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July 17, 2011

I will dedicate this blog to my parents, since they have actually been reading them, and have been caring enough to call me uneducated and a slacker for my poor spelling and grammar and lack of a post last week. So there is my first shout out. There is one week left of the internship, but I can’t say I’m too phased. Maybe because I’ll be here until December, or maybe I’ve gotten used to the brevity of things like this. It is a peculiar thing being abroad and even more so volunteering abroad. People seem to teeter between blind belief in their cause or cynicism and self-loathing. I am not ashamed to admit I’ve leaned toward the later, and I doubt that comes as a surprise to anyone who knows me. I will say this last week I have felt fairly comfortable in the part I seem to play here (we’ll see how long it lasts). I feel as though I’ve found a line where I don’t have to compromise myself to fit in, or dodge certain topics. The period of the apologetic me is over for now and while I am not looking for arguments, I also don’t avoid them either. This isn’t necessarily new, since I’ve been able to be honest with my Nicaraguan family since my Spanish has been good enough to hold a conversation. Bridget and I had discussed the oddness of being from the States and coming here. In the U.S. you are encouraged to be yourself, to speak your mind respectfully, and not to worry about what other people think but as soon as you go to other countries there is an expectation for conformity. Both sides don’t really work out in my mind. Yes, I think I should eat the food here and learn about the country and politics respectfully but there is no way I am going to use the Spanish equivalent of the word faggot to describe a gay man. No compromise, no apologies. Sorry that I’m not sorry as Elena says. Took me long enough I suppose. It is difficult to come back to yourself in some ways, because to be here is to try and help others, so you are thinking about them; then you are talking with friends in similar situations, other interns, friends halfway around the world doing the same thing in a different second language, so you are comparing thoughts and experiences (sadly some have perfected this into a weird competition). This process makes coming to terms with things even more difficult because you are stuck between the expectations of two nationalities, your social group, upbringing, etc. and everything is super big and overwhelming all the time (only dealing in absolutes). End blog post with your favorite inspirational/insightful quote. Mine is from a my friend C Cop after we got back from our respective countries and were celebrating the eve of 2011, it is paraphrased to be more dramatic.
“Nothing will ever, could ever, be enough, and that even then, the little you do is more than will ever be received, in any number of lifetimes, by the ones you never meet”
or for the sports fan, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Whatever works for you.

Ben

Last shout out goes to CPS, PGL, and Jim Heston for being awesome and supportive

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