We drove 11,000 miles around the United States. We wandered around Nepal. But now, still less than a year since I stepped down from my job at Duke, Champa and I are entering the countdown for our biggest adventure yet.
At the end of May, we’ll leave the United States to serve as Peace Corps Volunteers in Moldova. (That’s Moldova in yellow on the right side of this map, the small country between Romania and Ukraine.)
We’ll initially gather with the other new volunteers for a brief “staging,” probably in Philadelphia. Then we’ll all fly to Chisinau, Moldova’s capital. Immediately after we arrive there, we’ll begin three of months of training — learning to speak Romanian and perhaps some Russian, studying the local culture and getting prepped for our jobs. If all goes well, we’ll then swear in as volunteers and be posted together somewhere in the country.
Champa will be a teacher in the Peace Corps program for elementary English education, drawing on her many years of teaching experience in both Nepal and Maryland. I’ll be in a program called “community and organizational development,” probably working with a local nonprofit group of some kind. We’re due to serve for two years, or 27 months if you add in the training period. That takes us to the end of the summer of 2018.
As someone who served in the Peace Corps previously, in Nepal in the late 1970s, I thought I knew what to expect as I approached the Peace Corps launch pad again. But I’ve encountered lots of surprises. Things have changed since then. So have I. My perspective now is so different from when I began my previous service at the age of 24. For that matter, it’s changed a lot even since I decided to stop wearing a suit every day.
During the past year, many people have asked me how I’ve been doing since I retired. My response has often been, “Well, I haven’t retired. I’ve just decided to do something different.”
That’s indeed what Champa and I have been doing and it’s also why I’m now giving this blog a refreshed look and a new name: Not Exactly Retired. There’s a new URL, too: notexactlyretired.com. I invite you to follow the blog by clicking on the button at the top-right of the screen, not just via Facebook. If you find it interesting or entertaining, please tell your friends. I’ve got some fun stories planned for the next few weeks, even before the real action starts.
Are you ready to join us on the journey? Welcome back.