Julie & Julia

As you can probably tell from my title, I just watched Julie & Julia. I know…a little late. It came out in 2009. But we all know I have a lot more free time on my hands here than I ever did back in the good ol’ USA.

I decided to watch the film because I’ve been a bit more adventurous in my cooking lately and I therefore wanted to watch a film about cooking…and I just wasn’t in the mood for Ratatouille : ) I’ll be honest, it was a bit hard watching the film and seeing all of the incredible ingredients both characters had available to them in France and the US.

If you like NPR, you might have seen their article “Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating” which prominently features France as the second easiest country in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet. The US made the list, tied with Japan, at number 21. Not great, until you put it in perspective. Ethiopia made the list at 123. Out of 125. And they tied with Angola. Which means the only country where it is more difficult to find a balanced, nutritious diet, is Chad. Man, I’m glad I’m not in Chad. No wonder I’ve developed anemia here and my weight fluctuates constantly.

Funny thing is, that’s not what stuck with me the most – my lack of available food. Instead, what stuck with me were Amy Adams’ blogging scenes (well, and anything with Stanley Tucci, but that’s just because I’m in love with him). Those scenes made me think about why I started this blog in the first place. Full disclosure: I thought this would be easier than mass emails to friends/family back home, letting them know I’m still alive.

But I loved the scenes where she struggled with just how much to share with her viewers…especially when it concerned her relationship with her husband. Because that’s something I can totally relate to. Peace Corps has repeatedly told us that while we’re free to express ourselves, we should always make sure our blogs have an “up-beat vibe” to them. Which I think I’ve done a pretty good job of, give or take a post or two. But that honestly makes it hard to decide which stories to share and which to broadcast to everyone who might one day stumble upon this blog.

All I have to say on the matter is, for anyone thinking about joining Peace Corps, it’s hard. For anyone thinking about moving to Ethiopia, it’s hard. And neither of these things are inherently “worth it” or “rewarding.” They have been for me, because I’ve grown an incredible amount here, but hey, you don’t need to move to a country ranked 123 out of 125 for easiest countries in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet to grow. In fact, some might say it’s harder to grow here.

I think this post stems from my current dissatisfaction with Peace Corps. We lost a number of wonderful volunteers this past week to stupid bureaucratic policies and that’s hard. It makes it difficult to remember why I wanted to join this organization in the first place. And then I leave my house and fist bump the neighbor kids or host a reading program at my school and I’m reminded of the amazing direction my life has taken, thanks to Peace Corps. Today’s just one of those days when it’s hard to make my various opinions about Peace Corps fit together.

  1. My former boss (a Congressman) was in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, and I know he always talked about how it was a life-changing experience for him – he still goes back to visit once a year. Hang in there!!

  2. I had a blog for the first year I was here, but it was pretty personal, sarcastic, and maybe a bit negative. I used it to vent and entertain PC friends. A non-PC commenter ripped it apart, told me I was a sad, lonely, drunken woman. It’s so hard to be honest and positive sometimes, but I’m always impressed by people who make the effort and succeed!

    1. Debra, I hear you! If I posted more often, I’m sure I’d get commentators like that too. Sucks that we’re discouraged from being honest on our own blogs. For the record, I don’t think you’re a sad, lonely, drunken woman! Unless maybe we all are haha

    1. Just some travel issues that didn’t go in the favor of the volunteers. Honestly, in some of the cases I’d say the volunteer was at fault, but there are certainly instances where I place the majority of the blame on Peace Corps. But I guess what’s done is done.

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