Juan Antonio Saldivar, 6.2.08 - Tonight we went to a quinceanera for a younger cousin and had a blast! My host brother, henceforth known as Junior, is super ridiculous with the audio/visual and DJ action, so he was getting the party started with some sick, off-the-chain 80's-early 90's mix - WITH THE VIDEOS - and played so many classics that reminded me of my childhood. INXS, Tears for Fears, Milli Vanili, Air Supply and Kool & the Gang, just to name a few. (Hey Nia - I think the only thing missing was Duran Duran...lol). Of course they also played some of my favorite Latin track such as Aventura, Dom Omar, Daddy Yankee, and an extensive mix of cumbia songs (not as much of a fan but of course I still danced). I also picked up some new best friends - other younger family members, one of whom I think has a crush on me (I know, awwww...lol) - all of whom were so much fun. We left there after 12 and as if that wasn't enough (since I had class the next day), we had so many people in my host sister's Kia that we got stuck in a ditch so we all had to get out of the car so she could drive it out. Naturally, she would have had to almost run over her mother and I but we got out of the way in time. Absolutely hilarious.
The next day, aside from being half asleep for the afternoon portion of class, we went into Guarambare because the Peace Corps COuntry Director (PCD) was coming to talk with us. It was the first time in a few days since we had seen our Peace Corps (PC) friends that live in the town, so it was like a little family reunion, plenty of hugs to go around. THe PCD said some great things about what to expect from our PC experience, making the most out of it, and reiterating the the PC staff role in terms of support, etc. He urged us to envision our own motivational "movie" of our service that led us to join PC, and also shared his experience. I thought about my movie, which included complete immersion in another culture, building my professional capabilities in the field of development, as well as my leadership and project management skills, not to mention make myself more independent. What most resonated was when he said that leaders are those who take the tools they're given and find opportunities. This is definitely a major part of my "movie" and experience - to show people how to create opportunities to improve their communities in the long term and work with them to optimize their results. For that reason I have no other choice but to continue along the path I've laid out. Amazing.