Monday, July 6, 2009
The bad news, I came home and the remaining mean kitten, Willie, has run away. I don't know if he got out and couldn't find his way back or just got sick of me. There is still faint hope he will come back, but he has been gone more than the 24 hours they make you wait to file a police report for missing persons by now...
Aslan has been wandering listlessly around the house, calling out for Willie, looking for her, and won't leave my side. It is SO sad. He is obviously really missing his friend and I don't know what to do. The online help I found wasn't so helpful.
Treating Cat Depression (ehow.com) My comments in RED
Cats are creatures of habit. Search your home for any recent changes, such as a new brand of kitty litter of cat food (or maybe disappeared companions?) . Temporarily revert to the old brands and gauge the changes in your pet.
Monitor how you are presenting yourself to your cat. Pets pick up on the emotions of their owners. Try to be as cheerful as possible when around them. (Uh-oh...I am usually tired, lazy, or stressed out...)
Play with your cat! Set aside at least 15-30 minutes a day to interact with your pet. An easy game: attach a feather to a stick using string. Pretend it’s a fishing pole, and dangle the feather over your cat’s head. Make him leap for it. Let him catch and play with it from time to time so he doesn’t get bored. (feathers...like from a chicken....?)
Make an effort to pet, hold and groom your cat as often as you can. This will give him the security he needs to feel content. (ok, I think I could have thought of that...)
Contact with the outdoors can work wonders. Clear a comfortable perch for your cat by a window, preferably in view of outdoor critters such as squirrels and birds. If you have a backyard, take your pet out for supervised visits. (what happens if your cat lives outside all the time...import some more interesting birds? The slingshot squirrel massacres here eliminate that possiblity...)
Consider getting a second cat if the reason seems to be loneliness. An extra buddy to play with can make all the difference! (A second cat so it can run away too? Besides, I think he will know the difference...do you think the mangy cat he lets steal his food counts...?)
Take your pet for an examination and blood test. If physical causes are ruled out, it could be the result of a chemical imbalance. You vet may prescribe anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications to treat it. (Guatemalans laugh at me for giving my cat real cat food instead of table scraps and for taking it for its shots...I think anti-depressants for my cat just might tip the crazy-gringa scale against me...that also sounds like something my PCV budget wouldn't quite allow for)
The worst part, though, is that everyone is always offering you food. They invite you to coffee, to lunch, to snack, to dinner. Every time you stop by to say hello the food get's brought out to make you feel welcome. Bread, coffee, tortillas, beans, tamales...it's all an option. The custom in probably amplified but the fact that I am obviously not from around here and people go out of their way to make sure I feel welcome. At Christmas, Keri and I were given more tamales than I could stand to eat in a year.
Ok, so I know, right? I too thought that a culture in which you were always offered food (and usually good tasting food) was HEAVEN! Who wouldn't want to have the option of always eating, not to mention never having to cook for yourself or wash the dishes because you are invited to eat in other people's houses?
Well folks, there is another cultural aspect that complicates things. In Guatemala, it is also rude and offensive to refuse an invitation. That's right...you just ate dinner? It doesn't matter, you should eat again. "No thank you" translates to "I don't like your food or your house or you" when you turn down food. Also, if you don't clear your plate, it means you didn't like it! Example: I am in the middle of eating second snack at school (first snack was a huge cup of atol I was given before I went to the store to get the snack I really wanted) when the teachers invited me to go eat snack with them (which by the way is more of a meal...chicken and tortillas and rice..) So, I barely choke that down and have about an hour leeway before someone is offering me lunch. AH!
Who would have thought I, lover of food, daughter of Kathy "are you hungry?" Stanaway would dread the thought of free food...
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Although the nurses warned us of possible future outbreaks of bird flu and gave us an emergency dose of something in case of virul emergency (kind of feels like the bat-phone) swine flu was not in the PC medical (or anybody's) plans.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I am here to tell you: DON'T BE SCARED. Cancel the plane ticket you are buying in order to come here and drag me home to safety. I'm not going.
The truth is, there is crime in Guatemala. There is violent crime and often foreigners can be targeted. The truth is, thieves think that we have money and a lot of times they are right.
Most violent crime as far as statistics you might hear is concentrated in the capital city, which Peace Corps volunteers have almost no occasion to visit. As far as these stories you hear about buses of tourists getting robbed, there are things you can do to easily avoid these kind of situations:
1. Leave your laptop at home. In an article I read about the University of Michigan students that were robbed, they listed among the items taken were iPods, cameras, and phones. Thieves know we (foreigners) carry that kind of stuff. They see the luggage rack full and the girl in front roaming for a wireless signal on her laptop and they know we are a good target.
2. Stay on the highway. There are certain routes that are common targets of burglary. They are usually shortcuts that are more isolated ways to get to where you are going. The Peace Corps has a list of roads we aren't supposed to take. I know it seems like it gets you there quicker, but a robbery slows you down a lot.
3. Give it up. Most robbers don't want to hurt you. If they ask for your diamond earrings or your wallet, give it up. Totally not worth your life.
4. Don't worry about it. Ok, I know you see it on the news and it seems like it is happening all the time, but it's not. Lot's of people come to Guatemala and have a good time without ever being a victim of any crime. The crime most likely to hit you is pickpocketing. Big deal.
It makes me sad that a lot of people might not want to come here because of what is happening. It is a beautiful country with lots of great things to see. Crime happens a lot in New York and there are neighborhoods you should definitely avoid, but there are also a lot of cool things you should go there and see.
I have a friend that had a trip planned to come here to Guatemala and cancelled at the last minute because he was worried about safety. I don't think anyone should do something they aren't comfortable with. However, there are a lot of things you can do here to avoid unsafe situations and these kind of instances aren't that common.
Guatemala relies a lot on tourism to boost its economy. So don't be afraid. Leave your iPhone at home and get down here!
Monday, February 16, 2009
Private Coach - Can you say "TURISTA".
Dinner with their family friends:
And then imagine in the reality of these special two weeks, that your special guide was our daughter Andrea, personally showing us her life in Guatemala working for the Peace Corps. Teaching health education in 3 schools, living in a small town at 9000 feet, completely fluent in Spanish, caring and loving people as an extension of our family and community. Kathy and I were blown away and amazed at her life there.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
After Christmas we went to Panajachel where Keri and I got a zipline in before we got ragingly ill (probably from the raw vegetables I forgot to warn her about...) and went home early.
It was ok though beacause we were well in time for Donald and Abner to take us to the ruins in Zaculeu and to the Hot Springs. The ruins were fun, although the plaster-job that the United Fruit Company did in the 40's ruins all illusion of authenticity that might have remained. All the same, they were fun to climb and we had a nice picnic lunch.
All in all, it was a memorable visit and a memorable Christmas for both of us. She was a good sport about everything, even though she was sick almost the whole time. In a time when I should have been REALLY depressed missing friends and family, she came and saved me!