Friday, June 29, 2012

When 4 Days Can Feel Like a Month

Hi Everyone!!

So Since the 24th and staging and Philadelphia my life has been a whirlwind of change and information overload... and I don't think that is going to stop for awhile. 

Staging in Philadelphia was very overwhelming LOTS of new faces.. Information... and the weirdest part was for me, that I hadn't really even left home yet. Even just walking to dinner with some of my fellow stagees I ran into Erik. Which made me very happy.. but also a little sad. 

On Monday morning we left the hotel early in the morning the PC stage facilitators loaded us onto our buses for JFK and thus commenced the many hours of travel. Our flight from NYC left a whole hour late (after we had already boarded).. the flight out of Brussels was right on time, but I did not like the Brussels airport at all. We arrived here in Benin in the evening on the 26th collected all of our bags (with I believe 67 of us.. there are a lot of bags) and then loaded up on to buses to head to St. Jean-Eudes where we stayed until today. I wasn't able to get to my camera at the time... but I really wish I had been able to take a picture of what I mean by “loaded up on the buses.” Very crammed. 

Once at St. Jean-Eudes we ate dinner and found our rooms and went to sleep. The 27th was full of information sessions literally all day long. Really just lots of information, on everything. Thursday was interviews, we were at the PC Headquarters in Cotonou and met with our doctor, our sector manager, had a language level interview, a bike session, and had time to connect to the work station WIFI to check emails and send some messages home :)

Last night was our last night at SJE which means starting tonight we are living on our own (with our new host family) away from all of the other volunteers/ our support network from the last few days. We meet our host families later this afternoon... I am not at all prepared for this. My family has 3 people in it Mama, Papa and a Sister who looks to be in her teens. Wish me luck!!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Keep In Touch

I will be writing home as often as possible... It will take letters awhile to get there!! So please don't get discouraged!! If you want to write, here are the details that you need. If there are any more specific questions just ask!! 

Here is my mailing address for training:
Zoe A. Crum, Peace Corps Trainee
Corps de la Paix
B.P. 971
Cotonou, Benin 


Mailed letters take about three weeks to arrive in Benin, but packages take longer potentially several months

Please number all letters, and letter all packages.

DO NOT send anything UPS, FedEx, or DSL (I will be charged A LOT to pick the package up in Benin if you do). Use the USPS only. CLEARLY mark the contents of the box for customs declarations purposes. (Bubble Envelopes usually arrive better than boxes)

A few other things - -
My phone number now forwards calls to Google Voice. So if you leave me a voice message, I will be able to get it eventually (just not right away). If emailing... use my Gmail address!! 

With Love

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The top 10 things I will miss the most (not including people or my dog).

I was thinking about what I think I will miss the most about home when I leave. Here are my top 10 in no specific order… I wonder how they will measure up to what I will be actually missing when I get there.

The Shore
Philadelphia’s Vegan Food Scene
Peanut Chews
Going on Road Trips
Game Nights
Constant Internet Access
Reliable Electricity
Iced Tea


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Going Away

Thank you to everyone who loves and supports me in all of the crazy (and wonderful) decisions that I make in my life. I will miss everyone very much while I am away, and it is touching to know that I have such an amazing support group in my life.

Love you all,

Saturday, June 2, 2012

It's June!

I can’t believe it is June… And I will be leaving Philly in just over 3 weeks.

Sunday, will be my last day of work. At which point I imagine that things will start to feel very real. That being said I cannot wait to arrive in Benin, make new friends, meet my host family, and by completely immersed in my new culture, new language, and new life.

We received our schedule for the first week of life in Benin today, and we will be spending the first few days on a Catholic Compound known as St. Jean Eudes. This is really relieving… I was worried that we would be dropped off with our Host Families as soon as we got off the plane. I can’t wait to meet them but I think the small adjustment period will be helpful.

The whole first week will be filled with training and with meeting my host family… which by the way… My first full day with my host family, also happens to be my BIRTHDAY!! Can’t wait to update everyone on how that goes :-D

For now I just need to spend the rest of my time getting ready to go… and spending lots of time with my friends and family!! Getting Exciteeeddd!!

With Love