I came back from my Italian vacation rejuvenated and ready to finish out my last 6 months of service. I had a great first week back to school teaching my classes and clubs. I visited the art school, cleaned my entire apartment and worked on some peace corps projects. I went to school on Monday, came home and went to bed early feeling sick. I woke up at 6:30 in the morning with terrible stomach pains. I ran to the bathroom and then felt like I was going to throw up. In the 5 steps from my bathroom to the kitchen to get a plastic bag, I passed out cold. I woke up on the floor, not quite sure what had happened, but realized that my nose was bleeding. Did I say bleeding? I meant gushing. I had never even had a nosebleed before and it was disgusting.
I called my peace corps doctor as soon as I pulled myself together. A few hours later I was in Yerevan after a few pit stops at the Noyemberyan hospital, stopping for snow to put on my face and breaks to change out the cotton gauze in my nose. My peace corps doctor immediately took me for x rays. The results said that I had fractured 2 bones in my nose and had a deviated septum. The next day I went back for a CT scan that said the same thing. PC Washington received my x ray results on Thursday, but said they wouldn't make any decisions until seeing my CT scan. I got a call from my peace corps doctor on Saturday to tell me that I would be medically evacuated to Thailand. My plane leaves tomorrow (Yerevan, Moscow, Bangkok). I will probably have the surgery on Friday and spend the next week recuperating in my hotel room. I'll try to post again after the surgery to let you all know how it went! Truthfully, waking up after surgery by myself in a country where I don't speak the language sounds a little scary... but I can't breath out of my nose, I have a constant headache and my nose is crooked. It's definitely necessary, I just wish I could be back home with my family while I recovered. Wish me luck!
Friday, January 25, 2013
Sorry it's been months since I last posted. I would say that I've been incredibly busy saving the world one person at a time, or just tell the truth and tell you that I felt like I had nothing new to post. So enjoy the blog post in pictures =)
Halloween at the Koghb Art School, always a great time.
Thanksgiving dinner with a bunch of volunteers, I helped cook the turkey!
The week before Christmas I traveled to the town of Talin and sung Christmas Carols with other volunteers and Armenian children, go to the link below to watch:
We made Christmas ornaments in my 4th form class, the kids went crazy for them.
All of my sitemates got together to sing Christmas carols at Barbara's kindergarten. I think we had more fun than the kids had =)
Charlie Brown Xmass Tree decorated with handmade ornaments from Alissa and I for all of our sitemates
I hosted a sitemate Christmas dinner at my apt. We ended up inviting everyone in our apt building over to hear us caroling. It was great to share American Christmas traditions with our neighbors.
I spent Christmas and New Years in Rome, Sorrento and Naples with my boyfriend. It was an amazing last vacation. Highlights: amazing food & wine, hot showers and just walking outside without getting stared at. Low point: Getting pick pocketed by a 20 year old girl in Rome (don't worry, we chased her down a few blocks and Andy snatched the wallet right from her hand). Somewhere in the middle: Naples on New Year's Eve. The craziest city I have ever seen and I still haven't decided how I feel about it.
View from our hotel in Sorrento
My favorite meal in Italy, followed by several pictures of food and wine that made coming back to potatoes all the more terrible
Update: Less than 6 months until I finish my service!
Check out this hilarious tumblr to see how volunteers really feel sometimes (the older posts are the best).
Thursday, October 4, 2012
I have definitely moved up in the world! My new apartment gets water twice a day, has a real toilet, and a gas heater for winter. I love it and my life has been so much easier since I moved in. I actually look forward to bucket bathing and washing my dishes now. Best part: it is on the 4th floor, so no chance of mice! Below are some pictures of my apartment, sorry it's a little messy, I haven't had time to organize everything yet.
The gas heater is in the bottom right corner, for now it is a great candle holder
Monday, September 17, 2012
11. The number of mice that I have killed in my house so far. Disgusting. We couldn’t find any holes in the house and had no idea where they were coming from. I honestly was so freaked out by them that I couldn’t sleep anymore, knowing that they could crawl on me in the night... So for the past 3 weeks I have been living with Alissa, another volunteer, in her host family’s house in Noyemberyan. I sleep on my sleeping pad on the floor and her host mom feeds me way too much food, but it’s free and I’m lucky to have a place to stay. At first, PC wasn’t too happy that I wanted to move and wanted me to move back in with my host family. My family is really nice, but moving back in with them for another year wasn’t an option I wanted to consider. I’ve been apartment hunting in Noyemberyan and found a place on the floor above Alissa’s. The current tenant is moving to Russia in two weeks so hopefully I will be able to move in there. Keep your fingers crossed!
In school news, I think this year will be an improvement over last year. I’m teaching 15 hours a week with two counterparts, one who likes to team teach with me and the other who just lets me teach whatever I want. I want to start my English clubs in a few weeks and restart the conversation club at the art school. Since I live in Noyemberyan now I have to take the marshutni every day to school and back. The ride is only 10 minutes long and comes every hour or so.
In health news, I’ve joined a gym! Barbara, another volunteer in Noyemberyan, works at a NGO for women and invited me and Alissa to a yoga class. We had a great time and decided to pay for a yearlong membership at a ridiculously low price. There are 2 elliptical machines, 2 stationary bicycles and a big open floor space with yoga mats. It will be perfect for the winter because it’s right next door to my future apartment. We’ve already been to the gym 3 times this week. Our goal is to lose a few pounds now, then maintain that weight through the long winter. It’s a great goal considering most volunteers here gain weight during winter because the food choices just suck.
On Wednesday I’m going to special event in Yerevan that I’ll tell you about in my next blog J
Monday, September 3, 2012
I was a freshman at the University of Florida when I started seeing flyers about the Peace Corps. It was in the back of my mind for next 3 years, but I never seriously considered applying until I went to a panel on volunteering. There were recruiters from AmeriCorps, City Year, and Peace Corps. After hearing them all speak, I knew that Peace Corps was the right path for me. I immediately talked with the Peace Corps recruiter for UF, Amy Panikowski, after that meeting to set up an appointment. She was so friendly and refreshingly honest. She told me that the most important trait Peace Corps volunteers needed was a good sense of humor (she was right). She was with me for every step of the application and worked hard to make sure my nomination was the right fit. If I had not met Amy, I think I would have been slower to apply and even more daunted by facing the application process alone. Sadly, UF’s International Center had to end the position of Peace Corps recruiter because of budget cuts. You can read all about the decision below:
I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I do believe this will negatively impact UF’s student body. A recruiter like Amy not only guides you through the process, but inspires you to try your hardest during the good times and bad times of Peace Corps service. After 14 months in Armenia, it’s hard to remember exactly how I got onto that plane, but I will always remember who helped me get there.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Armenia is about the size of Maryland, small enough that you would think getting from one end of the country to the other would be a breeze. I live near the Georgian border and I set out with a few friends to visit a town on the Iranian border. It is impossible to make it from one point to the other using public transportation. It takes me anywhere from 4 hours to 7 hours to get to Yerevan by marshutni, and another 7-8 hours to get from Yerevan to the Iranian border by a shared taxi. So over the course of two days with multiple forms of transportation and a fun group of volunteers we made our way down south. We went on an epic two day hike to a beautiful lake high in the mountains. A volunteer invited his two Armenian friends to go with us and they were essentially our guides. We used a horse to carry our supplies, camped at the halfway point, and woke up early the next morning to reach the lake. Below are pictures of the hike (the pretty lake ones taken by my friend Kelsey, thanks!).
After our hike down south, we traveled to a town called Goris to camp in ancient caves with about 15 other volunteers. It was a very laid back camping experience, filled with dizzy bat kickball and blackberry picking.
Out with the mosquitos and in with the mice. I have a family of mice living in my house, specifically my kitchen and bedroom. I went into several stores in my village to learn that I had to go into town to buy any sort of trap. I went to Noyemberyan and bought a glue trap that the owner assured me would catch the mice. Well, the mice were able to escape from the trap and for the past week they have had the run of my house. I’ve even been sleeping in the living room on a wooden bench because I am so afraid one will crawl on me at night. I’m going to Yerevan tomorrow and I will be stocking up on real mouse traps. Get ready for a showdown. Thankfully my new sitemates are sympathetic and put up with my crazy mouse talk. This second year is going to fly by since I have more people to hang out with after school and on weekends. Here are some pictures of us on a hike from my village to Noyemberyan: