Friday, September 10, 2010

Life on the rollercoaster

What to report of late? It's interesting, but in these past two weeks since my vacation I am really getting back into the “life here is so worthwhile” and I dare say, on occasion, “I love it here!” frame of mind, which is great. It is so interesting to note my own mood swings and the “rollercoaster” of emotion as my good friend from my training town commented on her blog. It is fascinating to me how we humans are able to adapt ourselves to different situations, and the processes we go through during that adaptation - how different my feelings can be from week to week and day to day.

Things are looking up primarily for the fact that the new environmental educator has started in my office, and coincidentally a whole pile of potential work and collaborations have started showing up. My counterpart also recently suggested monthly planning meetings - which I have mentioned a few times and have been fantasizing about for months - and I am really psyched. In this month's planning meeting we already planned October's planning meeting. I am sure it will actually happen, too, +/-7 days from its scheduled date. Amazing! My philosophy in these past nearly six months has been that for sustainability's sake there is only so much you can exert yourself if local counterparts don't take initiative. So when they do, it is a real eureka moment! It just requires a lot of patience... perhaps 24 months of patience...

In the months before summer vacation sets in we're primarily doing a survey on local opinions about tourism, as well as some activities with local schools and young people, including promoting the park and recreation center as a good location for the sixth-graders' farewell party. I feel good about this work. It's important in my view to make the community aspect of “community tourism” actually happen, and not leave it as a half-baked idea. (Of which there are unfortunately many in my municipality and in my office, specifically.) We also are starting a project with local Mayan priests to name and “label” the 20-something altars in the protected areas of the muni with wood signs, assuming the priests give it the OK. I am thinking this collaboration could lead to some cool projects later on, too. Not to mention everything else we'd like to do in November and December...

So at this point we have a ton of work to do and it constantly feels like herding cats. Or at times, juggling them. Efficiency is a whole other concept here and keeping track of all the loose ends requires a lot of organization and patience. I am kind of hoping I don't adapt too much – could make reverse-adaptation to the US work-world a real shock!

A recent downturn of events is that Mishi has gone on the lamb, presumably in hunt of a nice sexy lady friend, or several nice sexy lady friends. He took off three days ago, disappointingly the day before I got a package of toys and catnip for him from my parents. (Heaven help my future children from the spoiling they are going to get!) The package is a whole other cultural commentary for another day...

The downturn is mostly because he had been acting out-of-character and aggressive lately, and gave me a good bite or two in the last two weeks. Per standard protocol I had been keeping an eye on him since the last bite to be sure the aggression was behavioral and not medical (rabies, for instance) – but since he took off, you can't say for sure. So, rabies prophylaxis it is; I get the final shot on Monday. I really doubt he had rabies, but nevertheless, the idea scares the hell out of me, so I called in. The Peace Corps Medical Officer was really understanding on the phone, although clearly not too excited I'd adopted a quasi-feral street cat. Fair enough.

But you had to know him. What a great cat. I hope he comes home.

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