Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Peace Corps Staging

Location : Washington, DC
Local time: 2:15 am
Alright, ladies and gentlemen - let the adventure begin! Today marked a huge milestone in my life and my Peace Corps service. I am no longer just an applicant/invitee but officially a PC Trainee. This successful benchmark comes after a VERY long application process. I made it through the application, essays, interviews, medical/legal/security reviews and the UNKNOWN (especially about where I was going).
I am currently sitting in my hotel room in a nice hotel in Washington, D.C., having just woke up from a little nap. I leave in less than an hour to Reagan airport for a flight to Miami and then on to Managua, Nicaragua. Everything is kind of surreal right now but that could be due in part to diving all day yesterday from NJ, staying up all night to pack and then driving all moning to DC, followed by an intense 7 hour orientation.
I arrived at the hotel at noon and put my bags in my room (why did I bring so much? those two checked bags are HEAVY- I might have the most luggage). I went right to the check-in line. It was kind of like a buffet of paperwork; as you move down to each successive person there was a bunch of info and papers on like student loan deferment and life insurance. I stood next to another Jewish girl (she was talking about how she was on birthright and I mentioned I had just come back from Israel). We started to sing the song "Whereever you go, there's always someone Jewish" and awed over the fact that the Jews in the room always seem to find each other.
The next seven hours were spent in conferences about the nitty-gritty stuff, like security, pay allowance, and expectations.. and "nerdy get-to-know-you" activities, as another volunteer put it. They were actually kind of fun- including a skit we had put on in groups of six. The staging has been both informative and comforting. (Though I kept hearing the phrased "over the next couple years" WHOA). It's nice to be in a gathing of people who share the same fears and aspirations. And as the coordinator said "for the first time, you're with a large group of people and you don't have to validate your decision to anyone- they all made the same choice).
I feel so blessed I was able to see friends and family before I left and stay with my great aunt and uncle in Virginia. I feel equally blessed to have been able to spend the last year in Israel, growing spiritually, mentally and strengthening my relationship with G-d. I feel ready for this next stage in my life.  I have to go check out of the hotel and get off to the airport - on to Nicaragua, my home for the next two years!
If anyone would like to write, email me at or comment here and I'll message you back with my address (all mail and packages go to the Peace Corps office in Managua).
AlI look foreward to sharing my experiences with ya'll.

The contents of this website/blog do not reflect any position of the United States government of the Peace Corps. All names have been changed.

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