Wednesday, February 27, 2008

greetings from washington, dc!

Hello, everyone! This is my last night in the US (for awhile, anyway)! I've completed my staging in Washington, and my training class and I are checking out of our hotel at 3:30am tomorrow. We should be in Santo Domingo by 2pm on the 28th!

Staging has been a bit of a whirlwind--after all, it's only 12 hours of training sessions to prepare us for 2 years of experience? (Of course, it's really just the appetizer for 3 months of in-country training.)

There are 36 other PCVs in my training class, and they all seem like wonderful, interesting human beings. We've all marvelled at how quickly we seem to be coming together as a group. Of course, we're all strongly united by a common sense of purpose--seeing how much of our somewhat-exorbitant per diem we can spend in our 2 days in DC. Well, that, and changing the world or whatever.

So far the biggest anxiety in training has been--culture shock? Language barrier? Malaria?

NOPE. The biggest concern has been: what is the definition of "business casual" clothing? Are polo shirts cool? How about sandals? No, but like, really nice sandals?

We all think it's hilarious, but we all NEED TO KNOW. It seems like we were all pretty surprised that development work in a Caribbean country would require business casual clothes, and we all desperately need to be reassured that we have packed appropriately. (It seems that I mainly have, hooray!)

I suppose things like language and culture are slightly more intangible concerns, things that we can sort out when we get there. But, dude, if that polo shirt isn't going to cut it, I don't even know what I'm going to wear.

I've also learned that my first three weeks of training will be center-based, and will focus on language and the basics, while the next five weeks will be community-based, and focus more on the logistics of our actual placements. There is no Internet at the training site, although there are supposed to be Internet cafes around. So, who knows? I'll try to blog/check email when I can. In the meantime, please write letters!

Hasta luego!


Christine said...

Your business casual comment reminded me of my first time volunteering for Monday clinic, which requires business casual + white coat. I wound up looking up whether polo shirts count on Wikipedia.

Lydia said...

so what IS business casual for the DR? I am leaving in a month (ahhh!!! placement sent me my invitation only 5 weeks before i am set to report) to be an environmental development worker but could be doing it in an education capacity, and I have NO idea what to bring/wear. I am also a very busty/bigger girl so I would REALLY value your input!