Let’s have another virtual coffee date, shall we?
If we were having coffee I would tell you . . . that last week was my group’s close of service conference. This was a two-day event at the Holiday Inn in Tbilisi and also the last time we would all be together. The sessions at the conference were a mix of sentimental (reflecting on our service), logistical (all the things we have to do before leaving), and information (tips for searching for a job, preparing a CV, etc.). I really enjoyed the conference, but more than that, I enjoyed being able to spend time with everyone. We’ve all changed and grown a lot during the past (almost!) two years here and it’ll definitely be weird when we’re all scattered over the U.S. and the globe. I’ve made some really good friends here and definitely will miss them when they’re not only a marshutka ride away.
Rusipiri cluster survivors
G12s & G11 extendees
G12s & program managers
If we were having coffee I would tell you . . . that it’s funny how a lot of places that are not so nice in America are some of the nicest places in Georgia. In America I wouldn’t be excited about going to the Holiday Inn, but last week I was more than ready for the hot shower, unlimited Wi-Fi, gym, and breakfast buffet. The hotel itself was also way nicer than any Holiday Inn I’ve ever been to in the US. Similarly, the McDonalds here have the cleanest toilets and I can reliably get a “real” coffee there. The new Wendy’s in Tbilisi (which had a sign reading მალე მოდის—coming soon—in its windows for over a year) is easily the cleanest, nicest, and biggest Wendy’s I’ve ever been in.
If we were having coffee I would tell you . . . that I have a new best friend: puppy Jack. This little rascal has stolen my heart and I always go out back to play with him as soon as I go from school. He’s currently using one of my package boxes as a bed, but I think he’s going to outgrow it in a month or two.
Making good use of my box
If we were having coffee I would tell you . . . I finally made a decision about where to go to graduate school. In the end it came down to a very tough decision between the University of Chicago and Tulane, but I decided on Tulane in the end. Come the fall, I’ll be living in New Orleans studying social work and public health. I’m really relieved to have finally made a choice and cemented my plans for post-PC. I’m also pumped to be moving to New Orleans!
If we were having coffee I would tell you . . . that I’m so glad spring has arrived. While there was a much more brutal winter in the US this year, winter is never easy here in Georgia. December was easily the worst month, but the other months dragged on with having frozen fingers and toes all the time and never truly being warm. However, spring decided to come early this year, and I’ve already spent many afternoons sitting on the swing in front of my house reading, writing, and working. Also, since I’m moving to New Orleans in August, I won’t have to deal with a miserable winter again at least for a few years.
If we were having coffee I would tell you . . . that I am also very excited about my immediate plans after finishing Peace Corps: traveling to Turkey with Stacy. Yesterday my COS (close of service) date was officially confirmed as July 12th, so I’ll be flying to Istanbul on the 12th to meet up with Stacy. We’re planning on spending a few days in Istanbul and then traveling down the Aegean and Mediterranean coast until we fly back to the US on the 26th. I cannot wait to be lying on the beach in Turkey just relaxing and taking it all in.
If we were having coffee I would tell you . . . I also have some travel plans coming up very soon: a very quick, but much anticipated trip to the US! Next Saturday I’m heading back to the US for the first time in almost two years for a visit home and a trip to Atlanta for Allie’s wedding. Things I am very excited for: seeing Bella (my dog), real coffee 24/7, hot yoga, sushi, making my own food, greek yogurt, avocados, speaking only English, visiting old haunts in Cincinnati and Atlanta, and, of course, spending lots of time with family and friends. It’s strange to think that it’s almost been two years since I saw most of these people or did many of these things, but I’m sure it will all feel like no time has passed at all. However, I am prepared to deal with some reverse culture shock that will surely come after being a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years.