Articles

Tatted in Thailand: Elizabeth, Berline, & Celete

Larissa Delgado, 130 YinD

During Group 130’s Reconnect Conference a lot of us throughout the two weeks got tattoos. Prior to that I had also heard of volunteers from Group 129 getting tattooed during their service. I’ve always loved tattoos because they can be spontaneous or well thought out, hold meaning to someone, and are essentially permanent works of art that people commit to on their bodies. The particular time and place in one’s life that someone decides to get a tattoo also intrigues me, and I believe that tattoos can help preserve your memory of where you were when you got it. So upon finally getting my wave tattoo in Kanchanaburi, I was very curious to hear the stories behind some of the tattoos that other volunteers had gotten while in Thailand, and if there were any connections to their service as Peace Corps Volunteers. After hearing many experiences we’ve decided to start a series featuring PCVs and their tattoo stories. The following is my story, along with the first few participants that have agreed to share their own.


Elizabeth Marik, 129 YinD

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1. Describe your tattoo, and give a brief story about when and where (in Thailand,) you got it done.
My tattoo is an open mouth with the universe on the inside. I got it done at BT Tattoo studio in Bangkok. It was the cleanest and most professional tattoo studio I’ve ever been in and I have 3 other tattoos. (Granted one of those is a stick and poke I did in my bedroom, so that’s not hard to beat). The tattoo is about the size of my palm, kind of under my arm pit. I got it done around 6 months into my service.

2. What is the meaning of your tattoo, if any, and does it connect you to your Peace Corps service?
I find tattoos to be a testament to personal power and ownership, and I got this one in a time where I really had to be everything to myself. You could either see it like the mouth is eating the universe or it’s coming out of the mouth. I like the idea of such a big place coming out of a small space, so I see it like the universe will pour out. Also, it looks trippy and I like it. It’s not necessarily my “commemoration of service” tattoo. Although I am in the midst of drafting one for COS!

3. What inspired you to get it, and do you think that if you weren’t a Peace Corps Volunteer, you would have still gotten it?
I was drawing this design while at my host family’s house and it resonated with me. I felt like it depicted something internal in an externally empowering way, so I sort of got it on a fun weekend in Bangkok. I wasn’t planning on getting it then, but a couple other people also had ideas and we went for it! I’m glad we did. It still reminds me to stand up straight and remember that I already have all that I need right in front of me, I just need to make the best use of the expanse. If I wasn’t a PCV I still think I would have gotten it.

4. If you had to sum up the tattoo in one word what would that word be?
Interesting.

 

Berline Exume, 130 TESS

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1. Describe your tattoo, and give a brief story about when and where (in Thailand,) you got it done.
My tattoo is very minimalistic and simply says the word in a soft cursive font, “authenticity” – I got it done in Kanchanaburi after seeing the work of Jo (the tattoo artist) on various PCVs.

2. What is the meaning of your tattoo, if any, and does it connect you to your Peace Corps service?
I was 100% inspired by my experience as a PCV to get this tattoo. In our service we can sometimes feel like we have to hide or minimize parts of who + what we are. I never want to wear a disguise. I always want to present my most truest, authentic self to the table, especially here in Thailand.

3. What inspired you to get it, and do you think that if you weren’t a Peace Corps Volunteer, you would have still gotten it?
I was inspired by the idea of fearlessness and wanting my whole self to be an embodiment of that. I don’t think I would’ve gotten it if it weren’t for me being a PCV. This experience is stretching me in ways that forces me to have to be fearless in a way I wasn’t before.

4. If you had to sum up the tattoo in one word what would that word be?
In one word, “redefining.” I am redefining who I am.

Read more about Berline’s tattoo in her article #JournalEntry: That Time I Got a Tattoo in Thailand.

 

Celete Kato, 129 TESS

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1. Describe your tattoo, and give a brief story about when and where (in Thailand,) you got it done.
My tattoo is the outline of a world map. My core group of PCV friends in Thailand decided to have a long weekend in Bangkok after the 3 month travel restriction for new volunteers was over; we met in the city in mid-June and two of us had been wanting tattoos. We got them done at a great place in BKK called BT Tattoo. Highly recommend them!

2. What is the meaning of your tattoo, if any, and does it connect you to your Peace Corps service?
I had been wanting a tattoo that signifies my connection to the wider world. I toyed with using gps coordinates of places I have called home, but ultimately that list was too long and I couldn’t settle on a placement that I liked. The outline of the tattoo that I ended up with is a simple reminder that the world is ours. I don’t think it connects to my Peace Corps service in any way other than serving as a reminder to go and see and do and experience this world while we’re here and have the opportunity to.

3. What inspired you to get it, and do you think that if you weren’t a Peace Corps Volunteer, you would have still gotten it?
I definitely would have gotten this even if I weren’t a PCV. It was much more fun to get it with friends who love the world as much as I do though! They were the final inspiration and encouragers to go ahead and do it!

4. If you had to sum up the tattoo in one word what would that word be?
Live.


Read about the first four volunteers featured: Tatted in Thailand: Larissa, Bethany, Natalie, & Janet.

Categories: Articles, Stories

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