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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Getting Closer

Messy messy.
I have less than a week and so much to do.

One, finish packing.

Two, super clean out my room.

Three, finish typing hand written story so I don't have to bring the note books. (Probably not gonna happen. Nor will I be able to catch up on all the shows I would like to)

But I have done a few things. Like get my hair cut. It's going to be a lot easier in Ethiopia with short hair, so I chopped off lots and lots of inches. My head feels super light and it's weird not feeling my curls on the back of my neck.

As I'm sure you can tell, I'm not the most photogenic.
 It's so odd not having enough locks to pull back, but this should work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Two Weeks Notice

I've never written a two weeks notice before.  I've been fired, and left jobs because it was assumed it was only for the summer/school year, but never actually quit.  But I just finished writing a two weeks notice e-mail and sent it to my supervisor at the staffing agency I substitute teach through.

I haven't actually met her, so how she takes the e-mail doesn't really bother me.  But what's got my tummy in a twist is the fact that this just got real.  I keep putting the consequences of this trip out of my mind, why worry over things for a day more than you need to, but when I do something like this that June 4th flight just sorta looms and I can't help but cower a little bit.  I don't regret going, not at all, but that doesn't mean I'm butterfly free. (Speaking of which, I made one out of play dough for my kids today! And a dragon, to which one kid immediately snagged to play will until the head fell off)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dreaded Weekend Wasn't That Bad

My grandparents immigrated to America after my mother was born. As such, they don't have the best grasp on English. When I told them I was taking a class at a local college and working as a substitute teacher, they took that to mean as I was working on a Masters in Teaching. (Which I have no plans to get). Add that to the fact that they tend to ignore you if you piss or peeve them off (okay, that's Yiayia and not Papou), I really, really delayed about telling them I joined the Peace Corps.

In fact, I only told them this last weekend.

I know, really close to Departure Day. didn't go as bad as I expected.  I had imagined orders of don't go, and no, and how could you, and you're leaving me?.  As well as the silent treatment.

It might have something to do with the fact I presented it as a job contract I signed up for.  Which just perpetuated the myth that I wanted to be a teacher. And started a conversation of why I just didn't move into their basement and find a job teaching in Chicago.

I love my grandparents and all, but they don't have Internet and the pull out couch is so old the mattress is as thin as a magazine. Why, hello springs!

Papou was very practical and asked questions that kinda made me feel silly because I had to make up a bunch of answers. Like: is the Ethiopia school year year round? What's your hourly pay? Can you come back if you don't like it on their dime? Are you going to finish you Masters?

Yiayia just out right asked if was I crazy for wanting to live and work with black people.

I tend to forget most of the time she's racist.  My cousin and I had a laugh over it, because it's such an old person thing to ask about, and she just couldn't grasp why I don't mind hanging out with people of color.  I'm just happy she didn't stop talking to me and gave me her blessings.

Papou probably helped with that.  He said I'm an adult, so I can make my own choices and he won't stop me. Which, is probably the best thing about being an adult now.  The bills and not being able to find a job certainly aren't benefits.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Gah, I made a Wordpress site and was then told people in Ethiopia have no issue with Blogger at all. I guess it depends on where you are in Ethiopia, but I desperately hope it's somewhere where I can use Blogger because I find it easier to use than Wordpress.  That being said, I'll be using this site until I no longer can.

For being a volunteer that's supposed to get a living stipend, I'm spending a lot of money on getting ready to go.  Medical bills were way more than I expected (that root canal in January didn't help), but I expected something there.  Last week, I went to REI and spent 800 dollars.

And sure, I returned a couple of items yesterday (a water purifier [because PC lends the latter out, not cuz the water is clean] and a backpacking cooking set), but that is still around $650.

Granted, some of the stuff in my cart I could have done without, but I think spending money on things is how my mom is taking control of my safety and well-being.  Do I need a $120 raincoat? No. But it makes her feel better than I have one.

Still, it's a lot of the little things that add up: microfiber towels (cuz otherwise they don't dry quickly enough in the rainy season), a headlamp, a Swiss army knife, hiking socks, water proof underwear, luggage locks, light weight shirts, gloves, measuring cups, rechargeable batteries. And this doesn't count all the skirts and shoes I bought: as a teacher I have to dress conservatively and professionally (skirts below the knees and closed toe shoes [that must be able to last two years in rough conditions] aren't cheap).

I'll probably end up bringing way to much, but if it calms my mom down I can lug another 20lbs through a 3 hr hike. I'll only have to do that once.  But I'm just saying, for a free adventure there's a lot of money being pumped into this trip.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Moving to Wordpress

It has come to my attention that Blogger apparently is at times blocked while in Ethiopia, so I've moved this site to a wordpress blog. I don't like it as much, I love Blogger, but it'll have to do.  So, I'm now at  for those of you who still want to follow me in Africa.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Don't Expect Anything

I've never really found LinkedIn to be a useful social network, until I started looking for something specific - RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers). And lo and behold, I found one who returned from Ethiopia this past Thanksgiving.

Earlier this week, we spent an hour and half talking. She's was so good about answering my questions and telling me about her experiences, but I was a little miffed and what she was telling me to prepare for. I asked about weather, people, culture, diet, to gain an understanding of what to expect and what to pack. But for every related question, the answer was some variation of 'i can't say'.

Thing is, Ethiopia is huge. Weather and diet and culture vary from region to region and town to town. The north is cold, the south is hot. Some places are meat fests, other are mainly vegetarian. Some places have cell phone coverage and paved roads, other don't.

What this means is that every PCV experience is different, even if you're in the same group and only a bus ride apart. My contact said everything she expected she didn't come across, so the best thing is to not expect anything and just go with the flow.

I'll all down for that, but it does make packing difficult. Should I bring rainboots or not? How many long sleeved shirt? How many t-shirts? I feel like I have to pack for for every possible situation, and have it weigh under 80lbs. And with a frying pan and other cooking supplies, not to mention books, included in that, I'll have to really think about what to bring.

After the GMATs, of course.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Today I subbed for a special education aide; I would give teachers a break, rotating classes and taking them outside to play on the playground (with parapro help). I wasn't the only one with such ideas, many other teachers brought their kids out for a break, and I found myself enthralled with how the normal kids acted.

The screamed, a lot. I do a lot of special ed subbing, and they can be quite, preferring to point instead of speaking. Of course, there are those who do nothing but scream, but they can't really talk either.

No, these kids did a lot of play screaming. And laughing. They fell so many times, and got right back up and without even taking the time to brush the wood-chips from their pants before running again. I was alarmed at first, watching them fall, they could be hurt!, but the other teachers with me weren't concerned and I relaxed.

The kids on the monkey bars still scared me though. It was low, level with my mid chest. Kids would try to get across, and many fell. Because of the low height, the next kid in line would then proceed to kick them in the face if the didn't move.

It surprised me how many of the kids didn't move. Sure, they didn't always see it coming, but it's just common sense to get out of the way. But when kicked, they would just jolt away, get up, and laugh. So it couldn't have hurt that much, but I still don't see why getting injured is something to laugh about.

Except...laughing is happy. It makes minor things okay. And I expect lots of minor things to happen while I'm away. I've heard from recent RPCV in Ethiopia that working with the government in hairy, that I will make many cultural mistakes without knowing it.

I'll be laughing a lot. Good thing I'm well practiced. I just hope I don't develop laugh lines this early in life.