By all rights, this should be a very long entry—but it isn’t. As I finish 10+ weeks of Peace Corps training, I’ve been very fortunate in a number of ways:
1. I’ve learned a lot about myself and 40 other friends/trainees. Each of us had to adapt to the environmental, social, and cultural realities of our new home and determine our own individual route to success and fulfillment.
2. I’ve stayed relatively healthy—except for some awkwardly located mosquito bites—and, overall, feel great.
3. I’ve learned that there are really three important support groups over here: the Peace Corps staff (training and service), our fellow trainees, and—importantly—the current volunteers who know the finer points of both survival and daily living far from home.
Frustrations? Of course—especially in approaching a new language with an unfamiliar alphabet. In trying to frame negative sentences starting with “Yes” (“I” in Armenian). In blocking on a particularly important Armenian word—and having a German word (randomly left over from a high school language class 45 years ago) crowd out the needed one. Yet we survived.
As I prepare for the Swearing-in ceremony Tuesday and the ensuing two years of service (teaching 14-to-17 year-olds English in a northern province of the country), I realize that every person over here has her/his own unique rationale for choosing to leave the U.S. for 27 months’ training/work overseas. I also realize that, no matter what my official job assignment is, that—6,000 miles away from home—my music will always serve as a gateway to teaching, as well as a primary means of communication, entertainment, and—when all is said and done—sanity.
Here’s to the next part of the ride. : )