Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Best-Laid Plans...

It seemed simple enough in the last post – everything scheduled, not that many things to do, and then I would be finished. And I will still be leaving around noon tomorrow, ready to hike once I get to Goris. But it isn’t going as planned. At least things went smoothly for Will and he did get married! I had a chance to meet his family; they all came , just for the weekend.

I left MCA-Armenia on an up note. The interview with the MCA-Armenia CEO went well, and when I wrote it up, it turned into a pretty good piece, if I do say so myself. I brought in some chocolates for everyone as a thank-you, and they had a little celebration for me, with some wine and good wishes. Wine at noon! It paired well with the chocolates. My counterpart was in a meeting at the end of the day though, so I didn’t say goodbye to her in person; that was unfortunate, but we had a nice email exchange and I will keep in touch.

Yesterday, I had lunch with the Country Director. I had happened to run into him at Artbridge on Sunday morning, so I had talked with him then, but not about my experiences here. This was a chance to do that and it was a nice discussion – but his schedule was packed and he postponed signing my paperwork until tomorrow morning. I was supposed to meet with my Program Manager today and he too postponed me until tomorrow morning. So I decided to finish packing last night (good thing I was almost finished already) and bring my luggage and Peace Corps equipment in today and get all of the admin signoffs. As I handed back the CO detector, tears flowed – you know it’s really over when you hand in the CO detector. There’s cake for the PCRVs tomorrow at three, but I’ll be on the road by then. I brought in chocolates as a thank-you for the Peace Corps staff too.

It actually was good that I brought my stuff in today – then there’ll be less drama when I leave tomorrow. Zina has been sad this week; I know it’s hard for her, but I am still going to dinner with the other RPCVs tonight and to see the fountains in Republic Square…. I didn’t get there last night, but I saw fireworks! There was a big celebration in Opera Square because Armenia won the world chess championship; we had a great view from Zina’s kitchen. She said the fireworks were for my leaving, too (Sunday night’s concert featured an Armenian cellist who won the prestigious international Tchaikovsky competition; since it was the closing concert of the season, gold confetti dropped from the rafters at the end, and Gordon said it was for our leaving – so of course tonight’s fountain show will be for my leaving!).

Yesterday was the end of Mid-Service Training for the A-18s – many of them stayed in Yerevan for the afternoon, and I spent some time with them; a complete bonus, actually. I had seen many of the A-17s when they were in town to see of f the early COSers, but hadn’t seen the A-18s en masse. It was nice to relax and have some conversations with them. Several of them are climbing Mt. Aragats tomorrow – I had to chuckle when I heard that, because so many Morocco PCVs climbed Mt. Toubkal after a conference. Ah, PCVs. And my last package arrived, just in time! It was postmarked May 2.

I had brought some things back to the U.S. when I went back for Reunions, and everything I am bringing back now fits in the two-suitcases-and-a-backpack that I came with. No boxes to mail this time. Because I am stopping in Europe I’ll have to pay for the second bag, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one or both are overweight, so maybe it would have been better to send a box, but the suitcases closed and I have room for things I might buy in Georgia or Holland and that is that. The taxi that took me to the Peace Corps office this morning had a cracked windshield – another thing that made me chuckle. Early on in Morocco we learned the language for cracked windshield and weren’t supposed to get in a taxi that had one. But the reality is that you take the taxi that’s available. So that was also for my leaving!

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