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?

Right, so for those of you who didn’t know about our plans, my dear Paul got his B.S. degree last Spring.  It was a long time coming and I am so proud of him.  It was not easy since he is older and it was an online program but he did it.   Then, only a few weeks later, he took his citizenship test and became a U.S. citizen.  It wasn’t long after that that we applied to our positions in the Peace Corps.  These days it’s so much easier because you actually apply to the specific country/job.  When we were thinking of where we wanted to go, we took in consideration the fact that we love the beach, we wanted to work with kids, and hopefully teach English.  We ended up being offered a position in the Eastern Caribbean (not far from where I did the Peace Corps before—Jamaica 96-98).  We are going to teach ‘literacy’ aka reading to 1st and 2nd grade students.  It will be expected that we also create or update the school library.  I say update because it’s been told that some schools have libraries with every imaginable (and some very inappropriate) books that have been donated.  Imagine how excited a 1st grade student would be about the Joys of Cooking or the biography of Betty White.  Not!!!   It’s our goal to make sure the library has books that are appealing to children.

We are armed with stickers, little finger toy monsters, games, a projector (for movie nights), some kitchen utensils, bedding, and lots of business attire.  Who would have thought after all these years, I would join the Peace Corps and have to actually dress up.  Well, it’s true.  I was so stressed about this part of the assignment that I have unwittingly bought a lot of dresses and sandals over the past few months.  I can easily dress for a month without washing a single thing.  That is so unlike me.  I guess that will be good because my hand washing skills are a bit rusty.  As it turns out, Paul has been stressing about the same thing.  We aren’t the only ones, other perspective volunteers in our group have been chatting about appropriate dress in our new assignment.   Well, hopefully we are on target with this part of the assignment.  We hear there is a Payless shoe store in St. Lucia if we need to buy some ‘appropriate’ shoes.

We constantly talk about how incredibly fortunate we have been in the past 6 years.  Although it was our vision to live in Scotland or the UK forever, we were so lucky that Paul had such an amazing place to come back to…Sellen Construction.  After a year or so, I got my old job back as well and it’s been nice to work with old and new friends.  We have enjoyed our lovely condo and Seattle immensely.  It’s bittersweet because we know we have a good life here but I think the pull of travel and adventure is too much.  We are excited to start our adventure in the Peace Corps.  Thank you to everyone who has been so kind and supportive, it really means the world to us.

Until next time…

5 Responses to “Peace Corps”

  1. drk says:

    happy for you guys.
    make sure to take this book along:
    it teached youngster the right and open approach… and caused some raised eyebrows here in the middle east

  2. James Gluba says:

    Amazing! Congrats Paul on your education and citizenship! So proud of you both in your bold endeavor. Hope to meet again someday. James & Andrea (Isla)

  3. Tina Harcrow says:

    How exciting! I wonder what you’ve been up to quite a bit. When are you leaving? Do we have time to get together before then?

  4. Christine says:

    Dirk, thanks for the recommendation. We will have plenty of time to read I’m sure.
    Thank you James!!! We’ve done a lot in the last three years alright. Maybe your next trip should be to the Caribbean? We will have plenty of room.
    Tina, we leave on the 27th. Been busy little bees getting everything done. I’m actually still working 2-3 days per week. Would love to get together.

  5. Tina Harcrow says:

    Yay! Does your cell number still end in 42?

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