I’m about to leave for Colombia for six weeks and, in an effort to document the experience (and let my relatives know I’m alive and not taken captive or eaten by an Amazonian monster) I’ll try to post here regularly. I say try and not I will because I’m notorious for only posting once every three or four months. I pinky promise that I’m going to try and be better about that, but I’ve done that in the past and it doesn’t work too well. I’d rely on my blog-related pinky promises about as much as most of you rely on Congress to do something substantial.
So basically don’t rely on my blog-related pinky promises.
(My real-life pinky promises are more substantial. Pinky promise!)
In this post, I’ll try to answer the primary questions: Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why.
Who: me, of course! In case you’re reading this and don’t know me, here’s what I look like.
This is fondly known as “Euro-Angst Kristina.” Courtesy of my friend Sebastian Feculak. Out of “Please hire me this is my headshot,” “Best friend picture that’s my profile for everything,” “euro-angst Kristina,” and “Kristina gracefully pulls eyelash out of eye with awkward 15-chin face,” this one won.
What: I’ll be working through an organization called AIESEC with a literacy camp in Ibague called Crossing Borders. Because I love literacy, I love teaching, and hell if I don’t cross a few borders doing that.
When: I leave tonight, and I’ll be back on July 22.
Where: I’m flying into Bogota, spending a day with my friend Sebastian Valencia, and then taking a bus to Ibague.
How: I’m paying for this myself through scholarship money and my own income. My mom once said I spend too much on books and food, and my dad responded, “At least she’s spending it feeding her body and mind.” I tend to spend all of my money on friends/family, food, books, and travel, so I’d amend that statement to say that I spend it on my heart, my body, my mind, and my soul. (Okay so maybe I spent a bit on jumpsuits, but they’re just SO comfortable AND you don’t have to wear underwear! Win-win for days).
Why: I’ve known since last year that I wanted an extended international experience. Since then, I tried a lot of things and none of them worked. For the longest time, my best friend and I were going to spend a few months in Europe, but that proved to be wildly impossible and expensive and we had the minor issue of needing to transport a puppy. That plan kind of never really got off the ground. (Though I would have loved nothing more than spending three months traipsing Europe with my best friend).
I then applied for an internship in Brussels for an international higher-education non-profit, and that was going superbly until I interviewed with them while in Brussels and was told, “we don’t work in the summer, but we’d love to have you in the school year!” Ahem. It’s the school year. That plan went out with a bang larger than Fred and George Weasley’s exit from Umbridge in Book 5.
I then was going to do a graduate research program with George Mason University in Indonesia, until I had an interview with them in early May and found out that the program cost 5000, I had to fund my own air travel (2000-ish), not to mention affiliated costs such as travel insurance, a culturally suitable wardrobe, immunizations, and various other costs (let’s chalk that up to 3000). I couldn’t justify spending 10,000 on a month-long research program. So that plan bit the dust in a swifter fashion than Jane Eyre’s bestie Helen Burns.
So I found myself in May with no prospect of international travel, and much less of any internship or summer job at all. So I re-connected with AIESEC, found this program with Colombia, scrambled for a few weeks to work out logistics, and confirmed everything like yesterday.
Fun Facts: I don’t speak any Spanish, and they don’t speak Russian in Colombia. Luckily I took three years of Latin and so have a basic grasp of word roots, but I’m not going to pretend for an instant that being able to translate Catullus is going to help me order an empanada.
Honestly, though, when I come back I hope to have at least a functional use of Spanish, because then I’ll have a functional use of Spanish, a not-fluent-but-passably-conversational use of Russian, fluency in English, and I’m learning Arabic next semester. (That last sentence was an unabashed advertisement to all potential employee-seekers out there! “Please hire me this is my headshot” picture upon request).
Anyway, I’m super duper ally-ooper excited. But I won’t ostensibly display that so just trust me.
Until tomorrow when I have a seven hour layover in Dallas,