Thursday, July 23, 2009

T-stan and Technology




Today I officially accepted my position for teaching English as a foreign language. So I only found out two days ago and I have already been in contact with a couple of other trainees that will be headed out on Sept. 29th. Technology sure has changed the Peace Corps experience from the Kenndy kids in the 60s. It used to be that you went into the whole experience totally clueless. Now there are websites, and networks that explain what the experience will be like as well as ways to connect with returned volunteers as well as the group that you will be with.

As of today, my blog is a link on PeaceCorpsJournals.com, on Facebook I have already been friended by others in T-18s and I am also a member of Peace Corps Turkmenistan group. Not going to lie when I first got my packet there was part of me that was like “holy crap, I am really doing this…can I really do this.” With reading all the info I was sent as well as reading about other T-stan volunteers experiences, I’m super excited and sure of my decision to join.

Many people have been asking what are you doing, where are you going. Here is a little about where I’m going and what I’ll be doing from the Peace Corps Turkmenistan Welcome Book:

Turkmenistan borders Uzbekistan in the north and
east, Kazakhstan in the northwest, Iran in the south, and
Afghanistan in the southeast. Slightly larger than California,
the country has an area of 195,200 square miles.

Turkmenistan is dry with a desert terrain. Fortunately, most
cities have trees and are quite green in spring and summer.
There are four distinct seasons: Winters can be snowy and
cold with bitter winds; summer temperatures can reach as
high as 130 degrees Fahrenheit (with low humidity); and
spring and fall are rainy but pleasant.

An average Turkmen earns between 1 million and 2 million manats a
month, equivalent to about $50 to $100 (U.S.). According to 2005 estimates, there are approximately 4.9
million people in Turkmenistan, the least populated of the
Central Asian republics.

Turkmen are extremely friendly and warm, though they may
appear cold and distant on the surface. Volunteers enjoy both
Turkmen and Russian hospitality and are intrigued by the
different cultures.

Peace Corps Turkmenistan requires that Volunteers live with
host families for the first three months of service to better
understand the cultural context within which they are living
and working. All trainees will learn Turkmen during Pre-Service Training
as it is the dominant language in the country. Some trainees
may find that learning a little Uzbek or Russian will help them
be more successful at their permanent sites.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

After almost 10 months... I'm headed to Turkmenistan

Today around 11:30am, I was in the "kate layer" (basement) of the Maffey/Sluis household trying to not be too anxious about my invitation arriving when there was a knock at the door. Ran upstairs, and there was Mr.Fedex himself with a nice package for me.

Long story short, I'm headed to Turkmenistan to teach English as a foreign language from September 29th, 2009- December 11th, 2011. Super pumped. This evening I celebrated by going to get a frosty with Joseph and Kimberly. You know I only have like 2 months of frosty availability so I had to.

Today when I first open the package there was many mixed emotions. Relief, excitement, nervousness. I guess it just got so much more real today and probably will continue to get more real up until departure. I'm sure there are many more thoughts coming...

Oh here is a series of photos that show the events today. Enjoy.












Peace Corps Update
submitted application: September 22nd
conducted interview: October 23rd
nominated for a position: November 10th
submitted medical packet: January 29th
resubmitted dental files: March 4th
dental files processed: March 20th
two specialists give me a clean bill of health: May 26th
final submission of medical packet: June 8th
medical certified to serve any where: July 15th
invitation packet arrived: July 21st

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where in the World Will Kate End Up?



Yesterday, I finally got the go ahead from Peace Corps. After tons of testing, exams, and resubmissions of paper work I am finally certified as healthy to serve any where that the Peace Corps is currently at.

I'm still nominated for teaching English in Eastern Europe. There is a pool going of where will I end up. The deal is if you win I either send you something or bring you something back from that certain country. Don't get too excited because a RPCV friend of mine added the sitpulation if you are correct in your selection you so kindly get to send me a care package of American treats at some point in my service.

Peace Corps is in the following countries: Albania (Sandy), Armenia (_), Azerbaijan (Joseph), Bulgaria (Viviana), Georgia (Perrone), Macedonia (Kevin), Moldova (Kimberly, Benjamin, Joe), Romania (Laurie, Ebony, Amy), Ukraine (Peter), Kazakhstan (Gary), Kyrgyz Republic (Michelle, Ton), and Turkmenistan (Strongarms).

If you would like to get in on this go to the following link, check out the map, channel some good vibes and then comment after this and I'll add you in.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=Albania,+Armenia,+Azerbaijan,+Bulgaria,+Macedonia,+Moldova,+Romania,+Ukraine,+Kazakhstan,+Kyrgyz+Republic,+Turkmenistan,+Georgia&ie=UTF8&ll=39.164141,43.154297&spn=33.807525,89.648438&z=4

So hopefully no more than 2 weeks and we will have some winners!!

Peace Corps Update
submitted application: September 22nd
conducted interview: October 23rd
nominated for a position: November 10th
submitted medical packet: January 29th
resubmitted dental files: March 4th
dental files processed: March 20th
two specialists give me a clean bill of health: May 26th
final submission of medical packet: June 8th
medical certified to serve any where: July 15th

Monday, July 13, 2009

Drifting Insignificantly



I’m drifting insignificantly somewhere between college student and Peace Corps volunteer. Still waiting to hear about my placement. Suppose to be in Eastern Europe somewhere teaching English, departing sometime Mid September to Early October.

I’ve taken a fall from well established, comfortable college student to a temporarily unemployed, antsy house guest. I can’t get over the idea that life and skills are giving so people can contribute to society. As much as I try to fill my countless hours with reading, running and merely sitting outside (only in the absence of 3 horrible little creatures aka the neighbor’s three mini yorkies), I cannot fully enjoy my new abundance of free time.

Last summer or two ago, I would be in Africa somewhere at this point. Berwyn is lovely but Uganda and Kenya I might rank a little higher. Wish I was coloring with the kids at Nyumbani or dancing with the girls at Anita especially Lucy. I miss experience the exciting African culture with other college students. The long bus rides, good conversations, and great people. But here I sit. Nothing to exciting going on but I guess I should count it all joy and get over myself.

Guess like songs there are up-tempo and unhurried parts of life. I’m hoping the up-tempo part kicks in soon. Midst all my unorganized thoughts the Beatles “Hello, Goodbye” plays in the background… You say yes, I say no. You say stop and I say go, go, go.