Thursday, August 29, 2013


Peace Corps volunteers leaving Dilijan, just as Dave and I did in mid July

I'm not sure why I haven't posted anything since leaving Armenia.   Dave and I are now , again, returned Peace Corps volunteers or RPCV's.  So what does that mean?  I guess my delay in writing anything says that we don't know exactly what it means.  We are back in the US after saying lengthy and emotional good-byes to our friends and Armenian "families" as well as to colleagues at work and random people in our town and in Yerevan who we knew on an acquaintance level.  We will miss all of them, and do.  I feel the separation anxiety more strongly than Dave does but that is not unusual for us.  Even though we had difficulties and complaints about Armenia, now that we are gone, those do not seem as important or as urgent as when we were living the life of immersion in another country.  We said good bye to many people we grew to love and will not see them again.  That is a strange feeling.  Several of our closest friends e-mail frequently,but we all know that will diminish with time and especially as we get busier in our own lives here in the US.  

We are enjoying re-connecting with our Chris and Dottie in Las Vegas where they are involved in the field of education.  We soon will travel on to visit other relatives including and foremost, our daughter and our grandson. We will return to Las Vegas in the fall for me to have a small surgical procedure which is still awaiting insurance approval thought the Peace Corps----nothing serious yet necessary.  

So, what is next for us?Travel is at the top of the list and began with a trip to Prague, Croatia and Istanbul before returning to the US.  Each destination had its own charm and reason to return, however, we are pulled in the direction of seeing different places before returning to those we really enjoyed.  Time will tell about our future travels. Where we will live is still a huge question for us and will take immense thought and consideration of many factors to really decide where to settle down, if we ever do.   We have belongings waiting in storage in NC and boxes of belongings at our son's home.  What to do with all of this "stuff"  leads us to think that much of it will be deleted from our lives but how and when, /?????
Dave and Judy in Croatia after completing 27 months of Peace Corps service in Armenia

Unlike many volunteers who return home to large airport welcomes with balloons and flowers and tears, we traveled first then arrived in Las Vegas to the warm welcome of our son and his wife. It was a quiet re-entry as RPCV's and it was fine.  Our friends and other family members know we are back but by the time we see them, the new of our experiences will have worn thin.I predict a normal, family visit as before we even left the country for Armenia or Niger before that.

Some days it seems surreal that we even served in the Peace Corps. Were we really living in Armenia for 27 months with people we did not know yet grew to love then left , not to see them ever again????   It seems as if we just went for a visit and then it seems as if we've lost touch here in America.  It is more complex for us because we did not return to an established place with loose ends to pick up and re-connect.  We are now gypsies without firm roots in any  one place. Of course , we are drawn to where our children live and want re-connection with our grandson who is in another state, and with other family and friends in Colorado, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, S.Carolina, and North Carolina, etc.  This is all part of the adjustment we were cautioned about by former Peace Corps volunteers and current PC staff.  We must give it time and the dust of re-entry will begin to settle .

In the initial days back in the US we purchased a car, obtained new phone numbers,attended concerts and enjoyed eating out again. We even pursued volunteer opportunities in Las Vegas in case we return here for any length of time.  Projects at our son's home have kept Dave more than busy as I write, organize thousands of photos from Armenia and our trips,and help our daughter-in-law with as much as possible. The endless trail of paperwork for medical clearance has occupied a good portion of time as well,but now it is just a waiting game and we will proceed with our travels.

We hope to see many of you , our faithful or even sometimes readers.  I thank you for keeping up with our journey in the Peace Corps and would love to share more of our thoughts and experiences in person. We were also warned not to give lengthy answers to questions from others about the Peace Corps because the short question, "what did you think about Peace Corps service?" usually is really seeking a short answer.In fact, we were encouraged to develop short "elevator" type answers so as not to receive the glazed-over stare of a person who is consummately bored and ready to move on to a more interesting subject.

So, for fear this post is causing that glazed-eye stare, I will end . I promise to post photos in the next entry so that you may get the sense of a few of the people to whom we bid farewell and will miss. There are countless others but the photos next time will present images of Armenians from various walks of life whose lives crossed our path.We hope those encounters were as meaningful to them as they were to David and me.       Judy
Judy and Dave saying good-bye to a favorite student in Dilijan, Armenia.