The Peace Corps Third Goal


Third Goal of the Peace Corps

To promote a better understanding of other peoples
on the part of Americans.

There are several ways to accomplish the third goal. One is blogging (check) and another is is sharing your stories with others. I joined the Northern California Peace Corps Association  and one of the ways they participate in the third goal is through Story Jams.

I have participated in two Jams so far… check them out!

Arabian Nights



Posted in BlOG POSTS | Leave a comment

Thoughts on the “Immigration” Issue



Disclaimer – Political rant – You don’t like it – Stop reading!

I didn’t watch Obama’s Immigration speech so this has NOTHING to do with it… This is MY opinion…MINE – An Educated, White Woman, who has traveled the ENTIRE world, including LIVING in Mexico.

Mexicans don’t risk their lives to move to the US for FREE health care and education!! WE (the US) DON’T HAVE FREE health care and education. MEXICO DOES!!!!!

In order to get “free” health care they have to go on medicare in the US. It’s already free for ALL citizens in Mexico and other central and south Americans. As well as education!!! I could go BACK to Mexico now and get a PHD for FREE!!! I OWE $40,000 for my Master’s degree…

Don’t want to pay for “illegals” who don’t have car insurance? Give them Work VISAs (which is given to immigrants from TERRORIST countries) and make them pay taxes, insurance etc…

Oh…what??? Why don’t you want to do that? Because that means you have to pay them a decent, life sustaining, fair, minimum wage??? Well FUCK…you already don’t pay ME, a WHITE woman that, let alone people of color…

What do you want? You want to take advantage of people who care so much about their communities and family that they rode on top of trains, walked across miles of desert, squeezed into tight spaces and risked getting shot on site to CLEAN YOUR TOILETS!

Immigrants aren’t taking YOUR job!!! They are our gardeners, janitors, house keepers, nannies and care givers!!

The only reason you are because they ask for FAIRNESS and you don’t think they deserve it!!

Isn’t that what your Immigrant Grandparents asked for when they came to the US?

It’s time to start thinking about this differently!  Mexico is our neighbor! Why do we treat countries who threaten us daily different and with more respect than our neighbors?

Posted in BlOG POSTS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Peace Corps…The Hardest Job You Will Ever Love

Mis Ninos


If the picture above doesn’t sum up my Peace Corps experience I don’t know what will.

Will there be days where you wake up lonely and wondering why you are there? Absolutely!  On those days I would take a look out the window and talk to myself.  “It’s a beautiful day in Mexico, the sun is shining and I speak Spanish!” Ok so that might not work for you if it’s the middle of winter, your pipes are frozen and you have to walk 5 miles to get to civilization.  So what do you do?  Focus on the positive!  What do you LOVE?  Like me…is it the kids you are working with? Is it the new experiences? The adventures? The language?

Will there be days where you hate your “job”? Again…Absolutely! Part of the reason I joined the PC was because I wanted to make a difference and I hated my day job. Unfortunately, the hating the day job part didn’t change for me so I focused on what I loved doing and that was working with the kids in my community.  I am so passionate about this I wrote a blog about it:

Will there be days that you hate the Peace Corps?  Guess what the answer is? Absolutely!  It’s a government organization full of bureaucracy…of course it’s going to have policies that you don’t agree with.  I used to say…hate the PC love Mexico!  Again, focus on the positive and the good that you are doing and just deal with the policies and things you don’t enjoy.

The moral of this story?  The Peace Corps isn’t really different than real life!

There will be days, jobs, people and policies that you won’t like or enjoy so you have to focus on the positive.  Take one day at a time and do what fills your heart in your spare time in order to survive what pays the bills. You have options and you can choose the direction your life takes whether it’s in the Peace Corps or in real life.  Your decisions determine your happiness so choose to be happy!

If I could do it again would I? Absolutely!  I learned a lot, traveled to new places, met amazing people and now I speak Spanish! The Peace Corps is an unique opportunity that will change your life for good…

Posted in BlOG POSTS | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Changing Lives…One Year Later

I am the change


I meant to update this blog more often but life took over. I did get the job I wanted last August.  New Orleans was awesome – Tiara and I had a blast!  In October, I traveled to San Diego to be apart of the USD Supply Chain conference with Rosemary and Blue Silk Consulting. I spent Thanksgiving with my dad in Oregon and Christmas with my mom.  I went back to Queretaro after Chrirstmas for a Quinceanera and then headed to Ixtapa for New Years Eve and quality time with Amelia, Paul and Pam.

After being in the Peace Corps I didn’t want to go back to being a number.  I wanted to make a difference…change lives. The dream job was as an Employment Services Representative for The Stride Center.  The Stride Center is a nonprofit IT job training and certification program.  Our demographic is low to extremely low income people who are looking for a career in the IT industry.  Our motto is – Changing Lives and Harnessing Technology.  Perfect!

I help the students in professional development skills such as resume writing, interviewing, professional dress and using Social Media to brand yourself. I help the graduates get jobs. We ended up the last year with a lot of placements but last month, March 2014 I broke the record and helped place 44 people.  One of them I actually helped place in three different positions – the final one was a full time permanent job!

I LOVE what I do and it fills my heart with joy knowing that I am helping amazing people get awesome jobs.  I am still working five jobs but I love everything I do.  I am really blessed that I was able to find a way to continue to give back help change lives. I miss Mexico a lot but I am glad to be home and contributing.

Posted in BlOG POSTS | 1 Comment



Did you know that the United States is the only country that has the “Pursuit of Happiness” as a right?  It also said all men are created equal but I won’t go there because I want to talk about Happiness.

I have been meaning to write about this since I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  Of course after I read that one I noticed how many other books on “Happiness” there are out there recently.  Its like people are trying to figure out how to be happy again and after being back in the US for six months I totally get why.  Everyone seems to be constantly stressed out, bitter, angry and moody.  I can’t believe how some people act these days…is it really that hard to be nice?

I personally am absolutely and positively blessed!  I got the job of my dreams this month!  I am working for The Stride Center as an Education Service Representative.  I work with students on Professional Skills like resume writing, interviewing, job search etc… I am loving it, I actually look forward to going to work everyday and I don’t mind working late or overtime because I know I am making a difference in people’s lives.  I am helping them create a better future for themselves and that is very fulfilling.

So I will do what I can to spread happiness to everyone but I wanted to share the steps that the book recommended to help find happiness.  Sometimes it really is about just getting rid of all the negativity and clutter in your life.  I did a lot of that by moving to Mexico and living a simpler life.  Not everyone can do that though so maybe this will help you …

The author tried each “step” a  month…she spent a year working on being happy.  The first chapter – Boost Energy I think is dead on.  Getting more sleep is a great start to feeling better!

1 – Boost Energy – Go to sleep earlier, exercise better, toss-restore-organize, tackle a nagging task and act more energetic

2 – Remember love -Quit nagging, don’t expect praise our appreciation, fight right, no dumping, give proofs of love

3 – Aim higher – Launch a blog, enjoy the fun of failure, ask for help, work smart, enjoy now

4 – Lighten up – Sing in the morning, acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings, be a treasure house of happy memories, take time for projects

5 – Be serious about play – Find more fun, take time to be silly, go of the path, start a collection

6 – Make tome for friends – Remember birthdays, be generous, show up, don’t gossip, make three new friends

7 – Buy some happiness – Indulge in a modest splurge, buy needful things, spend out, give up something

8 – Contemplate the heavens – Read memoirs of catastrophe, keep a gratitude notebook

9 – Pursue a passion – Write a novel, make time, forget about results, master a new technology

10 – Pay attention – Meditate, examine true rules, stimulate the mind in new ways, keep a food diary

11 – Keep a contented heart – Laugh out loud, use good manners, give positive reviews, find an area of refuge


Good luck!



Posted in BlOG POSTS | Leave a comment

Made in America

Made in America


WOW!  Its been so long since I have posted…time has been flying by.  That and with my 12 jobs (see previous post for reference) I’ve been busy.  So much has happened since I returned from Mexico and I have had a lot to say…but then I don’t.

So…What’s it like five months later?  Was there a big transition?  The job market?  Are you glad to be home?

All great questions!  Let me start at the beginning and see who far I get?  I am sure I will forget something but lets start.

I returned home in March, due to an illness.  I had been dealing with it for over a year so I decided to put off the doctor for a couple of weeks.  My first stop was San Francisco where I stayed with my brother where  I learned to my disappointment that I snored :(  Who knew?  I certainly didn’t since I sleep by myself most of the time. I knew it was fairly new though since I had traveled so often with other people and they never complained.  Turns out its another symptom of an enlarged adenoid….boo!  While in SF I met Kimberly – Scrappy Woman herself and hung out with my BFF.  I also had an interview with a Startup…funny…can’t even remember its name now 😉

From SF I went to Oregon, where I met my biological father and his wife and three of his daughters.  I had an amazing time!  They made me comfortable and I felt like part of the family.  I am blessed to have found my father after so many years.  I used to say…I am the oldest of 6 kids…now I have to say…I have 11 brothers and sisters!  Insane much?

I took an earlier flight back to the bay area to interview with another Startup – cost me $300 the F’ers!  The next day I was off to Arizona to hang out with my mom, sister and two brothers.  After snapping Stephan into shape I went to the doctor.  The doctor stuck another scope down my nose (not pleasant) and declared that my adenoid was normal and gave me ear drops.  I ain’t going to lie…I was disappointed…I hoped that the drops work… and of course I hoped I would stop snoring.  After two weeks I went back to CA to await decisions from the startups…Denied!  I was starting to run out of money though so I signed up with a Temp Agency and got the job with Live Nation.

So since I didn’t have a job waiting I decided to take Kimberly up on her offer to accompany her to Japan.  She does a lot of workshops there in regards to Leadership, Team Building etc… It was an amazing experience.  Kimberly and I are a lot alike…in fact I stated that she is me in 10 years.    I was in Japan for two weeks and I assisted her in her workshops with two different clients.  She has a very unique technique that I love and I think I could adapt too…she even made Project Management fun!  It was watching her work and experiencing her workshops that I decided that I wanted to take this to Mexico. Kimberly and I discussed it and I emailed my contacts there and asked if they wanted a free workshop in June…

I returned to the US where my brother Sean totally hooked me up!  Sean lives in an older hotel in South San Francisco.  There are several of them scattered around the bay area.  Old historic hotels in the “downtown” areas of town, they are so old that most of the rooms don’t have bathrooms so the tenants share the common bathrooms and showers on the floors.  Sean though hooked me up with a room with a bathroom.  The rent is super cheap for the bay area and it comes furnished!  Perfect for me since I have three suitcases and a bed didn’t fit in them.  Unfortunately it doesn’t have a kitchen but Sean hooked me up with a small fridge, a crock pot and a rice cooker and I bought a microwave. What else do you need?  I bought a desk, a chair and some shelves and created an office for myself.  So I describe my room as four – bedroom, office, kitchen and bathroom. Check out my digs below…

So finally in my new digs I settled in to look for work.  I got a bunch of random gigs which was mostly receptionist work. Finally I interviewed for a Full Time Temp position and here I am!  I didn’t travel in May because I was broke and I started the two new jobs and met with Rosemary about helping her out with “Reshoring”.  I am now a Director for Blue Silk Consulting.  Its only a part time gig but its interesting and I believe in it.  Rosemary is great to work for, she’s very supportive, well read  and has great foresight.

In June I headed back to Queretaro with Kimberly.  Unfortunately, it was a short trip.  Kimberly and I did a workshop at a research center, caught up with other PCVs, went to Guanajuto to meet up with Jeanne and Antoine (my connection to Kimberly)  and visited my old apartment complex and ninos…all in five days.  It was insane and sad.  It felt like returning home…which it was and is.  It would have been great if Kimberly and I could do some work there but not likely…my contacts in research centers can’t pay us enough to make it worth it…bummer!

The weekend after my trip to Mexico I went to Kansas City to meet up with my cousin for a family reunion.  My dad also met me there so I was able to meet my grandmother and one uncle!  I also got a chance to go down to Liberal to catch up with my family down there. I had an awesome time there but again…it was too short.  After this trip, I had officially seen all my family! So back to work it was…

In July, I went back to Oregon to attend my new youngest sister’s wedding.  I got a chance to meet James my bother and in general just had a great time.  I really enjoy spending time with them and getting to know everyone better.  Who doesn’t need  more people to love them?

So that catches us up… Am I glad to be home?  For the most part yes.  Its great to see my friends and family again.  There is a LOT I miss about living in Mexico though…besides and simpler and cheaper life, I miss my friends and mis ninos.  I  miss walking around the corner to get fresh fruits and vegetables.  I am still frustrated with the work situation.  Still looking for my bliss here…Surviving sucks sometimes!

The job market is better than when I left but I am finding it hard to break into the non profit sector.  My cousin Hannah has been hooking me up with some people though which has led to some interviews so maybe soon…

The transition hasn’t been bad, aside from needing to make money again it was pretty seamless.  Luckily I live in CA so I am able to speak Spanish almost everyday.  I have a lot of Mexican shops around where I live so I try to speak to them in Spanish when I am there.  Its fun!  I am still taking public transportation.  Walking, buses, trains, light rails, shuttles, subways and bikes…you name it and I have taken it in the last five months.  There have been some mishaps but for the most part its always been pretty stress free.  The few times I have driven have been srtressful so…I will keep to public transit.

So that’s the last five months in a nutshell…August is taking me to New Orleans for my birthday with Tiara! My mom is coming to visit…and if everything goes well…a new job!!




Posted in BlOG POSTS | 4 Comments

I gotz 12 jobs mon!

Living Color - Jobs


Did you catch the In Living Color reference?  If not you are probably to young to remember the show.   In that show though Damon Wayans (above) would play a Jamaican guy who always had a million different jobs.  He looked down upon you if you only had one job.

So in my journey to find my new adventure, I have found myself with not 12 but 3 or 4 different jobs.  Five if you count job hunting but I am slowing down on that for a while.  So what am I doing these days?

Well in my spare time… I am an usher for Live Nation concerts at Pier27 in San Francisco.  I am also consulting for a few consultants (social media type stuff).  I am blogging (4 blogs and counting).  I am also doing research for another consulting company.  Oh and I am working as a PM for a marketing company full time.  FUN!

Yes, almost all of the above are paying me…the blogs I do for the pure pleasure of writing!  The full time gig is still temporary while I find a position that fulfills my heart.  Just waiting for the next BIG Adventure!

Posted in BlOG POSTS | Leave a comment

Five Truth’s about Mexico


Great article about Mexico…it helps shed some misconceptions!

Posted in BlOG POSTS | Leave a comment

Scrappy Women Blog

As I have mentioned previously, finding a job is one of the difficult parts of returning to the US.  Especially for professionals.  Its hard to imagine going back to being a drone in a big company.  I want to continue to make the world a better place and I am looking for that opportunity.  As part of this mission a good friend of mine in Mexico suggested that I meet Kimberly Wiefling, author of Scrappy Project Management and editor of Scrappy Women in Business.  She is an amazing woman, full of energy and loves to share the wealth!  She invited me to be a guest blogger on her Scrappy Women blog:

Its short and sweet but I think it will encourage people to volunteer more and do things that fill their heart.  Please check out my blog and check back for more awesome stories by amazing women!


Posted in BlOG POSTS | 1 Comment

Returning to the US!!

WOW!!  This blog certainly has evolved over the last year.  It went from blogs about life in Mexico and the PC training, to the many wonderful trips I took all over Mexico to book reviews and recommendations.  I want to thank everyone for reading!  I hope you have learned a lot about life in Mexico and the Peace Corps.  It was an amazing two years and it was…and still is hard to leave.  I made lifelong friends and I can’t wait to return!

Sooooooooooo now I bet you are wondering…what’s it like to be home?  What changed?  What didn’t?  What do you miss?

Well I am writing this blog in Japan so I guess I still really don’t know what its like to be home.  I am still feeling pretty homeless and unsettled.  In the month that I was “home” I spent a week in the bay area (with two different people), then a week in Oregon getting to know my dad and his family and then finally two weeks in Arizona with my mom and family.  At that point I called my brother and said “Hook me up!! I am ready to stay in one place for a while!” and then I was invited to Japan and a week later…Japan here I come!

So…having said that…what changed?  Really not much and I guess that was the surprising part! Besides my mom buying a new house nothing really changed.  I went to the same nail salon, the same massage place, the same taqueria, the same grocery stores, the same everything…I guess it seems weird because I have changed so much that its surprising nothing else did.

The other thing I am noticing is that I am still speaking a lot of Spanglish…even here in Japan I find myself speaking Spanish…gracias, aqui, si si si! It’s great though when someone answers me back…de nada!

In general though I guess the hardest part for me and I am sure it is true for most returned PCV’s…is finding a job.  We joined the PC to change the world…or at least make a small difference in part of it.  I find myself wanting to still do that…but of course I want to get paid for it this time.  I don’t want to be another number in some giant organization!  I want to be a person who matters and who does things that matter.  Do those jobs even exist?  Am I being selfish in wanting something like that?

The good news is…is that I feel like I am in a place where I can dream the big dreams and take risks.  I have very few things to lose at this point (hence why I am in Japan).  I am having a difficult time dreaming big but I am hoping that some of that is fear and I will clear it soon.  Before I left for Japan I signed up for a temporary agency for contract work.  It won’t be life altering work but at least it will keep me busy and stop the bleeding!  Even with telling myself that I am job hunting “fulltime” I am tired of being home all day long doing nothing but job hunting. After a month I am finding very few new items.

So what else is new?  I miss the simplicity of Mexico, walking every where, cooking with super fresh veggies and the people.  I have tried walking everyday since I got back…super easy to do in Tokyo but harder to do in the US.  I have had to give myself assignments in order to motivate myself.  Walking dogs and going to the grocery store are good ones but other than that I feel like I am walking aimlessly around.  Like I said…I am hoping getting job helps some of this.   I also think being settled in one place for a while will help.  We shall see…

So, aside from not having a job and looking to create something wonderful…moving back to the US hasn’t been as hard as some people would think.  Yes, TV has gotten even more insane (so I am choosing not to get one) and now I have to start paying more attention to the news (and sports).  I am a lot more flexible and adaptable than I was before so I think that helps a lot but only time will tell!

I have been asked to blog for a couple different groups.  One is Scrappy Women and that one should be published sometime this month.  The other is a Silicon Valley Project Management group and that will be published in May.  I am thinking about making some changes to this blog since my service is over and maybe create a few new blogs…maybe one specifically for book reviews and another for positive thoughts and coaching.  Who knows…regardless I will keep you posted :)

Posted in BlOG POSTS | Leave a comment