— President Barack Obama (via peacecorps)
Just got an email from our country desk officer, Bina, with this “Bridge to PST” attached to it! It’s getting more and more real and I keep spending more and more money on things to pack.
Anyway, here are some highlights I thought was interesting from the attachment. They may not be interesting to you, but..ah well.
- We’re arriving in Georgia at ~3am April 29 (coincidentally also my birthday!)…and it’s likely that local media/TV will be there. What?? So we should look nice. Will probably have to change during our layover in Munich, because god knows I don’t want to spend a 24 hour overseas trip in business casual.
- Georgia is 8 hours ahead of EDT, so 11 hours ahead of PST (my home time zone). Whoah.
- We’ll be having orientation in a hotel not far from Tbilisi (the capitol) from April 29-May 3 focusing on the basics.
- After lunch on Saturday, May 3, we depart for our “PST hub site,” Khashuri, and meet our PST host families! Khashuri is a small town right in the center of Georgia.
- Many vaccinations are in my imminent future.
- We’ll receive our Peace Corps cell phones with 5 lari in them, enough to make a ~5 minute phone call to the US.
- Internet: slow but available at our initial hotel, intermittent and limited during PST.
- In Khashuri, we’ll be living in clusters of 5-6 people in small villages and towns surrounding Khashuri proper.
- PST daily schedule: language training in the morning -> lunch break -> technical training. This will run Monday-Saturday, and language classes will be 5-6 days a week.
And finally, a general outline of what the whole of PST will look like:
- Initial orientation: initial information, cross-cultural and language training, cluster group announcements
- Weeks 1-2: Language and technical training. Every two weeks everyone will meet at the hub (Khashuri)—I’m assuming this will last for the duration of PST.
- Weeks 3-6: In addition to the above, as an English Education (EE) teacher I’ll be observing local school sessions and team teaching with local English teachers. Self-assessments and staff assessments of skills and knowledge gained. Site assignments (!!!) made and we’ll information on where we’ll be living for the next two years. (Side note: can’t wait to finally be able to tell everyone where I’ll actually be living)
- Weeks 7-11: Meet supervisors from our sites at a conference. Supervisors will bring us to our assigned sites to meet our future colleagues and host families. Upon returning to Khashuri, there will be a final qualification interview, a final language interview (eep), and a confirmation of commitment. Formal swearing-in ceremony on July 18! Then officially travel to assigned sites.
Suffice it to say that I’m stoked!! I’m also lagging a bit on my Georgian language podcasts, but I’m determined to have made some progress on them before the questionnaire is due within the week.
Edit to add: also, there are only 11 days until I leave for DC!! I’m torn
between amongst nervous and excited and anxious (that I haven’t bought/packed enough) and preemptively nostalgic if that even makes sense.
for the life we want to live,
and live it instead?
Everyone got a bit antsy as we waited for our staging details, and sure enough the email arrived exactly a month before staging as Peace Corps promised. Here’s the gist…
Legit! This is the first year in forever (I think) that Georgia is staging in DC instead of Philly. This makes me the happiest because my sister and brother-in-law live in DC!
I called to make my flight arrangements and asked to arrive a week early to hang out with the family and explore DC some more, so I’ll be going on April 20. My dad will join me on the 22nd. I’m excited for family time right before staging—couldn’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.
We’re actually flying DC -> Munich -> Tbilisi on Air Lufthansa instead of NY -> Istanbul -> Tbilisi on Turkish Airlines, and I’m all for splitting up the flights more evenly. I’ve never been to either Munich or Istanbul, but obviously hoping to change that in the near future.
In other news, I’m finishing up ordering things off Amazon/buying them in real life, and am in the process of simultaneously moving back home, figuring out what to sell vs. donate, & packing for Georgia. Whew!
Also, I’m working on my Georgian language podcasts. We are required to fill out a survey by April 15th detailing which languages we had previously studied, which countries we’ve previously lived in, and how many podcasts we’d been through/plan on going through. So far I’ve gone through 13, and I’m hoping to really get the alphabet and some vocabulary down before I continue. There are 20 in total! I’ve also been using the website Memrise to help with the Georgian alphabet, which is a doozy. I can’t even pronounce some of the sounds, but I’m hoping in-person language classes will help. Wish me luck!
Less than a month to go!
So, how nervous should the now-independent former Soviet republics be about what’s happened in Crimea?
Something that’s definitely been on my mind as I avidly follow the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Link credit to my fellow G14 and RPCV from the ’80s, Sara. You can find her own blog here.
SoCal G14s meetup part 3! Prettttty stoked for the next 27 months #peacecorps #g14love (at Ham Ji Park)
Sooo this happened and it was pretty sweet. Love you guys & can’t wait to meet everyone else!
RPCVs Sean and McKinze Cook (Georgia 2010-2012) always wanted to start their own business, but had no idea what it would be — until they were noshing on some of their host community’s cuisine. “One day near the end of our service, while brainstorming what life after Peace Corps could look like, our host mother called us in for an afternoon snack of khachapuri. As she buttered and sliced the gooey, cheesy, delicious bread, we knew we had to find a way to introduce it to Americans.”
In early 2013 Sean and McKinze opened Kargi Gogo, a food cart in Portland, Ore., that serves authentic Georgian street food.
Aw! I wish I had been able to try food cart out when I was in Portland last summer. Hopefully in the future…