Oh hello people! I have not been inspired to write for a while, but I do have some updates for you. First off, staging will be in Philly. That's cool I guess. Ok, something more exciting.. I got to write my anonymous host family a letter. We (Albania group 16) got an email telling us our group is not closed, meaning no more people can be invited to Albania for the March 18 departure. The email also told us we could now pack 100lbs worth of luggage for free, and that we needed to fill out a questionnaire regarding our learning, teaching, and learning styles...for our in country placement. The questionnaire asked things about our comfort level. For example it listed a bunch of situations and asked us to check off the ones that might make us feel uncomfortable. My only requests were to not be placed in an anti-Semitic or racist home...and to not be placed with very old people. I feel a little ridiculous now requesting the no old people, but it was one of the options, and at the time I was just feeling like I might be more comfortable with a younger host family..and I feel that honesty is the best policy.
Writing a letter to my host family was pretty exciting..although I don't know who they are yet. I found a sense of thrill similar to the kind you get before college when you find your first roommate on Facebook hah. I had no idea what to say so I'm pretty sure I just blabbed on about my favorite color and food...and my hobbies. If anything, they'll pick up that I like to talk a lot.
Quickly switching topics...packing! I now have a hiking backpack, a solar panel backpack, a very good knife, a lap top, multiple packs of sturdy rubber gloves, a bunch of cheap accessories, several practical outfits, a suitcase, and some exercise equipment. My next pay check will go to buying a high quality umbrella, all purpose and waterproof hiking shoes (Teva gives PC a 50% discount) and a pair of prescription sunglasses..seeing as contacts will not be available to me once I move to Albania.
I almost have everything I think I will NEED for Albania, but there are still some things I want...such as a camera and iPod and anew pair of glasses frames...and maybe a black snow jacket. I call those things I want luxury items, and I have already made peace with the fact that I might not have them. No big deal if I don't :)
I really need to thank my friends and family who have contributed to my Peace Corps packing. I can't believe how lucky I am to have such generous and caring people in my life. I hope to spend as much time as I can with you guys before I go. It's definitely getting close to go time, and perhaps I will write an entry on my emotional state of this part of the Peace Corps process soon. Until then, thanks for reading!