Sunday, September 10, 2006


Note - my postal code is 10100, not 101000 - I find this out after mailing out change of address cards to 200 of my closest friends. Oh well! I hear that 101000 will work too - but I shall soon find out! I mailed some things to myself so I would have some mail when I get there.

Staging went well. The bellperson at the hotel said that Morocco is usually a good group (he's seen a lot of stagings go through) - they seem friendly and bond well. And I think that's taken place! Our trainer said we were a good group too - of course, she may say that to every group, but then she gave some reasons (none of which I remember except that there was one exercise which makes other groups angry and we were laughing and having a good time with it).

Coincidence? A friend told me that there was an article in the latest Penn Gazette about Penn alumni in the Peace Corps. I haven't seen the article yet, but I am looking forward to seeing it!

Karma? As a closing exercise, we broke into groups to present some of what we'd learned in a creative way. One group had to present a song, one a rap, one a skit, one a poem, and our group had to present haiku! As it happens, I have been in a haiku mood for about a year (luckily for everyone, not non-stop - just a trip to LA and some White Sox and Class of 1980 haiku, which never saw the light of day - and one more thing, explained below...) but I instantly came up with a few:

Success in Peace Corps
Acceptance, integration
We feel we belong

Learning the language
Ar-bic or Berber di-lect
Now, we count to seven
(we had just learned the numbers 1-7 to count off in our groups)

Building small business
Artisans are creative
We work together

I also helped other people at the table with their haikus - and I gave people recommendations and information about Philadelphia and the Penn campus (a friend called me a born tour guide and I am glad to share expertise while I still have some - now I have to build some up!).

More on haiku...I was reawakened to them thanks to a column called Tuesday Morning Quarterback, which I first found on Slate years ago and then found on I am not a big football fan, but I love this column - it talks about football in a fun way and about other things (space, science, whatever - including football haiku!). I couldn't find the column this year, so I searched for the author, Gregg Easterbrook (who has an impressive day job, if you google him) and wrote to him - including a haiku. I then found the column - this year on - and wrote him back to tell him never mind, but not before he wrote back to me. He told me he might even work me or the Peace Corps into a future column! Brush with greatness. One of my friends from LA gave me a teeny (it nicely fit in my luggage) haiku book to fill while I am gone. Now I feel inspired! Oh, on the luggage, by the way - I did max out on the 107 inches, but I didn't bring the max carry-on. Instead, I brought the backpack carry-on, the better to carry all three pieces (plus the tote bag/pocketbook) at the same time, since we were told in no uncertain terms that we were responsible for carrying our own luggage. So I actually did leave some packing space on the table, as it were.

Listening to my last Sunday Night Baseball in a while now. Am I making a mistake leaving baseball for all this time? Way back when in 2004, I mentioned the Peace Corps to my outplacement counselor (who did not think it was a good idea) and it turned out that one of the heads of the firm had been to the Peace Corps. I networked with him, and he said that the hardest thing was all the things he missed - two years' of his friends' lives and two years of who won the World Series. I remember thinking, "Why did he have to mention THAT particular thing?" Of course, it has stuck with me. I'm getting Sports Illustrated...hopefully that'll take care of my baseball withdrawal, even if it's way after the fact....It should be noted that thanks to a rainout, my last game turned into a doubleheader - and my nieces lasted to the 8th inning of the second game! I am very proud of them! And glad I saw the (2006 World Champion?) Mets at home in two crisp (2:25 and 2:37) wins.

You have haiku on the brain, huh? For the last several years, my brain has been infected with double dactyls. (Reference material.) In fact, I've just composed one for you, as a follow-on to our comment-exchange yesterday:

Higgledy piggledy,
'Roon of Princetonia
(Now of the Peace Corps) to
Africa comes!
She will improve lives of
Artisans, while her friends
Sit on their bums.

It's a curse. I can't hear a six-syllable word or phrase in conversation without thinking "Ooh, that's a double dactyl!" (Did you notice "reference material" above? I did as I was typing it...)

Anyway, it sounds like you're off to a great start!

I am so sorry that I did not get your letter until this weekend. I attempted to call but got your message that you were not checking messages. I'm glad that I can reach out to you on your blog.

I wanted to say how proud I am of you and what you have committed yourself to for the next 2 years. Please know that you are in our prayers.


Mark, Dawn, Hannah and Molly
Comments a building;
So glad you love TMQ!
Today's - 14 pages!!!!
Wow! Jon and Debbie, thanks for the poetry. If I can inspire the poetry of others, I can already feel a sense of accomplishment! Nice verse, too, both. And maybe now I will notice more double dactyls myself. Or alliteration! (since I responded to that comment already).

And Mark - I just ran out of time to call everyone - even though I have known for months. I did have lots of ice cream before I left, thinking it might be hard to come by here (so far I have had two very unsatisfactory candy bars but no ice cream) so I thought of you quite a bit before I left!
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