How does one pack for 27 months for a distant part of the world--12 time zones away, known for its 7-9 climate zones, and one doesn't exactly where one will end up? Azerbaijan is about the size of Maine, located on the Caspian Sea and in the Caucasus Mts.; in some regions, it can be VERY hot in summer, VERY cold in winter, and many times teachers and students must where wool coats, caps and gloves in the classroom in wintertime; summertime is vacation time, because it is just too hold to hold classes. Only after several months of training will I receive my assignment, so I do not know yet what town or region my new home will be. Hence, I must pack for all eventualities, yet am limited in size and weight of my bags. I am finding that I pack everything I feel I MUST have, only to realize I have to eliminate yet some more things to pare down on the weight and size of my bags. Oh, well...Robby and others have assured me, I can expect some care-packages, if needs be.
More fond good-byes this past week with my German friends from the Literturgruppe, friends for more than 30 years, and my former colleagues at Seattle German Language School. I have been helped and supported by so many people in this endeavor, including all the prayers from my church congregation, my family, friends and neighbors. Could not be undertaking this adventure and responsibility without such support--many, many thanks!
Tuesday night is the Installation Dinner of the Kiwanis Club of Industrial Seattle. It will be a time to say good-bye to these good friends as well, and encourage all in attendance to promote the Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast, hosted by Industrial Kiwanis (and initially organized by Bill, before his passing), to be held Oct. 15, 2011, 9-11 AM at the Salvation Army ARC, with guest speaker from the Seattle Seahawks/Sounders organization, to benefit Children's Hospital Cancer Research and Salvation Army. For those who can, plan on attending (visit www.industrialkiwanis.org). Serving in the Peace Corps reminds me of some of the goals of Kiwanis: Give primacy to the human and spiritual rather than to the material values of life, and encourage daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships. I will miss all my family and friends here, but greatly look forward to forging new friendships with my fellow Peace Corps Volunteers and people of my new home, Azerbaijan.