I did it! I finished my 2 years and 3 months service in the Peace Corps!!! It was a pretty unremarkable event. Basically I went to the Peace Corps office in Yerevan and signed a bunch of different papers and that was it. It was actually very disappointing but anyways it’s all over now. It’s such a strange feeling to be in Armenia and not be a Peace Corps volunteer now. I think most of my time here I have been a pretty independent person, in fact when I went into the office on my final day so many people remarked that they hadn’t seen me since I swore in and there were even a few staff members I had never met!! I felt it was really important to stay in Spitak and not get sucked into the city life. The funny thing is I did that in order to better integrate so that I could serve my community better, and yet I feel that only recently have I really even started to make a dent into integration, and so it seems now I am actually a spitakcian and not just a strange volunteer who is living in the community but really apart from the community.
The sad thing is that soon I will have to say goodbye to that and return home. I can’t even begin to express how sad that makes me or I will spend the night crying my eyes out. So instead I choose to laugh at the adventure that I have had. I want to go back in time and share some of the best moments that I have had here, and where better to start than with my first day in Armenia! Lately I keep thinking back to my first day in country and how I came here with a dislocated jaw!! You can read about it here: HERE
My first impression of Armenia was a cold, dirty soviet hospital with a Russian speaking doctor who smoked as he examined my face and yelled at me if when I winced in pain… I remember a russian sounding Peace Corps doctor talking to the other Russian doctor and being very confused as to what country I was in. Sinks were water stained and rusted and the water in the hospital was leaking. The whole place smelled like urine and I remember thinking what on earth have I gotten myself into.Then I remember finally being able to get in a taxi to go meet up with my fellow PCV's at the hotel we were all staying at. The doctor shut the taxi door on me and I was alone with this taxi driver who didn't speak a word of English. Twice on the drive up to the hotel we had to stop for the cows to cross the road. I was so amazed by the greenery and the simplistic idea of it all. I remember being so glad to be back among English speakers, but also so embarrassed that I wanted to hide my swollen, wrapped up face in my room. Here is what I think is a previously un-shared photo because let’s face it, it’s really ugly! But now I see it as a badge of honor and accomplishment. I made it!! Even after this: