A Week Out of Home-Sweet-Home

By Rujen Amatya

 

After spending two and a half months in Florianopolis, I finally got the opportunity to leave my state, Santa Catarina. Our next training seminar was scheduled in Morretes, a historic city in the state of Parana. This was the first time I got the chance to spend some time out of my host family’s house. I was really excited for it, partly due to the fact that I could meet all my friends and mostly because I was leaving everything behind for a week. 
 
We left Florianopolis at around 8am that day. After a long six-hour bus ride, we arrived at Curitiba, the capital of Parana. At Curitiba, we explored the famous Jardim Botânico and played some fun games inside its premises. We spent the night there in Curitiba and were ready for our visit to Morretes. Even though the bus ride to Morretes from Curitiba was only an hour, we took a four-hour train to enjoy the amazing landscapes, rich animal and vegetation biodiversity, canyons, gorges and waterfalls of the Serra do Mar. I felt that I was in the ‘real’ Brazil then. 

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Ducha Gratis

By Henry Baer-Benson

Every day at 1, we go home for a 2 hour lunch break. Yesterday was my laundry day and as I walked the block back from the lavandería with my bag of clean clothes I noticed it was sprinkling. I wasn’t too worried. They don’t have real rain here, I thought to myself. All of the rain I’d experienced in Cuenca had amounted to no more than a drizzle. My host mom had even told me that it rained durísimo during the parade, which I had comfortably endured without a rain jacket. I wasn’t worried.

When I got back to the house I threw my bag of clothes on the floor and decided I had time to watch one YouTube video before leaving for work. About halfway through the video, however, Neil deGrasse Tyson was interrupted by a deafening crack of thunder. I pulled my earbuds out of my ears and immediately noticed that the drizzle from earlier was now roaring against the sides of our house. That’s odd, I thought as I popped my earbuds back in and finished the video. Then I threw on my rain jacket, switched my suede for my tennis shoes and made my way to the front door.

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Volcanoes

By Sophie Impellitteri

 

     When I saw the sweat drop off my face and streak my mud caked ankles I really thought I am never doing this again. Never again am I going to let someone convince me that hiking 5 hours up a mountain will be fun. I get winded carrying my school books to a third floor math class, so why did I think I would be capable of hauling a 50 pound backpack to the top of a volcano. 

 

        By the time we reached the top and fell onto our bags, I hardly cared about the volcano sitting behind me. All I could think about was how, on top of everything, there was no shower, and no bed. The only things waiting for me were a toosmall tent and a very early hike back down. All I could think was that I never wanted to do this again.

 

        But then we started walking up the final slope to the rim of the volcano. All at once, the forest was gone and my entire view was consumed by reddish rocks. I was in a movie or on Mars or in a dream, and my brain was so preoccupied with consuming it that, for a moment, the aches were forgotten. 

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My 1+4 Story: Henry Baer-Benson

By Henry Baer-Benson

“I love the weather Cuenca. It’s sunny in the morning, rainy in the afternoon and cloudy in the evening. My only qualm, as a Minnesotan, is that it seldom dips below 55 degrees. Winter is my favorite season and the thought of going an entire year without touching snow is not a happy one. However, several weeks ago, I was in Quito with Stephanie and Maxito and we decided to climb one of the surrounding mountains. As we neared the summit, we came across a bluff that cast a small patch of shadow on the ground below and at its base was the largest snow bank I’ve seen all year.”

Self-Care: 2017-2018

By Katherine Wang

The opinions expressed are not representative of City Year or Americorps as organizations.

Self-care has been on the forefront of my mind for years. I can’t let taking care of myself go to the bottom of my priorities, and it’s been especially relevant this year, as I began working full-time as a City Year AmeriCorps Member. From 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM every day, I am “on.” In the morning I get to work with sixth-graders in their math class, and throughout the day I need to be vigilant during lunch, recess, and hallway transitions to ensure that things go smoothly. Right after dismissal, I co-facilitate afterschool for a group of 20 third- and fourth-graders. I am exhausted at the end of each day (and have a glimpse into the reality of “teacher burnout”) from being exposed to such a stimulating environment for 10 hours, but the work I do is equally rewarding as it is draining. I get to watch my students’ confidence grow, work with a team, and learn about myself. A large part of recognizing the rewards comes from taking care of myself.

From a distance, I may seem like the quintessential “self-care expert”: I practice yoga, write in a journal, and I love talking about my feelings. The kind of self-care that working at City Year requires of me is very different from the self-care I practiced for my entire high school career. And I didn’t get to realize this until very recently, since my job has demanded me of things that high school did not.

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