Archive for August, 2010

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Back in Texas

August 28, 2010

I arrived back in Texas yesterday after spending a week in Scotland with Super Dad. Oh, it was an amazing holiday, exactly what I needed. We drove all over, enjoying the views, and stopped by lots of castles and abbeys. It was really nice spending the time with him and finally having some time to unwind after the school year and before the whirlwind that will be my time back in the States.

Leaving Leeds was really hard on me, though. It still feels so surreal, I just can’t believe I’m gone, can’t believe it’s all over. The last night I was there, instead of going to a party, I walked around the city just a bit. Went to this little park near my flat and just sat there, thinking and remembering. God, this past year was amazing. I’m really hoping my friends all keep in touch, I have some very tentative plans to possibly see one or two of them before I leave for Ukraine, but I have no idea if it will actually work out. No matter what, though, it was such a blessing to have met all of them, to get to know all of them. They were all there for me during one of the hardest times I have ever gone through, they supported me and helped me every step of the way, they accepted and loved me quirks and all, and they all touched my life in ways I don’t think they’ll ever truly understand. They made this year so incredible, it’s because of them that this was one of the best years of my life, despite everything. I’ve been really missing them since I’ve left.

Actually landing in the States was hard, too, surprisingly. I was so overwhelmed with feelings that as we sat in the shuttle to the parking lot, all I could do was hug my bag and stare wide-eyed out at the world, blinking back tears of emotion. I was happy to be home but sad knowing this amazing year was over, everything around me so familiar yet still so different. But the first American flag I saw, flying proud side by side with a Texan flag, filled my heart with joy and pride. No matter where I end up in the world, no matter where I go or what I do, this will always be my home. I will always be proud to call myself a Texan, an American.

Anyways, now that I’m back, I have lots of things that I need to do. Gotta call the travel agency about setting up tickets to fly to Washington D.C. (where Staging will be held prior to leaving for Ukraine), work out my packing list, buy anything I need, visit with friends and family, and eat everything I’ve been missing. My schedule is incredibly tight, but I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone and spending time with family and friends. Let the whirlwind adventure begin!

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Oh, That’s Right…

August 18, 2010

…I’m joining the Peace Corps! Well, will you look at that?

Okay, it’s not that bad, I haven’t completely forgotten about the fact that I’ll be living in a new country in a month (oh my God, I really am leaving  in a month, aren’t I?), but it sure hasn’t been the first thing on my mind these past few weeks either. I’ve been so focused on finishing my MA thesis that I’ve completely pushed the Peace Corps out of my mind. Anytime something reminded me that I will soon be going to Ukraine, be it a fellow groupmate posting the countdown of days until we leave or an e-mail from the Ukraine Country Desk, I had to push it away because I feared my head would explode if I started to think about it. My brain was just too full of medieval French romance and cross-dressing women. So while I have been asked multiple time by various people if I’m excited/scared/whatever, I have just answered honestly: I haven’t been able to think about it. I do feel like a bit of a slacker because I was sent homework by the Country Desk weeks ago, but when I say I couldn’t think about the Peace Corps, I mean I Could Not Think About The Peace Corps. I guess my mind can only handle one life changing thing at a time.

But today, I submitted my MA thesis and I am officially done with my degree. I now have a Masters in Medieval Studies, and you may address me as Master Lampton. Friends and family may call me Master Michelle. 🙂 Since I’m done, I feel like I can finally turn my attention to all things Peace Corps and begin to prepare myself for this incredible adventure.

So today I finally turned my mind to that homework I was sent. It’s this little ‘Learn How to be a TEFL Teacher from the Comfort of Your Own Home’ type thing that’s due by August 31st. But since I’m going to be in Scotland all next week (I can’t wait, I’m really looking forward to spending the time with Super Dad), I figure I should probably get it done before I leave Leeds this weekend (the entry about my emotional turmoil due to leaving Leeds will be saved for another time). It’s an interesting packet, talking about what will be expected of us by our communities and different teaching methodologies. There’s also a fun section with grammar rules that we need to know. Most of it is incredibly basic, like what a noun is, but other parts go into detail most people haven’t seen since middle school, such as what reflexive and demonstrative pronouns are. I’m just thankful I’ve taken Latin for so many years: I had to learn English inside and out in order to learn another language so most of this I already know.

I guess I should also start learning Ukrainian. My wonderful friend Lina has agreed to help me learn it, but I don’t think we will have time to work on it together before I leave. I’ll start working my way through the language booklet and handy-dandy set of audio files they sent me next week while traveling. I have plenty of time! Worse come to worse, I’ll just show up in country, say ‘Howdy!’, and hope for the best. Seriously, though, I’m not too terribly concerned. Living in a country is the easiest and fastest way to learn a language – I’m sure I’ll pick up loads once I arrive. I would love to have a good foundation before then, but I’m not going to stress myself out about it.

Now that I can actually think about the Peace Corps, I’m starting to get really excited. I’m really looking forward to heading off to a new country, meeting new people, making new friends. I’m even looking forward to going back to teaching, especially because I know it’ll be different from what I’ve experienced before. There are still a lot of things I have planned before I leave for Ukraine, but I really am getting very excited about this new chapter in my life.

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New Host

August 1, 2010

As I said on my blogspot, I had to switch over to wordpress in order to password protect my entries. So welcome to my new blog hosting site! I probably won’t bother protecting the entries until I actually leave for Ukraine (because seriously, I doubt I’ll say anything particularly interesting up to that point), but if you want to read posts I make once I go, you’re going to have to e-mail me for the password at melampton@gmail.com.

Back to that thesis!