Monday, June 4, 2007

First blog! Exciting!

Howdy, folks and friends!

Welcome to my very first blog. At the moment, I'm still in my room in Houston, but I thought I should put some general information out there for everyone. I'll close with the official Peace Corps letter to family and friends, which should cover anything I forget.

I leave for staging in D.C. on Wednesday morning. From what I've read, I imagine staging will be like orientation with fewer ice-breakers (although I'm open to a game of Ride the Pony). We're in D.C. until Friday, when we jet over to the clinic to get our vaccinations and then go to the airport. We fly to Paris and arrive in Lomé Saturday evening.

I'll spend the first three days with all the volunteers at a Peace Corps house in the capital. Then we get separated by programs for our three-month training. I'm going to Agou Nyogbo, which apparently has unstable cell phone service. I'm unsure of what that says about internet service. We'll see.

Several people expressed interest in sending packages, which is AWESOME. However, packages can take anywhere from four to six weeks to arrive - if they do. So just keep that in mind. There is also the possibility that packages will be "examined", which essentially means I might not receive everything you put in the package. So don't send anything super valuable.

Here are some tips for mailing, which I stole from the book "So You Want to Join the Peace Corps... What to Know Before You Go" by Dillon Banerjee. He suggests addressing mail in red ink, because somehow, that keeps the curious away. He also says it helps to scribble religious symbols or quotes all over the outside of any packages.

"Though many of the countries in which Peace Corps serves are largely animist in religion, superstition runs high and even corrupt postal workers are wary of intercepting religious parcels."

So break out your religious texts, and toss a "Sister" in front of my name. I'm serious. If nothing else, it will make me laugh.

In case you do feel the need to send me packages, here are some things I think I might want (list subject to change):
- Post It notes
- pictures
- books (definitely!)
- AA batteries
- pens
- peanut butter
- EmergenC/vitamins
- lipgloss or chapstick
- a map of the world
- books
- US stamps (I plan on sending one person a letter full of stamped letters to be thrown into the post box)
- margaritas, I mean, books
- books

That being said, let me tell you that I sent myself some books today. Six books, two of which were blank journals. Apparently, amongst the other recent changes at the post office, they did away with media mail, at least for international packages. The postal worker told me I had the option of priority or express. I went for the cheaper of the two, priority, which was $43. Perhaps sending one book at a time will be more economical (unless it's Harry Potter, whichI fully expect to see in my mail box by next January. Thanks).

That's all I have for now. Tomorrow, I look forward to packing. In typical Linda fashion, I saved it for the very last day.

Oh. Here's the letter from the Peace Corps. Nevermind, look at the next post, this one's already too long.

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