Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I have to say that I am almost jumping out of my chair in excitement, I leave for Costa Rica Friday!! I have to put this in here for all those people out there who have had bad experiences with travel/volunteer organizations, Cross-Cultural Solutions is truly amazing! The people that I have worked with (Whitney, Lauren!) have made me feel so safe and have really taken this trip to the nth degree for me, I have enjoyed just planning it! I remember going on the People to People Europe program to England and France and although PTP is a wonderful program, they looked at me as a liability issue and certainly not as an intelligent youth. I went with 20 of my peers and quite frankly felt like herded sheep getting a history lesson. So coming from PTP to Cross Cultural Solutions is like a 360.
I got my placement for when I'm in Cartago, first i'm working in a nursing home for the elderly, I'm really excited about hearing about their lives if they can tell them and if i can brush up on my Spanish! Then I'm off to a Special Education School, one of the largest on Costa Rica i hear. I can't wait to compare the different programs that i will be able to see there and bringing it back to America. I am also facinated in how the disabled are treated and what services are available in Costa Rica.
I have been reading the CCS manual and they talk a great deal about the psychological impact of volunteering abroad, there were 4 stages; flight, dependency, fight and adaption. I do hope i get to adaption rather quickly!! I am probably most worried about how well i'll adapt to the daily life and routine. But again CCS has set up exactly what i have needed, like shower chairs, bars, ramps etc. it's so lovely!!
I just wanted to thank all my friends and family, if you ever read this, for the financial and emotional support, I love you all and remember give my poor Mum lots of hugs next time you see her (she'll be home with Emma, alone!!) :-P

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

OK, this is the last time I change my destination, I promise! I am now going to Costa Rica, due to the avian flu in Asia and the never ending inaccessability I decided the warm and tropical coasts of Central America will suit me fine. It will be the same volunteer program and I will still be able to stay for three months. I leave in three weeks on Feb. 4th so I'm running, more wheeling, around getting vaccinations and anything that I think I can't live without. My lovely mother is being so supportive and offered to pay for half of the trip for my graduation present, though I do want to be able to pay for it fully. I have only three days to be a totally twitty high schooler, then I am officially a college student and supposedly equiped with all the neccessary skills to make it on my own, (yeah).
I'm going to have to get used to driving my other chair since it's back wheel drive, seriously, it's like driving a stick shift and then going to automatic, it can be dangerous especially for those around me!
My arm is sore from my Tetnus shot, supposedly I only have to get Malaria if I go to the rural areas so thankfully I was spared that one. Also, for anyone going there, they say you need typhoid and yellow fever but really it's not neccessary, according to my doctor.
Well, don't hold me to anything until I'm on the plane, then you'll really know what country I'm going to!