My adventures serving in the Peace Corps

Monday, June 30, 2008

Goodbye America!

The time has come- I leave my Ann Arbor in about 7.5 hours! It's been a while since I have updated, so here goes:
I have spent the last 2 weeks shopping for my last few things, moving out of my apartment, and spending some time with friends and family. Last weekend, I went to South Haven with my aunt and cousin (who is more like a sister to me). It was really great to see the west side of the state/Lake Michigan/a great sunset one more time.
This past weekend, Cam and Sarah came into town. Cam and I went to Detroit for the night and had a WONDERFUL dinner at a restaurant on the top floor of the Motor City Casino called Iridescence. I would hiiighly recommend it to anyone. 516 had a going away party for me which was very fun, and a good way to see a lot of my friends before I leave. Yesterday, I had a comissioning at church and then a family lunch and then open house. We had a GREAT turnout- thanks to everyone who came! I had a cool cake in the shape of Africa with Benin filled in :)
Today I basically finished moving out of the apartment, said the hardest goodbyes (except for my parents who are taking me to the airport in the morning), and went to a nice dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse.
The goobyes have been hard, but not as bad as I expected. I cried less than I thought I would, and some people had a harder time than I expected they would. It will almost be a relief once I have said goodbye to my parents and all the tough ones are done! I was VERY sad to say goodbye to my cats and my apartment, though :(
In terms of packing, I am basically at the limit. Peace Corps allows you up to 2 checked pieces of luggage totaling up to 80 lbs., plus a carry on. My 2 suitcases are pretty close to 80 lbs. combined and my backpack is pretty stuffed. I had hoped that I would be able to pack lighter, but it sounds like a lot of people in my group have the same problem. I am hoping that we will never have to carry them too far at any one time... Rumor has it that there was once a PC volunteer who brought nothing but a multitool! I'm sure I overpacked, but oh well!
Well, here I go on the adventure of my life! Please please write me letters!!! (I will post my new address here once I know it in a month or so) I will need the support. Packages are good too, but there's never a guarentee they will get there wuickly or even at all. I have heard if you write "educational materials" of "Jesus saves" on the package that it will get there more quickly and safely! Please keep in touch with my friends and family as well, because they will need some support through this too! I love you all, and KEEP IN TOUCH! A tres bientot!

Monday, June 16, 2008


I went to Chicago this past weekend, both to visit some friends and also to do some major Peace Corps supply shopping.
I had a really good time! On Friday Amanda (my roomate from my study abroad in France) and I had dinner and watched movies with her parents who live in a suburb of the city, and on Saturday we went out with our friend Morgan (also from the study abroad). We kept up our tradition of drinking lots of wine and eating lots of cheese :)
Yesterday the three of us went out to brunch (I had something called "breakfast pasta", it was delicious) and then I spent about 2 hours in Morgan's outdoor store and bought a TON of PC supplies. I got my backpack, which is really light, a headlamp and flashlight, some camelback water bottles, some of those hideous but practical close-toed tennis shoe sandals, a quick dry towel, a travel pillow, lots of quick dry undergarments, some more Africa-appropriate clothing, a travel alarm clock, and a bunch more things that I am forgetting. The bill was $505, but Morgan brought it down to about $400 for me which was AWESOME. It was a total bummer to say goodbye to her and Amanda, but they are pretty adamant about coming to visit me! They are both young and working so they might be able to afford it! We already know that we travel well together from France :)
Our bus ride home was long and we left late and got stuck in traffic, but I met this totally cool guy and we talked the whole time so it went by pretty quickly. If you happen to be reading this Wesley, please send me an email or something! I would love to chat again sometime!
This week I have to finish my scrapbook to take to Benin with me, and finish shopping. Next weekend I am spending two days in South Haven with my aunt and cousin, and the next week I have to pack, move out of my apartment :(, and then Cam comes! Time is FLYING by- I leave 2 weeks from tomorrow! Call me if you want to hang out sometime before then!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Crunch Time

Yesterday was my last day of work nannying in Bloomfield Hills! I had really been looking forward to a few weeks off before heading to Benin, and here I am. I was surprised to feel kind of sad leaving there yesterday, both because I'll miss the people (and the money!), and because that means I am truly in high gear getting ready to take off in a few weeks!
In these next three weeks, I have a TON to do. Along with all of the shopping I still need to do, I have tons of things to arrange like canceling my cell phone, consolidating bank accounts, getting medications set up, etc. etc.
The good news is, though, that I got my new laptop yesterday! I debated for a long time about whether or not to bring a laptop, and the general consensus of current PCVs is yes, definitely bring one. That way I can write blogs and journals on it, and store pictures on it, load it to a flash drive and take it quickly to an internet site when I have access to one. I got an Asus Eee, which is 7 inches and weighs less than 2 pounds! It is very durable and works well in the heat- perfect for my travels! It runs on Linux, and I was planning on installing Windows onto it when I got it, but it turns out I LOVE Linux and it is much more efficient than Windows. Saves a ton of space too!
This past week we sent out invitations for my goodbye openhouse on June 29. We're getting a cake in the shape of Africa hahaha, how awesome is that! Please come by if you can, it is at 2:30 at 212 N. Seventh st. in Ann Arbor.
Yesterday I found out that Cam will be here the weekend before I leave, which is very cool. I also made my travel arrangements to get from Detroit to Philadelphia (for staging) to Benin: I leave Detroit at 10:10 am on July 1, leave Philadelphia at 6:45 pm on July 3, get into Paris the morning of July 4 and get to Benin at 6:35 pm that night. We start our classes and training on July 5, and on the 6th we meet with the ambassador! Can't wait :)
Last random thought for this blog: I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a cat or two while I'm in Benin. I've never lived without cats, they would be great company, and keep down the lizard and bug population in my house :) Let the shopping marathon begin...