Friday, March 29, 2013

Wrapping Up Our Peace Corps Service - The Transition Home

From Steve:  When we joined the Peace Corps, every step of the process was guided by staff people.  The transition back to life in the US was not so structured for us, perhaps because we left earlier than the prescribed 27 months. Following is a short description of what happened (without the emotion of our last blog post).

Exit day minus 3We packed, gave away the rest of our stuff, and said good-byes to special friends in Dangriga.

Exit day minus 2:  I went to the clinic and said my goodbyes to friends that I have come to know and respect. Cathy and I both ran around town getting last minute utility issues handled and closing out the bank account. We had to make sure there were no obligations or problems left behind.

Reuben, logistics guy, came from the Peace Corps office and picked us up at our home. We were very thankful for the ride, since going to Belmopan on a bus, with all our bags AND the big drum would have been very difficult. 

In the afternoon we went through an administrative check list with Matt, administrative officer. To expedite our processing out so we could go home sooner, Cathy and I determined that we would not have our last medical checkup in Belize, but would take care of it in the States. 

We checked into our favorite hotel, the Garden City.  We had made plans to get together with PC friends, Ken and Mickie. However, the US Ambassador and his wife asked to spend some time with us before we left (Nice!!), so we had a wonderful dinner with the Ambassador, his wife Barbara, and her mother, and Ken and Mickie.

Exit day minus 1: We went to the office and met with the medical officer and also went through the forms that we would need to complete when we got back. We met with Nina, our country director, for our final debriefing. 

One last social time - We had pizza with a good friend, Shaz, another Peace Corps volunteer, for our last dinner in Belize. 

Exit day: We went to the office in the morning to get a ride to the airport. We had been warned that we might have one more chance to cry. Even Mr. Cal, the guard at the PC gate, said, "Oh, yeah, they always cry that last day." 

All the staff people had assembled in the reception area for our final good-bye. They had a big “Thank You” banner and a cake. I'm not sure if everybody gets a cake ;-)  There were short speeches along with tears and hugs, and then we were on our way.

A kind young man at the airport got our drum wrapped in clear plastic, and we cleared security. I was “selected for extra screening." I think it was because I wound up sitting next to the chief justice of the Belize supreme court on the flight to Miami.

When we arrived at Raleigh-Durham International we were met by Jeff, Stephanie, and Burke. 


We picked up our rental car and went to dinner where we watched basketball. Our favorite team won. We settled in at our extended stay motel and slept well.

Arrival day plus 1: We got new cell phones, and the following day signed a lease for an interim apartment. 

And so on . . .  On the weekend my nephew and one of his strong young friends helped us move the heavy pieces from the storage locker to our third floor apartment.

Monday we bought a car. This also involved finding an insurance agent and getting a cashier’s check for the down payment.

Now we have settled down to making the rounds of the dentists and doctors, and we have started looking for a home to buy.

From Cathy: It's still COLD AND WINDY! I'm thrilled to be home, and I miss everyone terribly.

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