Thursday, March 27, 2008

The first journal of our adventure

This's the beginning of where Marie and Keith will comment on our lives, for the next two years and change, in Armenia with the Peace Corps. I don't know if I (Keith) will be doing most of the writing, tho' I do have a long-standing habit of journaling, but I'll start by thinking I'll be doing a lot of it.

I'll start from what I see as the top: Marie and I found out last Thursday (a week ago now) that the Peace Corps was accepting our application and they wanted to send us to Armenia. I am so going to misspell the country name before this's over.

We were told to be in Philadelphia on the 28th of May for our two or three days of orientation, paperwork, and shots. About the 31st or so, we get on a plane and fly to the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, or Jerevan, where we'll be directed to our training site, a town or city to be named later, where we'll spend three months learning to teach English as a foreign language, getting a crash course in Armenian (which has 38 letters in its alphabet, don't ya know) and generally learning to survive in a completely foreign country.

After those three months we'll be placed in a community, also to be named later, where we'll spend the next two years teaching English, how to teach English, and some other projects as we think them up. I'm hoping I can teach Ultimate Frizbee as a social event, but that might be too much to hope for.

This is the plan as I understand it. Apparently it is all very tentative, dates can still change, and we've heard rumors that even where we're going can change, but Marie and I are moving ahead on the assumption that the plan is what will happen. We are currently trying to pare down ten years of accumulated stuff, into 160 pounds (ahh, about 70 kilograms, yes I worked that out in my head) of luggage that will go with us, and a few boxes of things that are from friends and family that we can't just sell and will keep with gracious and storage-bountiful friends (thank you Michelle and Carl, and Margaret). Then we sell everything else. Whee.

But there is excitement! The more we read in other PC journals (sorry, but I really hate the term blog, it sounds like a frog with a cold) the more we're both excited and terrified. I do not think either of us are exactly looking forward to bucket showers, whatever that entails, but we are very excited to be doing something so radically different and new. Marie is very thrilled to live in a foreign country and I'm thrilled to get rid of all the junk I've somehow collected. I'm more thrilled to run in a foreign country, hopefully hike in a foreign country.

Armenia is a very small country, I keep seeing the description, the size of Maryland. It's just east of Turkey, and while the border to Turkey is technically closed for some complicated political logic, we've seen that other Peace Corps people have gone to Turkey anyway and visited tourist places like Istanbul, so Marie and I are looking forward to some great touristy vacations.

Anyone who's had any contact with us in the last year and change knows that we've been trying to get this in motion for a long time, and now that it's happened we almost don't know what to do with ourselves. So I suppose my brother is right, better to be massively busy trying to get ready, than sitting around having second thoughts. Tho' I really feel like I've had many thoughts about this over this last year and we're still going.

There is still a staggering amount to say, explain, verify, deny, clarify, and obfuscate. But this introduction will have to do for now. To all our family and friends whom I hope to keep up to date on our condition and educate on Armenia and life in a really different place, welcome and thank you for your interest.