Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Erin just sent the word out today that she has made it to Johannesburg, in South Africa. She arrived safely today after a 15 and 3/4 hour flight. She wasn't sure what to expect when she first got there, but she said hotel they are staying at tonight is GREAT! There is a beautiful pool, and it has many other amenities to make them comfortable. However, it's only for a few more hours, she has to get up at 4 am tomorrow...then is flying over to Madagascar.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Time Sure Can Fly!

6, 960 minutes...that is about how much longer I will be in Wisconsin. Tack on a little under 3,000 more minutes and that is about the amount of time I have left here in the US. Time sure has flown by. It seems like just last week that I first posted to this blog stating that I had 54 days left here! Now I'm down to six...6 days!
I have officially left the La Crosse area...which has been the hardest thing I've had to do so far. So many good friends there to say goodbye too. Or as I keep trying to remind myself...they aren't goodbyes, they are merely "see-you-laters". I have stored away almost everything that I am not taking with me, and have begun trying to pack. Packing has been interesting; trying to decipher between what is important and what is a necessity can be tough. Unfortunately there is not enough room to take all of the necessities, much less the other stuff I find to be important.
Last weekend we had a going away party of sorts here in Waupaca. For all of you that were there and are reading this...thank you soooo much for making it so special! It was great to see all of you! The pictures from that weekend have been great! Not to mention the fantastic scrapbook you all put together---that is a necessity, and I will leave socks and underwear behind if I have to, to make sure it get's packed! You all are such great people, I am a very lucky person to have such great friends!
I hope I have some sort of internet access when I initially get to Madagascar, I can't wait to share with you my experiences, and I look forward to hearing from you all what is going on back here! DON'T FORGET TO WRITE!
Thanks again for all of you who contributed to the scrapbook and the going away party! I can't say that enough!

Friday, January 26, 2007

24 days and counting!

7:18 am...that is the scheduled departure time for my flight leaving Appleton on the 18th of February(going to have to get up pretty early!). After a short lay-over in Chicago, I should arrive in D.C. near 12noon. Check in for staging is around 2pm.
I'm still going through the same range of emotions...excited one minute, and then anxious the next, and sad to be so far away from friends and family the minute after that. All of the preparation has kept me pretty busy though. I am starting to pack up things that I won't be using for the next couple years. Also, the PC has given us some resources to look over in our "toolkit". The language lessons are interesting, and should help a lot!
In addition, many of the volunteers in my group have been e-mailing back and forth. It's been a nice way to make sure I am taking the appropriate steps in preparing, and they have also been a great source for further information! They all sound like wonderful people, and I can't wait to meet them at staging.
We have also gotten our travel itinerary for when we leave the U.S. We have a 15+ hour non-stop flight from D.C. to Johannesburg. We will stay there the night, and then take off for our final destination around 8am the next day.
As the time keeps getting shorter, I feel like I have more and more things to do, people to see, and tasks to accomplish! Guess I better get going!

Monday, January 8, 2007

More waiting...

Well, on November 28th, I was officially invited to join the Peace Corps in Madagascar, and since then I've done a lot of waiting...again. Recently I learned that my orientation will be held in Georgetown, Washington D.C. and that on the way over to Madagascar we will spend a night in Johannesburg, South Africa. I'm currently waiting on my travel packet, which will allow me to set up my travel plans and then I will know exactly where I will fly out of. I can't wait to meet other individuals who have been going through the same range of emotions regarding departure! I will be sure to keep you all posted as I learn more!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

54 days left

After a long application process, numerous blood tests, and a lot of waiting, I will be going to Madagascar on February 18th as a volunteer with the Peace Corps! Since receiving my invitation, I have been bombarded with information regarding many different aspects of my assignment. But even with the many books, pamphlets, and websites there are still many questions and uncertainties that will be cleared up later...hopefully! The Peace Corps offices have given me a pretty extensive list of suggested items to take with, but with the size and weight restrictions, I expect packing to be quite a daunting task.
While away, communication will be limited. According to the materials that I have read, phone calls to the U.S. can be quite expensive and service unreliable. Traditional U.S. calling cards do not work there, and even if you do get a line through, it often results in a dropped call. Internet access is also going to be hard to come by. With that, I will appreciate each letter/package greatly! The following will be my address for February 21st until April 25th.

Erin Cross, PCT Peace Corps
Corps de la Paix
B.P. 12091
Poste Zoom Ankorondrano
101 Antananarivo

My initial three months in Madagascar will be spent learning language, cross-cultural, and technical skills needed during my two years of service. At the end of training, I will need to pass certain tests and also complete an exit interview, all of which will determine my final placement and result in an address change at that time.