Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Anniversary of my COS, Philippines

I was talking to a close friend of mine online with whom I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines. It dawned on me mid conversation that it was one year ago today that I signed my close of service (COS) papers. This year has been full of surprises and, because I couldn't say it better myself, "what a long, strange trip it's been."
After I signed my COS papers in Manila, I stayed in the Philippines an extra two months to finish up some of the projects I was working on and manage some proper good byes with the friends and family of mine there.

In-N-Out with Chad
After the two months, I landed in the US and moved in with my aunt, uncle, cousin and dad in Phoenix amidst the economic crises. I picked up a night shift job at Barnes and Noble at Happy Valley and spent my time there working the cafe, book floor, playing Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 with my cousin and/or lighting the midnight oils. Unfortunately, things didn't work out and we lost the house to foreclosure. While my cousin left for greener pastures in San Diego and my aunt and uncle moved to beautiful Prescott, dad and I squatted in the house for an additional two months or so. During this phase, I had begun my application to head to South Korea as well as to Israel for birthright.
My worldly Posessions
Astoundingly, I was accepted into the birthright program and managed to get two weeks off work to head to the Holy Land. The remarkable thing about this maneuver is that my flight left 24 hours before the program in South Korea began interviewing. After a few emails, I finagled an interview for the English Program in Korea (EPIK) program six hours before my plane left for Tel Aviv.
Israel was fun and I made some great friends on that trip.
A few weeks after I came home, I was inundated with EPIK paperwork and getting my things together to move to Minnesota. In June, I moved in with my moms, into the room I had when I was in high school. I finally found a job working at a gas station, slinging pizzas for hungry travelers. The first month or so was great, hanging out with my brother, whom I had not seen since I left for the Peace Corps. He and I have changed so much and it was a pleasure discovering those differences. He and I are still best friends. One of the unfortunate things about my new job was that I worked night shift and never got to see my mom who started work early in the morning.
My Job in St. Joe, MN
After wrestling with the Korean embassy in Chicago, I finally got my papers in order to fly to Korea and begin work as an English teacher in August. So here I am. It's been a weird year, in retrospect and it has been the people who have occupied my time that has made it a blast.
Me and Colin having a "moment"