As of 1pm (Romanian) Thursday, I am an official Peace Corps Volunteer. I have joined the ranks of the previous 1100 volunteers that have served in this amazing country. The PCTs and our host families hopped on a bus at 8:30am yesterday morning and headed to the American Ambassador’s house in Bucharest for our swearing in ceremony. The ceremony started around 11am with a speech by our Country Director, Sheila. After Sheila, Mark Gitenstein, The American Ambassador to Romania addressed us, followed by the Romanian Head of Foreign Affairs. Two of our fellow volunteers, Kevin and Andrea, also prepared speeches which they presented in both English and Romanian.
The entire ceremony was amazing and very emotional for me. This entire week I have been randomly crying out of sheer joy, fear, and sadness. I am so excited to finally get to wear my Peace Corps Romania pin since after all, it took me about a year and a half to get if you count the application process. I am so scared about going to site and about being far away from my support network and the people that have become my family. They have picked me up when I was down, made me laugh, cry, and think. I am also scared about my future two years. I hope that I will be a successful volunteer and make an impact in my community and leave with a legacy. And finally, I am sad to leave PST. Everyone complains how difficult PST is but it honestly was an amazing experienced. I enjoyed everything about it, well minus some technical sessions. I have fallen in love with my host family and even the dirty little city of Targoviste with it’s vagabond dogs, communist blocs, and shaorma stands on every corner. It will be extremely difficult to say goodbye to the wonderful people that have taken me into their home and have become my friends and mentors within my community.
After swearing in, we were taken to the Peace Corps Office and received a tour and then were let loose. Those who chose to go back to Targoviste on the bus did while a group of about 12 of us stayed to hang out in Bucharest for the night. We got to roam the city a bit, see some of the architecture, and hang out with the PCVLs along with some older volunteers.
We returned back to Targoviste around 3pm today, exhausted, sweaty, and excited to depart for our sites this weekend. I have been packing for the last few hours and am getting ready to depart on a 4:09am train to Moldova for a GLOW(Girls Leading Our World) camp with one of my group 28ers, Ester, and a few of the older volunteers who are the ones running the camp. We will be camping in a little village for a week with a group of Romanian teenage girls. After the camp, I will finally depart on my 9 hour overnight train ride without a cuseta (sleeping car) to my village. I should return back to civilization by the 17th and will update everyone on the GLOW camp then.
Until Next Time.