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Peace Corps again!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I've been a way from SP for a while. My life has been in a whirl since April when I accepted a position with Peace Corps Response.

Since May, I've quit my job, moved out of my condo and moved to another country.

This is my second spin with Peace Corps. I served in Moldova from 1995-97. I was an English Teacher and Teacher Trainer.

I now serve with Peace Corps Response, which are shorter term assignments for people with specialized skills. I am now working for the the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Education in Nicoya, Guanacaste (near the Pacific coast). I'll be here 11 more months.

A big reason for moving here was to find some balance in an extremely stressed out life. I knew my workaholic ways were contributing greatly to my weight problem back in the US.

Now that I've been at site a month, I've been able to make some good adjustments in my lifestyle:

Work hours here are SANE. People work hard for sure but there is time built into the day for lunch and people actually sit down and eat (and chat and enjoy). Some days I can even take a short siesta (rest or nap). People also go home at their end time. My office closes at 3 and we have to leave so security can close up.

People walk everywhere. Even people who have cars would not think to take it to run a quick errand. You go to the bank, the store, the pharmacy, everywhere on foot. I live close to my job and walk there too. People also walk to socialize and see their neighbors.

It's so dang hot that I don't want to eat. Daily temps hover between 85 here (and this is winter time). I will think I'm hungry but when I sit down to eat, a heavy meal is never appealing. The big meal is midday and at night we just eat a piece of fruit or have some toast.

Abundance of fresh fruit and veggies. My chocolate habit is history (helps that chocolate is really expensive here). Now I want watermelon or pineapple or bananas or carambola. If I have a sweet craving, I get a fresh fruit shake with no sugar (mango, strawberry, pineapple being my favorite).

Water is essential. Since it's so hot, I have to push water. Grant it, I sweat a lot too. I drink gallons a day I swear! My skin is also loving this warmer, moister weather. Nicoya is also famous for minerals in its water that are supposed to be super healthy. If my skin, nails and hair are any indicator, there IS something in that water.

So many beautiful places to see. I live 30-40 minutes from the beach so it's a quick day trip. I love to walk on the shore and before I know it, I've walked an hour. Same goes for the nearby forests and reserves. There are volcanos to climb, rain forests to hike. So much to see and do.

I spoke to the Peace Corps doctor and he said most volunteers in this part of the country lose weight with the heat and eating changes. I lost 14 pounds my first month at site which startled me. I knew I had been doing well but.... He just said to be sure that I didn't lose that much every month. But we put together a plan and I am determined to get off the last forty pounds that I have been carrying. It really is time to change everything.

Samara Beach, not far from my house.
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