Sunday, March 30, 2008

One Last Moment on U.S. Soil

March 27, 2008

I officially became a Peace Corps Volunteer. I know what you are thinking… “Um…hello…I already sent you off to the Peace Corps…” but technically speaking I was what they call a peace corps trainee which isn’t an actual volunteer. Go figure.

Mel and I on the micro ride to the city
So on Thursday we had this ceremony. It was mostly just like your high school graduation. We elected a class speaker…we put on our fancy clothes for the first time in Guatemala…we took way too many pictures of ourselves together. The only difference was it was at the Ambassador’s house, he didn’t invite our families, and we had to swear to defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies domestic and foreign. So it was basically exactly the same.

We managed to get through the prestigious high security at the Ambassador’s residence. This meant that we were technically back in the U.S. again. I have to admit, I took my shoes off, felt grass between my toes for the first time in three months, and it felt like home. The house was what you might expect from the residence of a U.S. government official (big, nice, not very home-ey). The ceremony itself was actually pretty anticlimactic. After three months of training, we raised our right hands, swore to uphold the constitution, shook the ambassador’s hand, and were pronounced volunteers. All of us were left saying “Well…congratulations everyone….?”

Me with mister Ambassador

What does the Ambassador serve for refreshments?
Apple or Orange juice (with ice that is safe to drink)
Tiny tuna or cheese sandwiches

I have been sick (in my tummy) all week so I only ate 2 sandwiches and half of a brownie…which was an awful idea because I am still sick and it is probably because I let myself off the soda-cracker diet too quickly. The good news is, in case you are worried, that I don’t have an amoeba…they checked.

Alotenango girls with our Spanish teachers

That was it. We walked out of the gate back into Guatemala (they didn’t even stamp our passports…) as Peace Corps volunteers, feeling…just about the same as we felt when we walked in.

Healthy Schools training group

The real difference is that now I get to start working. I stayed with my family in Alotenango Thursday and went to Antigua to celebrate on Friday. I was too sick to go out so I had a great night sleeping in a hostel in Antigua before I left Saturday morning for Cabrican.

We couldn´t leave American soil without a thumb war

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