” I made it through without squinting too much, mostly because I didn’t want to let…Read the rest »

by | May 27, 2015

Like many things in my life, I look back on the ritual family outings I had with the Sinche-Cuasquer family with a small smile on my lips and the realization that, at the time, I didn’t fully see the importance of those moments. Then, they were just a fun way to see different parts of Ecuador and leave the mundane structure of everyday life in Imbaya behind. Now, I realize that they were ripe not only with hilarious moments and cherished memories, but lessons as well. The members of my host family are very hardworking people. Monday-Saturday means work, but…Read the rest »

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