My Bolivia blog post(s)

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of self-sustainability and use of natural resources, indigenous communities, or simply your comfort zone, then Bolivia should be at the top of your list when looking to study abroad. My experience in Bolivia was humbling, rich, and overall the most invaluable travel experience thus far. 

What I enjoyed learning about most was their wealth of knowledge in and use of the nature environment. The Tacana communities we visited are extremely remote (we traveled on dirt paths and rivers to most communities). As such,it takes a great effort to accomplish just about anything, and I found a lot of their techniques/methods to be extremely clever. Some examples include, use of various tree species for specific parts of the housing structure (i.e. mahogany, palm) and for cooking (i.e. palm leaves, bamboo) as well as medicinal use.

Plants are used medicinally most often as medical attention from a healthcare professional can be a rarity. For example, we stayed in an indigenous community where a doctor would only visit twice a year. As such, medicinal plant use is extremely common and can be used to treat a variety of conditions from an upset stomach to a broken bone. There are other communities along the Beni River that receive medical care from professionals more frequently. We had the opportunity to meet a small group of medical professionals who provide services to remote communities along the river; however, they face many challenges. One challenge is lack of funding, which has resulted not only in having to charge community members for services, but it has also made it extremely difficult for providers to obtain adequate medicine and afford traveling costs. Another challenge includes the physical strain that care providers endure during their travels. For example, not only do they haul medical supplies from the shore to the communities, but for more remote areas, they have had to haul 160 lb. cement water filters into communities as a means of providing a long-lasting clean water source. A final challenge that these health care providers face is lack of medication compliance from community members. They explained to us how health literacy greatly impacts medication compliance since every community has a different dialect. As a result of misunderstanding, medications tend to get misplaced, taken incorrectly, or in the hands of small children. These are only some challenges faced when providing medical care to Tanaca communities along the Beni River.

What stood out most was the warmth and compassion of the Tacana people. I find it difficult to put into words the hospitality and graciousness that community members radiated. They were always willing to share their indigenous knowledge as well as do anything in their power to ensure our comfort and safety. 

As I left Bolivia, I felt full. Full of compassion, full of knowledge, full of humility, full of resilience, full of perspective, and full of incrediblefood. 

Youtube: https://youtu.be/YLF3AktGQMo

Full post: http://globalmaryland.umd.edu/node/28815/?width=600&height=600&fbclid=IwAR1htsiPheq2flnDXhgclcCtAiEl-2SHgJv24ngXIXNjCwt4u4ggjq9UqD4

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The reality

Pretty much every single thing is great right now. A new healthy home, preparing for my study abroad, and catching up with lots of friends. I’ve started yoga again, I’m getting acupuncture for my shoulder… It has been a truly wholesome month.

However, the wrath of being a student has hit, in the sense that all monetary resources have been depleted. I have nothing. Quite literally nothing. This is the worst off I have been, period. I’m 28, a full-time student, living alone, and there’s no real way I can support myself. I am on my own, a team of one, and the reality is I can’t do it. I own it. This is incredibly anxiety inducing to the point that I can barely function. I feel completely out of control and like I’m drowning.

No graduate student lives alone on a stipend, but I couldn’t imagine continued transience or getting screwed by another roommate. The intent was to prioritize my mental state, functionality, etc. But now this is destroying mental state, so.

But you know what could be worse? Breaking both of my arms.

Wild side story: I was going to watch an acquaintances dogs before my trip as a means to fund my trip expenses. In short, I went over to meet her dogs, we went to walk them and the owner was pulled down backwards by her daughters dog (that she was watching), and broke both of her arms…like, in front of me. That turned out to be a v long day and I think I have some residual ptsd. Needless to say, she is no longer traveling.

I can’t imagine, honestly – not being able to use both of my arms?

Sheesh.

Life, right?

 

Re-do pls

Remember that one time I wrote a post called “welcome to MY crib”?

Yeah, that was a fucking joke. I’m moving in 7 days.

Long story short, I waited around in hell, living between 2 shit-ass slum-lord apartments for about 5 weeks. Prior to that, I slept at my neighbors, and prior to that, I slept in my apt, mostly in the living room, and watched as my wall continued to deteriorate.

I have had no peace of mind for…70 days. Barely trending above water. I did it though. When you have no other choice, you just do it. Unfazed. Numb. Defeated is also an accurate word.

Three days ago, I was given an ultimatum by the management of Slumlord Inc. Hilarious, right? You’re giving ME an ultimatum? Anyway, I either had to move apts permanently and pay the SAME amount of money for a SMALLER apt, pay MORE money for a different outdated apt on their other property, OR I could GTFO in 12 days.

Oh, and I had 3 days to decide.

So you’re telling me I waited around for how long for you to blindside me with an ultimatum? WHY AM I ALWAYS BEING BLINDSIDED?

I wonder what life would be like if I wasn’t facing every single obstacle on my own.

I’ll probably never know.

Anyway, team of one found ANOTHER apt. Let me tell you, it is beautiful. Found it yesterday. Deposit went down today. Every emotion I held in for the last 70 days poured out. I called my mom right after I viewed it. I sobbed because I was so happy and relieved. She kept asking “what’s wrong?” and I just kept saying how relieved I was. This was it. Through my sob I told her how it had a washer and dryer, that every appliance was shining, central air, maintenance who is friendly and receptive. They paint the hallways and replace its carpeting, which honestly blew my freaking mind considering the building in which I am squatting in right now. I didn’t know what I had been missing. I lived like shit in a place that was literally harming every aspect of my health, and they could not have cared less. On a human decency level, that hurt.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to this next step. It is hard to trust or to get too excited, but I hope this experience proves me otherwise. I cannot fathom the fact that I’m moving a 16th time, but I have an incredible pack of friends and family coming to help. That says enough. That’s all that really matters in the end. I’m lucky, too, not just a bad luck magnet.

So, wish me luck! Yeah, on the move, but also in court. That happens July 2nd.

Fucking me over is the last thing they’ll ever do. 💋

It’s time to be 28

I won’t lie, that title was really hard to type.

28 may not seem old to some people, but hell, it’s the oldest I’ve ever been. I haven’t allowed myself much time to think about it, and it’s not exactly something I am wanting to celebrate.

When people see me, I’m sure a lot of them see adventure. I do, too; however, I also see a lot of wasted time. I was directionless for quite sometime. I was in relationships I shouldn’t have been in. I expended a lot of time and mental resources on things that would inevitably fail me. I had too much hope in people who would ultimately let me down.

This is the first time in…for as long as I can remember…that I feel like I’m back in control. That the world is actually my oyster. That I can do anything and be anything I want to. It’s invigorating and scary.

I’m out here on my own, but I can do this. I’m wiser now.

I wish this realization didn’t come so late, but I’m thankful it came at all.

Here’s to 28. It’s time to erase the last ten years and ensure the next ten are exactly what I’ve needed all along,

 

welcome to MY crib

[[[Life Event]]]

She finally lives alone.

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I now have a complete understanding of when people say that you have to experience living by yourself. I am experiencing the phenomenon and it is beyond ideal.

This was my 15th move since my parents divorce, and I have been on the run every 6-9 months since. This transience was fun for a while, especially in the mid-west. But at 27, it officially got old. Life had changed so much, as it always does, and I didn’t know where ‘home’ was or what it was supposed to feel like. I wasn’t feeling that sense of comfort I had known when I was young. However, I’m now beginning  to feel it again. I really get to make this my own. I have an opportunity to make this a place of comfort, peace and contentment. This was long overdue, but I’m finally feeling ‘at home’.

This freaking night

6 hours ago I was about to have a mental breakdown. In fact, I may have had a small one. Right now, though? Right now I am B E A M I N G .
Let’s start from the top because it’s important to keep in mind my initial mental state. This week began like a steaming pile of ____.
Aside from my deteriorating not-so-romantic relationship, the perpetual grief in my family (as a result of GUN violence), the intense 12 credit philosophical centric semester (barf), & that my freaking grandma won’t answer the phone (ugh!!), I have been informed that…dun dun dun…

D  R  U  M  R  O  L  L            P  L  E  A  S  E

Roommate #2 is rollin’ OUT.
Can you believe it? I can’t. I can’t believe I’m typing it either. I mean, seriously, I thought I was done with all of this. All I’ve wanted since moving back is stability – in any aspect of my life. About to throw in the towel here.
& let me tell you, the aftermath has been nothing less than dramatic.
In short, yesterday, I was informed of the possibly of it having to happen because of tuition dilemmas. Today I find out that they have a new place to live. Yes, you heard correctly. Best part? They tried to throw the reasoning on me. Nice try, grl.
Despite understanding, there has been hostility spewed at me, like I’m somehow an integral piece of this massive mid-semester inconvenience. Like I have nothing better to do than readjust. Yet again, my apt was online before I even knew a thing.
Keep Kait in the Dark 101. Well, you got an A.
Y’all, I’m done with roommates. Hear me? DONE.
ANYWAYS – it’s been less than ideal, especially on my mental state, and I guess the excessive, I mean super excessive, chest pains aren’t a great sign either.
*insert mental breakdown*

BUT WAIT!

So tonight after my Qualitative Research blah blah class (I literally have no idea what’s going on) I decided that I’m going to D.C. to see Conor play music because 1. it’s my favorite thing ever/therapy, and 2. I know that Joanne and Bill will def be there. #famsupport. Then Marianna decides to join me, aka I forced her to buy a ticket. THEN Jenna and Kyle decide to come. Before I know it, I’m surrounded by SO. MUCH. LOVE. I mean, I was literally screaming because my heart was so full. It was the fullest hour and a half I have had in so long. I know I’m just gushing over here but it’s so important for me to remember that a lot of the times it’s the little things, the quick things, the spur of the moment things, that provide the most joy/value/happiness.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, and I honestly don’t want to know. But as for tonight, I’m set. I’m so lucky to have beautiful humans in my life.

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2019

Just a quick reflection before the clock strikes twelve.

December 31, 2017

I was in Longmont, Colorado. I didn’t have a whole lot going on, but a few days ago I had an informal interview with the University of Colorado, Boulder for a research assistant position. Within 48 hours I would find out that the job was mine and my start date was mid-January. This job was the resume boost I had been waiting for before I committed to applying to Graduate School. So instead of raging, I sat next to the fireplace and started writing my first personal statement. Actually, I had a completed draft by ~1:30am.

December 31, 2018

One semester of Graduate School is completed! A lot of ass was kicked to get here. I had a LOAD of fun and adventure out in Colorado, and met many incredible people.  I am feeling very gracious and content. While the end of 2018 was unkind, I’m trying not to let that define my year. Here’s my recap! Cheers to doing the same shit next year!