February 14, 2007

Downright delirious

Happy Valentine's Day!

Some of you may be wondering how I'm blogging when I'm supposed to be on the plane to Teguc right now. Well...let me explain...

We did get to DC (finally) after 1 cancellation and 2 flight delays. We checked into our room and then went downstairs to the conference room to find a buzzing room of 49 other Honduras volunteers plus 3 facilitators. Most of the volunteers looked to be near our age (the average age of Honduras volunteers is 26). Luke and I were happy to discover that there are 3 other married couples around our age and they all seem really nice. So we finished up orientation on Monday evening, found some dinner then went to bed. Tuesday orientation started at 8:30 and finished at 6:00 and this included more team-building exercises, get-to-know-each-other games and open forums to ask specific questions about Peace Corps Honduras. It was very reassuring to be in a roomful of people that have one giant thing in common - they just left their family, friends and pets to head to Honduras for 2 1/2 years to work either in WatSan (what they call the water sanitation people), health, or business/IT. Based on first impressions only, there are a lot of really interesting and nice people.

After we finished with last night's session, Luke and I took a shuttle and then the metro to a mall to stop at DSW to get Luke some new shoes. After listening to all the talk about what people are expected to wear, he decided he couldn't wear his sandals to work meetings and I decided I needed a pair of dressier flats. So, off we went and luckily found what we were looking for and made it back in time to re-pack our suitcases (we need an overnight bag as we won't see our luggage in Santa Lucia for a day after our arrival) and get a few hours of sleep. One of the facilitors explained it well...she said the last night in the US she was obsessed with weighing her suitcases and kept packing, unpacking, and repacking even though at worst, she may have to pay $25 for the extra weight. She said looking back, she was freaking out about her luggage only because at that point, that was the only thing she had control over. Luke and I felt a little like that running around a mall looking for shoes last night and a couple of other things I deemed absolutely essential which I later decided not to get.

Last night/this morning we woke up at 1:40 am and made it down to the lobby to check out by 2 am. Buses left for the airport at 3:00 am and we sat at the airport until they told us our flight to Miami had been canceled. Apparently DC absolutely freaks out when it comes to weather and because it snowed a few inches yesterday, 400+ flights were canceled, including ours. We then proceeded to wait about 2 1/2 hours before we could contact the shuttle company to return us to our hotel and back into the same rooms we checked out of hours earlier. During those 2 1/2 hours, we sat and played cards with one of the married couples and became so delirious due to lack of sleep that almost everything was hilarious. The buses finally came, we loaded up the luggage AGAIN and unloaded it AGAIN. It's currently 1 pm (just finished napping for several hours) and we're waiting to hear when our meeting is to figure out the plan. So, maybe tomorrow we'll get to Miami??? Who knows.

Once we do get to Teguc, the plan is to be shuttled to Santa Lucia, (a town of about 2500 about 30 minutes from the capital), where we'll meet with our country directors and other Peace Corps staff for brief introductions and then onto meeting our host families with whom we'll live for the first 4 weeks. From weeks 5-10, I'll be living in La Paz (northwest of Teguc) with the other health volunteers and Luke will be living in Sabanagrande (south of Teguc) with the WatSan people. That, obviously, is not ideal but I'm hoping Luke will really get to develop his language skills during this time and Peace Corps (I believe) will pay for our hotel on weekends so that we can meet inbetween our cities (which would be in Teguc). During these 5-6 weeks, we'll both be living with another host family and then I think we go back to Santa Lucia for another week to finish up orientation and be sworn in as volunteers. After that, we're off to our sites (we will be living together again) to live with yet another family for the first 3 months and then we can make the decision to move out on our own or continue to live with our family.

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