Friday, March 26, 2010

Not Always Sunny

Today was staging! This is basically Peace Corps orientation. We did group bonding activities, did some skits, etc. Nothing earth shattering, but I thought I’d let you know I’m an official Peace Corps Trainee and am safe in Philly. My flight out of New York is at 4:30pm tomorrow, though we’re leaving for the airport at 8. I should arrive ten hours later in Istanbul, at 10am, and have most of the day there. We will arrive in Bishkek a little before 2 am and, get this, are expected to arrive in our business casual attire.
Woke up early this morning, 6:30 Philly time, so 3:30 back home. Walked all the way to Reading market only to discover it was closed, ate a stack of pancakes and came back to my room. Of which I was no longer the only occupant! My lovely roommate got in on a red eye, and it was a surprise to see her. Letting her sleep I went out again, but nothing opened till 10 and by then I didn’t want to pay the money for only half an hour at a place, so I walked around in the gloomy weather. Not always sunny in Philedelphia apparently. I did stumble upon a Syangouge where the mueseum part wasn’t open, but the Rabbi and I had a nice chat before I headed out again.
Back at the hotel at 10, I went down to Chinatown with my roommate and indulged in some chicken fried rice, which was very tasty. I hate having to sit still on planes and it was nice to be able to do so much walking today. Of course, it didn’t last as staging began and we were there from noon to seven.
Dinner I had chicken alfredo and then for dessert had delicious ice cream. Really really good. Black raspberry ice cream at Franklin Fountain or something with a similair name. I’ve never seen so many things named after Franklin in my life, but understandable I suppose.
Well, I’m off.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Two days!

You guys, I leave in two days. Thursday morning I'll be at the airport decked out in things too heavy to pack- also known as my gigantic snow boots and winter coat. With my gigantic backpack that when my poor friend Val, who is probably the epitome of slender, tried to pick up yesterday and kind of failed.

Any time I have traveled on a plane since graduating High School has been a trying experience. My airport karma is not good at all, consider my latest experience: trapped in Vegas for three days during Hanukah when I wasn't old enough to gamble. Or when I studied abroad and ended up stranded in a Barcelona airport on my 18th birthday severely sleep deprived and totally alone. In short, I am not optimistic that I will roll into Philly at 7 on the 25th. But that, after much back and forth with the travel company, is the plan.

The past week has been spent trying to see everyone before I leave. I've been scheduling my time down to the hour and it's been odd to think that I'm not going to see my closest friends and family for two years. I don't think I can fully comprehend that yet, its been much easier for me to rationalize going to Philly and Istanbul, but I'm sure that once I'm in Kstan it will all come rushing to me. As such I've gone through many walks in Seattle parks, eaten a salmon burger (for free!) on the Ballard locks, figured out that all movies I see with Sarah end with the protagonist drowning, had my last ridiculous bus ride from Seattle to Kent, eaten gelato, a whole tub of Beecher's cheese curds in record time, has a last bowl of pho, and a really good cupcake. Tonight I'm having fake Seder, since when I read the religious breakdown of Kyrgyzstan it didn't lead me to believe there would be too many Jews there. So my mom has been awesome enough to make me the traditional fixings, which we all know is code for matzoh ball soup.

I am totally packed, as well. Hopefully my host family will like the gifts of honey straws, Seattle key chains, and some smoked salmon. Hopefully also my luggage doesn't get lost. But I've got a change of clothes in my carry-on, (as well as Infinite Jest, War and Peace, and Doubt by Hecht), and my bag of banana grams ready to go. I've given everyone my address and already have three letters my sister Alli gave me to read on the plane. I'm ready to go.

PS It won't last since I picked Villanova, but I'm ranked super high in my bracket right now! And my huskies are surprisingly rocking it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Write me while I'm gone!

Tired of opening your mailbox to find only bills, junk mail, and hate mail? Wishing you could gloat to someone about how awesome your indoor plumbing is? Looking to make your friends jealous with your worldliness and far flung correspondents? Curious about Kyrgyzstan? Have I got the solution for you!
Write to me in Kyrgyzstan! I’ll be lonely, isolated, and missing English. Which will means your letter will make my day. Also, care packages if you’re feeling generous. I will arrive in Bishek on the 29th of March. (Side note, I’m back in Seattle from the 15th through 22nd so if you haven’t made plans with me then I’d really like to see you before I leave for two years) The following address is good for my Pre-Service Training, which lasts from the 29th of March till late May. I’ll try and post my permanent site address once I get it. Keep in mind mail takes 3 to 4 weeks to get to Kyrgyzstan.

Mail should be addressed as follows:

722140, Kant city
97 Lenina Street, RUPS
Mailbox # 22
Tomilyn Rupert

ин. 722140, г. Кант
ул. Ленина 97, РУПС
аб. ящик № 22
Tomilyn Rupert

The PST mailbox will close at the end of November and any mail that arrives after the mailbox is closed will be returned to the sender. (If Blogger messes up the Cyrillic let me know and I'll e-mail it to you)
Things to consider: Number your letters! Mail may get lost or redirected, and it would be handy to understand the chronological order of things or if I missed a letter. You might want to print out this address (you need both of them) unless you can write in Cyrillic. Don’t send me anything perishable, or cash. Make sure that I have your address, and if you know its going to change soon make sure I know that.
Also, people who are already awesome and my pen pals, I’m leaving Portland on the 14th so I wouldn’t post anything after Wednesday.