I've been asked by a few people--either because they're curious about my adventure or because they want to know when they'll finally get rid of me--what my travel plans are over the next month. Through the power of the internet, right here and right now, those questions are answered!
I should start by saying that I feel lucky to even know what my travel plans are. In the most poorly timed technological failure of my life, my mail server (the wonderful (up until now) fastmail.fm) delayed all my e-mails from the Peace Corps (which, as you can imagine, are important, time sensitive things) for 2-21 days. This went on for a month before I caught it.
The reason for this, which I learned after I contacted Fastmail's tech support, was because "there were too many attempts from [that] IP [read: peacecorps.gov] to deliver to unknown addresses on our servers. Should be some issue on the sending server and our servers thought that was suspicious and blocked their IP." This seems insane to me. Do you, Fastmail, really believe that a .gov is engaging in spamming? And the Peace Corps? Really? I know this is probably an automated protective thing, but you'd think that a .gov should get a little leeway.
At any rate, kudos to Fastmail for fixing this problem quick, but I've moved my Peace Corps e-mail to gmail. I just can't take that kind of risk with my e-mail right now.
Anyway! Travel plans, as promised. I leave Vermont during the week of May 23rd, probably near the end of the week, for New York. My time in New York will mostly be spent seeing my family and saying goodbyes, with "bon voyage" parties planned on the 28th and 29th.
On the 31st my mom is kindly driving me to Philadelphia, PA, where I'll be checking in to a hotel and probably meeting some of my compatriots for the first time. Registration in to the Peace Corps occurs at 12 noon the following day, June 1, and is followed by about four hours of introductory meetings. The next morning, on June 2, we board a bus and head back to New York, where that evening we get on a flight headed to Vienna. We arrive the next morning, where we get hotel rooms and then have 14 hours to explore (I know, twist my arm, a 14 hour layover in Vienna, right?) before getting on a plane for Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
According to the officially unofficial schedule they sent us of last year's training, we will immediately go sightseeing, which seems completely and utterly bizarre to me but I think it has something to do with not letting us go to sleep when all we'll want to do at that point is crash. We then check in to a hotel and begin five days of meetings and conferences. After that's all done, we meet our host families and head to our villages. Armenia, you see, is a CBT, or Community Based Training, country for the Peace Corps. This means that we will be distributed in to villages surrounding a larger city, doing 6 days of training in our villages with 4-8 other PCVs who also live there, and then we will occasionally go in to the main city for larger conferences with everyone.
Training will last three months, at which point I will be assigned a site where I will work for the next two years.
But that's getting ahead of myself. 25 days to Staging!