Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Day 2: So it begins again

Since registration wasn’t scheduled until 1:00, we had most of the day to explore and see some of Philadelphia. It took a little more time (and wondering) than expected to find the liberty bell, but seeing an original copy of the Declaration of Independence was worth it.

After a little sight seeing and flagrant touristy behavior, we decided to stop at a burrito place for lunch. I ordered a rice and chicken burrito fully aware that beans were certainly not going to aid in my desire to make new friends.

Back at the hotel, we had about an hour to get ready for check-in and the beginning of training. This consisted of ironing wrinkled pants and completing registration forms that probably should have been done weeks ago. 1:00 to 3:00 was spent handing in our forms, getting a bank card, and officially “checking in”, or as I like to call it, signing my name. After that, the hallway roared with random getting to know you chatter, facilitated by a single sheet of paper with little tidbits about each participant (all 60) with which we were supposed to find the subject.

The beginning of training was all standard workshop getting to know you stuff. We talked a little about the PeaceCorps approach to international service and our personal goals. Topping it off with some introductory safety discussion, it was a brief four hours. We were informed that our bank cards had $180 on them, and we should withdraw it soon. Not a bad stipend for the three days of training!

I headed to dinner with Jay and Kim, the other two IT people in our group, along with Elissa and Cynthia, where we talked about some of our concerns and lack of anxiety. It was actually a very nice conversation and we all were able to spell out our feelings as we faced two years in Namibia.

After that, Elissa and Cynthia and I went to find a bar that we heard others were meeting at. We have several drinks and long loud conversations, culminating in a three group, 12 person merging at the back of the bar, talking softly about politics and life.

A short walk home and a visit to the room of the person that took the pictures: (gotta get them all on my computer!) then here I sit, on my bed, ready for sleep. We’ve got one more night like this before we go into training, unlikely to have another worry-free night in the next two years.

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