Friday, July 17, 2009

Childhood memories...

Alex and I have spent the better part of the last three days sorting through all things remaining in my childhood bedroom as well as everything I put in storage in a spare bedroom of my parent's home (aka "the toyroom") four years ago before leaving for Scotland. We're having a garage sale tomorrow, July 18, from 8-4. Stop by for a visit if you are in the area (and buy an old t-shirt for only 50 cents!!). We'll be sitting by a campfire and drinking a few beers.

We're heading to Michigan sometime in the next couple days to visit some of our friends. All is going well. We'll start our Vanuatu packing after we get back from Michigan, then off to DC to visit Alex's family. Okay, there's a mouse in the kitchen so I'm outta here.

Monday, July 13, 2009


hey everybody,
sorry the blogs haven't been coming regularly. We've been at my childhood home, in Ohio, for the past few days. We have done several outings with my family, and I've been surprised by the number of folks mentioning having read this blog.
So a lot has happened in the past week. We spent a week in California, visiting Alex's cousin. We spent the fourth of July drinking wine, eating crab and posing for pictures under the American flag. We went shopping at several charity shops (I scored a new pair of gorgeous shoes for $6) and mostly just enjoyed the weather and our return to the states.
Last Wednesday we flew into Dayton, Ohio. We ran (walked) a 5K with my mom (my time was 50 minutes and 1 second), attended a go-cart race with my Dad, visited lots of relatives at a family reunion, helped mom buy old furniture and received our official peace corps invitation to serve for the next two years in ....(drum roll).... Vanuatu!!! Here's to not eating canned turkey tail for two years!
We were hoping for (and sort of expecting) Vanuatu, it seems like a good placement, we leave on September 12th, so we have just over two months in America. We plan to spend some time with my parents and some time with Alex's parents and visiting friends.
Starting September 12th, we will have three days training in the states (I'm guessing mostly paperwork and safety briefings) and then we head to Vanuatu for 10 weeks of training. During this time we will learn more specifically about our assignment, start learning the local language and begin to understand the culture of the land. After the first 5 weeks or so of training, we will go on a visit to our proposed site and finally learn where we will be spending the next two years of our lives. After training, we move to our site, spend the first two months living with a family and then get our own place.
Alex's position is community health extensionist and my position is small enterprise development advisor. Peace Corps sent us pages and pages of information to read, plenty more forms and about 5 more essays to write...good times. We've finished the readings and Alex has started in on the essays.
Vanuatu is an island in the South Pacific, it's a chain of 83 different islands, sort of between Australia and Fiji, north (well north) of New Zealand. Most of the 83 islands have their own language while everyone speaks a pidgin English known as Bislama. We'll have 10 weeks to learn enough of the language to get ourselves started. I'm intimidated about learning the language, though it's said to be a relatively simple language. Internet research suggest the people are really happy, the houses are simple and pretty, Alex will have to dress conservatively (think long skirts and the occasional mu mu). Vanuatu is known for it's kava, a narcotic drink the consistency of mud. I've seen canoes in pictures. They eat a lot of sweet potatoes, coconut milk, plantains, and such.
Alex is super excited about the fresh mangoes and pineapples.
We plan to stay in Ohio for the next few weeks and hit up Michigan to see Andrea and Luke (and belly). We will then be in DC for a while and hope to get to North Carolina to see so many of our friends we miss so much!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On the way HOME

Alex and I spent a total of a month in Australia, dividing the time between three organic farms and Alex's uncle (technically mother's cousin) and his daughter. We stayed at an orchard, a sheep farm/cut flower/seedlings and a baker/permaculture instructor/endangered and indigenous foods importer. Among other adventures, I found myself helping butcher a couple sheep one week and kneading 150+ loaves of bread the next. We enjoyed the farms, but even more so I enjoyed meeting Alex's kin. Rafael headed to Australia roughly the same time that Alex's mother headed to America. It was neat to see the similarities and have experiences with Rafael and Daisy that were similar to visiting Alex's parents.