Monday, November 27, 2006

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!!

Hi All!
I hope this update finds you a “bit full” from your turkey holiday! I sure can tell you that missed being with my family on this holiday, though I was able to spend it with some very important people, which eased the aches. I was able to talk to my entire family on Turkey Day. It was absolutely wonderful to hear their voices and carry an hour conversation with them, despite it being 2am in the morning on my side! It was a very special phone call!!!

Have I said that I cannot believe that it has been about six months since my feet have been on the American soil? Nuts!!!

For a week in November, all the PCVs serving in Armenia met up for the traditional once-a-year conference called “All-Vol”. Here, us rookies were given lectures such as how to stay warm through the bitter winter (which has already started), how to improve our language skills, safety and security updates, medical shots (we have been vaccinated with the flu shot), etc. You get my drift, as it was meeting after meeting, followed by an extraordinary dinner that assimilated Thanksgiving. I got my “fixins” of turkey, mash potatoes mix with corn, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and of course whip cream (though not Cool Whip). One volunteer had her mom shipped some canned cranberries as well! Not only were we spoiled with this meal, but all the PCVs stayed in a hotel that had AMAZING warm water, showers, heated rooms, etc. I even showered twice one day just because I could. And those of you that know me, it is almost a cardinal sin for me to take a shower twice in one day!!! We even played a basketball game and visited the new US Embassay. It was a great time, though we were busy with many meetings, and I was finishing up my first grant…oh Lord, this grant sucked my life away! Of course, the meetings ended on a Thursday, so I stayed in the capital city and spent some time and stayed the weekend with my dearest Armenian friends and their family.

Though I am not in America, my body feels the vibe of the “holiday season”. This is really awkward, as the Armenian holiday season begins at New Year’s. Of course, Thanksgiving is not celebrated here, and Christmas is honored on the 6th of January, sticking to the old Christian calendar. So it is rather weird, for something to be so important to me my whole life, such as the holiday season, and to be in a place where no one really cares. I say this sincerely, as no one is at fault. It is just a culture difference that is quite funny. I have planned to stay at the Marriott with some other PCVs over Christmas, because the Marriott will have an amazing Christmas brunch. It will be the closest thing to celebrate Jesus’ birth, as there are no Catholic Churches or other assemblies that recognize this holiday on this day.

The village life is more and more amusing each day. I am very busy at school and my basketball clubs are really taking off. I am currently writing another grant to fund some women-sized basketballs and uniforms for my girls. Who knows, as many grants are not fond of supporting activities geared towards sports. I just know how influential sports were to me “off the playing field”, and I really want to instill that same learning experience to these young girls because the skills are virtually transferable in day-to-day life. We will see how it goes, the funding that is.

Thanks to the Steffe’s in Michigan, whose friends and etc. sent books, I have started an English Library with young reader books. Some of my tenth grade students are diving into the books and I hope to set up a reading club in the future. I am also working on a Spelling Bee. The students know the sounds of the English alphabet but have forgotten the names of the letters. Tentatively, the Spelling Bee competition for the school is scheduled for December 16th. Another PCV in my region is trying to fund a region-wide Spelling Bee in the spring, so I am preparing my students for that.

I am in full-gear as serving as a Co-director of environmental camps held throughout Armenia. At this moment, we are in the process of gathering funds and selecting the sites. I enjoy this work, but it is much more difficult when things are being explained or exchanged in the Armenian language!

Early this month, I traveled to see my first host family. I was a bit nervous of going back, because it had been three months since I last saw them. However, being there felt like home. I could understand their Armenian and they could understand mine. They are very patient people!! I missed the kids, the family, the food, the neighbors, and the village. It was a great “break” going there and it revitalized my spirits about my language skills.

Speaking of the language, it is going to be an endless battle. Sometimes I understand everyone and other days, everything sounds too foreign. I continue to study every night and have a tutor, just like many of the PCVs. However, visiting my first host family, I discovered something about myself and my language skills. When I am completely relaxed, I speak and understand Armenian very well. But if I get the slightest intonation that a person is judging me or having no patience with me; I start to have a mini anxiety attack and then I don’t understand anyone and I cannot even speak the simplest words in Armenian. It is a really weird thing for me and difficult to describe.

Many Armenians compared the PCVs language skills, (which is natural) despite the understanding that some PCVs have lived in Armenian longer than us rookies. Though this typically would not bother me, it has. Then I get all “worked up” and feel stupid, and freak out mentally. I know that this sounds silly, but now that I found my problem, I am slowly working to calm down. But at my first village, Armenians were very patient. I am finding out that here, at my site, some people want me to be fluent :) (and I want to be fluent too :)

Emotionally and psychologically, I am well. The holidays will be tough, but I knew that coming into this experience, and I am not alone in the boat. Physically, this winter is going to present a new challenge as it is too cold to run outside and it is my only form of exercise. I could try Tae-Bo or something inside the house, but the house is cold as well and the last thing you want to do is sweat. I have recovered from my Giardia, only to discover that the juice was being prepared with the village water rather than my filtered water. My body has not adjusted to the village water yet.

As I said, the signs of winter are already here, as the entire mountains are covered in snow, and our water pipes have broke (meaning no running water in the home). School is scheduled to close on December 25th until the beginning of February, for the school has no heat. Also, it is an Armenian tradition to celebrate the New Year for a week, followed by another week celebration of Christmas.

I don’t know when my next update will be, but I don’t think it will be until after Christmas. So with my best Armenian, I wish all of you the merriest Christmas and happy New Year. Sending you many hugs because I miss you all very much…
Շնորհավոր Սուրբի Ծնունդդ ու Շնորհավոր Նոր Տարի: ՈԻխարկում եմ շատ գրկումներ վորեվհետեվ շատ եմ կարոտում եմ ձեզ:

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Work is thriving...

Hello once again! As I write this update, the rain is gently pounding on the roof of the school. One can suggest the change of seasons, as there was no precipitation this past summer. Now, it has rained almost every other day, along its side is the brisk wind comes from the Armenia Sea, which freshly clears my sinuses. The trees are slowly changing into their beautiful coats, while the children are bundling up their jackets as they trek off to school. Autumn is my favorite season, and living in the valley/gorge, one can only approximate the beauty of the season that is among me. I hope to share pictures with you, just so you may sense the splendor and exquisiteness that I am witnessing.

Mentioned in my last update, school has started. I am currently teaching 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 10th forms. I observed the classroom for the first week and half, and now I am team-teaching with two English Teachers. I have actually experienced teaching alone, which proved to be a better experience than what I had anticipated. Classroom discipline is a bit different that what is practiced in the American classroom. Not only that, but the educational philosophy is not as mainstream as what can be seen in America. For example, no matter the level or form, if the student is not performing up to his/her duties, he/she is not left to repeat the class. All students pass on to the next form. It can be frustrating as there is a fine divide between the students who study and those who do not. In addition, there are many there are two sessions of school. The older forms attend the morning session, and younger children attend in the afternoon. They students have 6 periods a day; each lasting 45 minutes long. I thought the older grades would be the most difficult, but it has been the middle school age that has proved to be the most challenging. I just hope I wasn’t this immature at this age, but I speculate that we all go through this stage, even if we do not even want to repeat the memories.

I also have two English clubs. My first club had 65 students, which was quite unbearable, but I have figured out a system in which I can average 30 students. I run three times a week with the village children and have a basketball club for the girls of my school. Now, there is interest of me teaching Phys. Ed. Opportunities are endless, though I am finding my time is not the same. On the side, I have been tutoring some locals, as well as receiving my own tutoring for the Armenian language...So I am still the same crazy Syd...Maybe this experience will teach me to say “No”. :O)

I have been rather healthy, except an ongoing journey with Giradia. For those of you who do not know what this is, I encourage you to search it on the Web. It is not a fun illness, but living in a village, I am not flabbergasted that I got this. Anyways, soon, I believe everything is back to what can be determined as “regular”. However, soon cannot come “soon” enough as this has been a crusade for quite some time now.

For the most part, my host family has given me some space, so I have some autonomy that has survived. Those of you that know me the best, realize that I like to be in many places at once, coming to rest only at the late hours of the night, just before the alarm sounds the next day. I had to relax a more here and spend more time in the home, which is a big adjustment, though not a bad transition. Since I live in the biggest village in Armenia, I have a site mate, who is amazing. She and I have really connected, as well as other Volunteers that live within an hour distance. I am really blessed to have such wonderful contacts and friends so close. Actually, I deem myself to be the luckiest Volunteer in Armenia, because have had such great relationships with other volunteers, teachers, staff, school director, neighborhood, and my family. I do not understand why the “stars” are always in line for me, although I know most of it is out of my control…fate must be determining this.

Of course, there have been many challenges, but nothing that I do not see that I can overcome. The biggest challenge to this point, is meeting up with my close friends, and then having to say, “See ya later gator”. There is just something so powerful about this experience that allows you to develop friendships that are very profound, multifaceted, and mysterious. I just hope that many of you have experienced this type of connection, and if not I am eager for this day to come for you.

In September, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Yerevan, the capital city, two times. Going to Yerevan, was quite interesting, as with my dropped-jaw and expressions, one would have thought I had never seen a city before, let alone cars, buildings, and streetlights. Yerevan is like another country within Armenia. It is very prosperous with over a million people living in its limits. There are many shops, stores, museums, etc. You can find almost anything, (except I am still searching for marshmallows and rice krispies so I can make the ultimate American dessert). While there, I got to practice of bit of my singing voice while performing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at a karaoke bar. Nevertheless, the most mesmerizing excursion in Yerevan was traveling to a nearby town, called Echmiadzin. Here, I was able to witness the official Church of Armenia. This church was built in 303 A.D., how fascinating and intriguing! In 301 A.D., Armenia declared itself a Christian country. One can just visualize the amount of blessed history that this church presented. It was glorious. From there we also went to two other churches that date back to the early centuries with the oldest stone hedges still preserved in their finest. The most remarkable thing about these churches, was their ability to stand tall despite the numerous of earthquakes that have rumbled this country. These earthquakes have obliterated many structures and buildings close by, but miraculously and phenomenally, the churches have been left untouched. The architecture structures of the time are quite advanced leaving the stability of the structure to survive. Today, many architects are in awe of such progress in the early centuries.

The second trip involved celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Armenia’s independence. Song, dance, performances, and fireworks were held throughout the country, with the biggest of all shows in Yerevan. I also went to Yerevan for some meetings, and snuck of trip in to the monasteries of Garni and Geghard. Garni is outside of Yerevan is a pagan temple that was used as a summer home for royal families. Though it has been reconstructed, it still simulates of the Hellenistic time frame. Geghard Monastery was quick breathtaking as a part of it was carved from a side of the mountain. It was carved from the mountain from the top and the architects worked downward, which makes this sight much more fascinating. Legend tells that the lance in which Christ was wounded was brought to this monastery, which was established by St. Gregory the Illuminator in the IV Century. St. Gregory is a very important figure in Armenia as he helped establish this country as the first Christian country.

Finally, I had some resources to obtain for my classroom(s), but most importantly, I had the opportunity to hang about with my two dearest friends. You can envision just how refreshing it is to see them. Days can be long here, but the weeks fly by. This may sound silly, but living in the shoes as an Armenia PCV, it makes perfect sense.

Though I speak of the positives of this excursion, do not let me fool you of its difficulties. As to date, 10 members of my class have left Armenia and gone back to America. All of left for a variety reasons, some found that the journey is not for them, some left for medical reasons, others because their significant others were back in the states. In addition, some have left to care for others who are ill back in the States. As you can see, being half-away around the world and accepting a new and different culture has its adjustment. I have just been fortunate that my adjustment has been somewhat harassment-free.

I have discovered one big thing about myself. It is actually I guess is a complex that has been hiding deep inside of me, but underneath this hard core (well once it was hard core, but my muscle mass has shrunk two-old) is a very sensitive individual. It is very easy for tears to fall, though at most times, they are falling in happiness. Seeing my friends is so powerful, receiving letters, e-mails, and care packages have a new meaning; for it is not the material goods in it, but the heart, soul, and the enduring words by the individuals who composed the words. I am very grateful for those who have taken time think of me. You have no idea how deep and heart filled this thanks is. It truly means a lot, as I know what life has to offer in the US and other parts of the world, as at times, there is no room to think on your own let alone have time to think of a random friend half-way around the world . Also, please know that I think of you all often. I miss my family like mad, my friends as well. Okay, enough sap.

Life is different, Life is good. You get one, so live it up to its fullest.
Thinking of you all daily, and sending virtual transatlantic/transmediteranian hugs to each and everyone of you,

Շատ կարոտում եմ ձեզ: Ծանկանում եմ շատ լավ օր:
Missing you much. Wishing you a great day.
Սիդ Համրուկը
Syd the Sloth

Wedding Wishes to sorry I missed it. Sam and Chadd, sorry I missed your anniversary!
Birthday Wishes: Stacy, Jill, Suzanne, Dr. Weber, Jack, Carter

Monday, August 21, 2006

Live From Armenia

Բարեվ Ընկերներ
Hello Friends!!!

I have officially settled into my site! I am in the middle of Armenia for the next two years where I serve a role as an English teacher. I have met with the school director, who is rather progressive. He is excited about my background in athletics and is optimistic of integrating me into the physical fitness aspect of the school as well. There may be a possibility of coaching basketball!!!! This only brought big smiles across my face. The school director seems to be every excited to have me, which is great!

Physically, the school itself is not comparable to the United States. My school, in particular, has over 700 students but does not have the space for so many students. Students attend school Monday-Saturday and there are two sessions: 9-1 and then 2-6 p.m. The educational system is entirely different from the states until of late. Starting this year, students will enter a 13-year educational experience. As of now, students attend primary school from the first grade until the tenth grade, then higher education if it is the student’s choice (though it is required for all the boys who have graduated to serve 2 years in the army). Now, a K-12 system is being implemented as well as a more Westernized higher educational system to the likes Europe and the States. At present, I have taught a few tutor lessons as well as summer school, but the true scholastic experience begins September 1st!

My new host family is wonderful. I have three younger brothers, which helps being a single American woman in a village. Gender roles are a bit different here than the United States. However, these differences can be seen in many other countries besides Armenia. For all the American women out there, though we continue to seek strides in gender equality, we really need to count our blessings in the progress of equality even if it may be slow. However, with that said, a country like the United States must continue to press this issue for countries seem to look towards the success that the United States has had…random philosophical ideas….

My counterpart and I really get along and I am really looking forward in working and team-teaching with her. Currently, we do not have our class schedule, so I am not for sure which grades I will teach, but rest assure that I will be tutoring all ages in my English Clubs! I have also indirectly started a fitness club, without any attention. I ran one morning with my older host brother, and soon, kids from all around starting running with us. Now, we try to run every other day. It has been a real enjoyment for me, as I have learned to relax when I run (Sorry Coach Hendricks, I know this was long waiting…). The neighbors are amazing as well, and are constantly asking me if I would like to marry a “Hay” aka Armenian boy…By the way, there is no such thing as a “personal” question in Armenia. I have actually gotten used to it.

Personally, the last month has gone rather quickly. After my last update, I was busy along the sides of other TEFL volunteers administrating an English Teaching Workshop, as well as sharpening up my Armenian language skills. Before I swore in as official Peace Corps Volunteer, I had to pass a language exam. I was very nervous, just like my high school track meet days! The day before the exam, I could not even introduce myself in Armenian, something that is quite easy. However, through many pressure situations I have had in my short life, as well as a wonderful support crew, I was able to build up confidence the next day and I actually spoke very well and scored a bit better than I expected. WAHOO! Armenian is a tough language because of the unique sounds in its 39-letter alphabet, but at the same time, the language is so elegant!

Currently, I do not have any language faux pas to spread to you, but be sure there are going to me some more to come.

Before I left my first village, I spent a lot time with my first host family, as well as my community of TEFL volunteers, because we soon realized we would be spread out throughout this very small country (but very difficult to travel through). The nine of us Americans as well as our village really bonded. If fact, when the final day came, many community members wished us off with kind words and big hugs. I will not lie, I was completely sobbing. It was such a weird feeling because we had only lived in that village for 2 months, but everyone has such a direct impact on each other. But we just shared the simplest things in life that touched deep within…two cultures uniting…this is a wonderful and amazing experience. In all honestly, I cannot describe in words my emotions of how extravagant the first two months were…YES, Syd Merz could be left speechless, though it happens quite rarely...aka last time South Africa.

Now, after a big celebration of passing pre-service training, the new PCV’s are spread throughout Armenia, audaciously implementing the goals of the PC share and amalgamating two cultures while providing encouragement and service. I am really enjoying this experience, but do not think this is just an easy ride. There have been many challenges thus far, and it is early. There are bigger obstacles that I need to maneuver around as well as conquer. There are times of happy tears that can be easily followed by tears of frustration, but that is why I took this journey and opportunity. Never in my life, has fate, or whatever you may refer to label it, made any sense. From developing relationships with country natives, to the joys of connecting with the community, to the aggravation of not completely understanding the language, to the sporadic water availability, to the coming long winter months; the “Universe’s” plan is coming into action. I still pinch myself once in awhile and ask myself, “ I am really in the Peace Corps?...Where am I…Armenia??”; and of course, it is not a dream, it the truth, it is reality…I am living a dream; a dream of mine and maybe others. I was told from the beginning that this experience would be the “toughest” job that I would ever love…I must say they are right and I still have two years left…

Here’s hoping all is well in your town, village, and/or city, in what ever country you reside,
Sending much love with hugs,

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Finally, my first update!!

Hey there!

I hope you enjoy this picture of my pal Eileen. It is a special shout out to her to let her pals know that this “golden girl” is alive! We are in the city for an all-2006 PCV workday.

I AM MOVING!!! My site for the next two years will be in the largest village in Armenia, located south of the biggest lake in Armenia, Lake Sevan. I will be teaching 3rd -10th grades (these are the only grades in Armenia educational system, though starting September 1, 2006 a K-12 system is being implemented). I will be teaching primarily in one school, though my knowledge will be utilized in two others as well. I will experience all four seasons, with wonderful mountain, lake, and valley scences. The winter will be very comparable to Buffalo, NY, with lots of snow…the only difference is that there is no heating in the home!!!! I will get my new address soon, so I will be sure to keep you posted! Internet will be over two hours away, so updates will be random.. Now, I have many troubles logging into my email account as well as trying to access my blog.

Well is has been over a month since I have last chatted to anyone through the worldwide web. Thank you so much for your personal responses as well. I promise to get to each of you, though it may take a moment, especially since it takes 15 minutes to send emails here. I sincerely know they will be overdue, so my apologies in advance!

The weather has been nuts here. We had to be in the 100’s for the first couple of weeks, then it was barely in the 50’s for a week, and now we are back in the low 90’s. Last winter, the schools had to close for two months because of the harsh winter and lack of heating in the facilities. I don’t think that the weather is going to be the hardest part, but the fact that I may be stranded in my home for that long!!!!

We had a wonderful July 4th celebration despite the weather being uncooperative. It rained the entire day, as it had the past week, leaving the initial plans unattainable. All incoming PCV’s were going to meet up for a BIG celebration, but instead the villages stayed together. Plus, the roads were so muddied that we got stuck trying to get to our destination. We had a nice “horavots” meaning bbq, played Armenian playground games, and ate, and ate, and ate. We sang songs such as the “Star Spangled Banner”, etc. I am sure that the fellow Armenians would never ask the Americans to sing again!!! No fireworks were involved, but fun was still had by all.

Armenian food is good! I have tried everything on the table, and have only gotten sick twice, which is really not that bad. The food does not differ much to that of what can be found in America, is it just that the food is purely natural…ie the milk, all dairy products, veggies, meats, etc. Also, the Armenians love to celebrate everything, so there are many “toasts” for various reasons. I am hoping that once I clear up my language skills I will be able to understand what I am toasting to!

Language is coming along to say the least; though I wish I was progressing a bit quicker. I can carry conversations and make sense, though my sentence structure is completely wrong. My vocabulary is expanding each day which is a very intense learning process. Sometimes I even catch myself righting in my journal in Armenian! Also, I have been teaching 8th graders. I always had a special appreciation for my teachers, but now, this appreciation has grown a bit bigger…

The village I live in is great. The community has embraced my running schedule and the people that are up at 630 are on the “janaparh” (road) are waving and smiling. I am known as the “sportsman” of the village, and they all think I am a boxer. I guess only boxers run everyday, so it has been interesting trying to tell people that I just like to run for fun. I have also initiated a soccer game every Monday with the village children. I don’t know that much about soccer, but evidently I have not made a big mistake yet Everyday when I walk home from school or from other volunteers’ homes, I am escorted by at least 6 kids. They are so funny! Each day they give me a new word in Armenia in exchange for an English word. So far, their favorite phrase is “Later Gator”, but no worries, they know some proper English as well, not just slang. Also, I came to the village and saw very few smiles…this is slowly changing

I had one really tough day on a couple of weeks ago. My IPOD’s hard drive crashed and I have lost all my music…all 2100 songs. I cannot believe how attached I had become to my IPOD. But it is just of material value… You know, all good things in life are wild and free.

My two funny language faux pas of the past month have been…
-The word “ice cream” is very similar to another word. It is a matter of saying a “kh” sound over a “gh” sound. Very hard to find the difference, but I did quickly because the other word that is similar is condom….yep; I had to that cleared up QUICKLY! No wonder the lady at the candy hut looked at me weird…

-The other one is that I said “I want to eat my teachers” rather than “ I went on a walk with my teachers”..

Other than that, things are well. This is definitely a challenge not so much physical, but emotional and psychological. It simply is just a different way of life: the lack of simple resources such as water and electricity. However, the happiness, desire, and hope of the Armenians is endless. This country has battled from many wars, but the preservation of its language and culture are so fluid and dominant. The Armenian history is quite full of interesting feats, both good and bad. I encourage each of you to read about it sometime. I would tell you more, but this would be longer that what is already is!

With that said, I am going to wrap up this note. So if you don’t hear from me, just understand that “no news is good news” and that there are many Armenians taking good care of me…and yes, they give wonderful hugs and enjoy feeding me ice cream…so I have it made!

Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers
Anush yevraz (sweet dreams)
Syd (there is not an “I” sound in Armenia so my name here is SEED).
Happy Wedding Vows to Rhea, Stephanie, and Netty…sorry I could not be there!
Happy Bdays to Laurel and Stacie on July 6th.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

It's Game Time

Barev my mates!!! I, along with 49 others, have just completed the pre-departure requirements and now, we are awaiting tomorrow, where we will fly out to Armenia. All the PCV's (Peace Corp Volunteers) are AMAZING!!! Within hours, many of us connected at rapid levels. There is a unique aura about us that has allowed us to relate with each other; something that has become quite special to us. We have only known each other for a little over 30 hours!!!! Next up, is what many of us have been waiting for..some for years, some for months, and others just days. We are about to embarked on a great feat, where our failures will lead to successes and our successes to great wonders. There will be lots of "cheers" and "tears", with the whole experience being a personal growth opportunity for all individuals and cultures involved. This is a ride of a lifetime, and I am eager for the journey....the journey has only begun.
On a side note, there has been a discrepency on the address, but I will post the real address on my blog once notified. It has to do with the postal may be the following: School #2, 17 Heratsi St, 377201 Vanadzor, Armenia. However, the town is small, so if you were EVER SO NICE and have already sent mail at the previous address, it has a strong chance of arriving to the quarters in which I will be living. Also, will have VERY limited access to the "net" in the next 10 or so weeks...but will keep you posted when possible. All right, I have to go...last night in the US as a 24 year old..I think I will have some pasta and a drink or two. Until next update...keep it real..arrayzhm (so long)...syd

Monday, May 29, 2006

T-minus 78 hours until PC bound

Barev y'all. Sorry for the late update. After living the relaxing life in Cocoa Beach, I hit the books hard for the comprehensive exams and end-of-the projects. It is safe to say that I am an official "Sooner" as I have completed my masters program of Adult and Higher Education from the University of Oklahoma; though I will always be "Maverick" bred. OU was a nice stay for me, and I actually miss it more than I ever thought. The "mates" and relationships that I made were quite special, and I worked with an incredible bunch of individuals as well as attended a higher learning program filled with a great faculty. Lately, I have been gathering up the troops and meeting with my mates from all walks of life..UNO, Indy, Chicago, you name it. A special shout out to my track teammates and my family members who put a couple of fine dinners/lunches and united the family before I head yonder. Also got in a Cubs game in with my mom before the departure..bleacher tix with Dave, Nate and Kyle as well. The past two weeks have flown by and now it is the "official" pack under 100lbs for 27 months game. So far I am winning the challenge, though it has been an unique ride. I rather take three t-shirts than nice dress clothes :) I will try and post again b4 I head out, but if I don't, just know that I lose my celly phone on Wednesday. Thanks again for your wonderful support!!!!!! Kenats't!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Cocoa Beach = Ridin Waves, Naps, Kayaking

I spent this past weekend visiting my best mate, Justinn, and her mom, Sue in Cocoa Beach. It was quite relaxing and full of fun-love friend time! Last time I get to see J before I head out and she ventures off into the woods with Outward Bound!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Peace Corps Week

Peace Corps is celebrating its 45th Anniversary today, March 1st! Born in 1961 under President John F. Kennedy, more than 182,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 138 countries where volunteers have served. The number of volunteers in the field today is at a 30-year high with 7,810 volunteers serving overseas. Volunteers in 75 countries work in the areas of education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. ( How cool, eh?

I just returned from a Peace Corp Panel where former volunteers and a director spoke of their experiences. This only excited me even more, as their stories were riveting and exhilarating! Can't wait for some stories of my own!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Welcome to my Blog!

Hello Everyone!
Welcome to the blog of my Peace Corps Journey to the Republic of Armenia! I will be posting messages on this site throughout my PC service, updating you all on the facets of a new chapter in my life. Access to internet while in Armenia will be challenging depending on the actual area in which I will be serving. I will find more information about my specific placement area towards the end of April. All necessary information about Armenia can be found in the links to the right. Lastly, I will be updating this blog until I depart on June 3rd. I will post my contact information once received :)

Thanks for being apart of my new journey! :) Please save this site under "My Favorites" and check it out once in a great while...

The apples of my eyes :)

The crazy people are they apples of my eyes! Cole, Sam (older sis), Alexis, Carter, Whitney (younger sis)! They are going to be missed the most!!!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Table Mtn. Cape Town South Africa! Syd and Ant

Posted by Picasa
I wish I were hiking now! It is very cold and icy here, hard to go on your bike! :)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Placement has arrived

Hello All:

After much anticipation, I have received my invitation from the United States Peace Corps to serve as a Secondary English Teacher in the Republic of Armenia! :)
You can learn more information about the country in the links on the left panel! VERY HAPPY!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

In the Mail!

Arrived at work this morning to find out that the Peace Corps has sent my invitation! Bouncing off the walls here!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006