When we got to the hotel we turned in our paperwork and were given our debit cards for accessing funds to get us through our trip to Ashgabat. A group of volunteers were waiting for us to go eat dinner together and that's where I met about ten more including my roommate here at the Holiday Inn. Her name's Alex. All of them seem like nice people (not shocking, really), but I'm pretty sure they're all younger than me and most don't exude spirituality. But I probably don't exude spirituality when people first meet me either, so we'll see. Plus there are probably about fifteen more volunteers I haven't met yet, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's orientation. In some ways, I feel like I'm in college again waiting to be greeted by my R.A. and meet my floor of dormmates.
I will say I think the PC was generous with our allowance for tonight and tomorrow's financial needs. So, that bodes well for knowing I'll be taken care of and won't have to live on bread crumbs for two years. It's also comforting to know that everyone else is in the same boat and most of them also didn't really study the Turkmen language files sent us either.
This may be my last blog for a while. PC told us not to expect to be able to phone or email during the three months of training. I hope I'll be able to sneak some time in to do so, but if there aren't any posts during that time don't get worried or impatient. As I prepare to be tossed into a totally foreign environment (different language, different climate, different religion, different culture, different economy), I am thinking about all the great people in my life who love me and are praying for me. And I'm especially thinking how lucky I am to have a mom and dad who are supportive and who made sure I was well fed leading up to departure and who bought some supplies and did loads and loads of laundry and many other things to help me prepare for my departure. I love them a lot and that's as gushy as I'm going to get here.
One last note. A reminder that I would love to get lots of mail when I'm over there so the other volunteers get jealous of my popularity, but mostly because I like getting mail. Emails are nice, but I don't know when I'll have internet access. I'll always have post access. Besides, I can keep a letter and pull it out any time I'm sad or lonely and re-read it. With that, I bid my faithful readers adieu.