Sunday, April 17, 2011
Stuff to Bring to Peace Corps
Right around this time last year I was freaking out trying to gather everything I needed to move to Nicaragua for 27 months. No, who am I kidding? I started packing at around 8pm the night before I had to catch a 7am flight. BUT I imagine that normal people WOULD be freaking out. Sure, Peace Corps Nicaragua sent me a list of things I should bring – underpants, flashlight, deck of cards etc. It reads kinda like a list of what to take to summer camp. But this particular summer camp lasts two years and three months. In addition, I recently found out that a dear friend of mine will be arriving in Nicaragua to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer next month, so this list started as an email to her and I thought that it might be helpful to others as well.
•Exercise stuff! – You’re going to be here for two years, there are no gyms, you’re eating rice and beans and everything is fried. That means that boys lose weight and girls gain weight (usually). So, bring your yoga mat! You can use it for tons of things (including a bed) and I’m sooo happy to have mine. Also, books or dvds of workouts are nice, as well as a good pair running shoes.
•Tea – It’s impossible to get good tea here so it has to be imported.
•Spices – Sure, you can get normal seasonings but if you like curry, or turmeric, or that sort of thing you should BYO.
•Seeds – to plant your own herb gardens. I have sweet basil, lemon basil, mint, and cilantro growing.
•Your favorite jeans – I know, the PC list says to bring business casual and that jeans are not acceptable. But guess what? They are! I wear jeans almost every day as does every other professional in my community. Basically, bring clothes that you like.
•Dress-Up Clothes – Um, Alicia, we’re going dancing. So bring something cute. I can lend you something if you want. Also, you can buy stuff down here. But probably bring your favorite high heels.
•Photos – Of you, of your family, of your house. Everyone wants to know where you come from and what you’re about!
•Laptop – I use it all the time. There are cyber cafes everywhere but most of them don’t have skype and you can’t download onto them. Also, it’s nice to be able to watch movies and listen to music at home.
•Ipod – I ride the bus A LOT and I can only listen to so many hours of reggaeton and cumbia. Also, when you’re feeling down or lonely it’s nice to be able to listen to music.
•Anything else that you need to be comfortable! – No one will judge you if you bring a blow dryer for your hair, for example. If you want it, or plan on wanting it in the next 27 months then bring it!
I’m sure there are things that I’ve forgotten and things that you’ll only miss once you get down here, but this is a short list of things that I’m really glad I brought or had to have sent to me. Also, if anyone else out there has questions on what to bring, or anything else for that matter, feel free to email me! Also, this is a photo of my neighbor pig. Don’t grow too attached, he’ll be eaten soon.