Greetings to my family, friends, colleagues and former students!
For me, joining the Peace Corps is the realization of a 50-year dream. I first heard about the Peace Corps when I was eight years old and was instantly intrigued. My hope was to join the Corps after graduating from college but that never happened. After graduate school I once again thought seriously about joining, but life intervened and, once again, I never applied. Finally, in 2011, as a single empty-nester, I realized that my long-dormant dream was actually a possibility and decided that I would pursue that possibility in my mid-60s — after retirement. A few years later — when I turned 59 — I realized that I didn’t want to wait any longer and decided that my 60th birthday present to myself would be to join the Peace Corps.
In March 2014 — a couple of weeks before my 60th birthday — I received my formal invitation to serve in Albania as a Community and Organizational Development volunteer. This was great news: I had hoped for an assignment in a post-Communist country (I was a Russian Studies major as an undergraduate) and in a cold-weather climate (I much prefer cold weather to hot). But, there was a catch: the invitation was coming just as the 2014 group of Albania volunteers was leaving and so I would need to wait a full year before beginning my service.
Finally, in March 2015, just a week shy of my 61st birthday and with all my possessions in storage, I left the U.S. for Albania. The first eight weeks in country were an exhausting whirlwind of six-day-a-week language and technical training. Then, in mid-May, I and ~55 of my fellow trainees were officially sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers.
About This Blog….
In Albanian, the word “sy,” which means “eye,” is pronounced “sue.” That led me to “eagle eye,” which seems like an appropriate name for a blog full of observations. When I translated “eagle eye” into Albanian, I was surprised to see the word for Albania — “Shqiperi” — as the root of the word for eagle. Whaddya know? It turns out that “Shqiperi” (pronounced shchee-per-ee) means “land of the eagles” and the Albanian flag shows the image of a two-headed eagle. Here is a link to the Albania creation story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tale_of_the_Eagle
If you are interested in following the blog you can subscribe to it and each new post will appear in your e-mail box automatically. Click the Subscribe button on the right side of this page (in some browsers the link is accessed at the top of the page by clicking on the three bars) and enter your email address; this will trigger a confirmation email with an activation link; click the activation link and you are good to go.