Swearing In and New Beginnings

I’m officially sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer, and the day is filled with emotions, from excitement to anxiety and even a bit of sadness. But overall I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come and optimistic about where I’ll continue to go in the future!

Friday, May 12, 2017, 11:45pm

I’m officially a Peace Corps volunteer! It’s incredibly exciting and yet completely nerve-wracking at the same time.

I started the day by getting ready alone in my room. For the first time in weeks, I put on music and was able to dance around the room, which was incredibly freeing. I decided on my suit since it’s more professional, and I ended up regretting that decision because it got so incredibly hot.

Because it’s the 20th Anniversary of Peace Corps Albania, we had our Swearing In ceremony at the ambassador’s house. We had a long and hilly walk and trees were very sparse, so everyone was sweating by the time we reached the house. Which, of course, was when Peace Corps staff decided that we all had to take a group photo. Wonderful. After I cooled down a little, I busted out my own camera and got some really nice shots of the Librazhd group and other volunteers.  Continue reading “Swearing In and New Beginnings”


4 Highlights From the Tirana Tour

On the last weekend before our Swearing In ceremony, all the Peace Corps trainees take a trip to the capital city, Tirana! We explore the Peace Corps office, navigate the many city squares, and finally enjoy Thai food for lunch!

Sunday, May 7, 2017, 10:52pm

Tirana Tour! We set out bright and early from Librazhd (around 7:45am) to catch a bus from Elbasan. I managed to hop on the furgon (mini-bus) at the very last minute and got to sit in the front seat. In Elbasan it was a lot of standing around and waiting until we finally got everyone together and on the bus in an orderly fashion.

HIGHLIGHT 1: The Peace Corps Office

In Tirana we split off from the larger group and our two Language and Culture Facilitators (LCFs) took us to the Peace Corps office (on a route that went through a university).

The office is in a nice location close to the embassy in a quiet and pretty gated courtyard. I was impressed with the facility, and my favorite part of the office was definitely the PCV lounge – the mailboxes were so well-organized and there were so many books and other resources to check out.  Continue reading “4 Highlights From the Tirana Tour”

First Impressions of Albania

After a long plane ride, I arrive in Albania! The first two days in Tirana are a whirlwind of sights, sounds, and emotions. From orientation sessions to our first language classes, we are kept very busy! In a nutshell: I love the food, the language is really difficult, and I’m at information-overload!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 7:45pm

Whew. The worst is over (for now)! After two plane rides and lots of napping, I’m finally in Albania! It still feels like a dream – like I’m not really here at all.

Our Peace Corps crew got going in the late morning. We piled onto the buses, said goodbye to our facilitators, and then headed for the airport. Check in was organized chaos, and despite all of the confusion no one got left behind in Miami.

I mostly slept for the entire nine-hour flight, and when we arrived in Frankfurt we had a really difficult time trying to find the right gate. We got turned around and retraced our steps – all while maintaining a very brisk “Amazing Race” pace. It was kind of intense.

The final plane ride was only two hours. When we landed in Albania we went through immigration, and then there was another flurry of organized chaos as we all tried to find our checked bags and board the bus for Tirana. Our staging manager greeted each of us at the airport by name (first and last!), and he could recognize us all by our faces!

Getting off the plane, I think everyone was in a state of extreme exhaustion – though adrenaline kept some people awake and energized. As I looked out the airport windows at the beautiful, scenic mountains I felt a burst of excitement – but that pretty quickly faded as I boarded the bus and exhaustion took over again. Continue reading “First Impressions of Albania”