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Tents, Tarantulas, and Tears

The following blog post was written by Lauren Jurgensen.

Thursday, 9/29, marked the conclusion of the first month of my greatest endeavor yet. An entire month living in Puerto Rico, taking care of myself (mostly) and constantly celebrating the ethereal beauty of life.

I woke up as usual, got ready for work, and had peanut butter and a cup of tea for breakfast.

We take breaks at nine, so I grabbed some leftovers and headed for the tent. We have a large, metal-and-tarp tent that vaguely resembles something you would use for a wedding. Under it sit a white table and two picnic benches. I ate my leftovers, had a glass of tea and laid down on a bench. I wasn’t feeling so hot. My stomach was turning, and I had a growing headache.

Hurricane Matthew was brewing off the coast and we were getting waves, wind, and rain. The winds started picking […]

By |October 31st, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

Bad to the Bean: Coffee Farming in Puerto Rico

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Lauren Jurgensen.


I’ve detested coffee–its bitter blackness–for most of my life.

Then, I started drinking socially.

It started with frappés with friends, progressed to iced coffee in the morning, and ended in total addiction. I had a cup with nearly every meal and desperately needed it to ward of the constantly looming headaches and irritability. Over the course of two years, my coffee habits went from casual to out of control.

Three days before I left for my gap year, I decided it was time for a change. I quit my four cup a day coffee addiction cold turkey. It was pure hell.

I couldn’t drive, couldn’t focus, and couldn’t think. I was irritable and slowly began to forget what joy felt like. Four days later, I was cured! No more headaches, no more anger, no more depression, and no more coffee!

Coffee is a major part of the […]

By |September 28th, 2016|Gappers in the Field|

An EGGcellent Idea

The following post was written by Gap Year Fellow Lauren Jurgensen.

Taking our map off the wall made the reality of leaving set in.

The blue and white dishes were put away in cardboard boxes, and the room was starting to look unfamiliar. The groceries we hadn’t eaten sat in a single, brown Harris Teeter bag. Except for two things: a chilled carton of milk and some eggs.

It was Sophie’s idea.

She had mentioned Jimmy Fallon’s “egg roulette” bit a few times over the past two weeks. It was our last night together. Instead of moping, we recovered a large pot from a box, filled it with water, and set the burner on “hi.” After jamming out to approximately one-third of Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” album, into the pot went thirteen eggs.

Klaus, Sophie, Thilini, and I sat on the clammy kitchen floor across from one another, the beige egg […]

By |July 25th, 2016|GGYF Orientation|