I think this is the 4th time I've restarted this 28th blog. I'm struggling. Things are not going so hot here. Actually that's not true at all. Many things are going right, but there was one huge thing that went so wrong, it's just hard to overlook. I haven't written in a while, like I said. Much has happened since the last post, which I'm glad are documented with pictures at least, so I can remember most of it. A strange opera, a great farewell dinner with my host family, a super Russian-haircut (complete with the bangs lol) and more in between. Right now, I'm in a coffee place with wi-fi! I'm with a Kaz - 19, in Almaty. I know... I should be writing some exciting blog about my new site and my new counterpart and school. The people, the scenery... nope. Not yet at least.
We were sworn in on Saturday. The previous day was when we were having all of our bags picked up and shipped to the place where we were being sworn in. So at the luggage stop, I'm thinking of ways to downsize... Staring intimidated-ly at my 3 huge suitcases I think to myself "I could at least eliminate this purse I'm carrying..." Thankfully I was offered a ride to the luggage drop off spot by another trainee's family, otherwise I was planning on three 15-min trips! So, I open one of my suitcases and, after taking the important items out of my purse, put it in the suitcase. I had my hard drive (because I planned to swing by Gambrill's place and take her David Lanz... which remind me of my mom :), my PC Passport & Card, and some other random important items (phone... etc) I put the hard drive in my track jacket pocket and my passport/card in the back pocket of my jeans. (The weather has been beautiful, and not requiring of a coat.) So I know, I know, my passport/card were hanging out my back pocket and I realized that it wasn't the smartest idea. Also, my hard drive didn't really fit properly in my front pocket either... But, I figured I only had to walk down our little dirt road and it would be fine. I was paranoid nonetheless, and checked repeatedly, "Passport, card, hard drive, phone... Passport, card, hard drive, phone...) Once home, after Gambrill's, as I was unlocking the front door, I suddenly had a dire urge to go to the bathroom. I don't know what it is about unlocking that door, but every time I come home from school, or anything really, and have to unlock that door with all of my bags, I just instantly get that tingling feeling! (Hide and seek will do it too lol) So, I open the door and, instead of dropping of my things in my room, I just drop everything at the door. I think I had a paper and maybe something else... And head to the outhouse.
This may be graphic but as I'm going I remember "Oh, yeah! I have my passport and card in my back pocket... be careful." I finish and as I'm pulling up my pants and taking a step away from the hole... I hear a clink.... then plop. Are you kidding me! I felt sick and just stopped with my mouth open. My initial reaction was to just jump in lol. I feel like that was the feeling that the little boy on Slumdog Millionaire had in the outhouse scene... Geez! Very few moments in my life do I actually talk out loud in disbelief when no one is around. I did! I still can't believe that even happened! LOL. I can remember the disclaimer when we first arrived about those stupid outhouses; and, I may be the most paranoid person in Kaz about the toilets. Not to let my pants touch the ground, not to touch anything if I can help it, I didn't even use them but once a day in the beginning... sometimes I take a flashlight in there and it freaks me out lol - I even dropped a bobby pin once and didn't even think about picking it up again. Anyways - there I was cracking up, yelling at myself and pacing outside the "toilet". I called Leah, our LCF, and we discussed the options. She told me, "Nina, you have to get that out of there. Find a big apple picking stick and a flash light. This happens more than you think..."
"Ok, I'll see what I can do...
Of course, the battery on my phone was dead and we were cut off several times within this conversation. She was so nice and calm about it, which I really appreciated as I was freaking out! Thankfully Andrew had been locked out of his house and randomly came over... I found the longest stick I could find and took a flashlight out to the toilet. I couldn't see a thing, it was so deep; and, the stick didn't even touch the surface of the... stuff... I could only stomach 2 tries. I told Leah it was impossible. Andrew was the voice of reason, which I clearly needed. He suggested we fill the thing with water and then it should float to the top. LOL. Man. That was unrealistic, and we decided that even if we should get the thing out - is that really a valid document? I can just picture it, "Uhh, I'm sorry ma'am, but isn't your passport supposed to be blue..?" lol. Yeah right! There is no way I could carry that around - It's like inhumane or something. So yes, 6 o'clock on a Friday, the day before I'm supposed to leave for site, everything is closed and will be for the weekend - I DROP both of the most important documents I possess at the time in the outhouse toilet. What are the odds. At least I don't have to worry about identity theft or anything like that with losing those documents! Nobody is going to mess with them in the toilet... The next morning was the oddest feeling in the world as I woke up and headed to the outhouse.... peeing on my own passport and id card. WOW. lol. And the thought that my host family will be doing so for at least the next 2 years... I wonder how that actually works - with digging - Oh, never mind... I'm not going to go there.
So, here I am 2 days later... in Almaty still. At least there isn't like a "National Peace Corps Volunteer Arrival Day" that I'm missing or late for you know... But I do definitely feel delayed. Like my dad said, in the perspective of being here for 2 years, this first week won't seem like a big deal - but that is at the end of the 2 years, and, well, I'm here now...
The swearing in ceremony went well. Met the ambassador, sort of. And Johnny's out at site by himself. I felt bad for giving him such a hard time about his finger, and here I am lol, bailing on him! They, of course, wouldn't let me travel without a Visa... and today is the first day they started the Visa process. They aren't sure how long the process will take - but I'm here alone and all of my friends are starting their adventure out at site. Actually I'm not alone, I stayed the night with some 21s at the notorious Kok Tobe, the ones who are headed the farthest away and had super train rides - like 50 hours, for example! Then, the Kaz 19s are C.O.S.ing right now too... so now that my 21s are gone, I've been tagging along basically. COS (is the Close of Service process). I'm not sure if it's the healthiest thing to be around people who are in the exact opposite phase of PC as I am lol. But it's nice to talk one on one with them! Hear their advice, experience, feelings, plans, stories. I like them.
Hopefully this Visa process won't take long... If I could ask for one thing, it would be prayer! :) I want to go to site... :( soon! It feels good to write again, now that I squeezed out this tough one, I'll do my best to get back on track with my blog! This tops the surprise dance performance with Echo's sister by far! I miss them...
Pictures: The Ambassador and I at the Swearing In Ceremony, Pizza Hut before the Opera, and Farewell dinner with my host family!