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Laura Keaton

11 Jul 2010 Full Circle!

The first blog post that I wrote for Global Citizen Year was one that I thought about for a long time  before writing. It was maybe the hardest post that I ever had to write because I wasn't yet even out of the gate, and it was...

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26 Apr 2010 Old School Google (Pronounced “Goo-Glay”)

On Wednesday afternoon my sister left North Carolina headed for Germany, and on Thursday I read about the cloud of volcanic ash that a certain volcano in the land of Ice is spewing out, wreaking havoc on air travel in Europe. As it turns out, my sister is now stranded in London, but is taking the train to Brussels tomorrow and then another 2 after that in order to make her way to Germany. Telling Omar and Josefina about this over dinner, Omar remarked, “Wow! She’s going to travel underneath the ocean then!” Oh, uh, yeah I guess so. I hadn't thought about that whole English Channel thing. “How!” exclaimed a disbelieving Josefina. “Well London is in England and Brussels is in Belgium which is in mainland Europe. So they go through a subterranean tunnel beneath the English Channel, it's like 80 kilometers!”
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23 Apr 2010 Looking Forward

Josefina and Omar never cease to amaze me. Tonight at dinner while eating carrot cake that I made with Fina, she told Omar: “Hey listen, I said to Laura the other day, I said: Don't be jealous of the students that are coming for the summer...

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15 Apr 2010 The View

The fellows now have just 2 short weeks left in-country. It seems unreal, because before I began my Global Citizen Year, my longest-ever vacation hadn't even been that long. (It clocked in at 12 days.) Strange to think of my "closing time" as longer than any previous beginning, middle, AND end of a trip combined. It seems like now my eyes should be starting to look at things in the way I want to remember them--to paraphrase Vladmir Nabokov. But the truth is that until yesterday, everything was clouded by my desperate desire to be on a plane to San Francisco. I was embarrassed to admit it even to myself, that I was simply ready to be home. Though I have lived here for 7 months, I also miss "my life." I think I was embarrassed because I felt that I should be so in love with this place, so in love with the exotic and adventurous nature of what I'm doing here. I felt pretty bored and uninspired with myself. I was depending on my April 30th flight to carry me back into the arms of the 6 Senegalese fellows, to re-energize my spirit by listening to their stories and triumphs and successes. I've  come to think it's fair to be ready to go home after 7 months, and I also realized that a lot of my anxiety was coming from the monotonous pattern my days had taken on after the vacations for Holy Week. So yesterday, I broke the pattern and went on a publicity campaign with Yoly & Clara- just like I had done so often in November and December.
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02 Apr 2010 Green Thumbs Up

In November, I came up with the idea to start a “square-foot garden” in one of my schools with the help of the mothers group. I thought it would be a good idea because the school gathers donations of vegetables every week to give them and the garden would be a simple and self-sustained way to augment that program. Then I turned it over and over in my head, finding deficiencies and insecurities to hang on to such as: these women probably know how to plant a garden already, they probably won’t want to make one in their homes, what do I know, this isn’t going to work, I’m 17 fresh out of high school, there's no way I can lead them… The garden started seeming like a failure before it was even in existence. Every part of it seemed like such a chore-- buying the wood in the market, putting it together, finding soil, filling it, planting it, explaining it. The hardest part of all was believing in it. I have found that I’m very good at discouraging myself. But in February I finally bit the bullet and bought the wood in the Antigua market by myself-- in the section behind the vegetable vendors and the dusty parking lot , where off-duty bus drivers and their ayudantes (helpers) wash the ever-present dust from their flamboyantly painted buses. Usually (and unfortunately) they are shirtless. I don’t enjoy haggling and I still didn’t know how I was going to carry the heavy and bulky boards with me onto the bus and to my school. My anxiety level, needless to say, was high.
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02 Apr 2010 “LIVE” TV

Dear Mrs. Rasnick, Do you remember my peculiar Drama I class? You said it was peculiar because for the most part our class was not in Drama because we wanted to learn about the origins of theater, Thespes and the like. We were in Drama because we wanted to play games. I am writing today to tell you that although I have not used algebra here in Guatemala, nor history, nor even very much English, I have used the games you taught me, and used then well. The fellows recently took a trip to Belize. We stayed in a guest house in a Mayan Indian village called San Antonio. There was no electricity, and after dark there was not much to do out there in the jungle (Really, the jungle. We saw a huge scorpion--a SCORPION-- in the bathroom one night.) But the families who took care of the guest house had lots of children and were just generally the kindest and friendliest people I think I’ve ever met. And--something I did not know about Belize-- they spoke ENGLISH. It was like Christmas. Darkness fell as we waited for dinner time, and we all gathered in the guest house with two candles lit. We were just chatting, and as there were no chairs we formed a loose, standing circle. Somehow we got onto the subject of games-- and Whoosh-Bong came to mind.
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02 Apr 2010 Family Resemblance

“Canche! Que bonita su hija Fina!” Fina and I are standing outside the tortilleria, my absolute favorite spot in Santo Tomas. The woman speaking has coarse gray hair and dark wrinkled skin. I might say she is in her mid 70s judging by her looks...

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