I am reblogging this post to my three Tumblr pages to let all of my lovely followers know what is going on.This will be my last post until I return from a three month internship in Jamaica! If by some chance I have Internet and am able to post, I will only do so on Curvynfitcalifitblr. So if anyone is interested in updates in the next 90 days, drop by there! Thank you to all of the followers of this blog.
I leave Monday! I decided that I’d make this last post now so that I can focus on packing and relaxing (when I’m not hyperventilating) with my family.
I just want to say thank you to the fitblr community for keeping me focused on my fitness and health goals.
I plan to take the knowledge I have gained these last few months and continue on my path to a healthier me, both inside and out, while I am abroad. I can only hope that I make progress in the 90 days I am there and stay away from the unhealthy patterns I have broken.
I want to wish you all the best of luck with your own personal growth. I’ll be back before you know it with stories and of course, pictures!
“A soon come.”
- All I really know about Church attire is that you shouldn’t be vulgar (no boobs hanging out, not to short). I really don’t know if cheetah print is going a little crazy? But even if it is… it is still cute. The skater style (fitted at the top, loose at the bottom) is perfect for a curvy body type! I have finally found the right shape! Yes. Though at times it can be a little shorter then I would want it to be, just because my butt is so dang big! Oh well.
- If cheetah is a little out there for you, find the same style and fit dress with a different pattern and colors that would work day and night; not like pastels.
- I would probably wear a cardigan but choose one that is sheer and not like little-girl-cardiganish. I found this black one on Polyvore that is perfect, besides the color. Black is cute and would work for night, but I associate wearing black to Church with funerals. Not really the vibe I want to give off. I would look for a cream one and then wear a brown leather, skinny type of belt at the waist so you don’t drown in it.
- The disadvantage of light colored clothes is that you most likely will pack a lot of dark colors. When you go to wash your load and only have two white items, you’re screwed. I end of tossing them in with my dark jeans and get a huge (and sad!) mess. So maybe black after all? Or at least a happy color that will wash well with darks.
- Wear a clinique chubbystick in a pink and natural eye makeup. A chubbystick is soft and natural looking without being to much color and it feels amazing!
- Then, and this is my new obsession, a sweet and patterned headwrap from etsy! When the water from the tank runs out and you aren’t able to wash your hair, just do a fishtail braid to the side and throw this thing on. Easssssy peasy. Though the fishtail is anything but easy… I am just not coordinated! The shoes and earrings you can wear both nights, which is why it is in the middle.
- Then for night, a cropped studded jean vest, a gold choker, bronze makeup and a dark red lipstick.
- I bought a jean vest from Forever21 that was pretty cheap and has a cool lace back. The necklace I got on sale for $5.00 at Urban Outfitters. I am such a good bargain shopper! Guess you have to be when you don’t have a choice… but that is beside the point!
ASOS CURVE Jersey Top With Dip Back
This tunic would be perfect to pack for a long trip. You can wear it with a skirt, leggings, jeans and maybe even a dress since I’m so short… won’t know until I try it on though. It looks like thin enough material to pack in a travel backpack for a few months in Jamaica!
Hahaha! Couldn’t pass this up. My resume seems almost identical in paranoia as this one.
During my volunteer trip last February through April, I was living the high life with food three times, at set times, a day that was provided by my Host Family. My roommate and I would buy bread and peanut butter just so we had it in case we were starving at night (which was often) and would stash it in our dressers so we wouldn’t hurt our Host Grandma’s feelings.
This time around, I am going against my families wishes and am on my own to budget what little I have. This means less food and primarily peanut butter for 2 months. Peanut butter is reasonably priced and universally found in almost all stores in Jamaica. So, peanut butter (chunky to be more substantial) as my main food group is my reality to get enough calories throughout the day with protein to keep me full.
I am going to pack 1 plastic jar of peanut butter and a metal spoon (able to reuse over and over) in my bag just to start off upon my arrival. I lost weight while in Jamaica, 5-10 pounds, with all the walking that was needed. Even after all the drinking and all the white flour and sugar, I still lost a significant amount of weight. So I know that I may loose a lot of weight.
I obviously am not recommending this, if you have the time to save enough money it would be smart to do so. I have to do what I have to do though, so for backpackers who are looking for a food that packs easy, gives you enough protein and calories and is cheap; peanut butter is a good choice.
Let me save you all from some major embarrassment when deciding what type of luggage to take. Though it isn’t fair to suggest someone is high maintenance merely because their bag is ginormous… it is probably the first thing that comes to mind when a 5 foot 1 inch, lone traveler, is lugging around one massive suit case, an equally stuffed-to-the-brim duffel bag, and a large carry-on.
- Really and I mean REALLY think about where you are going… and just HOW you are going to pull it all off. If you are going straight from the airport to an air conditioned hotel van that carts you straight to your plush room with a chocolate on your pillow, then by all means… pack like you are never going to leave!
- But if you are a volunteer and you are not sticking to the shore lines then you should probably be a little smarter. WHO ON EARTH CAN CARRY THREE BAGS that no joke, literally weighed almost as much as I did. Seriously? God, I am so stupid.
- In addition to that, you will have to pay at least a $100 (!) fee for going over your airline bag weight limit round trip.
- Chances are when you travel inland in a foreign country you will need to find transportation in the form of either a taxi or a bus.
- Keep in mind that Jamaica’s transportation is a little… crazy. Unless you are in Kingston where the buses look much like the public buses in New York (though oddly combined with three buses with an attached rubber concoction to connect the sections) or some other highly populated area, you will most likely not recognize the bus systems because they are essentially a van.
- The ‘bus’ doesn’t leave unless all of the seats are full. This means for every booth (being four, five or six rows and two sections) they normally squeeze four people where there would normally be two or three.
- Also, there are pieces of wood that they use to connect the two sections to make more seats between each row. So picture this, up to nine people, per row, and there are five or six rows… in a common US van.
- SO DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE ANY ROOM FOR YOUR HIGH MAINTENANCE BAGS? Mmm, probably noooot. I swear the transportation is what gets me every time.
So now that I had to suffer through that large mistake, I think I may have gone to the extreme. I bought a ridiculously small backpack/suitcase. I think this last experience scared me into packing so light, I might not even have room for my toothbrush. It has backpack straps but also a rolling feature and when you unzip the pack it looks like a regular suitcase. So besides the fact that this bag is tiny, it is the perfect bag to bring when you are a volunteer constantly on the move.
- Buy a traveling suitcase that is also a back pack.
- You will be wearing it most often on your back but it is nice to have to option to roll the heavy load when you’re at the airport waiting for your connecting flight.
- If you check the dimensions it is likely you can take it as your carry on bag. This is beneficial because you don’t have to worry about it getting lost or not arriving on time.
- I wont be doing this however, because I need to bring a carry on bag as a purse with a blanket and all the girly stuff I need. You know how it is.
- This is definitely not the type of bag to buy if you are a backpacker. But this will work just fine for a volunteer who plans to be traveling for a few months.
- It will take a lot of strategic planing to pack for this trip but it can be done… or at least I will make it happen. I don’t really have a choice at the moment but in the long run I know packing this light makes the most sense. I’ll do posts about how it all works out because I leave in July! So, I better get to prepping.
In my opinion if you’re a first time volunteer and are not familiar with the country you are going to visit, then yes you should most definitely go with an established organization; I went with Projects-Abroad Jamaica.
(This picture was taken after ‘Dirty Day’ on a Friday. We painted bathrooms at a local highschool and the ones who had finished went on the road to wait for taxi’s. I am the one with the purple bag. In just this picture alone there are people from Denmark, Canada, Belgium, USA and Germany.)
The benefits for myself when traveling overseas with an organization had been profound. You get in country help and a crash course on the ‘city’, or parish in my case.
- I was picked up from the airport and driven to my Host-Families home within a few hours.
- The second you arrive in country and are picked up from the airport the driver will hand you a package of relevant information like a map of the country, phone numbers of all volunteers and officers, the date and time to be ready for orientation, what to wear, etc.
- I was taken on a tour of the town and shown where important key markers were; like the KFC at the top of town, and the Juicy Patties closer to the end of town where locals used to take a short cut and volunteers would take to go up to the main organization office.
- I was taken to a Digicel store to buy a temporary phone with a Sim card (the US does not use this type of system, though it is used in almost every other country.)
- I was shown where I needed to go to change the currency in town from USD to JAD.
- I was shown where the post office was, the police station, the hospital, the banks, grocery store, ATM’s, and MOST importantly where to go to catch a taxi back home and to work.
- Can you BELIEVE sometimes up to TEN people would be jammed into 1 car? … that normally seats 5?! You better believe it… we were sitting on top of each other half the time!
- In addition to that, I was taken by my CARE project officer to the Orphanage where I would be working and shown where to catch a taxi there and back.
- I was picked up from my home by this CARE project officer and shown the proper way to greet someone when entering into a taxi. Either with “Hello, Good Morning, Afternoon, Goodnight, etc.”
- I was told the amount of taxi fare I would pay for simple trips from home to town and from work to town which is 90 JAD.
- I was also told the amount I would pay if I were to be dropped off directly in front of my house, 120 JAD.
- And then explained that on after hours, which vary greatly between taxi drivers who often just make up their minds if they are tired and want to go home, fares can be up to 1,000 JAD or more. However, this amount normally meant they were trying to pull one over on us because we were ‘stupid foreigners’.
- To show me the path, my CARE officer and I walked the 30 minutes each way to the office where our weekly meetings would be held and any events like a Language and Culture class or International Day and also for our monthly extra group volunteer day somewhere else in the community; this was called Dirty Day.
- Weekly meetings are held with a group of volunteers in different sections. For example the CARE volunteers all serving in Orphanges around the area would have a meeting for 1 hour with the CARE projects officer. We would play team building games and go around to each person talking about how our weeks went and how we can make it better. If there are any concerns about how the facility is being handled, culturally for example, then we voice our concerns and have talks about culture differences; like corporal punishment often used in Jamaica’s schools, home and Orphanages.
- In addition to solving problems, these group volunteer activities forces each other to talk and become friends and to socialize with other people in the same situations.
- My care officer then had lunch with me at Juicy Patties and helped me figure out the paying process.
- After a few weeks I hadn’t been drinking enough water and my CARE officer was right there trying to figure out how to make it better.
- In addition to that, they are always there to listen to your needs and if you have a problem with your host family or your work place, she was there to jot down the issues and contact each individual to figure out how to fix the problems.
- My roommate and I had an issue with the amount of money we had to pay to use the washing machine; and though it made the conversation awkward, they were contacted and the fees were dropped.
- If you have any medical needs they refer you to a doctor (the medical insurance is included in your overall fee.)
- On the day of your orientation you get a Projects-Abroad T Shirt that you wear every last Friday of the month for Dirty Day.
- For the first two weeks they bring you in to ask questions about your host-family life like, “Are you getting enough water?”, “Getting enough food?”, “Getting along with your Host-Family?” and have you rate each category.
- And at the end of your service you fill out questions about your overall experience.
A few cons:
- Some volunteers were irritated that they felt like they were being ‘babysat’.
- If you are going to be traveling for the weekends, you must fill out a paper saying where you are going and with who.
- If volunteers have an issue with someone (maybe even just concern) and it is brought to the attention of the officers, then they will have a talk with you.
- ALL activities are mandatory. This means everything from a dance class to weekly meetings. If you don’t attend classes or meetings you will not get your certification of completion.
- They have a strict dress code for CARE and TEACHING positions. But this is just because Jamaica is actually a conservative country (give or take some people, just like anywhere.) And Projects-Abroad would like to keep up with their reputation within the country.
- You cannot wear anything above the knee (which is EXTREMELY annoying because of how hot it is) and cannot wear sleeveless anything, no leggings, and must remove all piercing except for one set of earrings and cover all tattoos.
Over all, Projects-Abroad Jamaica was exactly the type of help I needed to get me comfortable with my surroundings knowing that I had someone to back me up if I needed it.