We surprised our Peace Corps host family on Sunday afternoon with a photo album filled with memories of our past two years together. You can see some of its pages showing trips, dinners and celebrations we’ve shared, as well as quieter moments in the garden or playing with the family dog.
They loved it.
I produced the album online with Shutterfly several weeks ago and shipped it to one of the new volunteer trainees, Andy, who arrived here recently. He gave it to Bob on the Peace Corps staff, who gave it to me. It was a complicated journey for a special gift. Thanks again, Andy and Bob!
Champa and I planned to give the book to our host family this coming Saturday, when we’re having our farewell dinner. However, while we were all hanging out this past Sunday, our host sister, Alisa, told us again how much they enjoy the photo album we brought with us to Moldova two years ago, showing our family and life in America. She asked whether I could send her images of its pages before we left.
Champa and I looked at each other and I asked her in Nepali whether we should go ahead and give them the new album immediately. She agreed. Happiness ensued.
We’re so glad we made both albums, an idea I recommend to anyone joining the Peace Corps or otherwise spending extended time overseas, such as with study abroad, a company or the diplomatic service. We’ve shared our original book many times with Moldovan friends, who have been curious to see what our lives were like in America, especially with our family. I’ve found the Shutterfly system easy to use, the quality high and the prices reasonable. Other companies offer similar products but I have not used them.
Our host family, the Bordeis, now has its own book of memories to share. Its title, “Champa and David at the Chateau Bordei,” is based on the French-sounding name I used on a Thanksgiving menu to describe the delicious house wine they produce. We’re wishing la mulți ani — many years — for the residents of Chateau Bordei.