Monday, July 27, 2009

Ramblings from a Cafe Duet Hero

July 27, 2009 -- Ramblings from a Cafe Duet Hero

Once again some time has passed since the last post. Thank you for having patience between posts. Life is always interesting in these parts and I have had plenty to talk about, but no time to write it down—possibly a Rosetta Stoned moment. Submersion in a foreign country can feel like that kind of a trip sometimes.

I am just about to finish up the pre-service training to be a volunteer here, meaning I have been very busy. I have to give a presentation (in Russian) on composting in two weeks. I am responsible for half of a 15-minute presentation. It will be challenging to say the least. In two weeks there is a little swearing-in/congratulations-for-making-this-far party. That is where I will give this presentation. Also, as if it wasn’t drilled into heads enough that we are children here, my Russian colleagues and I will have to put on a small play in Russian. The play is an enthralling tale about how a bunch of animals living together. The moral being teamwork and community are important. You all will truly miss out.

It is crazy how close we are to leaving for our sites. In two weeks I will be basically cut off from daily interactions with Americans or English speakers. I am excited but obviously that is a scary moment that is just around the corner. I am feeling pretty good about the Russian at the current moment, I did pretty good on a conversational test that we had last week. That doesn’t mean that I can speak Russian at all yet, but it was nice to be reassured that I am learning at least a little bit.

On a different note:

Thus far three people have left from our original group of 62. It is weird to hear of people leaving. It is a personal decision that I completely respect, but it is quite sad to come to class one day and hear that another person has decided to take the god-awful flight back to the states. The reason I bring this up is because a very good person left our group the other day. The volunteer that left had been a volunteer back in the 60s in Africa (I think). The rest of his life he had been a consultant in agriculture and had some incredibly organizational feats on his résumé. He was a great source for an interesting conversation not to mention as an asset in the world agribusiness. As for why he left I can not speculate, although I can say that he will truly be missed. Many volunteers looked up to him and saw him as a great example of someone who loves the work they do. Maybe it was that we saw him as a future version of ourselves—loving the adventure/challenge of being a part of the larger world so much as to bring yourself to do it again. I believe many people feel that this is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity. For me, I see his mentality as a way of life that is truly inspiring to me. I believe that people eventually lose that urge to be challenged in their lives and inevitably settle. The trick is to settle extremely late in life, maybe that is the key to sanity. Who knows?

Anyhow, that is enough for now.

Life goes on.


p.s. I now have black-framed glasses, therefore I have an opinion.


  1. Things sound like they are just about to get exciting for you! I knew there would be cookies, I just didn't expect them to be smothered in poisonous butter...
    I like the glasses. I have more respect for you already...
    Take care and much love from the Ham,
    Lara and Co.

  2. Just wanted to say hello from Oly. I am inspired. I look forward to hearing about your experience being "immersed" in another language.

    It's been hovering around 100 degrees here, which gives me an excuse to neglect all responsibilities between 10am and 7pm - too hot to do s**t!

    Keep posting!
    -Matt K

  3. Hi, Aaron --
    I love your blog! My mom told me about it. She's an avid reader of yours, too :-) I'm looking forward to following your adventure. I admit I'm a little jealous -- I always wanted to join the Peace Corps...
    Take care,
    Your cousin DeAnna