20 April 2014

Typewriter Series #741 by Tyler Knott Gregson

An excerpt

"What if I were to give it up?  What if I were to just give it all up?

What would I lose? Who would even really care?

Sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth it, and when you turn your head the internet explorer symbol looks like its frowning.

Wandering around seems so much more appealing.

Was it really just a year?  Has it been only a year?

That kiss! How perfectly serene was that moment.  Nothing could defeat you.  Nothing could bring you down.  You had been right all along.  He really DID think of you.  You DID make the right decision.  Life came full circle and you were complete.

Now how to break the news?  That was what kept you up all night.  Not guilt?  Maybe, but wasn’t it guilt all along that held you back?  Weren’t you always guilty? 

Now you’re alone again.  Just like the start.  What changed?  Heartbreak?  Failures?  WAS IT EVEN WORTH it??? You always said it would be.  Do you still believe that?  Did you believe it then, or was it just a ploy because you wanted something you weren’t ready for?

That’s how it always is, right?  We persuade and persuade that it’s the right decision, that there is some perfect justification for the desires.  Well if I feel this way it must be right!?!  Oh that exclamatory interrogative wonder.

Candles, candles, like candles.  You enjoy the moments, peaceful, fragrant, luminous, thrilling…, but gone.  Not like they were never there.  Oh no, it is quite obvious what happened! For goodness sake the empty jar is sitting right there, starring at you, taunting you, reminding you of what you had but burned up so quickly just because you could.

Why do we never take enough time to truly appreciate (yes appreciate not enjoy) all of those moments.

When the night is over and your heart has broken what more can you do?  Move on? Yeah right.  If you could move on you would have 4 years ago, or better yet would have known to not even get into the situation.

'Dreams are like a drug.  When you awake the dream is over, and the pain is worse than knives.'

How true. HOW TRUE.  I knew it then…in the beginning…even before…when things were just starting…things you wanted so bad…so bad…your heart was broken even before it was whole…because you knew what would happen?  You KNEW what would happen??? And still you let it happen???  And still…you let it happen.  Moreover, you MADE it happen. 

What silly silly fools we are.  Like a kite turning and tossing in the wind, but in the wind nonetheless.  Not really in control, but acting as if we have anything to do with it.  Holding ourselves up there.  High and mighty.  Like nothing can bring us down.  Oh if only we remembered how truly thin and fragile we really are."

If only we would remember how truly thin and fragile we really are…
Drafted but never posted.  I think this was from around summer 2012


Currently Crocheting:


Currently Reading:

Eat, Pray, Love
Plato: Five Dialogues
Anna Karenina

Other Projects:

Making bracelets (beaded and from string)
Making earrings
--Selling both to make money for the Casa Materna

Currently working out to:

Xbox 360 Kinect Dance Central 2

Girls Group Project:

English classes
Bracelet making

New recipes tried:

Chili - the 2 Tbsp. Nica chili powder gave it quite a kick.  Overall, it was delicious especially with crema, cuajada, and soda crackers or rice.  Next time I plan to only use 1 Tbsp. of chili powder to keep my stomach happy.

French Toast (not new but perfected) - It's great with the homemade Nica loaves of bread, fresh ground cinnamon, and a little powdered sugar sprinkled on top.

November 3, 2013

So…as per usual “Shona” I just spent a significant portion of the evening on good ‘ol “Face.”  Of course it involved “stalking,” but this time I was “stalking” myself!  Some interesting statusi (plural for status in my dictionary) got me thinkin’ ‘bout some statusi that I had written a while back, i.e. since the first day that facebook revealed “status update.”  Back then it actually meant that you would update your current status.  For a while I “boycott [ed] the whole status update thing” because, we to be frank, I thought it was quite stupid.  Throughout the boycott facebook was extraordinarily persistent in insisting that I “update my status.”  Under this immense pressure I began making my “status” a song lyric (mostly written by the amazingly talented Matt Wertz).  Finally, it just became too much to handle seeing everyone else’s actual statusi, so I began to write my own.
The following is a compilation of some of my favorite statusi over the years, from the very first up until August ’13.  I decided to only go pre-grad school because those from the last three months are just too recent to fully appreciate.  Hence, I have also included a brief “first thought that came to my mind” reaction to each status.

Just found a few old messages in my "other" message box. A couple were a four months old...oops. I guess I should check my facebook on a computer a little more often.
-Little did I know that wouldn’t be the first time.  Oh, “other” box! How you get me.  Too bad a few of those were actually important.  Good one again Facebook.  You get me everytime.

May 22 near Ravenna, MI via mobile
1st day back to work was long, full of new adjustments, and ...oddly a bit fun. Rakin' in the dough might not be so hard this year.

Ps. The new car runs like a dream.
-Little did I know that would be the busiest, most stressful, least sleep-filled summer of my life.  I still had a blast, but I earned every penny of those checks and should have earned more.

May 17 near Ravenna, MI via mobile
Life has been doing a good job trying to kick me in the butt this week. Thanks to mom and dad for keeping me mostly sane.
-Little did I know that was only a taste of what was to come.  Life sure did try to get me those first two weeks of May, but it was only the beginning.

This girl is going to Emory University!
-Yeah she did! Too bad it’s hard to remember that excitement while SAS-ing it up.  Little did I know how much that decision would change everything.

Daniel Ortega was at Hotel Sabalos yesterday!
-Little did he know….Seriously, Daniel!  You’re lucky Sabalos was great at keeping secrets from me or you and I would have had a very uncomfortable conversation (I can say these things now that I’m no longer a PCV).

I'm really starting to think I might be a little lactose intolerant. Two "batidos" (smoothie/shake) with yogurt/ ice cream, crema (sour cream) with my gallo pinto, and almost and entire stuffed crust pepperoni pizza from "Berlin" just isn't agreeing with my body as it would have a couple years ago.
-Little did I know that would how much I would miss those days.  Oh to be young in San Carlos and on the Peace Corps dime again.  Every bite and sip was well worth the pain.

just a little announcement that i'll be landing at the Muskegon County Airport at 6:51pm 03/21/13.
-Little did I know what whirlwind of emotions and decisions awaited me at the other end of that flight.  Even now, I am still amazed at my excitement.  Yes I am absolutely thrilled to be back, but I also remember how much effort I put into leaving and why I wanted to go.

oh Ryke's Bakery, Catering and Cafe and Taco Bell...why must you post such delicous looking food when I am far too many miles away to eat it?
-Still taunting me daily

just e-submitted her SOPHAS apps after a crazy last minute upset. now its time to wait and see how it all pans out. keep those fingers crossed!
-I really didn't think any of it would pan out.  Couldn't have been more wrong.

the nica christmas music has begun! i hear it now drifting across the river into my house.
 -Oh how I miss it!!!

about 50 minutes ago felt a 7.6 earthquake from Costa Rica. It lasted for about a minute. At first I thought it was someone on my balcony (yes my whole house moves when someone is on the balcony) until I realized that no one was there. After a few seconds I left my house, but unfortunately I had just finished showering and was still in towel. I experienced no damage; just a few fallen things from a shelf.
-I've told this story SOOO many times :)

ahhhh....the wonderfully relieving sound of water falling into a tank! I can once again shower, wash dishes, and flush my toilet.
-I will NEVER forget that feeling of relief and never take running water for granted.

how can i be expected to work when the olympics are on? i explained what the olympics are to 9 pregnant nicaraguans yesterday...i think that counts as work, right?
-If only this could happen during the winter olympics coming up

it's doesn't just rain everyday downhere anymore...it thunderstorms on and off all day long!
 -Still feels weird to NOT have rain everyday.

Does walking 20 minutes to Dunkin' Donuts justify getting two donuts? I sure hope so because I did, and they were thoroughly enjoyed while watching The Avenger's XD 3D!
-Oh my goodness that was so amazing!!!! Best ME date ever!

officially doesn't have dengue!
-Yeah, too bad I had gallstones instead

March 20, 2012 via TurboTax
·        Just got a much bigger tax return than last year by making a lot less money!
 -Those days are far behind me.

...so hot, no power, unshaded house.....i might just go jump in the river
-And I did

just enjoyed a comfy ride to managua!
-What I didn't tell you is that "comfy ride" caused me to get carsick and pass out on dramamine

had a very Nica start to a very Nica year. Feliz Año Nuevo!
-So over this commenting thing

has officially started her "movies i MUST see when i get home in 16 months" list! seriously i've been waiting YEARS and they all decide to come out when i'm 8 hours by bus from the nearest movie theatre! (i.e. pirates, the hobbit, the dark night rises, and so many others). it kills me i can't go to the premiers or see those in 3D in 3D.
....yes I just typed "how to kill big mice" into google search. I have two cats, but they seem more interested in eating insects and small salamanders and sleeping on my lap while I watch the mice/rats run across my rafters and electrical cords.
is loving the house! So much space, so much privacy (well as much as is possible in Nicaragua), so much variety of food! Just spent all afternoon cleaning, pulling plants out of my bathroom, and figuring out a way to store my clothes. 
is so thankful for her blessed life that she gets to try to make the most of everyday....and internet. even though it's expensive, slow, and unreliable at least i have it when i really need it. And why is everyone torturing me with pictures of their delicious thanksgiving food?
...it's a parade ON THE WATER
¨is coming home. I´m coming home. Tell the world I´m coming home...¨
is in san carllos for the fishing tournament. dont worry great sabalos, im not actually doing the fishing.
is going to eat in a food court and then see harry potter
·        no blog post today. for some reason all of gmail and my blog was in some sort of chinese and i didnt feel like finding a way to fix it. i will hopefully get back next weekend to update.
is reminiscing over the wonder and accompanied rejuvenated hope that is Spring in Michigan. I love it right where I am, but I keep thinking of my former world thát´s going on without me.
has officially been a Peace Corps Volunteer for a week...currently in San Carlos waiting for the Panga for an hour- tired, sore butt, and have to pee, but it'll have to wait another three hours because i refuse to pay 5 cords to use the bathroom (although i did pay 10 to have my suitcase watched).
...im pretty sure Meijer is an addiction because im definitely going through withdrawal.
is going to give up living in EEUU for lent because I definitely can not givie up Nacatamales....tambien, ahorita yo estoy escribendo mi curriculo en español en el ciber mientras James Blunt esta cantando en el radio (the nicas love pretty much any music in english)...headed to rio san juan this weekend!!!
gets to live in Boca de Sabalos, Rio San Juan for the next two years!!!!!!
gave her second charla in the centro de salud this morning, but the hot walk to search for and interview pregnant women this afternoon was well...hot and semi effective. now im eating stale but still delicious rosquillas and updating my blog...finally. oh and i successfully activated my nica debit card entirely in spanish.

January 2, 2011 via mobile
is being forced to drink theraflu at gunpoint
-HAHAHA that's what brothers are for

just made a list of all the lists she needs to make....how lame am I?...29 days...1 day til my b-day!
will pay someone $10 to finish writing her aspiration statement.
just wrote her first letter of resignation.
just got a double dose of perspective. Now on to updating my resume for the peace corps....seriously, do they want my left kidney too?
...if the event is lost and 24's child it sure got all the recessive traits
is definately wearing the exact same shirt as the girl on hawaii five-o....so weird.
September 2, 2010 via Twitter
·        absolutely LOVES thunderstorms ... even if it means getting soaked at work!
is officially a peace corps nominee....now on to the millions of health forms, exams, and probably a few shots.
"you can't change this"
wants to resolve to never procrastinate again...maybe tomorrow.
thinks she's going to move to petosky and work at meijer....
after 5 years on facebook i've stopped getting upset when they change something...get over it people it's not like you pay to use it
playing her violin with nascar in the background
[jumps up and down high-fiveing (sp?) everyone she sees] done, done, done, done, DONE, done, done...and couldn't be more DONE!!!
severely dislikes Buruli ulcer disease! Why does it have to be so complicated yet so under-researched?
is umm... GRE what what?
is waiting for Matt Wertz ! ! !
thinking everybody makes mistakes everybody has those days.
not really sure
excited for dance guild

And a couple of early facebook posts from some beloved friends!
Hey I finally did something on my facebook page. Aren't you proud of me??? I still don't know how people find the time to do this crap?? Hope you had an awesome monday! Miss you!

Shona, nice profile pic, i was trying to interpret its meaning, but just couldn't reach it haha, can't wait to see you!!!

05 September 2012

New attempt at blogging

New Project Alert!!!!

Because I love reading so much and want everyone to feel the same I started a girls group.  It consists of (now) six 6th graders.  Using the books donated by Calvary Christian Schools, we start out with reading.  The girls pick a new book or one they were reading last time.  They have loved them.  After some reading time we do one of several things: crotchet, learn English, or have a health charla.  I started out meeting on Tuesdays with them but this week we’ve already met twice and plan to meet again tomorrow.  I figure that if they want to meet so often, I have the time to invest.

Today we played the game “Ow, doctor, it hurts” to learn the parts of the body.  They loved going up to their friend and trying to say “Doctor, my ______ hurts.”  The “doctors” had the job of healing the patient’s problem area.  It was hilarious to watch them tickle, “give shots” with a crotchet hook, and use a bouncy ball to represent a pill.  They may not have learned a lot, but they certainly had fun just being girls.  Tomorrow we are going to review by drawing stick figures and labeling the parts.  Then we’ll continue with the crotchet classes.  I’ve been letting them choose what they want to do in each session.  This gives them a sense of ownership over the time.

Natural Phenomenon Alert!!!!

This morning I felt my second earthquake.  At about 8:45 I was folding clothes after a late shower, but hadn’t yet gotten dressed.  My house started moving, and I thought someone had jumped up on my deck as it has the same house moving effect.  However, when the house continued shaking and I saw that no one was on the deck I realized what was going on.  I quickly ducked under my hammock (like that would really protect me), but then I remembered that if my deck falls the whole house will go with it.  I decided that despite the embarrassment of only being in a towel I needed to go outside.  As I left my house, my neighbors were doing the same.  Thankfully, they didn’t seem to notice the towel.  I could literally see the ground shake.  It lasted for a few more seconds then stopped.  When I went back inside only a few things had fallen off a shelf, but nothing damaged.

After quickly getting dressed and finishing the folding I was online and looking at a report of a 7.9 quake in Costa Rica.  There wasn’t much other information, but I was told that it was already all over the news.  It could be felt as far north as Managua!  I couldn’t spend too much time looking because my girl’s group had come over, but after I contacted my Emergency Action Plan coordinator, Natalie in San Carlos, texts from the PC office also started pouring in to make sure we were all safe and alerted.  I was kind of hoping for a consolidation to San Carlos, but that would actually take me closer to the coast.  I think I just love the thrill.
I continued the group just thankful that we were all safe and could continue learning despite the event.  The girls asked me if I had been scared and I said, “of course.”  My neighbor girls said, “Me too!”  Through things like this, I am constantly reminded that deep inside us, despite age, race, and socioeconomic background, we are all the same.

Upcoming post:  Crotchet projects!

Currently Reading:
Anna Karenina
Irresistible Revolution
Plato: Five Dialogues

Books read over “the summer”:
The Jungle
The Four Agreements
A Wrinkle in Time
The Tombs of Atuan

01 June 2012

Pics from Panama

I have been experiencing uploading difficulties, but I'll keep adding more pics as I am able.

Panama City Skyline with storm brewing

Papa John's delivery vehicles

Panama Canal
Panama Canal Locks

The tug boat and sailboat followed the huge ship through the locks

Central Park/Market in Casco Viejo

Sporting my new Panama hat
Outside the President's Palace

05 May 2012

I just ate chalupas on a mini-bus in Panama...

..let me ‘splain.  It all started this afternoon when I decided to get Taco Bell for dinner (due to cravings for the last several months).  I wasn’t too worried about getting there early because 1. I wasn’t very hungry and 2. I figured it would be just a quick cab ride or walk there and back.  So at around 6 pm I look up Taco Bell Panama in Google maps and it turns out that the closest one is in the Albrook Mall which is not within walking distance unless you are walking for exercise.  However, I remembered that there is a free transfer from the Albrook Mall to my hotel at around 8 o’clock.  Great.  I could take a cab, get Taco Bell, and still have plenty of time to catch the shuttle. 

So at around 6:30 (I’m ashamed to admit after getting distracted by Bachelor Pad) I headed down to the lobby to verify that the transfer will be running.  The receptionist told me yes it will, but I will need to call at around 7:30 to make sure.  I said ok and headed out to find a cab.  Quickly a cab stopped, I asked how much it would cost, the cabbie told me 2 dollars, and I hopped in.  The cab ride was longer than I anticipated (things look so close on google maps), but I appreciated being inside because it was raining out. 

I got to the mall and saw a large electronics store in the parking lot.  Remembering that I had to pick up an HDMI cable for Nata, I decided to go there first.  After a little walk, I got inside and started a very interesting shopping experience.  I looked around a little and found something I liked for myself but decided to pick up the cable first.  I asked where they were and a worker walked me over there.  I decided on a Philips cable (ironically enough the same brand as the MRI machine that sealed my fate of coming to Panama.  Well actually it was the stones that machine found in my bile duct that did the fate sealing, but that is beside the point).  However, in this store you can’t just take the item to the cash register yourself.  The purchase request has to be entered into a computer and the item is delivered to the pick-up counter by a worker.  Ok, that’s weird, but this is Latin America.  I continued over to where I found the item for myself, and went to pick it up.  I had second thoughts about whether this was permitted due to the cable incident, but this item wasn’t tied down or anything.  Then I went over to the corner counters that said “caja.”  While queuing I had this feeling that holding an item in that store was wrong, but no one came up to stop me.  Finally, it was my turn to pay.  I went up to the window, place my item on the counter, and was immediately told that I need to get a “factura” for my item from one of the floor workers.  Ok, my instinct was right even though it went against all of my U.S. electronic shopping experiences.  So I returned to the area where I got the item and found a worker to enter it into the computer.  I then went once more to the register area.  I paid for the items and was then directed to another counter that said “entrega” to pick them up.  While trying to leave the store my exit path was blocked by an inflatable green robot that I’m pretty sure had a person inside, but I weaved my way around and got out hoping to never have to shop electronics like that again.

So now it was around 7 o’clock and I headed back through the parking lot to the mall.  I entered the mall and was immediately surprised by its size, amount of bright colors, and safari them.  I now started walking in search of Taco Bell.  After walking at least 10 minutes and seeing almost every other fast-food restaurant I still hadn’t encountered Taco Bell.  I began to feel disappointed.  I had gone all the way there just for Taco Bell, and by golly I was going to eat Taco Bell.  I finally arrived, almost hopeless, at what I thought was the end of the mall.  Then suddenly there was a bend and a whole other stretch of mall appeared before me.  The whole new section was even bigger than the one I had just walked that was larger than my mall back home.  With new hope and a slightly sore abdomen I kept going.  Finally, after another ten minutes and passing by at least two more Subways, I found a legitimate food court with carousel and all.  What was in that food court?  Taco Bell!

I found the nearest stairs and headed down (after one trip around the bottom floor of the first half of the mall I had headed upstairs in hopes it was there).  I excitedly walked up to the Taco Bell counter and ordered a two chalupa supreme meal that included French fries and a Pepsi.  Thinking I had plenty of time ordered it “para aca (for here).”  When the order for Chola (no one can ever understand my name) was ready I grabbed it, some mild sauce, and ketchup and looked for an empty table.  This was a difficult task because in any food court in central America that I have been to it is unheard of to take your own tray to the trash.  Instead they are left on the table where a worker picks it up and throws it away for you.  I finally found one near Dunkin’ Donuts and sat down.  Just before squirting out a pack of ketchup for my fries I decided I should call the hotel to confirm the transfer.  It was about 7:30.  I called and was told that it would be leaving soon (in about 5 minutes) from the Zebra entrance. 

I quickly realized that I needed to go back to the Taco Bell counter and get a to-go (para llevar) bag and rush to the shuttle.  While walking through the mall I had noticed signs with giraffes, rhinos, tigers, and elephants, but I hadn’t noticed any zebra pictures near the exits, so I figured it must be in the end of the mall I hadn’t walked to yet.  While walking I began to feel like I was wrong.  After a few minutes I stopped at a kiosk to ask.  The female worker told me with a hopeless look “I’m sorry honey, but it’s far away.  At least a 20 minute walk. (loosely translated)”  I thanked her and decided that this, of all times, was the time for my Shona-luck needed to kick in.  20 minutes?  I could do better. 

I was off - rushing through the mall at a speed much faster than anyone, who had gallbladder surgery less than a week ago and two days ago walked about as slow as a turtle, should go.  I wasn’t actually speed walking, but I still felt like a few stitches were at risk of ripping.  I just had to make it to that shuttle.  I did not want to pay another 2 dollar taxi ride when there was a free shuttle so close.

 I kept going and less than 10 minutes later rounded a corner and saw a sign with a striped animal that said cebra.  Thank goodness! I might have made it.  I quickly exited and did not see a shuttle.  Of course, not wanting to seem guilty for missing it I called the hotel and said “I’m here and the shuttle hasn’t passed by.”  I was told that it would come very soon.  So of course, in my own little Shona world, even though there were other people waiting outside I thought that they probably asked for a little shuttle just for me because no one else was going. 

I waited for 5-10 more minutes and finally a mini-bus pulled up and was immediately crowded by people.  Of course this was the bus I needed.  I got on and found a seat but heard that my hotel would be the last stop.  I remembered my chalupas and realized that I had to eat them or they would get cold.  So I ate them right there in a jam-packed shuttle where nobody else was eating, and they were delicious! 

After a tour of the city that passed by nearly every hotel in the downtown area, I arrived at my hotel with a 360 degree achy torse and legs and the satisfaction that my Shona-luck driven by being “pinche (cheap)” had prevailed. 

I re-learned tonight how my expectations are usually so utterly incorrect.  Why should one of three malls in Panama City, Panama not be huge and not have moving sidewalks like the airport?  Why would the one restaurant I was looking for have suddenly left the mall?  Why shouldn’t Taco Bell serve French fries as a side instead of a small Taco?  Why should I be the only person wanting a free hotel transfer?  And why can’t a chalupa taste just as good in a mini-bus in Panama as sitting in a restaurant in the states?

One more victorious yet tiring and slightly stressful outing = that much closer to being a successfully confident world traveler.