Thursday, October 22, 2009

"It's a blog, yo."

Today's guest blog comes from a one Miss Shawn Fagan - our resident Brooklynite, indescribably dedicated Yankees fan, dog-lover, and creator of epic 90s music playlists. Shawn graduated from Columbia University with a degree in neuroscience... a fabulous major, if I do say so myself. Recently, during her free time, she has been spotted huddled around her computer listening to every Yankee game, indulging me in nerdy neuroscience conversation, religiously rocking her daily New York Times crossword, and dominating us common folk in Catch Phrase. I admire her for all of the aforementioned tidbits... but, perhaps most of all, I admire her relentless pursuit in tracking down the internet lady... a feat that I'm pretty sure only Shawn could accomplish. (No, really. She's probably called the woman 50+ times. It's loco.)

Pretty standard Shawn:)

"It’s late October, and I think we all know what that means… time for my guest blog and time for the baseball postseason to start heating up. As a life-long New Yorker, there is nothing that feels more like fall than sitting in my living room, watching the Yankees and listening to my dog bark every time my dad or myself scream at the television. Clearly, this postseason has been a different experience than what I am accustomed to. Rather than sitting around the television on the edge of my seat, throwing toy after toy to my insatiable dog, Foster, I now find myself crowded around portable speakers in the kitchen, desperately fawning over every word spoken by John Sterling via a crappy internet-radio connection. Coincidentally, my parents are also having a different postseason experience. At this point, they’ve attended at least three games. I’m sure that them miraculously acquiring an endless supply of game tickets has nothing to do with me being away for the year.

In an effort to avoid the topic of programs and Manna, I’ll quickly summarize my role here in Ecuador: I’m tight with the Ministry of Health, I idolize Billy Blanks, and I love to hang out with hormonal Ecuadorian teens.

Shawn showing off her guns and trash picking-up skillz during the community cleanup Minga

Each volunteer has his or her own set of bizarre quirks that has helped distinguish us from one another. But it is these same quirks that keep us grounded and connected to our lives in the U.S. I love travel, and I think that every person, at least once, should force themselves out of their comfort-zone in order to experience a new environment, cultural or ecological. I could argue that living in a house of 10, with only one other companion from the Northeast, has been more “culturally shocking” than actually moving my life to Ecuador. While I sometimes find myself explaining the mechanism behind Fresh Direct to my housemates, and desperately missing the fast-paced, fashion-obsessed New York City lifestyle, these distinct ties to my upbringing help me feel more at home in this foreign country. Everything that I brought with me to Ecuador -- be it personal experience, an epic DVD collection, or Yankees pajama pants -- has given me strength and made me more comfortable and capable in my new environment.

- Shawn"

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