Saturday, July 17, 2010


I am officially an RPCV, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer!! My official Close of Service (COS) date was yesterday, July 16th but because my flight left at 7am I finished everything up in the office on Thursday. When volunteers COS the tradition is to ring the bell in the office and the staff comes out of their offices and everyone cheers. We had three people who were flying early on Friday so we rang the bell together on Thursday afternoon:

My flights home on Friday went smoothly. I had a fellow-RPCV as a travel buddy for the first leg and I still just love his comment after we passed through customs in Houston and headed into the airport: “Let’s integrate!!” It seemed so perfect after being so focused on integrating into a foreign culture for two years we’re now back home and quite frankly, I do feel a little bit like I have to switch and re-integrate myself to American culture. And what better way to do that than to go to a big party?!

I was a little nervous about basically going straight from the plane to my cousin’s wedding reception but it was the perfect reintroduction. I got to see almost my entire family, enjoy fantastic food and drink, and danced my face off with my cousins, aunts, and even my grandma.

The fam:

Holy crap, American cake!!! (Nica cake isn’t nearly as sweet):

All the cousins minus one with my grandma:

Dancing our faces off:

Now I’m back at my parents’ house, exhausted and still adjusting to the familiar and yet strange surroundings. The plan is to move back to DC on August 4th and go back to work at my old job starting August 9th and I’d like to apply to grad school this fall for Urban Planning. So life marches on, I’ll probably keep writing in the blog as the mood hits me. I don’t think my post-Peace Corps life will be quite as interesting but we shall see about that.

Lastly, I bring you the massive list of 62 books I read throughout my Peace Corps service. Many of these were sent to me by my wonderful friends and family, but we also have a library of books at the office and much trading occurs among volunteers. My Top 10 are in italics:

Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Prophet – Khalil Gilbran
Beloved – Toni Morrison
The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
Next – Michael Crichton
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
No 1 Ladies Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
A Farewell to Arms – Ernest Hemingway
Dreams from my Father – Barack Obama
Still the Mind – Alan Watts
Sula – Toni Morrison
Through the Arc of the Rainforest – Karen Tamashita
The Perfect Storm – Sebastian Junger
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
The Mirror Crack’d – Agatha Cristie
Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Greggory
Love Me – Garrison Keillor
My Horizontal Life – Chelsea Handler
Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama
The Celestine Prophecy – James Redfield
The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Instinct for Freedom – Alan Clements
A Case of Exploding Mangoes – Mohammed Hanif
Bonk – Mary Roach
Speak Peace in a World of Conflict – Marshall Rosenberg
Timeline - Michael Crichton
And Then There Were None – Agatha Cristie
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
The Penguin Book of International Women’s Stories
Deception Point – Dan Brown
Before You Know Kindness – Chris Bohjalian
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
The Tipping Point – Malcom Gladwell
13 Clues for Miss Marple – Agatha Cristie
Tears of the Giraffe – Alexander McCall Smith
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
Forever Ours – Janis Amatuzio
Middle Passage – Charles Johnson
Murder in Mesopotamia – Agatha Cristie
The Tao of Equus – Linda Kohanov
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Veronika Decide Morir – Paulo Coelho
Diary – Chuck Palahniuk
Twelve by Twelve – William Powers
Nine Stories – J.D. Salinger
The Zahir – Paulo Coelho
Collapse – Jared Diamond
Running with Scissors – Augusten Burrows
The Moving Finger – Agatha Cristie
A Caribbean Mystery – Agatha Cristie
Lamb – Christopher Moore
Three Act Tragedy – Agatha Cristie
The Murder on the Links – Agatha Cristie
Cards on the Table – Agatha Cristie
They Came to Baghdad – Agatha Cristie
Spider’s Web – Agatha Cristie
Caramelo – Sandra Cisneros
The Country Under My Skin – Gioconda Belli


Matt said...

Welcome home!

And that is a great list of books! Several of my favorites are yours as well!

Markus Stocker said...

I think I met you twice and you were about to leave. I can't believe this is over two years ago. Good luck with your post-Peace Corps life.

Bernardo said...

Wow, that's a lot of reading Jenny!

Bernardo said...

Wow, that's a lot of reading Jenny!