There’s a Gif at the End of the Tunnel

Gloomy and post-precipital on the deck today. DC has been unseasonably cool, and I’m far from hating it, even though it makes chilling on the deck chillier than it ought to be.

Truly a noble subject

It’s boring out, so here’s an artsy shot I’m working on

It’s getting down to it, folks. In twenty-two days, I’ll be flying out of DC and into the sun, stumbling around Mexico City International, hopping a bus with “carry-on snacks provided by Peace Corps Mexico staff,” and heading to Querétaro. Emails about PST, Pre-Service Training, have been flying thicker and faster, and the number of acronyms has skyrocketed. COTE, for example, is the Calendar of Training Events, although I like to think I’ll call it the ‘calendar.’ Ditto my TAP, or Training Advisory Packet. Maybe I’m being too hasty.

I know I’ve described this whole ramp-up to many of you like camp. I idolised my saxophone teacher in high school, and when he said I ought to go to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (the very same band camp they spoofed in American Pie), I informed my parents that I’d be going. When the week before arrived, I was nervous and desperate to finagle a way out of the commitment (both times). But after the awful site-read madness of auditions, I always had a great time. While my anxiety is piling up along with the emails, I know things will settle out once I get there.

I miss band camp

Like I did when I was here

What’s helpful is that all of the orientation materials read like they did before I shipped to Spain, and the process feels familiar. Today I had my moment, the one where I realize it’s going to happen and soon. I was smoking and speaking Spanish to myself, because that’s what I do when I’m alone and about to go to Mexico, and I got done and was chuckling to myself, and I said: ‘Well bud, looks like we’re going to Mexico.’ It would be hard to overstate how important that dumb admission was. I’m pumped, I’m excited, I want to know what my Adult Experiential Education Spanish Interview Proficiency Level is, and more than that, I want to start using it. We’re going to Mexico.

Continue reading


I broke down, largely thanks to the personal writing of our friend Gebeily, and reactivated my WordPress account. Now I really am a Peace Corps Volunteer. My paperwork was in, my vaccinations done, all that was left was to start typing into the ether. Not exactly yet, though. My process, longhand to digital, has always been a little absurd, and it has recently gotten more(or less?) so. The first draft of this post was put together on a typewriter; there is no good reason for me to own one, but I do, and it looks like I’ll be trying to cart it down to Querétaro and beyond. If I really do end up in the sticks, there’s a chance it might come in handy, but I’d probably be fine with pen and paper. Either way, I’m trying to acclimate. I’m typing this shirtless on my porch in DC, letting July in the city sink all the way in. There’s at least one advantage of the Olympia  no glare on your screen. That and the machine is way over 100 degrees, and there’s no worry about overheats.

I'm an asshole

I’m an asshole

At this point, the blog is writing for the sake of writing. There were a few moments in June when I thought I had become unspeakably behind on my medical paperwork (and I had), but those are over now, and all that’s left is to buy my plane tickets, condense my life into a packpack, and wait for staging in DC on the 26th. Which at time of writing is 41 days away. Lent plus one.

I’m getting to be more excited about the trip. Those of you who know me, which is ostensibly all of you, know that my PC app happened on a bit of a whim, and that it was initially a match of convenience more than anything. But being placed in Latin America was a plus, especially since Mexican is an accent I’m familiar with. And the Mexico program has the option to stay with a host family for the whole term of service. Without exaggeration, my second host family was probably the best part of my stay in Spain, and I hope I’m lucky enough to get a group of people as loving on site.

For all that, it is weird to think that after next month, it will be more than 810 days before I can expect the convenience of a ready drink, and easy pack, or an available English voice. The first two will hit first, but I know that the last will be the hardest. I never quite got homesick in Spain, because I haven’t quite got a home, but the nearest I ever came was during a showing of The Artist (which is ridiculous, because nobody was speaking), when all that I wanted in the world was to heard somebody talking the mother tongue. Even the mild relief of my fellow students won’t be around in Mexico, although I imagine my colleagues on site will be industrious enough to pick up a little English, unlike my monolingual Spanish friends (Raúl Almendroval excepted).

Continue reading