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September 5th, 2005

06:57 pm - Going Friends Only
My journal is soon to become Friends Only.

Some of the reasons being:

The Peace Corps is hyper-vigilant about their volunteers potentially putting themselves in any danger if they advertise any location-specific info, especially on the internet

I'll have limited access to the internet, I'll be posting less often and the only LJ community I plan to still be with is Peace Corps related

Please comment here if you would like to be added to my new Peace Corps Friends-list and to hear more about my adventures serving in Macedonia!

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01:38 am - For the Record...
I'd heard that it takes 6 months to a year from start to finish for the application process. For me, it was the latter...

Submitted application: August 26th, 2004

Interview: September 9th, 2004

Nominated: October 8th, 2004

Received Medical/Dental/Legal Clearance packet: October 15th?, 2004

Submitted said packet: February 10th, 2005

Medically Cleared: April 28th, 2005

Received Invite: June 6th, 2005

Staging (Pre-dept orientation): September 22-24th, 2005

Pre-Service Training (in-country): September 26th-December 16th, 2005

Dates of Service: September 26th 2005-December 16th, 2007

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September 2nd, 2005

12:39 am - A few new questions I get asked about PC and Macedonia
I've been adding to my list of questions that I orginally posted several months ago June 9th and July 14th. Instead of re-posting it again, I'm just gonna add the new questions here...(and my responses). I'm noticing a pattern of questions where my response usually involves telling people about the infrastructure, the fact that they have electricity, plumbing, internet access, laundry facilities and computers over there...I guess people are imagining I'm gonna go live in a village like "Fiddler on the Roof" back at the turn of the century or something).

1. What do they eat over there? (A lot of meat, fish, lamb, vegetables, and coffee--yay!)
2. Are you gonna take your cat with you? (No, my parents will take care of him while I'm gone).
3. Are you gonna take your cell phone with you? (No.)
4. Do they have electricity? (Yes. They also have plumbing!)
5. Aren't they all Muslims over there? (No, the predominant religion is Eastern Orthodox. However, about 20% are Muslim, most of them also Albanian).
6. Is it a backwards country? (Well, it's a developing country, so it's not as advanced as the US, but I don't think they'd like to be thought of as backwards. I mean, they have things like electricity, plumbing, roads and internet cafes.)
Current Music: No Doubt--Don't Speak

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September 1st, 2005

12:24 am - Travel quotes
"The journey home is never a direct route; it is, in fact, always circuitous, and somewhere along the way, we discover that the journey is more significant than the destination, and that the people we meet along the way will be traveling companions of our memories forever."
Paul Brenner in Nelson DeMille's Book, Up Country

"The landscape conveys an impression of absolute permanence. It is not
hostile. It is simply there untouched, silent, and complete. It is very
lonely, yet the absence of all human traces gives you the feeling you
understand this land and can take your place in it."

Edmund Carpenter, quoted in Arctic Dreams, frontpiece

"I now belong to a higher cult of mortals, for I have seen the albatross"
-Robert Cushman Murphy

"Catch the trade wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
-Mark Twain

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August 26th, 2005

03:46 pm - Two unrelated things
Well, I confirmed my departure date. I leave Seattle on Thursday September 22nd at 1:10pm. I go to WA DC for Peace Corps orientation, which is 2 days. I'll meet the other people in my team, approx 35 people. Then on Sunday we all fly to Macedonia. (I have so many mixed feelings about this as I'm typing, but anyway...)

The other thing is that I decided to get a copy of my credit report, just out of curiousity. I am amazed, AMAZED to find out that I have 14 credit cards. Geez louise! This includes all the little department stores and ATM cards and everything. I thought I had like 5, cuz I was only thinking of the ones that I use, and even with those, I typically only charge on one or two.
I guess I'm more of a stereotypical US american than I thought!
Current Mood: surprisedsurprised
Current Music: Soundgarden--Black Hole Sun

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August 24th, 2005

03:28 am - 50 pages
I am a mere 50 pages away from finishing the latest "Harry Potter" book. I tried to finish it last night (er, this morning) at 5am except I was literally falling asleep while reading. I'm gonna get off the computer and finish reading it now.

Oh my god! I still can't get over what has happened. I am totally at the cliff-hanger.

Don't worry, I won't give anything away if anyone else out there still has to read it. Cuz some idiot posted the spoiler on Craigslist before I even started the damn book (about 3 days after it came out). It still pisses me off.
Current Music: Weezer--Beverly Hills

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August 23rd, 2005

01:54 am - Injuries?
Today I was listening to a local radio station that threw out this random statistic:

Apparently, every year 40,000 Americans are injured by what household item?

I was surprised to learn that it is a toilet.

OK. Call me ignorant, but how the hell does someone get injured by a toilet?

I'm baffled.
Current Mood: confusedconfused

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August 20th, 2005

01:48 am - Calling computer geeks!
Heelllllp! I'm having trouble with one of my blogs and I need someone who understands HTML to help me!

Preferably in person. Free coffee will be happily exchanged!
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated

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August 13th, 2005

01:08 am - Quitting Smoking
REMINDERS (from "Allen Carr's Easyway to Stop Smoking")

1. Make a solemn vow never, ever to smoke, chew or suck anything that contains nicotine and stick to your vow.

2. There is absolutely nothing to GIVE UP, to lose. There is everything to gain. There is no genuine pleasure or crutch in smoking. It is an illusion, like banging your head against a wall to make it pleasant when you stop.

3. Don't doubt your decision to stop. You know it's the right choice.

4. Don't try NOT to think about smoking or worry about it. Whenever you do think of it, think "YIPPEE! I'M A NON-SMOKER!"

5. There is no such thing as "just one cigarette".

6. Do NOT use any substitute.
Do NOT keep your own cigarettes.
Do NOT avoid other smokers.
Do NOT change your lifestyle in anyway because you've stopped smoking.

7. Do not envy other smokers, realize that they envy you. You are not being deprived, they are. Pity them.

8. You did not enjoy being a smoker. I do enjoy being a non-smoker.

9. Don't wait for the moment of revelation to come. Just get on with your life. Enjoy the highs and cope with the lows. In time, the moment will arrive.


Reading this book, and keeping these reminders on hand has helped me tremendously in quitting smoking. I smoked for 3 years in college. The last time I regularly smoked was when I was in South America (the cheap price of cigs was a real trigger for me). The last time I had a drag was December 18, 2003.

Also, it is interesting to note that these reminders could easily be applied or modified to quitting alcohol or drugs as well.

I just wanted to share this with y'all, regardless of where you are in your status of using any kind of substance. It is just as much a reminder to myself as a hopeful message to anyone else.

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12:59 am - Other cool quotes
"The first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: Decide what you want." --Ben Stein

"Life is a long lesson in humility." --James M. Barrie (1860-1937)

"You're alive. Do Something. The direction in life, the moral imperative was so uncomplicated. It could be expressed in single words, not complex sentences. It sounded like this: Look. Listen. Choose. Act."
--Barbara Hall, A Summons to New Orleans, 2000.

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