Staging in Miami

Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
Trip End Apr 26, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Today was a very busy...long and tiring day. I got up early this morning for my flight out of Columbia. Had to endure the painful hardship of bidding farewell to family for 2 years...and then deal with the hassles of traveling! Thank God I wasn't over the 80 pound limit. I weighed again right before I left for the airport and I was still overweight, so I had to strip some more! Turns out, I left behind only a pair of sunglasses, shaver charger ( go figure, right?), couple of paper notebooks, some reading books, and an extension cord. Well, it was enough to keep me within the limits.

Didn't get too far after checking in my luggage when I lost my boarding I had to ask the kind counter lady for new tickets to be printed....I only think she didn't give me a hard time because I had my big bossman father with me in his fire uniform - she couldn't argue with that! I probably turned around 8 times from the time I left the last TSA agent to wave goodbye to my family and then I went to the terminal...

The first day of staging went off rather nicely. Found out that I need a few more khackis than I had packed, so I had to walk to the KMart, which is a good mile from the hotel. Luckily, there were a couple of others in the same boat as me, so we all went together. There are soooo many Hispanic people in Miami. It is really like you are living in a different culture. Forget going to Paraguay - there is plenty of work to do here!

We spent most of the day talking just generally about the overview of the Peace's policies, goals, strategies for development, how success is defined as a PCV, how to be a safe and productive PCV, and so on. The trainer handled our "worries" quite well. Naturally, there would be a host of questions about other issues that were asked, but she put them in "the parking lot." (questions set aside for later). We had several breakout groups where we were able to rotate from table to table to make sure that we were in different groups. We got to share our anxieties and aspirations regarding our upcoming service in Paraguay. It was good to know (for sure!!!!) that there were other volunteers with the EXACT same fears and feelings of excitement that I had!

We got a walk around allowance for spending while we were in Miami - came out to be $140...but there are so many things that we have to use that money for - tipping people here and there, buying new clothes that we were supposed to bring with us (LOL--tinnnnny oversight there!), eating tonight, tomorrow, the money will go fast - we have been warned! My roomate is a very nice person, or so it seems. His middle name "Faulconbridge" I have come to learn! I am so fortunate to have forged already some good relationships...just a few so far, but like the PC steps....lead to giant successes!

Our suitcases are now colorcoded - a steep tradition with the Peace Corps - since I am in Education - I have blue around all of mine. There are about 6 of us that are involved in the education sector in the G-23 training group - 36 altogether in our group heading down to Paraguay. Surprisingly enough, there is one other male in my ed group - he is the only married couple. There are two other sectors - urban youth development and health/sanitation.

Anywho, I have to be up in like 6 hours for the next staging orientation session...and I have so many things to do when I get up - so much business to take care of before our sessions start again.

Will write when I get into Paraguay.

Until next time, your ambassador to the world.....

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