Jack, Bette and Bella

My Brother and Sister-in-law

I have really been treated like a princess by my family as I visit them. Their love and support were evident from the moment I arrived. Jack is the traditional male breadwinner of the family but also loves his wife enough to help with breakfast or go out for a meal quite often. He’s very protective of Bette and of me when I am there. I feel safe and secure with Jack.

Bette is a home maker. Her house is lovely. She’s a great cook. She sews, quilts, puts up canned goods and has a large pantry in the basement. Bette volunteers in the community and with her church. She and Jack are working at the Mormon employment center in Brigham City two days a week. Bette’s creativity encourages me to use my creative talents.

Bella is a bouncing barking minature snauzer who is full of joy and energy. I will miss her three short are you awake barks outside my door.

We visited all over Utah. The photos on this blog are from our trip to the Eden Valley. We also visited the Church charity distribution center in Salt Lake City and a lovely restaurant. We also visited my four nieces and nephews, who are very close to my age or older and insist on calling me Aunt Vicky! I will write more about those visits in another post.

Saying good-bye to my family is hard. “I do not cry in public.”

-vc

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I Do Not Cry in Public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

The favorite parts of my job were taken away from me over the past four years and many of my daily tasks were routine and boring but as my investment in the daily grind of the job lessened my connection with my co-workers deepened. This is a truth that I think will be reinforced over and over in my journey with the Peace Corps. More than the food, more than the movies, more than the easy access to book, EVEN MORE THAN INDOOR PLUMBING when I am in Ghana I will miss the people I love. To misquote a campaign slogan of an earlier Clinton Presidential candidate “It’s the PEOPLE, stupid!”.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public.

I do not cry in public

I do not cry in public.

-vc

Another last

Tonight was the last time Jeanette and I will go see Stewart O’Nan speak before I leave for Africa. Tonight just reminded  all over again about how much I like Stewart.  He is a humble man.  I asked him to sign one book with just his name because I was going to give it to a new friend in Ghana. “What a way to make a friend” he said “give them this long boring book!”

Tonight he talked about the circus fire in Hartford in 1944. He is very genuine.  When he spoke of the people who died and the survivors it was with respect and caring. The one book committee had created a booklet of local survivors stories. Stewart had a copy of the book and as some of the interviewees came to ask him to sign he also asked them to sign.  He talked to every person who wanted to talk to him. He was engaged and charming with each one.

He is funny. When Jeanette told him she was my keeper (we were talking about my uberfandom) He looked dubiously at her and said “That’s a pretty long leash!”

So I will leave for Africa with the read poster of him that I created signed by him. An advanced copy of one of my favorite O’Nans, from his personal collection and signed and his best wishes and hopes.

For librarians who’s rock stars ARE authors that’s pretty heavy stuff!

-vc

Cleaning House

This week I have been cleaning my office. It’s amazing how much paper I have felt the need to keep in 13 years.  Most of the stuff I never looked at again once I filed it.  But it was fun to look at it now and remember my career here.  I found a tech newsletter I wrote for monthly for about a year. The minutes from tech team meetings and the web redesign project.  Instructions and manuals for software we don’t even use any more. Many good memories. I choose to overlook the bad ones!

And as I have seen things on my desk they remind me of people here I have given them the item. I feel the need to leave pieces of myself at LRW Library  in the place I have been at for so long.

-vc

Moving again!

Today I am sorting through my belongings yet again in preparation for another move. I have had a hard time facing this one and have found something else more important the past three weekends. I move next weekend so it’s time to bring my stuff to the Salvation Army.

For me clothes and shoes are the hardest things to let go of. As I sort through my remaining clothes so many memories come back. I remember when Beth and I bought our twin Flip Flops at the Yankee Trader on one of our Belfast weekends. The breezy July day on the coast where Liz got married comes to mind when I look at that white top. Helen helped me shop for that outfit. These red sandals are so comfortable maybe i’ll bring them even if the leather does disintegrate in the tropics. Oh I wore those boots when Eric and I went to Cape Ann on that rainy fall day. My L.L. Bean coat! Jeanette has a blue one just like it! I tell myself the memories will still be there.

Clothes and shoes say so much about your personality and what you do. So in another way as I shed my old job and my American lifestyle it feels right to shed my old clothes and shoes. As the person I will become emerges my clothes and shoes will reflect that change.

So vc quit stalling, get off the computer and take some more steps to your new life! -vc

Ghana June 2008 Invitees

Hey all of you who are finding my blog from the PC website. Some of us are in a Facebook group called Peace Corps Ghana June 2008.  The quote from my previous post comes from that group. The whole post in that group is extremely helpful for packing questions. 

Come and join us and get to know some of your fellow Ghana PCIs.

-vc

Crossing things off the list

I am crossing things off my to do list.  This weekend I ordered my shoes from teva.  Thanks Teva for supporting Peace Corps  volunteers with discounts.

My new camera is on the way.

Finally have my ATM card from my new bank and Liz’s post office has the paperwork to ok my mail going there and Liz picking it up.

What’s left? A LOT

Getting rid of clothing.  Moving AGAIN! Getting my address out to people.  the list goes on.

-vc

A Different Path

Robert Frost (1874–1963).  Mountain Interval.  1920.
 
1. The Road Not Taken
 
 
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;         
 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,         
 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.         
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.        
 

This poem makes me ask myself a lot of questions. I have loved it since I first heard it in 6th grade. 

If I’m taking the road less traveled now, did I take the other before?

In what ways is Africa the chance to go back and take the road less traveled?

Or am I at yet another crossroads and again taking the road less traveled? 

Have I taken the road less traveled at other times in my life?

Does it negate my individuality if I didn’t take the road less traveled?

Lots of questions!

-vc

State of Suspension

Hanging here  suspended between Connecticut and Ghana I feel just a little bit unreal. My life here is winding down. At work I am passing off my duties. I am telling people to have another person work with them on a project because I won’t be there to follow through. I cleaned some of my desk today. I am there but no longer really of the library.

The physical things here don’t mean as much. I am already detached from half the shoes in my closet. Yet the minutes with family and friends are filled with so many emotions. I wonder how can I leave this friend she’s going through such a hard time right now. I think oh how can I miss all the wonderful things this other friend will experience in the next couple of years. I think how much my granddaughter will grow when I am away. The moments with people are filled with joy, sadness, guilt, happiness, laughter, love and excitement.

I am poised on the edge of a very high diving board primed to jump but the starting shot has not been fired, yet.

A Thought

wagontrain.jpg

Talking to family and friends made me think more about why I want to be a part of the Peace Corps. I thought heck they are children or grandchildren of immigrants. I would probably immigrate to America 100 years ago or have gone west in the 1800s. They left what was familiar. They left family and friends. I understand that thinking. It’s not only about improving the quality of your life. It’s also about facing a challenge. I would also do it for the chance to experience a new place. I think the immigrants or the people who settled the west had to be pretty optimistic. They had to believe in the future. They had to believe in themselves and the people with them. And of course they were looking for a better life but without the other desires and qualities they probably would not have crossed a sea or a continent to find it.

-vc

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