Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Edges Fray, the Duffel Cannot Hold

Well, what looked do-able in 5 weeks has collapsed under the weight of reality, but we're slogging onward. We will get on a plane in Missoula on June 3, and get off one in Lima, Peru, on June 5, and the things that aren't done just won't GET done!

We really thought we could wrap things up in Hamilton in 5 weeks when we committed to our Peace Corps posting in Peru, but so many things require not one, not two, but three or more additional steps that we are falling desperately behind. Then there are the little unexpected surprises that come out of nowhere, like . . . well, I don't even want to start, but suffice to say that our real estate is still standing, if a bit more fractured than we'd like. We're making our peace with it all.

Lenore the cat has figured out that something's up, but she can't quite put her paw on it.

Meanwhile, the "Rosetta Stone" Spanish language learning program to which the Peace Corps has generously provided us access has turned Jean into a Stone-head, as incapable of resisting the lure of the web-based Spanish modules as a "crackberry" addict with unread emails. I'm trying to make reasonable use of the program, while still getting my packing done, but Jean is knocking down the modules. I'll just be jealous if her Spanish ends up better than mine.

That's where we are, with 10 days to go. Our departure gets more real with every action we do for the last time, and we've already had a number of those. Our last "Bitterroot Bellies" dinner last evening at Marshall & Tonia Bloom's house--a great meal, great company. We'll miss that.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Yoiks! and away . . . to Peru!

OK, gang, here's what we know: on Friday, April 24, we accepted an invitation from the U.S. Peace Corps to serve in Peru, departing from Washington, D.C. on June 4. Yikes!

We are in the process of packing away or disposing of worldly goods, getting our house and our cat (Lenore) properly house- and cat-sat, getting all our duties handed off and everyone trained & cross-trained at Chapter One Book Store, and everything else that one must do to prepare for an absence of 27 months.

We'll be in training outside of Lima for 11 weeks, at the end of which we'll be sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers, and receive our final work site assignment, somewhere in Peru. Our jobs will be as Small Business Experts, possibly working with artisan co-ops, farmers groups, or tourism promotion for our community--it will just depend on what we encounter when we get there. We'll be living with a host family for our entire time in Peru, living at the same level as our neighbors, absorbing their culture and daily lives. We are told that we will probably have electricity and running water, and that in any event we'll be in our departmental capital every two weeks or so, where we'll have internet and phone access. You can read about the Peace Corps' program in Peru here.

That's the basics. How do we feel about it? WHEEEEEEE!!! Though we'd have accepted an assignment elsewhere, this is really exactly what we've been talking about for thirty years when we've said to each other, "some day we're joining the Peace Corps and going to South America." And so, here we go! We're excited, but clear-eyed about all the implications.

We'll try to keep this blog updated regularly. Thanks for tuning in . . .

Russ & Jean
Peru, July 3, 1990: