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Arrival …

The last seven days have been nothing short of amazing. Phenomenal. Life changing. There is so much going on all the time. And the people here are beautiful. Seriously the best of the best. Cream of the crop. I feel like I’ve known some of them for months. Since Orientation in San Francisco, we have made the journey to Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. Currently we are in the beginning phase of PST or Pre Service Training. Our first 10 days will be spent at the Golden Dragon Resort Hotel after which we will move in with our host family for close to three months before being allowed to officially swear in. Our assignments are not given out until sometime in March. Needless to say we have been undergoing some pretty rigorous training. There is so much that needs to be packed into my little brain. Today, we had a number of language workshops that really gave many of us a tough mental workout. Growth and change. These are two things that are going to have to be embraced with fervor. So much is jumping around in my head. I’m filled with a sense of great appreciation and excitement. Every morning is a new day filled with so much learning and quiet personal reconfiguration. Who I am and where I see myself in the grand scheme of life at the present moment is shifting in a way that it never has before.

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That being said, a whole lot has been going on since arrival. The food here is delicious. The Peace Corps staff is wonderful. They seem really dedicated to helping us succeed. Everyone here wants to be here. All of us. There is a sense of a shared goal and mission. Last night we had our first dinner out on our own. It was a chance for pretty much all of us to explore our food options out in the city. So much to do, see, and eat! My Thai does still need a lot of improvement though …

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Cultural differences and a new, variable terrain contributes considerably to the learning curve. One such variance is a big fear individuals have around here of being chased and attacked by street dogs. During a safety and security session we were given tips on how to avoid a possible altercation. Walking around, we encountered a good number of them traveling in little packs. Thankfully we too, were making our way around in pretty tight knit groups. Together we can achieve … and avoid dog bites. So far the casualty toll is zero on the part of the volunteers. Hopefully we can keep it that way. Last year we heard that something like five people were bit within just the first 10 weeks. Overall though, I feel very safe and am looking forward to serving for many more weeks to come with these great people. Day three of PST here I come!

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