Sunday, November 28, 2010

Stop one: Tbilisi, Georgia

I've already posted plenty of pictures on this blog before, so I will restrain myself. Basically, I took the night train here from Baku a few days ago and now I'm just relaxing. I'm not trying to get anything accomplished. Nothing at all. And this is a great feeling. The end of PC Service is an overwhelming array of tasks, goodbyes, and experiences. As a consequence, I'm tired of feeling sentimental and I'm just enjoying doing whatever it is I want to do. Luckily, I'm joined by a couple of friends as well. We are also staying at Tbilisi Hostel which is a fantastically fun place to stay...with super fast internet. Tomorrow, however, Rachel, Charlie, and I are headed out to Trabzon, Turkey via Batumi.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

see you soon :)

the END is the beginning is the END

Tonight I am leaving the nation of Azerbaijan as a RPCV. I will leave on a midnight train (ok, it actually is supposed to leave at 10pm, but whatever) to Georgia (the nation, not the state obviously).

The end is a strange end and it truly feels more like a beginning. It feels like the long awaited authorization to move ahead to new areas of my life. I've been thinking about my goodbyes and my accomplishments and my failures for months now. Finally, I get to start anew and move on with my lessons in tow. I'm sure these next few months will be reflective and I hope this three month span of traveling will give me the space I need to honestly think about my service. In every Peace Corps service there is good and bad, easy and hard, and, as I said, success and failure. I want to draw out as much self reflection from it as I can.

Here are my upcoming plans as I know them:
Baku-Tbilisi November 21st night train
I will meet up with an AZ 7 volunteer named Jessica and I'm very excited to see her...makes me happy just thinking about it. A few days later two other new RPCVs will finish their service and join us (Rachel and Charlie). We will leave Tbilisi for Turkey on the 28th. Jessica will head back to AZ a few days before Rachel, Charlie, and I head for Trabzon, Turkey.

Some time around the 29th/30th we three will be in Trabzon for a couple of nights. This city is on the coast on the eastern portion of Turkey. Around Dec. 1st we will travel inwards towards the center of Turkey in an area called Cappadocia:
To be honest I let my friend Rachel plan Turkey, so I'm a little hazy on details. I do know we arrive in Istanbul on Dec 7th.
Dec 10: I fly out to Phuket, Thailand. I thought my layover would be in Dubai, but is in Abu Dhabi. My layover is between 2:30am-9am. YUCK. Then I connect to Phuket via Bangkok. Chris arrives in Thailand the night before.

After that, real decisions have been made. We probably won't spend that much time in Thailand and will be in Cambodia by Christmas/New Years. We will continue to travel in that area of Southeast Asia until the first week of Feb. After, I am headed to Wisconsin to meet Chris's family. Then, back HOME TO SEE MY FAMILY! Then Chris and I will probably settle in DC to find actual jobs.

Ohhhh please hire me someone.

I will keep this blog active until I'm actually home in DC. So mom, dad, and kind others who read this...I'll keep you posted.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some of the amazing people I'll miss

Some Last Precious Mingechevir Shots

Sadly I cannot see these pictures as I type...but if I recall, one picture is of all our luggage right before leaving Ming for good. Another is of what we called "the chip store". It was the best store in town. Oh, random memories! And then the other two pictures are of our restaurant/bar Wild West. Love the pink cowboy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

weird feelings

How to deal with the end of service? Who would of thought it was something to deal with in the first place?
For each person it is a really truly different affair. But then, there are some very shared experiences.
First of all, we all feel differently about our services. For example, some people from my group are extending another year. I wouldn't do that in a million years. That is a wide gap of sentiment.
I'm proud that I finished the Peace Corps and I feel ready to move on with the next phase of my life. At the same time, however, the next phase of my life is hazy, nebulous, and in every way unclear. I don't know what will happen when I come home. By the time I get "home" (where is home now, anyways?) I will have spent 2.5 years outside the states. I hear things all the time regarding the economy, but I need to join it. What will that be like during the post-recession? I just don't know. People always ask, "What do you want to do?", but I'm afraid its more of a question of "what can I do?". As in, what jobs are actually out there?
I'll have to start over, find a place to live, and make new connections. I'll be doing this in a new way too...not as one person, but as two. I'm engaged. What does it mean to be engaged in the states? I'm sure it is a culturally different experience than in the Peace Corps.
So much awaits.
On the one hand I can't wait to leave. On the other hand I have no idea how to say goodbye. After all, when the hell would I ever be back in Azerbaijan? And all these people I've served with...will I ever see them again? Maybe, but certainly not all together like this. Also, the logistics of literally how to say goodbye to people is difficult. We all leave at different times from all over the country over the span of a month. When I see a person this week is this goodbye for good or not? I don't know? It might be. So do I say bye now or not?
Also, the AZ 7s (the group that has been here one year, but has one more year to go) are rather ready for us to go and for the new volunteers (AZ 8, in training, not at site yet) to be placed around the country. They want the new meat. It isn't fun having to hear about all the excitement for people I'll never meet. In the same way, the AZ 7s are tired of hearing about our extensive post-service travel plans etc.
All and all, I guess you could say I'm just ready to move on. I want to be sure to say bye to the people I care about and to take a last gander. However, it doesn't really feel like a celebration. I'm really grateful that I will be traveling with some PC friends post service so we can smile together and look back.

--PS: after reading this I've come to realize I no longer know how to properly speak English.

constellations: miro and caulder

the last set from ming

as you can see, some of these paintings were an experiment with something new for me. Now, the question is how do I get all of these home?

recent paintings