Friday, April 21, 2006

Hey everyone, things have been really busy. I powered through the dengue just in time for a killer time in Chicago. I met up with my sister, Amy, and saw what life was like volunteering for the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. She lives in a really cool house with three other girls and they stress community living and simplicity. Not bad things to stress when you think about it. I also met up with Emily, a complicated and beautiful story that many of you haven’t heard but will soon I promise and I don’t feel like the internet is really the place to tell. I was finally able to soak up some of the good life that I’ve been missing; mostly pizza, dark beers, and plenty of red meat. I’d never been to Chicago so I also partook in a little northern culture (plays, museums, and the blue man group whooohooo). Getting to the north took up the better part of a couple of days with no sleep bumming through a couple of countries on crummy buses and in the back of trucks but it was all well worth it. Chicago’s public transport was definitely a foreign thing but it didn’t take long before I was hopping trains with all the bums and yuppies and blendin right in. A little over a week in Chicago for sure reminded me that America is an expensive place to live. I can get a beer and a big ol plate of comida tipica for about two bucks down here. In Chicago twenty dollar bills went like pocket change (it was a good thing most of them belonged to my parents, thanks Mom and Dad).
It is also a pretty strange time for me in the Peace Corps. Right before Semana Santa (Easter Week), one of my best friends here skinned out for Oregon. Dawn had bigger and better things going on in the north and it was the right decision for her, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Our group is about to hit our year in country mark and for some of us it is a strange time. Some people don’t have much going on in terms of work and it is hard to imagine staying on another year. I get the feeling I’ll be saying goodbye to more friends over the next couple of months. I guess more of a “see you soon” than goodbye, but it is still pretty hard. It is hard to explain the emotional highs and lows down here, the isolation, and frustrations that go along with living in another culture. But they are huge, and friends and our little volunteer support groups are huge. So it is an enormous shock to our system when a buddy packs it up for good. It also reminds us how easy it is to leave. A phone call, a couple of days getting poked and prodded, and a ticket home. Its that easy. But for now I’m staying on, I’m going to get back into the swing of things and before I know it I’ll be in Idaho for Rob’s wedding. And a little bit after that I’ll be back in the trailer in Pullman, tuggin on a Black Butte Porter, grinning away. Alright alright, I’m off to get some chicken and tortillas, much love from the Deep South. joe


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