Trip Start Jul 06, 2005
21Trip End May 31, 2007
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Its official, one year has past since I arrived in Jamaica. I don't think I need to remind you all how fast the time has gone. My one year anniversary was marked by the arrival the new group of trainees, Group 77, who arrived this past weekend on July 8th. I was a part of a small contingent of volunteers that were able to greet that at the airport. We made signs and waved the US and Jamaican flags, we cheered and welcomed them. It was an exciting time. The new trainees filed one by one out of the airport, lugging their big backpacks and suitcases, looking very warm, and very confused. I tried to remember how I felt when I walked off the plane a year ago, so soon after leaving Uzbekistan, I'm sure I was looking a little confused as well.
As the president of the Volunteer Advisory Council I was able to address the new trainees at the Welcome Dinner on Saturday night. I passed on some words of wisdom that have helped me in the past throughout my Peace Corps service. They were, "take one day at a time", "be willing to be flexible with your expectations", and "have fun." I was nervous to be speaking to them, but I was excited for the opportunity to pass on some volunteer knowledge and experience.
The weekend was exhausting, I answered a million questions, and probably talked too much, but I had such a great time meeting the new trainees. They seem like a very enthusiastic group, ready for whatever is thrown their way. I look at them and wonder who will be in Ochi, and who will become my new friends. This opportunity to be in their presence, their unbiased presence has been renewing and invigorating for a "veteran" volunteer that has seen and gone through a lot here. Perhaps I'll start seeing Jamaica from their point of view, a rediscovery of the beauty and uniqueness.
I'm thrilled for them, to begin this journey, but I'm happy for myself that I don't have to go through training again. I'm also very content that I can come back home to Ochi with one year behind me and the best to come.
As I close, I'd like to thank all of you who have ever given me encouragement and fresh perspective, especially my mom and dad, Larry, Rob, Leah and Jane, Heather, Stephanie Horn, Drew, Lee, Lisa, Jim and Kurt...thank you.