About Me, 6 Month Check In

So I’ve been in country for about 6 months. This is by far the longest time I have been out of the country. And I think the longest time I’ve been away from my family. I am no stranger to living on my own, but I always make it home for a week or two during the holidays. One part of me deeply misses my family and friends. The other part of me feels like it is just hitting its stride and getting comfortable. Now for an update on who I think I am in this moment.


 

1.) The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that I’m sick. I wouldn’t consider this to be a part of my identity, however it’s the lessons I learn that I think change who I am. I get sick about once a month either from food, water or travel. That’s an obnoxious amount of sickness compared to what I am used to. My body feels like it is constantly battling something. Because of that, I spent a lot more time with myself– breathing and waiting to heal. I am more patient now and I am more grateful for the times when my body is 100%.

2.) Developing fanatic of huayno music. My family has 2 channels on their TV. One for news and one for music. Huayno is the typical music of the Andean sierra where I live. Most of the times I do not enjoy it. Especially when its blaring in the morning to wake me up and blaring at night to put me to bed. However, sometimes, I catch myself singing along and tapping my feet. Here is a sample. Enjoy!

3.) Still a poet? I haven’t felt inspired to write poetry in a while. Normally I wait for experiences or certain thoughts to spur the creation of a poem. As of lately though, I’ve only been writing longer blog posts and personal diary entries. I identity strongly as a writer, but not so much as a poet right now.

4.) Along the same lines as #3, right now, the part of me that is an ethnographer is strong. My master’s research is in full swing. So far I have collected 3 interviews and have 3 more scheduled for this month. I’ve also logged about 4 months of observations. It is exciting for me to chip away at this process. I look forward to learning more and writing something interesting about my community.

5.) I identify as a rock climber now more than ever. The fact that I have been able to continue my passion for rock climbing in Peru has been incredible. Rock climbing allows me to see beautiful places, meet awesome people, get stronger in new gyms and push the limits of my physical and mental boundaries. Just yesterday I came down from my first multi-pitch in Peru. In total, the climb should have been 3 pitches, but at the top of the second pitch, we got forced down by rain. After some wet and muddy rappels, we were on the ground and racing for a bus ride home.

6.) Practicing yogi. My yoga practice has been developing for about 2 years now. Before that however, I have specific memories of thinking and saying that I would never enjoy yoga. I’m not sure what changed, but something just clicked while I was living in CO. The practice became a perfect counterbalance to the other aspects of my life such as skiing, rock climbing and cycling. Just last month I completed a 30 day commitment to yoga with my sister as part of the new year. I used downloaded videos to guide me through the process. The process helped me realize how much I enjoy a personal home practice as opposed to public classes and how much I prefer slow and gentle yogic styles as opposed to flowy and sweaty vinyasas. With that being however, limb of the yogic process serves a very valuable purpose. Use this link to check out videos from the teacher I enjoy. She is kind of a legend in the online/video/home practice world of yoga.

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Updated: About Me

When I started this blog, I thought it was a good idea to start with a few things about me. Lacking creativity I subsumed my existence into 10 bullet points. Later in my PC experience I wrote a post about my current status. Interested in the transformation of my self identification, I want to continue these ‘about me’ posts. This reflection and intrigue all began with an identity map experience we did earlier in PST.  So here goes more bullet points:
1.) Doubly-adopted son of Two Peruvian Families: My host-family here in Lima is so kind. I am comfortable with them and can be my normal self (muy gracioso). My family in Matacoto is learning quickly. They are patient with me, and have already taken me in as a son.

2.) Newly Carnivorous: I told myself that I would slowly introduce meat before I came to Peru. That sure didn’t happen. I was great for a week, and desperately ill for two. Now I finally feel healthy. When I eat meat, I look down and see fuel; energy that I need to be a successful volunteer. I thank the animal and am grateful to my family for feeding me.

3.) Reignited Soccer Player: Soccer has been a passion of mine since I was a kid. However, my actual playing of the sport has dwindled over the years. I am grateful to my host brother Anthony in Lima for bringing his gringo brother to the adult matches on Friday nights. Soccer has also helped me integrate in Matacoto, and will continue to serve as a language without words.

4.) Rock Climber: My passion for rock climbing has done nothing but grow over the past 3 years. I consider it a crucial part of my identity. Unfortunately, I have not been able to climb very much while I’ve been here. Since I can’t climb I’ve been training. I was stoked to get one day at a gym in Lima and one day outside in Huaraz. I even found a crag near where I live in Lima and will be climbing there next weekend. Rock climbing, like soccer, has allowed me to meet new people and communicate through a common passion to touch rocks.

5.) Spanish Speaker: My Spanish grows everyday. I had a rough patch with my language acquisition during site exploration, but I am feeling confident again. I feel comfortable expressing myself (in some topics more than others), exploring by myself, and talking with youth. Despite my confidence with my growing Spanish skills, I remain humble. I know that to know is to know nothing at all. I prefer to listen and observe and will continue to do so more than speak. After all I have two ears and one mouth.


I feel loved today. Grateful for this experience. Excited for the future.

About Me

When I think about trying to describe myself to other people, I feel as if making a list would be the easiest option. Then again, subsuming my entirety into a single list is kind of sad. However, for the purposes of this blog, I am going to do it anyway.

If you feel as if this list cannot possibly do me justice (I hope?!) then feel free to reach out and get to know me better. Alright, here it goes:

1.) Currently living in the heartland of Illinois, surrounded by soy beans and corn fields.

2.) Originally from Pasadena, CA. However my heart resides in Colorado (sorry mom).

3.) Emphatically in love with skiing, soccer, rock climbing, cycling and most other high-speed, dangerous activities.

4.) Academically interested in: environmental sociology, food, agriculture, Peru, biopolitics, risk sociology, indigeneity….the list goes on.

5.) Vegan, except for pizza.

6.) Word play and poetry are intellectual hobbies of mine and part of the inspiration behind this blog.

7.) Practicer of slow flow, yin style, restorative yoga and meditation.

8.) My next adventure will be as a Youth Development Facilitator for Peace Corps, Peru. Departure is set for August 15th, 2017.

9.) YMCA ‘lifer’ and youth programming guru.

10.) Grateful son of Big Ted and Suzanne.; if you don’t know them, get to know them. Also little brother to Danielle, even though I’m bigger.