Friday, April 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

One of our Peace Corps Medical Officers, known to most around here as Dr. Dan (but to some as Dapper Dan, and definitely not Lieutenant Dan) had the best quote of the day, "Remember, all butt itchings do not come from pinworms." I will be sure to keep this always in the forefront of my mind.

On a more serious note, even though this particular malady sounds horrible, I get the strong feeling we are in amazing hands with the medical staff here. They know exactly what we're in for these next couple of years, and they know exactly how to handle it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And We're Here!

We're a little jet lagged and a lot excited to have arrived in Târgoviște! We actually arrived about 4:15 PM local time, so for those keeping track we were on the road about 31 hours by the clock and 24 hours if you don't look at time changes.

Our hotel seems great (free wi-fi in the lobby), and the town is beautiful. Kelly, Sarah and I found a nice botanic gardens on a walk before dinner, which is going to start in about 15 minutes. We've got a full day of training tomorrow, and from what I hear we'll meet our host family on Saturday!

All of our compadres are excellent. There's a huge diversity in about every way you can imagine. We're slowly getting to know everyone, but I can already tell we've got a fantastic, energetic and motivated group. Romania, I hope you're ready for us!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And We're Off...

Sarah and I officially became Peace Corps Trainees yesterday in Philadelphia, PA. This morning we hop on a bus to NYC at 9:15 AM and if all goes well, we should arrive in Târgoviște, Romania tomorrow at about 2:30 PM tomorrow. That's 29 1/2 hours on the clock and 22 1/2 hours to our bodies. Wish us luck, or as we'll be saying soon "noroc!"


These past few weeks have been taken up with saying our last goodbyes. We're really lucky to have a large community of people whom we love and who love us right back. Unfortunately that means that leaving for two years has been all the more difficult. But, as one of our dearest friends, Posie, said, "Be happy you have people in your life that are hard to say goodbye to." I couldn't agree more but that hasn't made any of the goodbyes easier.

Some of these wonderful friends threw us a going away party a week ago. It was so nice to see everyone under one roof but tough to spend quality time with people. Sarah's parents provided the all-important drinks and some food, Marjorie provided her house and more food, and Ted, Linna, and Posie helped with even more food. It all went off perfectly, and we even had a beautiful day for people to hang out on the deck.

Then last week, we had practically every "last" meal planned with someone. Plenty of tears were shed during the week as we faced the reality of not seeing our friends and family for two years. We were lucky enough to have an intimate Easter dinner with our closest family and friends. Dan gave a beautiful prayer, tying together the promise of safety in Passover, the idea of rebirth from Easter, and our journey. Carol cooked an amazing meal.

The highlight of our departure was the fact that Theron's brother, his wife, and both of Sarah's parents were able to see us off at the airport. The LaBountys drove to and from Mitchell, NE today, six hours round trip. We're feeling the love!

There is some consolation about leaving because of the communication possibilities of the Internet. But even if we do have 24-7 video chat, it's not going to be the same as giving Posie a call for a last minute burger night; dropping by Ted and Linna's place for Chinese Hot Pot, and playing hide and seek with Cameron and Kate; or walking over to Marjorie's house for a late night philosophical discussion. Nor will it be the same as spending time with Sarah's family.

Now we're off for one more round of goodbyes before our first round of hellos. In Philadelphia, we're meeting with our long time friends Clara, Frank, Lindsay, Miren, and Robb. They all just happen to live in Philadelphia (Except Clara who timed her vacation to Philly to coincide with us!). We are so lucky to see these awesome friends before we go. It brings tears to my eyes.

We've been reminded many times that we'll make new friends and that two years from now we'll be saying more goodbyes as we head back to the U.S. No doubt that's true, but it definitely doesn't make these goodbyes any easier. We are excited to start this journey together but leaving still sucks. Tomorrow we meet Peace Corps Romania Group 28 face to face for the first time. All of the goodbyes will be worth it worth it when we leave Romania with new friend-for-life friends.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Trip to Omaha

Last weekend we were able to make a quick trip to Omaha to visit Sarah's extended family. We had a great trip! It was wonderful to see everyone. The highlight was definitely my grandpa's concert. Thanks to the Kafkas for hosting us and the Riggles for loaning us their car. Here are a few pictures:

Tom & Carter

Sarah, Teta & Theron

Lisa, Sarah, Theron & Sheena

Debbie & Krista



Theron, Angie & Sarah

Amy & Sarah