Sunday, September 28, 2008

I am here!

Hello all friends and family! I just want to let everyone know that I made it safe and sound to Azerbaijan. We arrived Tuesday evening to Azerbaijan around 10.00 pm ish. We immediately went to a hotel called Aqau Park, which was really nice. I will write more about it when I have more time. We stayed there until Saturday afternoon which was when we were taken to our host families. I spent last night in my new home for the next 11 weeks of training. My family is very nice. They have two children, one 15 year old girl and 11 year old boy. The girl loves the English language and has been studying it for 2 years. She speaks a little English so that helped with communicating with everyone.

I have much more to tell everyone, however, I do not have time right now. My first free day will be next Sunday so I will be able to write much more next weekend!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My last day!

So I just finished my pre-departure training - basically Peace Corps 101. That means tonight is my last night in the US, which is completely unbelievable to me. However, tonight I will again hang out with my friends from TUJ (Temple University Japan) from when I lived in Tokyo. I had a lot of fun seeing them last night and look forward to my last dinner in the US - Korean!

I do have a few updates on my next week. We arrive in Baku Tuesday night around 9.05 pm. We (all 61 volunteers headed to Azerbaijan) will be staying in a hotel until Saturday. Then the big day happens - Saturday I will meet my host family for the next 11 weeks while we have pre-service training. I know I will not have any Internet access until Sunday at the earliest - so no news is good news. There is a quite large group of headed to Azerbaijan and also quite diverse in ages. We have several 50 + volunteers, 4 married couples, a large group of recent college grads, and then mid twenties to early thirties group. So, I will update my blog as soon as I am able!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

This is it

Well, I can’t believe it. My departure day is less than 48 hours away. It blows my mind that I will be leaving on Saturday for the Peace Corps! It is still very surreal to me – the reality hasn’t yet sunk in that I am really leaving for 27 months. So how will I spend my final day in Raleigh you may ask? Packing! Yes, it is true… I still have not packed my bags. I do have everything laid out that I want to take and it will be a miracle if I can fit in all in my weight requirements (two bags at 50 lbs each). Not knowing exactly where I will be living or the specifics of my job makes packing for 2 years a bit difficult. Other than packed bags I am all ready to leave. I am so far behind on packing because I have been spending as much time as I can with friends and family. I have said my good-byes and I am ready to start the next step on my journey.

What exactly is my next step? Well, the Peace Corps arranged all my flights and below is the schedule I was sent:
Saturday – 8.34 am flight to Philadelphia
Saturday afternoon through Sunday pm – Orientation
Monday – 9.35 pm leave JFK to Frankfurt
Tuesday – 11.30 am Frankfurt to Baku

So in just one week time my life will be drastically different – in what exact ways I am not completely sure. But I am excited to see what is to come.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Next stop is...

Well, I have never blogged before, but since my life is about to dramatically change in a few weeks I was told it is time to start. Several weeks ago I accepted an invitation to serve in the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan. My official job title will be “Youth Development Facilitator.” What that means, to quote the Peace Corps, is that I will be working with a partner organization in Azerbaijan in order to “help youth be more successful and responsible adults in the future, in their own lives, future families and with their communities and the country.” I will not know the specifics of what I will be doing on a daily basis until I start working.

I have been asked a lot of questions about my time in the Peace Corps, so I will try to field those questions by giving a bit more information. I will be leaving Raleigh on September 20th for Philadelphia. Once in Philly I will have a brief orientation with all the other volunteers going to Azerbaijan. We leave Philly for our new home on September 22nd. Once in Azerbaijan I will be living with a host family for 3 months while I and all the other volunteers attend training (language training, job training, and cultural training). After those three months are up I will move to my site (I will find out the location sometime during my training) where I will live with a new host family for at least 6 months.