Monday, October 06, 2008

Los Angeles

Early voting started in San Francisco today. I voted, but I'll keep my politics to myself.

And then, after 7 weeks of preparation, I finished packing today and headed off to OAK with my parents and Luisa. It seems that there was unanimous consent that the day was completely surreal. In any case, Dustin met up with us at the gate and bought me the new riveting issue of Black Enterprise. No joke.

The flight was pretty uneventful. The Peace Corps recommended that I take a Supershuttle from LAX to the Crowne Plaza hotel for ~$10. iPhone let out a little cough and noted that there is a "Parking Spot" location next door to the hotel that has a free shuttle. So, clever (and spendthrift) as I am, I took the free shuttle and walked over here. Turns out that "next door" was more like a half-mile away. Oh well. It was a good work out.

Groups headed toward Samoa and Tonga are in the hotel tonight for the 1-day stateside training. It looks like there are 13 of us heading to Samoa and about 20 heading to Tonga. Through informal conversations, we've learned that there are a lot of us who have been assigned to IT positions, most of us with little to no IT experience. My theory is that IT is the new English. Most of the world has established self-sustaining programs for teaching English, but an American layperson is considered an expert when it comes to technological savvy. I guess we'll learn more about the state of things as we get deeper into training.

We had a short check-in this evening, which consisted of filling out and submitting five pieces of paperwork. We were issued our special Peace Corps passports, which are kinda cool (but not nearly as cool as the black State Department passports). My picture for my Peace Corps passport is much better than my old passport photo. I'll try and get pictures of each to demonstrate this wonderful evolution.

At the check-in, we were also given our Peace Corps debit cards. We will receive more information on how to use these debit cards tomorrow, but I get the impression it works like a corporate credit card that happens to have a REALLY small limit. We'll see.

Tomorrow we have 4 hours of programming from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then our non-stop flight to Samoa departs at 11:30 p.m.

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