25 September 2007

albi, the racist dragon.

Meet Flight of the Conchords, the New Zealand duo that got us through life in the hkj. I also recommend "Business Time" and "Jenny".

Arizona may well be the most beautiful state I've ever seen. I think I want to visit Namibia. I leave for training in DC in 8 days and for Ethiopia in 11. Holy crap. I should start packing.

15 September 2007

fuzzy logic in the crazy rain.

If it turns out I'm wrong about this whole god and heaven thing, hell will be an eternal flight into Orlando, full of hyperactive children pissed off about why the plane isn't leaving RIGHT NOW for Disney World while their parents bicker over everything from how to fold the stroller to Mickey souvenirs. Maybe I'm jaded because I grew up here, but it just doesn't seem all that great to me.

Peace Corps moved up our departure, so we're now leaving 3 October instead of 5. Wow. Less than three weeks until I'm in DC getting my shots and safety crash course, and three weeks from today I'll be on a plane over the Atlantic, en route to two years of no electricity and a charming outhouse. I can't wait!

My other favorite volunteer program is Teach for America. My friend MacKenzie is teaching in inner-city Philadelphia and is raising money to add some technology to his classroom. Donate here. Every little bit helps, and I assure you, this is the worthiest of causes.

10 September 2007

metaphor for an ethiopian bus ride.

My friend Candace, sadly still trapped in the hkj, sent me the following. Because I'm unemployed and have virtually limitless free time, I found the original post, which is also worth a read. I'm so excited.

Picture your favourite lunch box from when you were a child. You know, when they were still cool, before your angst-ridden teenaged brown bag stage. Maybe it was Scooby Doo, perhaps Strawberry Shortcake, maybe even Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles if you are a bit younger. Mine was Starsky and Hutch. Remember how much you loved that lunch box. How proud of it you were. Everyday at lunch you would pull out your peanut butter and jam sandwich, chow down on your chocolate chip granola bar, throw out your celery and carrot sticks, and poke your straw through the top of your juice box (except in my case; we were too poor for juice boxes. We got juice bags with that little rectangle of thicker plastic across the middle that you were supposed to stab your straw through. This never worked and either resulted in an exploded bag and a lap full of juice, or a sad, crippled straw. If you were like me, you simply bit the corner off the bag and sucked the whole thing down in one go.)

Still have that image of your childhood lunchbox in your mind? Good. Now, imagine sitting in it with the lid closed... for two days. Now imagine the school bully (you know, the one who seemed so big, but in retrospect was just fat) beating it on the pavement of the school playground for those two days... under the school bus muffler. It's a diesel. Every once in a while have him bounce it off a cow, or donkey. Hell, even a camel. Now stick a live chicken in the lunch box with you and have someone puke in it. This is pretty close to your typical Ethiopian bus ride.

05 September 2007

t-minus one month.

After a whirlwind week in New York, Orlando, and Gainesville showing two Brits the ways of the free world, it's hitting me that I have one month left before Ethiopia. This crash course in the highlights of American reminded me of the things I love about my homeland. They were fascinated by drive through ATMs and our ability to right turn on red lights, but I'm still reveling in the fact that I can wear tank tops without being fondled in the street. But I was most proud while sleeping in the car on the drive up to Gainesville - I overheard the guys talking about the deliciousness of the home-cooked meals at my dad's house and comparing it favorably to the ridiculously expensive steakhouse we went to in New York. I missed waffles and am proud that my house was a highlight of their America tour.

Gainesville still feels like home, but in a strange way. We bought scalped alumni section seats for the game, which was my first time outside the student section. I felt old. Even the Swamp and Copper Monkey started to feel like fond memories, not current haunts. Since I missed my last semester and any semblance of a real graduation, it was a nice closure to that chapter of my life. But that's not to say I won't be back for another Gator game before I leave again!

Although I still have a few more trips planned for the next month, I'm settling into "pack two years of my life into 80 lbs" mode. In preparation, I've compiled a wishlist of books I'd like to read in the next two years. Mail can take up to four months to reach Ethiopia, so if you really love me, you're welcome to start sending now!

Email jess.in.ethiopia@gmail.com for my address and detailed mailing instructions. Since I'll be living without electricity or water, books and letters will be my primary (only?) source of amusement. I've also taken to knitting, so if you want to include a skein of yarn, it'll become part of a patchwork blanket. Or send several skeins and I'll send you back you a scarf.

If you teach or know someone who does and would like a penpal for your class, email me at jducey@gmail.com. I'd be happy to exchange pictures and letters with your class. It'll be just like having friends.