Rumors abound. There are 24 of them and 19 are females. The male Peace Corps population of Samoa rejoices. Wait! One of those females is married to one of the males. The rejoicing decreases by 1/19th.
Two Group 82ers have made me a friend on the facebook and Matt has at least three (damn him and his better blog).
The Peace Corps Journals web site has picked up a link to an 82er's blog, Elisa the Anthropologista (with this link, I would like to take credit for all increases in her blog hits from now on, can I do that?).
As long as I have their attention, I would like to take this opportunity to offer some packing advice. First a link to our previous packing advice.
Now I would like to make some comments on those posts.
- We have now been here two years, not just the three months we thought made us experts before.
- Chacos, chacos, chacos, chacos. Both Cale and I are on our second pair of chaco flips. I still have my strappy sandals. Cale's were eaten by a dog. Since I posted I have hiked in dense jungle and I wore my strappy chacos. The boys went barefoot. Showoffs. I have worn my sneakers...in New Zealand...and that one week I though I would take up jumping rope for exercise.
- Don't pack clothes for two years. That is silly. They will all be ruined in six months. Just accept that.
- Don't pack clothes for two years. That is silly. You will most likely loose or gain a dramatic amount of weight. I lost 20 pounds. Another volunteer lost more than 40 pounds.
- I want to reiterate the importance for girls underwear. Bring lots. Bring it in one size smaller and one size bigger. Understand you will still end up having people send it from home.
- Cute clothes. Ladies, you are gonna want to come into Apia sometimes and look cute. Bring clothes you can feel both cute and not whorish in.
- Originally, I was all modest at the beach in my shorts and t-shirts and stuff. However, I have just taken to wearing my bikini with shorts on the tourist beaches now. However, when you are out in a village (where you are all supposed to be sent) having a rash guard and board shorts will come in handy.
- Pack some sanity. For me it was the laptop and the camera equipment. I can tone pictures till my hearts content to relieve stress. For Cale it was his tools (saws and chisels). Between our two sanities, we had like 60 or 70 of our total 160 pounds (there are two of us and we both got 80 pounds).
- Bring a laptop. No...seriously, bring a laptop. It will be your main source of entertainment.
- Buy an external hard drive. Do it. Right now. They are cheap. Now fill it with new TV shows and your favorite/new movies. You have just made best friends with more than 40 Peace Corps volunteers and helped with your future sanity. If you want, I can send you a list of all the TV we already have in the office so you don't duplicate. For the love of god, someone bring the 4th season of Lost with them! We have 1-3 and 5.
- Pack a box of things you won't need during training and mail it to yourself. If you like to cook, send a good knife (hard to find in country) and a quality pot and frying pan. Cale wishes he had brought a wok. We had a cheese grater sent from America because we could not find a good one here. I have yet to locate a usable vegetable peeler.
- Drink coffee? Cannot live without it? Bring a french press, it will help you get through training and life beyond. Cale also brought like 30 packs of vacuum packed puerto rican coffee. He was sad to see it go. Plunger coffee is expensive here. Most people drink instant coffee of horror.
- Don't bother bringing more than a travel amount of bathroom supplies (shampoo, etc) unless you are super picky (in which case, get over it) or have prescription stuff (though that sounds a little strange). You can buy all that stuff here. Note to the ladies (boys, avert your eyes): it is rare to find tampons with an applicator in this country. Personally, I have no idea why tampons without applicators were invented, but that is beside the point. If you like tampons with applicators, bring them with and have them sent.
- Look at the list of things to send in a package on the other volunteers blogs to understand what you will be missing once you get here.
- Bring me flash drives for my Flash Drive Drive. I will like you.
PS. The Way Back Machine