On Tuesday, I graduated for the third time in as many months!
All 46 of the Peace Corps Trainees who came in with me in June swore in as official Peace Corps Volunteers at the United States official ambassador’s residence in a beautiful ceremony (that started on Ecuador Time, i.e., 50 minutes late. Luckily Berkeley Time, where everything starts 10 minutes later than you think it will, helped prepare me for this) with the Peace Corps staff, our current host families for training, and our new host families at site.
Celebrating with the Peace Corps flag
Although we’re required to wear business casual to training daily, the emphasis tends to be on casual. Many of us don’t have hot water at our host families’ homes, so we don’t spend a lot of time with our appearance on a daily basis. It was so cute to see everyone dressed in their best outfits, chit-chatting with their host families – all of whom were fussing over their volunteers as if they were their true mothers, taking pictures, reapplying sunscreen and checking to make sure they’d eaten.
My current host mom had a stern talking to with my new host dad, reminiscent of when your dad meets your high school boyfriend for the first time. She explained all the important facets of my personality: I’m muy tranquila, don’t like to eat rice or meat, and require a cup of coffee with breakfast every day. Over dinner that evening, she reassured me that she approved, and felt comfortable letting me move to site. I loved my new host family in the Oriente, just as much as I love my doting current host family, so I was glad to hear she enjoyed meeting him as well.
But I won’t be moving to site quite yet – I still have two more weeks of Spanish tutoring to help get me up to speed. Since I was one of the few volunteers who hadn’t studied Spanish in college, I frequently found myself lost in long conversations with new Ecuadorians, and am glad to have the opportunity to sharpen my language skills (and much needed pronunciation coaching) in a 1-on-1 setting now. But the end of the month will be here before I know it, and I’ll be off to the Amazon!
My host mom from training on the left, with my new host father on the left
Saying goodbye to one of my closest friends from training, Charli, and enjoying a rare cup of non-instant coffee