Just settling into bed after my first day of staging in Philly. Last-minute luxuries of free wireless, soft beds, phone calls from home .... and access to beer (a really great local lager called Yuengling). Thai food for dinner, with seitan that tasted so much like chicken that I just couldn't stomach it.
Upon handing in my paperwork, I officially moved from being an invitee to a Peace Corps Trainee. Spent this afternoon doing hokey but fun getting-to-know you exercises There are 58 of us, split about evenly between Youth Development and Small Business Development. By my count, there are three women in our group who are older than me, one more who looks to be about my age ... and an awful lot of new or recent grads. All very interesting and cool, but I have to work on not feeling my age.
The story of President Kennedy's somewhat impromptu, 2 a.m. speech at the University of Michigan, a speech that set the Peace Corps in motion, actually teared me up a bit.
A full day of focusing on safety and cultural issues tomorrow. Sometime Monday we board a bus for JFK, followed by an eight-hour flight across the Atlantic. I can't be more grateful for all the phone calls, texts, Facebook posts and wall comments. I miss you all, but I'm feeling calm and ready for what lies ahead. I'll keep you posted as best I can. Peace!
By the numbers.
58 Trainees in my staging group.
73 Countries with current Peace Corps volunteers. (74 before volunteers were recently pulled out of Georgia.)
8,079 Current Peace Corps volunteers across the globe.
59 Percentage of PC volunteers who are female.
6 Former Peace Corps volunteers currently in Congress.
182,000 Total Peace Corps volunteers since 1961 (in 138 countries)
3 months ago