“Where are you going, after leaving Americorps?” To the untrained ear, that question might sound like a simple one. Those who know me are now grabbing a beverage. My answer to that simple question is going to take me a minute.
I have been in Alaska for ten months. Before that, I was doing a second self quarantine, at a friend’s home, near Salt Lake City. My arrival in Utah marked my first time stepping foot in the contiguous United States, in a year. The year prior, I began serving with the Peace Corps in Ethiopia. March 2000, Peace Corps evacuated all seven thousand volunteers worldwide.
Upon learning about being evacuated, I changed my home of record to a friend’s condo in Honolulu. To be far, my old address was the same friend’s mom’s house in Kona, Hawaii. So, once evacuated, I headed to the land of Spam! Note: 7/11 Spam Musubi is the best!
I flew the first leg of my trip, from Addis Ababa to WDC, in business class. Peace Corps, like everyone else, was unsure about the impact of the virus on seniors. I was also unsure and upgraded my connecting flights, WDC to San Francisco and SF to Hawaii, to first class. The two free checked bags, with first class, came in handy.
I was given just 24 hours to pack and make my way to Addis Ababa. Once there, it took Peace Corps another four days to get me on a plane. Most of my belongings are still at my compound in Ethiopia. The keys to both my units, in the compound, disappeared on the day I was leaving. I’m sure that all my items have found good homes.
With only one month separating my nine months of service, in Ethiopia, from my twenty seven months, in Armenia, you can imagine why I’m a tad confused about where I should be heading now. I left the USA, March of 2017. My only return was in 2019, for a mandatory blood test, to clear the medical exam for Ethiopia.
I still miss everything about my time in Armenia. I miss my Post Service Training host mom, the family I lived with for two years at my permanent site, weekends in Yerevan, and travel. I went to the UK, UAE (3 times), Sri Lanka, and Tanzania, while serving in Armenia.
Having retired from Duke University, in 2017, I can’t see myself moving back there. I plan on visiting, for my annual medical exam, later this summer. Until then, I will visit friends, sort through four years of mail (at my godson’s house) and return to my first GGT long distance solo destination …. Vegas Baby! In 1974, I took a Greyhound bus, from Detroit to Las Vegas! I turned 18, with the flashing lights of Vegas ahead of the bus, just over the horizon.
In 1974, the Osmond Brothers performed at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas. I booked a $13.00 dollar room, at the nearby Holiday Inn, on the strip. I stayed in Vegas for an entire week.
So, why did I travel across country to see Alan, Wayne, Merrill, Jay, and Donny? I’ll tell you, after giving you enough time to grab a beverage. —GGT