Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Week 1 in St. Lucia

Hey All, Good Day,

St. Lucia is my new home. I have moved in with a homestay just outside of the capitol of St. Lucia, (which is Castries). This will be my new home for seven weeks. Afterwards, I will be going into an apartment or a house. There are so many things that are different and yet, so many things that are the same here. Yes, Yes, I do have occasional internet access. I will also be getting a phone next week sometime, although it will cost $1 US or more per minute to talk internationally. It is mainly so that I can communicate with other PCVs on my island and the other islands and the PC staff. So communication is much better than I thought it would be at least. I was preparing for the worst. I do have pictures of you all with me to remind me of you guys so do not worry that I am forgetting Seattle.

Well lets start with PPST (Pre-Pre-Service Training) which took place in St. Lucia. Miami was a blast and we all got to know each other a little bit during a general overview of what we decided to get ourselves into. The center where PPST took place was a nice little welcome to life in St. Lucia. Two showers for eight people and bugs, bugs, bugs. I had an amazing view to wake up to (I took pics) everyday and the heat was just one more thing that I had to get used to. (I think my body actually enjoys the heat now).

We got the pleasure of meeting the US Ambassador for the EC. She actually looks similar to Brittany's mom, if any of you know her. She is a nice woman and very well-spoken. Afterwards, on the last night, we managed to find the only bar in the village and we all got a few Pitons (the St. Lucian beer- yummy) and danced and talked a little. It was a nice little going away goodbye.

Then we split off into our islands and villages and met our new families. They are incredibly nice and very welcoming. I am their seventh volunteer to date, so they have just a little experience. They are independent and yet very family oriented at the same time. (just like at home).

I am becoming accostumed to the food and the lifestyle. The fruit is delicious!!!! We grow mangoes, popos (papayas), oranges (which are green and seedless), and some others in the backyard of the house. I have five dogs : flash, shaggy (yes, looks like the shaggy dog), BoBo (the biggest and oh so cute), Rusty, and boogie (my favorite by far for it's HUGE ears and skinny little body. They treat them well (which their culture is a little different in dog etiquette--- they feed them table scraps and say hello but are not allowed in the house, nor affectionately adorned like in the States).

We are given a lot of information at the PST (pre-service training). I just went to open my first bank account here this morning. My host sister came with me, as I am still trying to figure out the bus systems here. They are much more complicated than in the States. They are not actually busses, but minivans. They are not clearly marked and they come very often. Food and stuff is rather expensive here but you can manage to live rather cheaply, which I am going to have to do off of my salary. I want to get a dog or a cat when I move but I do not know if I am going to have the appropriate funding for it.

The other volunteers in St. Lucia are wonderful! A few of them are such a crack-up I just laugh when I see them. :) I do have a set of adopted parents here (also volunteers), so already I have a family. Don't worry mom and dad they haven't replaced you.

They think because I have curly hair that it is "tangled", which with the heat it kinda is...but man, they have not seen me with my curly hair combed out!!! I look terrible with that--- like a big afro. (some of you already know!).

We went to the cinemas on Sunday night (my host sister and brother and I) and it was huge! We saw traitor, it was pretty good. They have a lot of developed areas here, but at the same time a lot of undeveloped areas as well. You see a lot of developed areas with undeveloped spotches and the vice versa. I cannot wait to start working at my internships and begin shadowing other volunteers and community members! I am anxious to get to work... Though I can't complain about the slower lifestyle here.

As much as I love hearing from you guys from the US it is difficult... It's harder to hear about things from back home and realize that I have no control nor emphasis on it. I miss ya guys, but I also am so intrigued by St. Lucia!!! I met a guy on the plane that taught me a lot of the things that I am seeing right now. Like Green Fig salad, and bread fruit pudding (two traditional dishes here in St. Lucia). Also, the creole dancing and some Patois language... which I still have a lot to learn because I cannot understand half of what they are saying in the city. I am sweating all over this keyboard ha ha... thought I would tell you that!

I have so much to say but it feels like I have already said a lot through emails and from now on I might have to only write one and send it to multiples.... I miss you and love you all!
Please keep in touch and feel free to send me letters (which take about 3 weeks) and packages...I would love to get stuff in the mail! I will let you know when I get a headset to talk to people online for free and hopefully some of you have a webcam so I can see you! Good day for now... Hope all is well.

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