Do what you’re passionate about – coz that’s what you do best!

Why does a person that’s not motivated by money, sign up for a marketing & fundraising job? Obviously, this person must be motivated by the cause but can this person ever be successful at marketing and fundraising? Maybe… but the chances are that this person run out of enthusiasm really quickly… especially if it’s a fulltime job and there are no other more suited mentally stimalating projects around to keep this person in touch with the mission! In conclusion, this person must have been very confused indeed at the time of signing up…

Luckily, I found a project that does keep me happily busy, outside of my working hours of course. The only downside is that it has nothing to do with my job so it doesn’t function in terms of keeping me in touch with the mission I’m marketing and fundraising for. I’m a part of the Model United Nations at UPEACE organizing team, more specifically, the Co-Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission for Afghanistan. The conference will take place on January 31st – February 2nd. For me this is the perfect assignment as it fits my passion for international education and allows for quite some creativity on my behalf running the event while I am not responsible for any of the logistics or finance, only the substantive and executive parts. Best of all is the fabulous group of UPEACE students, faculty and staff, whom I’m working with!

Last week´s snapshots

 I love my new camera!  Obviously I still need to work out a better way to present them here…. daddy?

Ross and I share a huge-ass office and chess board

Varghese (India) and Ushman (Pakistan) invited us to this tasty gathering

Michelle´s fundraising initiative to benefit the hurricane victims

Leo (Costa Rica) making sure Michelle (USA) knows how to count…

Dorothee´s place – Dorothee (Switzerland) and Israa (Sudan)

Lisa (Finland/Canada) and Asel (Kyrgyztan)- my faithful party buddies

 Ariga (Armenia)  and Blanesta (Canada)

Vertigo – building up to the pose 

oh yeah – the pose

 The Scandinavian blondies – I and Christine (Norway)

Ross (Canada) and Candy (USA) 


While my Finnish friend Lisa and former custome designer had backed out of our elaborate plans to write an article for some fancy publication, my office mate Ross and I headed to MultiPlaza to find something to wear for Halloween… I bought a camera and Ross got some golden Bling-bling and the most expensive sweater he has ever bought. I found nothing in Multiplaza but fortunately, Yoko, a Japanese student lent me her kimono and I dressed up like a Geisha… supposedly a high class prostitute but I was wearing white watercolors in my face which is not exactly high class. Mohit, my boss, at another party, was worse than me though… his disguise was a “flasher”… imagine that… he was wearing a big coat and kept on flashing people – but of course he was wearing clothes (a picture of a naked statue) underneath.

Thomas, the Dutch, and his beautiful tica girlfriend Estibaliz gave a fantastic halloween party in their house located in the middle of nowhere! It was fabulous!

San José is a lot more violent than I thought

I was wrong, my hostmom´s right… I don´t have an allergy for mould but a simple traditional cold. My hostfamily is still fixing the wall next weekend. I had no right to complain – they´re spoiling me here! My hostbrother was telling me how his mom decided that he would take the nightshift waiting my return.

 As I was debating with my hostfamily whether they should be so worried when I go out the news section starts. A man was shot at the Pueblo where I was last night. El Pueblo is a collection of bars and clubs connected with tiny little walking streets – I love the setting. We were allowed to skip the weapons search as we entered. The guy was shot at three, half an hour after we left… we left because I couldn´t stand my new shoes any longer, they were hurting me so badly and I was planning on going home to burn them.

The news showed how the guy that was shot was brought to the emergency room in a critical state and I recognized him. As we had been sitting and chatting at one of the clubs, this guy and his friends were playing table-football… his girlfriend was impatiently waiting, wearing only her bra – I spoke to her because I didn´t understand why she was dressed like that, obviously not having fun and despite her good looks sitting there completely alone and ignored by all the men in the club that had no trouble harrassing us. At least 70% of the crowd were guys, walking around in packs. She pointed out her boyfriend (who was completely ignoring her) and assured me that she was having lots of fun and then continued posing – what for I don´t know. Those serious men playing table-football were quite a mystery to me as well. The news of this guy being shot is followed by a 24 year old woman shot to death in downtown San José… that´s about where we were. And then we got some 3 drunk driving traffic death accidents that nigh… at this point I had lost the debate with my hostfamily.

Costa Rica “el país de Paz”, the country of peace, the most developed country of Central America… the Ticos like to blame the Colombian and Nicaraquan immigrants for the violence in the country and of course everyone remembers better times. Like last night… all that violence was the “Nicas” fault… even though the only “Nica” involved was the girl that was killed. It looks like there are 1-2 people murdered every day in this country but more on the weekends. While I find this shocking, I was a lot more shocked to hear that 40% of all the world´s street children live in Central America and some of the Central American governments condone the social cleansing, the killing, of these children!

I was reading this book on social epidemics The Tipping Point by Gladwell. He explores a few interesting cases including the drop in crime in NYC in the 1980s, the sudden rise of suicides among youth in the island of Micronesia-and the increase in school shootings in the States. He talks about the power of the context and certain types of people in starting social epidemics. The book enourages a sort of alternative thinking when it comes to addressing social problems but like many other books exploring the unconscious it also creates this uncomfortable feeling that we´re not really as autonomous of agents as we would like to think we are. We like to believe our character and morals are constants rooted in our genes and upbringing but our personalities really depend on our environments and the people around at every point in time. How this knowledge can be employed to aid street children in Central America or stop school shooting and suicide fashion trends is an interesting issue to speculate over.

I can’t talk or breath… it’s getting serious!

After writing all those eulogies… I feel justified complaining just a little. As much as I love my hostfamily I’m not sure I can stay with them. Right now I’m sick and MUTE. I lost my voice gradually over a period of a few days. Being the Besserwisser (know-it-all) that I am, I believe my own theory regarding the cause of my sickness.

My house and the neighbours house used to share a wall. More specifically, the houses used to share the wall of my room that’s leaking! The leak causes a major build-up of mould. Over the period of 24 hours every thing gets covered with a lining of white dust which bothered me a little in the beginning but my hostmother does dust all my clothes, bring them outside when it’s sunny and refold everything. She told me that the mould wouldn’t affect my books and papers…. fine but the humidity is! I borrowed some books from Mohit and I’m afraid to give them back.

Then there’s the issue of how the mould affects my health… according to some webpages I’m likely to develop some neurological diseases because of the mould… they may exaggerate but the respiratory problems started showing after half a month and now I’m sick and my hair thinning at an alarming rate. Of course my sickness may be a simple flu but whatever! I want the mould problem fixed right away.

Another thing that’s starting to annoy me is the dog, little cute Orejitas. I have to admit I’m more of a cat person… well, everyone that know me knows that. The fact that the dog is living in the garden next to my room’s entrance and window means that I get experience first hand how much a hairy wet dog smell. My hostmother does keep this tiny garden very clean but when that dog does his thing – my olfactory sensors are overwhelmed!

And the dog is dumb as hell! He just won’t stop pulling me when we go out and it’s not like I’m not making the effort to teach him. I almost break his neck the way I pull back at him… still he’ll keep on pulling until he is making terrible choking noices and battering with his tongue out! When we get attacked by street dogs he just swings his tail happy and drooling while I defend for our lives with a big umbrella. Other people taking a walk, especially groups of local guys, follow me around making fun of my efforts when they think I can’t hear them, examining the sky when I glare at them, but running to my aid when I get under attack.

My Icelandic cat Kvaesir would have attacked the street dogs winning the fight… I’ve both seen him wheeling into big labradors and angrily retreating when faced by three week old kittens stealing his food. When my little brother was a toddler and repeatedly got a hold of the cat, torturing him, he would not move a claw, but he’ll attack me for not giving him the attention and food he believes he deserves.

 I don’t know what to do with my whole living situation here in Costa Rica. I can’t live  with all that mould and the stupid dog gets on my nerves. The mould is more of an issue right now but given how my hostmother seems to live only on the money I give her, I’m not sure she has the funds to bring in a professional. Should I offer to pay for the reparations of the house? Should I threathen to leave? Should I not say anything and just find another place? Should I find a chinese recipe, cook and eat Orejitas? Where was that recipe, dad? 

I think I’ll go to the doctor here at UPEACE, have him agree with my “mould-is-killing-me” theory, tell my hostmom what the doctor told me and then exaggerate my sickness while in the house to the extent that she thinks I’m dying (before that process starts for real) and then the whole situation will develop the sort of an urgency that she’ll either propose herself that I move or use her genius to force the neighbor to fix the leaking problem on their side.