One Year Anniversary

Looking back after a year makes me glad I’m here

You know your home when you see St George
Welcome to Moscow!

The men who run finance
Me and my crew

Me and my joe-cool friends
The non-work crew
Wow, time flies when you’re having fun!

Last June, as I can remember with clarity like it was yesterday, I
stepped off the plane and into the chaos that is Sheremetyevo 2,
Moscow’s international airport. Into a very Russian van, we 40 odd PCV’s
climbed, deep in culture shock and high on adrenaline. This was it, the
culmination of several months, to several years of planning. The Western
Russia Peace Corps Experience.

That summer was quite a roller costar. We watched as the younger
brothers, then the older sisters, and finally the desperate mom’s lined
up outside our run-down dormitory, waiting for a chance to talk (or
more) with an American.

Then, we sat nervously as our Russian host families were announced,
hoping they were people we could stand for three months of co-existence.
For those three crazy months, we attended classes all day long, the
first classes in years for many of us. Finally, after long days
studying, and longer nights getting into trouble, we all went to the US
Ambassador’s house to become volunteers.

Some went on to actually be volunteers, and are out there now, doing
what they came here to do. Some waited three torturous months, hiding
from the militzi or singing the Brady Bunch theme song if they were
caught, before joining the lucky volunteers. Others, a select few
including myself, we not so fortunate. We either walked away, looking
for a more efficient Russian experience, or were swiftly asked to leave
Russia by the not-so-friendly provincial governments.

I was lucky enough to land on my feet, with a good job to pull me out
of the mess I was in. Now I am not going to say it was easy to
transition form the Peace Corps experience to the Price Waterhouse
experience. That was one of the most frustrating and depressing
Decembers ever, but I do believe it was needed to let me get on with my
life. I am now quite happy with the turn of events, and how 1998 has
shaped up so far.

In February, I was able to go back to my birthplace, Bali, Indonesia.
I even found the hospital where I was born, and the rice paddy house I
spent my first few months of life. A kind of homecoming and
realizational experience rolled into one. If I wrote you a letter from
Bali, you already know I was deep in though on that tranquil tropical
isle. After my return, I could see the spring and all the change it
brings coming to Russia, and I am glad it finally came with a vengeance.

Now I sit here, with good friends all around, and I am glad I stopped
at the Peace Corps booth, on Adams-Morgan Day so long ago. I have lost a
few friends and a woman or two since I stepped off that plane, but it
was worth it (or I keep telling myself that anyway) to get where I am
one year later, living life and loving the world.

Wow, time flies when you’re having fun!