Family and Friends,
Until this point I have been pretty calm. There are of coarse the moments when I think to myself, “What the hell am I doing.” Those thoughts seem to sputter each time I see one of my group members. Our group however did meet awkwardly (at least in my eyes). As an introvert it is not in my nature to seek conversation wherever and whenever I can. That just sounds exhausting! But, that was the first thing they asked of me as a Peace Corp Volunteer.
We started with a scavenger hunt for information. We were given a list of descriptive sentences and had to ask our group members if they had experienced a curtain event. Such as, “find someone who played a sport in college.” I was a popular resource for this question, but not for the more impressive, “find someone who only checked one bag.” (I mean, come on. That is remarkable!)
We all finished the list after about 15 minutes. After which we were stationed in the Holiday Inn’s conference room for another 7 hours. Remember my assumption from the first paragraph. I nailed it. We were all exhausted by the end of the day. That did not stop us from going out to eat.
We were deciding what to eat for dinner after our first group picture. There was one cuisine which stood above the rest, Mexican food. Our country director had earlier recommended a restaurant which was about a ten minute walk from the hotel (Or as I would say, “a 3 minute Uber ride”). Once we arrived at the restaurant it was evident they were not prepared for the bombardment of Volunteers eager to eat there last meal. We wondered the street like sheep for about 10 minutes after we discovered the restaurant could not accommodate us. Then, we headed across the street to a local bar where we ordered refreshments and good old fashioned American food.
I was fortunate to find Mexican food the next day at Dulles airport. I stumbled upon a Chipotle and ordered a nice big burrito. After my burrito was skillfully wrapped I asked the cashier how her day was going, and she kindly responded and asked me another question. She asked, “Are you traveling somewhere.” I looked at her and said, “Nah, I just enjoy buying plane tickets and walking around terminals.” She laughed playfully, and there is no denying, I felt bad for making her feel stupid. But, I could not resist. The joke was teed up perfectly.
Overall the pre-departure training was a good experience and we all made it on the plane bound for Kyiv. The flight was great. The only hick up was the broad shoulder man sitting to my right for 7 hours. We made it work, we even laughed about it when we got off at Frankfurt, and who was I to complain? I had a free ticket to Europe! Yes, it came with a cost, but one I was willing to pay. As my grandfather always said, “nothing is for free, and if you think it is, I will show you the mutual currency which pertains.”
Richard J. Roman
“With intellectual patience we will find the strength to fight our emotional crusade. Onward! Perseverance and Love are the greatest assets of a Poor Man.”
*These are the thoughts of Richard J. Roman and do not in any way reflect the views of Peace Corps or its affiliates.