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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Thursday, June 16, 2011

School... OVER!

So school is over. That’s cool. I wanted to write some profound blog post about how I feel about that but for some reason I am unable to do that. I’m sure this is going to take some time to register and maybe I’ll be able to look back on all my work over the past two years at a later date.

But today is the two year anniversary of me landing in the Republic of Georgia. Looking back, there were times I hated it and times I loved it. I’ve met a lot of great people, became a part of a family and made an impact on the community that I lived in.

Yesterday I celebrated the last day of school in Muganlo by opening a bottle of wine that my training host-family gave me on my first day I arrived at their home. I also lit up the Cuban cigar that I’d been saving for two years. Keeping it wrapped up and dry for two years was a challenge but well worth the wait. With my headphones on and music blaring I ended up sitting on my family’s porch for two and a half hours drinking, smoking and singing. Yes, I did have a smile on my face the whole time. But, rather than looking back, all I could think about was the future.

As many of you who read this blog know by now the title ‘What’s Next?’ is not random. All I could think about while I sat there yesterday was what I want to do this summer while I’m home, what I want to get accomplished next year when I come back at my new school and what I plan on doing after that. Asia? More Europe? More Georgia? Home?

I don’t think I’m doing myself a disservice at all by focusing on the future rather than reflecting on the past. The past is just that. Gone. Nothing I can do about it. The mistakes that were made were made and learned from and the successes built upon. That’s it. I can “reflect” when I’m old and no longer able to travel.

Anyway, after I had lunch and napped off my bottle of wine, I went down to the next town to meet the guy who will be replacing me in Muganlo. He is visiting for 3 days before returning to finish up his last month of training. I gave him my key to the English Room I built and talked with him for a few hours about what to expect. I thought I would come off as slightly negative, but I didn’t. Instead I focused on the opportunities that he has to improve the school and help the students. He has a huge job ahead of him and I feel bad in a way because as he said, “I have huge shoes to fill.” And, I kind of feel weird about that because even as we were sitting there my director kept talking about how popular I am at school and in Muganlo and all the work I’ve done over the past two years. Now I like to have an occasional ego stroke like everyone else, but not in front of the guy who has to come right after me.

Luckily this guy is real young (21) and has a lot of ambition and is really excited about his assignment. I wished him a ton of luck as I left him at this host-family for his first night with them and then walked with my director back to his house. Of course I had to give my director time to talk about his new volunteer with me. He seemed to like him but also seemed reluctant to accept him right away because we are so close and I think he realizes now that I am really leaving and that this new “kid” is the one that will take my place. I think he’ll do fine though and I look forward to checking in with him from time to time next year. I told him to contact me at any time with any questions and I’d be happy to help him out.

So that’s it really for this post. I’ve got an English camp in a few weeks, some travel plans, a final Russian test, some softball and some parties with friends still left on the schedule but other than that it’s just a countdown at this point until Peace Corps service number two is over and done with.

On other notes: I’ve been without water for 13 days now, had a bad case of the stomach flu last week that I’ve finally gotten over, and got to see an awesome 6 year old vs. 8 year old fist fight (between a host-nephew and host-cousin) at dinner the other night. On the subject of lack of water… as most of you know most people in my village only shower once a week. So, without water everyone missed bath night this past week as we conserve water for food preparation. This caused quite the smell in school on the last day. Imagine a hot room full of 30 people all of whom haven’t bathed in about 10 days or so. One of the teachers from the neighboring village asked me, “What’s that smell in here?” I told her, “It’s us!”

And on that note… Peace!