So after not writing for way too long, I’m back! A lot of stuff has happened since the last post, but the most significant is moving in to my own house. I originally wanted to make this interactive with my blog community (that’s I’m calling it the COMMUNITY) by taking pictures of several housing options and have you guys vote for the favorite. I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work very well as I found exactly two living options here in Pespire and, honestly, I was going to live in the place I wanted no matter what the vote was. The first option I looked at was this pink house (a common color here) that was only a block from my host-stay house. It had everything I needed: decent living space, a kitchen, bathroom area that wasn’t a latrine (a big deal), and even a backyard. Also, the landlords were the neighbors of my host family and I already had a relationship with them. Additionally, the place was 1,000 Lempiras under my rent limit and a former Swiss volunteer lived here before me, so Peace Corps would really love it. After the tour, I was ready to jump on it, but in the back of my mind I also remembered my host-grandma talking about this place with A/C. The prospect of having air conditioning was just too much not to have a look at the place. So I relayed my wish to the landlords that I wanted to see some other places first to which they replied, “That’s fine, but there is a Cuban looking at the place so we need to know soon.” I realized later that this was probably just a negotiating tactic as I’ve never seen or heard of a Cuban in Pespire. I imagined this cigar toting, Panama hat wearing cubano swooping in and outbidding me. I said I’d let them know in a week. After talking to the host family, they reiterated, “Just wait till you see this place, very safe and nice.” So I finally was able to see it four days later and I realized why they said it was so safe. It was like a prison. I stepped out the back door and in my face was huge, concrete wall with spools of razor wire on the top. I’m sure Alcatraz is safe from invasion too, but that doesn’t mean I want to live there. Also, it didn’t even have A/C, the main selling point. I don’t know how that fact got lost in translation. There also weren’t any neighbors, which only added to the feeling of isolation. In the end, despite the wishes of the host fam, I chose option one.
After purchasing a bed, I moved into a completely empty apartment on July 18. Even though I spent five months with some great home-stay families, moving out and being independent again feels incredible. No longer do I have to wolf down things that I previously thought were inedible or worry about committing a cultural faux pas. FREEDOM! With that being said, I now face another daunting challenge, cooking for myself. My culinary ability rivals my musical abilities, in that there is no ability. My only knowledge of cooking comes from watching Top Chef and Anthony Bourdain. Unfortunately, knowing that it’s essential to give the proper amount of rest to a lamb chop or the difference between foie gras and coq au vin is pretty useless if you don’t know the basic steps. Further complicating things is the lack of a Supercenter and the possession of only one skillet. The first night I tried to cook my beans, eggs and hot dog more or less at the same time. I realized this was a disaster as soon as I got started and, of course, ended up with a sloshy dinner from hell. More practice has yielded some better results and the purchase of a toaster oven has expanded my options. However, I’m starting to tire of eggs, beans, and grilled cheese sandwiches. I have this bag of rice, but don’t know the best way to cook it. Looking online is futile, as every recipe gets crazy with the amount of stuff they put in it. “No Google, I don’t want a recipe for Thai, pineapple, utterly delectable rice pilaf, just fried rice!” So if anyone has some simple recipes that don’t use many ingredients, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to be able to cook some pasta soon, but I need a pot, which has been surprisingly difficult to find. I have to give a shout out to my Parents and Grandparents for helping me be able to purchase some furniture for the new place. I don’t think the Peace Corps has raised the living allowance in twenty 20 years so it was a much needed help. Thanks guys!
Here are some pics of the new pad. It takes forever to upload pictures so I was only able to put three on here.