So, last year I wrote a blog post about the arrival of Az8 [link]. Looking back, I remember being in quite a funk. Of course, the post really does not capture the extent of that funk, but eh. The point is: I was really sad my friends were leaving and I was so mixed up about it that I could barely put together a coherent thought.
Well, now it is coming closer to that Az9 time (the next, next group of incoming PCVs) and I am funkless. I am also getting ready for my own COS (Close of Service) conference and preparing to leave this country...however, as part of my extension contract, I will be in Azerbaijan until January 9th, 2012 - which means I will sharing my site with however-many Az9s for a month.
That sort of freaks me out, but hey. I am over the freaking out time.
Anyhoo, I am full of advice and I am not scared to share it. Of course, the disclaimer is as always: I am a 20-something, mixed-race girl living in one of the most ethnically diverse regions of the country.
With that, on to advising it up:
The Key to Great Care Packages
I could go on, but seriously...check this blog out. There is a ton of information on here.
Information not on here:
1. Try to save off on the care packages until you are at your permanent site. The moment you touch down, Peace Corps is gonna give you a water filter, sleeping bag, books, and a med kit.
2. Bring good pens. I really cannot stress this enough.
3. Most stuff you can get in Azerbaijan, it just may not taste like the home brand. If that is gonna drive you insane, pack enough for 3 months and hope that a care package arrives as soon as you get to site.
4. You are gonna be sad, tired, frustrated, annoyed, hurt, confused, etc - all within the first day. DO NOT QUIT. If it still bites after the first six months at site, then, maybe, consider leaving early.
5. Bring at least 2 books for PST, but no more. There are a ton of books in the Peace Corps lounge that you will have access to once you swear-in.
6. You can always call me if you are having a bad day or need a translation (someone to explain in Azerbaijani why you are drinking cold water). Just email me for my digits - that sounds weird now, but trust me - it will not in awhile...