A chronicle of my experiences as a Peace Corps Community Organizational Development volunteer in Bulgaria.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

All Systems Go

Less than two weeks now and it's all coming together. I've moved over 100 boxes into the storage site, moved Ian's furniture into his mom's house, donated or tossed tons of old stuff and pulled everything off the walls. I've worked my way down a formidable To-Do list and dealt with insurance issues, cancellations of services, change of address, and automobile registrations. I've worked out a set of contingency plans for the possibility that the contract on my house may not reach closing. The folks who are trying to buy the place still haven't received an offer on their home and that's a contingency in our deal. One way or another it will all work out. Tomorrow morning the Radon Mitigation will be done and some new folks are coming over to see the place. Because of the contingency on the original offer, I can still show the place and a new couple are interested in it. On Monday, the movers will come to move my heavier furniture into the storage site and I'll spend the rest of that week cleaning my house. On Friday, August 6th, I depart for Philadelphia.

I received a call today from the Balkan Desk and after a very pleasant chat, learned that they didn't have the two surveys I emailed to them in the beginning of the month. I sent them off again tonight and I'll check with them tomorrow to make sure they have them now. The woman I spoke with had just returned from a trip to Bulgaria and told me that the country is beautiful and the people are really excited about our group's arrival. Actually, I'm not certain that all the Bulgarian people are excited but, apparently, those who know we're coming are mildly pleased. She had an opportunity to meet with the language training staff and warned me that the workload would be daunting. Thanks. She also told me that there are 60 people in the group so, it seems that misery will have a lot of company. But it won't be all study and whippings, there are several tours planned to see many of the cultural sights of the country and, of course, the mandatory Rakia (homemade brandy) and wine familiarization evenings.

I hope to begin updating this journal once a week starting after I arrive in Philadelphia.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Get Set

My farewell tour is over and I'm back home. Ian and I had a great time and even went whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River in Maine. We hit the river on the day of the highest water release and tore through the gorge on twenty foot waves. It was a cold rainy day but we were wearing wetsuits so we were relatively comfortable. Ian left the raft at one point and went through one set of rapids as a swimmer. I held onto the ropes with a grip that left my fingerprints embedded in the nylon and, when we caught up with him, I helped haul him back in. It was the least I could do.

I got three estimates for storing my stuff and can't afford any of them. I've looked into the self storage units and have found one that's relatively new and affordable. I think I can squeeze my stuff into a unit that's 10x20 but it'll take some creative packing to achieve that. I'm practicing by staging stuff in my garage. The first thing I need to do is sort out all the stuff that's going to the Catholic Charities. I hope to have them come in at the end of the week with their truck to pull out my donations. Then there's a smaller batch that will go to Ian's house and we'll haul that batch over there in the truck. Finally, I have to begin boxing and packing my 'keeper' stuff. Once it's all ready I'll hire someone to haul it over to the storage site and that'll be that.

I received my packet of information and forms from the PC. A questionnaire that will be used to help match me up with an appropriate 'homestay' family in Bulgaria and another one that was designed to evaluate my language learning abilities and tendencies had to be filled in and emailed back to the Balkans Desk. I have my marching orders for the Staging Event. On August 6th I'll go to Philly and spend two days in orientation meetings and covering administrative details with the rest of the group. Then on the 8th we'll be bussed up to JFK to leave for Paris with a connecting flight to Sofia. We arrive in Sofia on the 9th and go right into meetings. We spend four days in more orientation meetings and then meet our 'homestay' families. These are the people we'll live with for the next three months while we're in training. After living alone for the past years, it'll be strange to have to share the bathroom.

I've received a cd with a huge amount of information on Bulgaria. It also has a language unit that plays through my computer and a letter from the head of training outlining my homework assignment. I guess I'll be pretty busy for the next three weeks.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?