Other then the job hunt, I’ve been spending some time online working on my website. Well, actually (not consistently) for the last several weeks I’ve been trying to figure out one thing. Not even a very important thing, but something that I wanted done. Basically I wanted to make it so that when I write a blog post, I can enter where I wrote it from. Then I wanted this to display on the right sidebar. Well, after too much work… I finally got it. Not to maybe go back through and put the data into all my older posts. But enjoy knowing where I wrote my posts from it only took lots of hours to make it all possible.
A photoshoped designed logo for my job search. As I’ve been back in the US, I’ve been looking for a job. I feel kind of like Elmer Fudd and never finding my wabit
Since I’ve been back in the Tri-Cities, I’ve been up to quite a bit. Mainly I’ve been focused on looking for a job, which the job search is always exciting. I’ve had some luck. I have my first interview scheduled for Thursday. It’s at Nueva Esperanza Counseling Center in Pasco (a division of the Community Health Center: La Clinica). I would be a Counseling Case Manager. It sounds like the job would be working at a detox center.
I’ve put my application in maybe eight or 10 places so far. One place that seems to have a lot of hope would be at the Educational Service District 1 2 3. I have a friend that works for the Pasco School district who has been talking to their director on my behalf, which is a really sweet deal. You know what they say, sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I think in my case, I have both going for me. I would be a prevention / intervention specialist for middle school students. It would be a great job, and I’d probably be able to work with what my friend just called little “thuglettes.”
The other place of note that I’ve applied for (well, in the process) is for DSHS. Actually I’m applying for a couple of jobs there. One that would be cool is working with low-income / homeless people. It would be a bit stretching, because it’s mainly with the elderly. But I have really enjoyed doing work with the homeless, so that would be really cool. I also like the possibility of it’s a regional job, so I believe I’d be traveling all over Eastern Washington. This means that I could probably see my friends from all over too. Plus the job pays really really well, like just under $5,000 to just under $6,000 a month. I was talking to my mom, and she’s never had a job that paid that much before. I think I could pay off my student loans pretty quick if I was doing that.
I’ve been putting my application in all over (I’ve mainly been looking right now in Tri-Cities, because I have a pretty sweet possible rent deal for a 2 bedroom house for only $200 per month or so) but also plan to look in Portland, and Spokane… and wherever else I can find a job. Other than the job hunt, I’ve been trying to see some old friends. A year is a long time to be away. If I haven’t gotten the chance to hang out with you yet, give me a call. I have the same number. It’s nothing personal, I’ve just been focused on job hunting. Figure I need to have some money coming in. Speaking of which, I went and donated plasma for the first time in several years! It’s only $30, but when you have no money it’s a lot.
I’ve also have been playing around with my computer. I created my first theme for my BlackBerry. It was made really quickly (in like 30 minutes or so), but I’m in process of making what will hopefully be a really cool one. When I finish, I’ll post it (maybe I’ll even sell it for like $00.99…).
Like I said, if I haven’t had the chance to hang out with you… give me a call or wait around a bit and I’ll get around to calling you.
Hey, just looking for some feedback. which style do you think is better for my business cards. My old card has my photo, and is more relaxed. I was thinking that maybe it was time to change up and have my business card match my website / letterhead / resume… etc. I know that most people don’t have all of these things, but I guess I am a very special person (it’s even on my birth certificate). So whether your reading this on my website or my Facebook, let me know which style you thing is better or if you have any comments about the design let me know (good / bad / whatever is appreciated)
This is the previous version of my business card (slightly updated, due to graduating). I like this version, especially as a more chill and relaxed type of card. I always felt it was semi-professional looking but also relaxed enough I could give it to a new friend too.
This is a Photoshop designed new version of my business card. I redesigned it to better match my website and logo. Also to look more professional and be a little bit more minimalist
A graphic I designed in Adobe Photoshop of the “Welcome to Las Vegas Sign” showing that I’m broke while here in Vegas.
Out of Peru & Back to the US
After being in Cusco for about a year, it was really sad to leave. I remember being on the bus and waving goodbye and starting to tear up a bit. Then as the bus road off into the sun set, I was struck by the beauty of it and the symbolism. It’s as if a chapter in my life was setting at the same time as the sun. I took the almost 24 hour bus ride to the center of Lima, and called the person I’d be Couchsurfing with. After taking a taxi ride to meet him, we went back to his place to drop my stuff off. We then went to Miraflores, where I finished all of my last minute shopping.
That night we went to one of his friends houses, and celebrated their birthday with them. It was pretty fun, although we didn’t get back to his place until super early in the morning. The next day, I spent walking around Lima. Found a Pollo a la Brasa (Roasted Chicken and French Fries) place and ate my last Peruvian meal (I could’t decide… my favorites are Pollo a la Brasa, Ceviche, and Chicharron). I met up with a friend I met when I was traveling and we walked around the main plaza for a while. Then I went to a super market and spent the rest of my money to have a packed lunch / breakfast the next morning. I left with just enough money for a taxi to the Airport and to pay the airport tax (S/. 88.00).
Five thirty the next morning I was off. Flew to Ft. Lauderdale and had a four hour layover, and then to Vegas. I was flying by Spiritair (a really cheap airlines) but they don’t provide meals. By the end of the day I was so hungry (I got to Vegas at 12:30am the next morning Lima time) and I had only eaten my two sandwiches and chips all day. I had absolutely no money (well S/. 4.40 in my pocket, but nobody would exchange it) and had to spend the night in the airport.
The next morning, tired, mostly unslept, and hungry I left the airport in search of my Bank. When I started walking, a guy told me that I couldn’t walk to my bank from the airport (too far and no sidewalks) and just gave me enough money for a bus ride. I found my bank, but realized I left way too early. So I waited on the steps for about two hours until they opened and I cleared out my account. After some breakfast and coffee and internet, I found my hostel (I was planning on Couchsurfing, but nobody responded). I had to wait a couple of hours for my room to be opened.
In the afternoon, i walked down to the strip and from one end to the other. This doesn’t seem like very much but with combined with entering the hotels and looking at the casinos it was probably about 4 or 5 miles. I took a bus back to the hotel (the buses are super expensive, but nice here). You can check out my photo album, Vegas Baby on Facebook. Other than that, my computer is dying and it’s time to head back to my hostel.
Jacob Campbell and the Raiders of the Lost Ark! Very quickly photo shopped image of Indaina Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark movie poster with my face.
My adventures in South America seem to be coming to a close, at least of now (hopefully I’ll be back in a couple of years after paying off my student loans). It’s been a wonderful trip. While I’ve been living in Cusco, I’ve been building up a bit of a movie collection of movies. DVD’s are super expensive in the US, but here I can buy a DVD for S/. 2.00 (about $0.72). The latest addition to my collection has been the three original Indiana Jones moves. Watching Raiders of the Lost Ark made me think about my adventures here. While I haven’t found any lost Inca artifacts, I have had lots of interesting experiences.
This said, it’s time for me to return to the US. I still don’t know what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be living, I’ve been working on that some. I’ve been looking for jobs online hoping to make my transition back to the US as easy as possible. I’ve also been spending considerable time updating my website. I’ve changed the complete format and I’m getting much more satisfied with how everything looks aesthetically.
I have a bus ticket for Thursday (09/09/10) from Cusco to Lima. While I’m not looking forward to the 24 hour bus ride, hopefully there won’t be any protests. On Sunday the 12th I fly from Lima to Las Vegas. I’ll be spending 5 days in Vegas. There’s a really great airlines that flies to Vegas for really cheap. On Allegiant Air you can fly to from Vegas to Pasco for like $25. It’s really a beautiful thing. The only problem is that they don’t fly everyday. I’ll have to wait for five days. I’m planning on Couch Surfing while I’m there so it shouldn’t be too expensive. And while it would be fun to visit all of the casinos and see the shows, I’m pretty sure that I won’t have money for that. That means on Friday the 17th, I’ll be back in the Tri-Cities. I plan on visiting (moving back to…) Spokane soon, so you can all look forward to that.
Wandering around our America has changed me more than I thought. I am not me any more. At least I’m not the same me I was. – Ernesto Guevara de la Serna (Diarios de motocicleta)
A Quick Recap
In just about a month, I will have been in South America for an entire year. Before leaving on this epic adventure, I remember sitting with Ami and watching the quoted movie above. It’s a really great movie about ‘El Che’ and his motorcycle trip around South America. He and his friend traveled around South America, the tagline of the movie “Let the world change you… and you can change the world.” ‘El Che’ later became a revolutionary leader helping to free a number of South American Countries. When I left I was hoping for a similar type of experience. I left the US, put my loans on hold for a year and sought to find myself while in South America. I think I have seen a lot of things and a lot that I’ve learned. I’ve also improved my Spanish immensely, although I’ve been told that I speak pretty fluent Spanish it’s been equated to speaking Spanish like Tarzan speaks English.
As I have been down in South America (Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru) I’ve had both really great experiences and difficult experiences. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful places that I’ve seen anywhere else in the world, but I’ve also seen some horrible destruction of the environment that we all love and need. I’ve meet some of the most friendly and hospitable people but it has been contrasted with some people on the opposite end of the spectrum. I’ve seen abject poverty. I’ve seen fighting, been robbed (4 times), been asked to give a bribe to public officials, and other social problems. Even with all of this I still absolutely love it here in South America and am in love with the people and culture here.
During the last nine months, I have been living and working in Cusco Peru. I’ve been working at the National University (UNSAAC) teaching English. I spent some time volunteering at a NGO and had desired to find a job doing social work. As it has grown closer to the time to return to the US, I have stopped looking for a job doing social work because of my feeling that my Spanish is not sufficient to practice my trade here. So I have limited myself to just working at the University.
For the first couple of months I was working at the University, I didn’t have a contract. But for the last seven months or so, I have been working under a contract given by the University. Although, I haven’t had a work visa during my time here I felt that it was not necessary. It is very common for foreign teachers to teach at the various language center without work visas (In Cusco, due to all the tourism, there are lots of English language schools). I do believe that it is kind of illegal to work without a work visa, but when I read the law it seemed to be permissible depending on the agents discretion. Furthermore, every month the University pays taxes to SUNAT under the description of foreigner workers. I actually have been paying more taxes then is normal for a Peruvian worker. The normal tax rate is 15%, but I’ve been paying 25%. With all of this, I felt safe not applying for a work visa. To obtain a work visa (I believe with all the fees and process) it would cost somewhere between $300-$400 (about my monthly income). It would also take several months to complete the process and require the University give me a yearlong contract (which they generally only give 6 month contracts). So I decided not to pursue that avenue.
On the previous Friday (08/06/10) the immigration police came to the University looking for teachers without work visa. Two of my colleagues were taken from their classes. While I was not found at the University, they had my name and gave me an announcement of a meeting with the immigration police. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, but when I went in on Saturday they rescheduled for Monday. Monday they rescheduled for Wednesday so I continued to work. On Wednesday I again went in and was finally questioned and asked to sign some documents. Currently I’m under custody of my friend and am not allowed to either leave the city or work until the end of the investigation. The charges are not criminal, they are only administrative (meaning that I can’t go to jail or be deported)… they can only give me a fine and or tell me that I need to leave the country prior to the expiration of my visa.
It has been a very interesting experience so far. They told me that the investigation can take from two or three weeks to two months. (although I am a bit worried that could mean more then two months). My plan is to return to the US when the investigation is finished. I am hoping that the investigation does not take too long. If I’m allowed to leave the country by the beginning of September I should be financially able to handle everything (depending on how grave the possible fine will be). But if I do have to say in Cusco for a couple of months, I will have some difficulties financially. I currently have money to purchase a plane ticket back home, but I have been living off of the money that I earn at the University to survive daily. To make matters a little worse, due to one of the times I was robbed, I no longer have my debit card or access to my bank account. I have been waiting for the last month to receive my new debit card… but I’m not sure if it is coming and I might have to order it again.
It is possible that due to these circumstance, I might ask sometime in the future if you, my friends, would be willing to offer me a slight amount of financial support. I have another meeting on Monday with the police and it is possible that things will be resolved by then but I’m not sure. As of right now, I’m am perfectly fine… so don’t worry. I just wanted to let you guy’s all know what is happening in my life. I’ll keep everybody posted about what is happening down here.
It seems I only write when there is crazy stuff happening in my life… please don’t think that my life is so full of these crazy experiences.
At the beginning of this I had to travel to Arica Chile to renew my passport. I took a bus from Cusco to Arequipa (about 10 hours) and then another bus to Tacna Peru. Tacna is the border town between Peru and Chile. When we were outside of the city we passed a police checkpoint. They often enter buses and check peoples identification. I was past due on my visa, by about eight days. They told me that I needed to come into their station and talk to them because my visa was past due. They search all my belongings, and kept telling me in Spanish that I was going to get deported for being past due on my visa. They asked me to help them purchase a new book for the police station. They said that it costs S/. 150.00 (about $55.00). If I “helped them” they would “help me”. I knew that when I got to the border I would have to pay $1 per day that I was overdue on my visa. I took their bluff and refused to give them any money. They kept telling me that I wouldn’t ever be able to come back to Peru and that it didn’t matter that I had an apartment and and my belongings in Cusco. I still refused to pay them any money.
I must say to make this situation worse, I had a lot of cash in my possession. I don’t like to carry a lot of cash because it’s not safe in Peru. I had just received my paycheck and did not have time to cash it before leaving Cusco. I had my entire paycheck, a little over S/. 1200.00 (about $400.00). But when I have more cash, I also put some money in my wallet and some in my bag… in case I get robbed or something.
When the police were talking to me they kept moving me from room to room leaving my bag in another room. During one of these times, they must have taken S/. 100.00 (about $35.00). They also took my 4 gig iPod nano (although I didn’t notice this until I reached Arica). They finally just let me go. I also ended up paying them S/. 10.00 to be able to leave. I also didn’t realize until later that they had stolen the money. I just figured it would get them off my back and buy them a beer or something.
I spent the night in Arica and when I was returning I was afraid of the police bothering me again and trying to take more of my money. I decided to put all of my salary in my wallet. I fell asleep on the bus and when I arrived at the terminal in Arequipa went down to wait for my backpack from under the bus. I felt somebody hit my little backpack and moved it to the front for fear of pickpockets. I guess I was just tired and didn’t think about having my wallet in my back pocket too. So stupid! Well, they weren’t going for my backpack like I thought. They went for my wallet. Went into the station to purchase a ticket for Cusco and found that my wallet was gone. Luckily I had some change. I called a co-worker to work for me int he morning and took a taxi to a hostel. I had to call a friend in the US to wire me some money the next morning so I could get back to Cusco. It was a pretty sucky experience and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone.
I found that I could live for pretty cheaply. While I haven’t paid for my rent yet, I’ve been able to live most of this month for about $100. I know in Peru 18.5 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day. I’m not sure how they do it. I guess, even being very poor for a month, I still have my western ideals of my lifestyle.
I figured with this event, I lose my status as a Piña (Spanish for pinapple a slang in Cusco for unlucky) and become a Lechero (Spanish for milk man a slang in Cusco for a lucky person). I think it’s going that way. But lately, I’ve been having some troubles with my computer. It’s been shutting off randomly, I think because it’s overheating. I guess I am a bit of a Lechero because I still have it under warranty. But it means that I’m going to be without my computer for a while. I think my house is going to be quite for a while.
View of the Carroza de Plata with the Templo de Merced in the background
This week I got to do a couple of fun things, including getting my camera back so you can check out my photos The Title Of The Album. On Thursday was Corpus Christi (latin for Body of Christ). In Cusco Peru (and only in Cusco as I understand it) it is a public holiday, which meant I didn’t have to go to work. First thing we attended the pontifical mass outside of the Cathedral. After the mass, there was a procession that made a loop around the Plaza de Armas. The precession is led by a silver plated alter called the Carroza de Plata (in English Silver Chariot or also known as the Templete (alter), or Baldaquino (canopy)) that is pushed around the square. Afterwards they have various images of saints that are also included in the procession. After the procession we left to go to Plaza San Fransisco to buy some chiriuchu. Chiriuchu is a typical cold dish that includes various Inca foods, especially meats (a part of why I really liked it). It includes: chicken, cuy al horno (roasted guinea pig), Chalona (mixture of pork and alpaca) salt fish eggs, sasauge, seaweed, corn, andeanen cheese, pepers, and rocoto peper (a spicy peper).
Terraces at Tipon
On Friday night, I got the opportunity to go to the Cusco 2010 Alpaca Fashion Show. We got some free tickets, and it was interesting. They even had Miss Peru International there… although sorry, didn’t get any photos. There were several sets of typical dances during the event along with three older ladies describing how to die various colors in Alpaca. As for the models themselves, I think most of them were just college students that they asked to come and show off some of the alpaca fashions. The event started much later then is traditionally Pervian, almost two hours. It was interesting, but it was outside and very cold so we left early.
On Sunday, we went to the Tipón Archeological Site. This is a set of Inca agricultural terraces. It’s very beautiful with the backdrop of the mountains. Afterwards we went to Lucre and ate duck and fresh pastries… so delicious.