I groggily stumble out of my sleeping bag. Stupid Russell has woken up for the 3rd morning in a row to watch the sunrise. I want no part. The first time was amazing, but I am good, I don’t need any more sunrises this week. Fortunately, the combination of the surprisingly hard sand, Russ waking up, and a call from nature, combine and force me to climb out of my sleeping bag and make my way towards the water to take care of business. My eyes are basically half open as I am down by the water - peering around, enjoying the brisk morning ocean air coming off the Gulf of Oman. I look over to my right and about 50 yards down the beach, BAM:
Big sea turtle making its way back into the ocean from it's nest. The picture doesn't show it but it is about 3 feet long. I would call that little bathroom trip unexpected, exciting, and unlike any other. Adjectives that basically sum up our entire trip to Oman. As far as short trips go – I would say it was my favorite ever, and certainly the most foreign place I have ever been in my life. From barbecuing fish in desert sand dunes, to swimming through oases, to fighting off goats on a rock mountain – every day was something entirely new and amazing. The trip would not have been remotely as incredible without our generous guide, host, and friend, Ali. He camped with us 3 of the nights, took us 4 wheeling in the sand dunes, showed us how to eat camel, and taught us so much about his country and culture.
I think Ryan said it best. The trip to Oman felt like a dream. Like we were living someone else’s life. So foreign, so beautiful, and so different from the lives we have known in the US and in Georgia. At the end of the trip I couldn’t really fully express how thankful I was to Ali- how thankful all of us were. All I can say is that if you are considering visiting that part of the world – I would highly recommend Oman!
After Oman, I was back in Georgia for a couple days, including the traditional 1 year supra that followed Otari’s passing. This consisted of visiting the grave to drink and eat, and then coming back to the house for a big (50 people) supra. While certainly sad, I would say the 1 year supra had much more of a story-telling flair, and less intensity than the funeral or funeral supra. Many many stories and memories were shared (during toast after toast), throughout the afternoon and evening.
Of course then it was time for my final out-of-country trip as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and my first trip I have truly done by myself. I spent 2 days in Warsaw, 2 days in Berlin, 3 days near Stuttgart, and 1 day in Munich. Both countries snowed on me (and now Georgia has too now that I am back) but I also had a good time eating, meeting some new people, checking out museums (including the Porsche museum) and just generally being a tourist. I was lucky enough to meet up with someone in each city (from Georgia connections, or college connections), and stayed with my German friends Ansgar and Alex while in Germany.
After a week of meats and beers, I flew back to Tblilisi straight to…
Our Close of Service Conference! At the Marriot in Tbilisi no less (the pic above was the view from my hotel room). This final training and get together as a group was pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be: a time to start thinking and preparing to leave, while also enjoying everyone’s company. I now have less than 100 days left in Georgia – pretty crazy how time is flying.
Some other notes on life: I will be working at a summer adventure camp as a counselor this summer before I come home (providing my visa and everything goes through…) Very excited to jump go do one last smaller, shorter adventure in Switzerland before I head home.
I realized after getting some feedback, that my last blog about the struggle of sharing the Peace Corps experience could be interpreted as me not wanting to be asked about Peace Corps…. I apologize to anyone that might have interpreted it this way -this is not true at all! Of course I want to be asked about Peace Corps – it’s two years of my life, and like most people I like talking about my life. I see how it may have come off that way, but I wrote that as a reflection for myself and for fellow volunteers. Sharing our stories is something we are thinking about a lot. How can we do it effectively and how will we feel? But by no means does that mean I don’t want to be asked about Peace Corps….. Just putting that out there, I know a couple of my 8 readers might have interpreted the blog that way. I do want to be asked about Peace Corps. (Otherwise I won’t have much else to talk about right away when I get back). I hope to write one more blog before I leave Georgia - lots and lots to do before I leave, my calendar is pretty full already.