It's the morning after my first night in my own bed at my parent's house in New Jersey. It was probably the most restful night of sleep I've had in a long time - didn't wake up once.
Even though I actually ended my Peace Corps service on May 9, and left Moldova at 4am that day, I didn't return home to NJ until the May 19. I flew from Chisinau, Moldova to Frankfurt, Germany to Atlanta, Georgia to Tulsa, Oklahoma over a total of 23 hours.
Along the way, I met several Moldova college students who were headed to America for summer jobs through a program called Work and Travel Since I speak Russian and English, I was able to help them fill in their travel documents and direct them toward their connecting flights in Atlanta. I hope they have good, and profitable, experiences in America. I know the fees to get into these kinds of programs are quite high, and many of these students will only earn minimum wage. I've never met anyone who finished such a program, so if anyone can comment here about a past experience, we'd all like to read about it.
Once in Tulsa, I had a few days to readjust my internal clock before hopping in a car to help Krista drive to Rochester, NY where she'll start an accelerated nursing program. In Rochester, I learned how my parents must have felt when they took me to college - so many things to buy and do in order to settle in!
Then I flew to NYC, met my cousin at the airport, and sped away to King of Shish-Kabob, a Dakake family hang-out. I had wanted to surprise my parents, so I never told them that I was in America. They thought I was still in Moldova and would be returning on May 21st. My whole family was in on the scheme, so I hid in the bathroom when my parents came in. I waited for them to sit down, and then came out saying, "There's no toilet paper in there - do you guys have any napkins?" My Mom's chin hit the floor she was so surprised.
So now I've got lots of unpacking to do, housing to find in Philadelphia before school starts at Wharton, a couple weddings to attend, houses to paint, and a million other things.
It's good to be back, but I do miss my friends in Moldova and look forward to going back to visit in a few years.
I haven't decided what to do with this blog. I'll probably leave it up for others to read and learn about Moldova and Uzbekistan and Peace Corps, but I doubt I'll be making further additions. If I start a new one about the "adventures" of a business school student, I'll post a link here.
ps - A few days ago, I received word my village won a grant (that I wrote) from the US Embassy in Moldova. We had already received funds for redoing the local TV station, but needed additional moneys for a new transmitter. Now Copceac will have its own independent local media source.