Bein’ One Wit Dem People!

By , August 27, 2017 10:17 am

Hi everyone!!! Well, we made it through staging in Miami, pre-service training 1 and model school in Saint Lucia, pre-service training 2 and our lovely swearing in ceremony in Dominica.

We’re officially Peace Corps Volunteers!!

At times, it felt like years, and other times it felt like the time simply whizzed by. The entire experience was positive and exciting. I am convinced that is because of the amazing people who are in our group (including the trainers, Assistant Peace Core Directors, the Country Director, and the other volunteers). One thing we talked about early on in our training was to “bein’ one with dem people” and with that, it will be the theme of today’s post. We’ll share other weeks in other posts.

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Peace Corps Here We Come!

By , June 4, 2017 1:19 pm

Photo of Mojitos @ the Ball and Chain, Little Havana MiamiOMG!!!! Where to start on this first post of our Peace Corps (Eastern Caribbean) adventure. Most of you all know that I (Christine) am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (96-98 Jamaica) and some of you know that it was a very difficult experience for various reasons. If it weren’t for my Peace Corps Fellows experience at Columbia Teachers College, I would never have wanted to do it again. Thankfully, I met people who served in many different countries and their stories were quite different from mine, so from then on, I knew I would do the Peace Corps again someday. Luckily, I met a great man who would be game to do it with me.

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What to Bring??

By , May 15, 2017 5:48 pm

Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to fit all that you hold dear and important into only two suitcases. Each cannot weigh more than 50 pounds or have a combined dimension of 62″. Sounds like you’ll be packing a lot of stuff, doesn’t it?

Think about everything you own in your home, your apartment, your storage, your nooks and crannies, your space – all the stuff that fills it and makes it comfortable, welcoming….yours. Clothes, shoes, books, electronics, games, and memories. What would you need for the next 2.5 years?

What would you pack?

 

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Peace Corps

By , May 10, 2017 7:59 am

 

Map of Eastern Caribbean

Holy cow!!!  This is really happening.

Bert and Patty are going into the Peace Corps!!!  21 years ago I (Bert…aka Christine) was just as excited for this exact same reason.  I was, and am now, sorting, packing, selling, donating and plain ol’ stressing about all the stuff we have.  For two people who pride themselves on being minimalists, we have managed, in the past six years, to accumulate a lot of stuff.  Luckily, we have a very small condo or it could have been worse.  This is the third time for me and the second time for Paul, of completely downsizing to what fits in a backpack and a few boxes.  I have to say, it feels very good.  We have gotten rid of quite a bit of stuff in the past few weeks and honestly, I cannot even remember what we got rid of let alone miss it.

Can you think of a few things you can get rid of and not even miss?

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Hello Malaysia!!!!

By , August 13, 2014 8:28 am

KuchingWell, cannot believe another week has gone by.  Where does the time go?  At the moment I am on a plane headed to Hanoi.  I have just spent a week and a half in Malaysia.  The time went by in a flash.  Let me tell you all about it.
So, a few months ago I was talking to my friend from Uni, Constance, and she decided to coordinate her trip home to Borneo for the same time that I would be graduating from my TESOL program.  This could not have been more perfect.  I went from my newly made friends in HCMC to my old friend and her family.  It started with two nights in Kuala Lumpur.  Constance and her in laws picked me up and we headed out to the sweetest town called Melaka.  It took a couple of hours to get there but it was completely worth it.  Since Connie and her family are Chinese Malaysians, we visited Chinese temples, ate the most amazing rice balls lunch, and walked around.  The town is a must if you are visiting K.L.  There are cute shops, cute guesthouses, museums, a huge cathedral and the the most amazing guys riding around on the funniest bikes decorated in all kinds of colors and designs.  You have to see it to believe it.  It was a lovely day that ended with a lovely Chinese dinner and a trip to the health clinic.

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Good Morning Vietnam (again)

By , July 20, 2014 7:31 am

14505420997_38fe7f7f93_oWell, I have been here for a week and what a week it has been. Fantastic!!! 10 steps above Cambodia. Don’t get me wrong, Cambodia is good but Vietnam is really good. I think it also matters where you are staying and we are staying in the best area of the city. It’s so beautiful with tree lined streets and not much much trash really. We are only a couple blocks from the school, Language Corps, which is also nice. I like walking to school in the morning. We also have tons of restaurants and stores all around us. We didn’t have that in Phenom Pehn. Plus, we were so far from everything that a tuk tuk ride was $4 to get anywhere. Here, we can pretty much walk everywhere. We also have an amazing park only a couple of blocks away. I love the park because 1. It is beautiful and 2. It is alive with people. People playing badminton, exercising, jogging, zumba, working out on the permanent equipment, playing Chinese Chess, walking around, and just hanging out.

Our hotel is lovely too. I have a bathtub, a balcony, actual decorations, cable tv and wifi in my room. They even do free laundry service and clean my room when I give them the key. They don’t really know English but it’s amazingly easy to communicate when you really want to. It’s a lot like charades. They are very nice and always smile when we come in.

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Teaching English in Asia

By , July 19, 2014 7:37 am

Photo of view from my window in Cambodia

Holy smokes!! I’m on a bus heading OUT of Cambodia! How did this happen considering it feels like I just arrived? My intention was to write many posts and update Facebook frequently. In reality… I’m still getting used to writing on a tablet, having unreliable internet, and being in classes all day. This has been challenging at times, especially for a gal that hasn’t been in school for 14 years. So, with that, let me tell you the story of Cambodia as I lived it.

 

Well, it took two days to get here. I stayed in a lovely hotel in Taiwan on the way. Once in Cambodia, I was greeted by a guy (I call him Bob Marley because he was wearing a B.M. t-shirt and didn’t speak English). The first thing he did was walk me through the airport parking lot and across the street to his tuk-tuk. The street was very busy so we weaved through and the vehicles went around us like a school of fish. Welcome to Cambodia! We hopped into the tuk-tuk and were ourselves weaving around the crowded streets to make our way to my new home, the Marady Hotel. For those of you who do not know, I am taking an intensive TESOL course that starts in Phnom Penh and ends in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Our hotel was a bit far out and honestly did not look too inviting to explore the streets. I did not see any tourist shops, restaurants or even a mall. I kept thinking, ‘what did I get myself into?’ I was also feeling quite lost without my better half, Paul a/k/a Patty.

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Welcome to Asia

By , June 28, 2014 4:58 pm
Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

I haven’t even made it to my final destination, Phnom Penh, and so much has happened.  I don’t mean just travel-wise but also Christine-wise.  First, there was saying “goodbye” to my sweet baby.  I know, I’m the one who planned this little getaway but man, I sure didn’t think it would be so hard.  I kind of think at the time of the ticket purchase, I was under the influence of hormones and thank goodness I can’t just cancel everything because I think I might have now that the ol hormones are under control.  Anyways, all that to say, I have an amazing husband who is the biggest supporter of this adventure.  I wish he was by my side experiencing all this with me.  At any rate, I’m trying to tap into that adventurous solo traveller Christine that I knew 10 years ago.

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Beverly Hills 9021 . . . oh!

By , June 26, 2014 8:51 pm

Enjoying the Emmy's in Beverly HillsThe Sea-Tac Southwest Airlines gate side cattle call and subsequent scramble for a seat was an adventure in itself and once that hurdle was overcome the rest of the flight to California was uneventful. Within minutes of exiting the airport, we were picked up in our Uber car and whisked away to the next leg of our journey. We arrived to the Beverly Hilton to paparazzi flashbulbs and an elevated frenzy . . . how did they know we were coming?? Well, they didn’t . . . There was really only one tidbit of trivia we knew about this hotel is that it hosted the television Emmy awards every year, and our Uber black town car just happened to arrive in the middle of  “celebrity drop off” – nothing like a red carpet and disappointed photographers to welcome a pair of backpackers!

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Let the Adventures Begin!!

By , June 22, 2014 11:21 am
Sound Transit Light Rail

Sound Transit Light Rail

The 6:30am alarm didn’t stand a chance in being helpful this morning . . . we were up already and eager to go. Though our flight wasn’t to leave until after 11am, we were already making coffee, shuffling around the house, and making last minute adjustments to our bags and electronics inventory. Bag . . . check, passports . . . check, music/movies on the tablet . . . check, local currencies and flight info . . . you bet!

The bus arrived at the stop right as we did, which was good because we’d have to wait 35 minutes for the next one, and our transfer to the Light Rail was met with an equally efficient flow – although eight minutes to the next train would’ve been quite easy to accept. We’re not in a hurry anyways . . .

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