Thursday, June 30, 2005

Back From Cali!

BACK FROM CALIFORNIA:
So, I arrived home this morning about 1:30 am from the road trip. I didn't say where we were headed earlier because it was a surprise to the girls. I took 2 girls that just graduated from Highschool down to San Francisco for a few days, and then we continued down the California coast down Highway 1. We were gone for a week. It was fun. We saw Alcatraz in San Fran, and met a former inmate who had written a book about his experience. We stayed on Lombard Street (we camped the rest of the trip), and overall had a blast. I have driven down Highway 1 before when I was in college, but we did not take as much time and see as many things.

Down the coast we did all the tourist stuff: took a ton of pictures, went on 17 mile drive (where all the rich people live) and saw Pebble beach, camped at some of the most beautiful campsites I have ever been to, went to Santa Cruz down the boardwalk. The girls went on the rollercoaster there, the oldest working one on the west coast. I did not mention that part until after they were off. I did not go on it, because as some of you know I do not like rollercoasters, just the kid ones that go in circles. We spent the day at Monterey and went to the Aquarium. And my favorite part of the trip was getting to see the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. It was unbelievable. All of the pictures that look like a mansion are from that place.

We left San Louis Obisbo yesterday morning at 8am. I drove the whole way. Over 1000 miles in 18 hours. It was long, but I think we were all ready to head home. We were tired of camping and smelling like smoke. :)

PEACE CORPS UPDATE:
While I was away, I received a cd from Samoa about the country and what my experiences will be like. The topics included: a history of the Peace Corps in Independent Samoa, information about Samoa including government facts and basic stuff I had already read about, what my living conditions would be like. It mentioned email access. Every town has a few internet cafes (which I still can't believe) so I will have email access, but usage on that is limited.

My main food will probably include rice, bread, papaya, banana, breadfruit (I don't know what that is yet), and fish. I will either be living with a Samoan family or with another volunteer, and we will most likely have running water and possibly limited electricity. My main mode of transportation will be a bicycle, which I am looking forward to because I have read there are some great places to bike around the islands and I have really been getting into trail riding lately.

When I first arrive in Samoa, for 2 months I will be in country training and not actually in my job yet. The things I will be working on and learning are technical training, language training, health and safety training, cross cultural or diversity training (learning how to adapt). I can still be fazed out of the Peace Corps, or not be accepted to serve my job if I do not pick the language up (but I think I will because I pick languages up easily and love learning new ones), or if I am not quite up to the technical skills needed.

Health wise, I know some of you worry about me. First, there is NO malaria in Samoa. My biggest concerns are infections. Samoa is out of the main path of yearly typhoons as well. There is a cycle to the paths and about every 11 years Samoa is hit. The last typhoon to hit Samoa was 2001. I think I will be okay. So, actually I am pretty lucking on the health part of it. There are also 2 hospitals on each island.

Okay, I think that's enough information for now. If any of you want more information or have any questions feel free to email me or comment, cause I do read them. :) Until next time...

8 Comments:

At 11:18 PM, Anonymous Daniel J. Wilson said...

Californian zebras?

 
At 11:36 PM, Anonymous Julya Steyh said...

Yeah. Zebras. When the Hearst Castle was at it's prime, the owner had his own private zoo. And the zebras are the only animals left of it. They graze with the cattle.

 
At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Brandon Stanley said...

Great pictures! The trip looks like it was a blast. I am still incredibly jealous that you're going to Samoa. Just think, you'll be wearing shorts in January while the rest of us are scraping ice of our windshields...

 
At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Liz said...

Thanks for the update - I am enjoying your blog and all the pics! Breadfuit is good, but I think it's unavailable or hard to find in the States. I love papaya - it's more flavorful abroad, and don't be suprised if there is a wide variety of bananas... here in India there are so many different kinds and all of them are so tasty!

 
At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Miranda said...

I'm so excited that you are doing this. Now I can know whats going on with you dear cous. and you won't seem so far away. Now for Liz to start one from India.

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Dani Puz said...

Looks like you guys had fun. I didn't know you are good friends with Stephanie. She was one of my softball players. She's a great kid.

 
At 7:23 PM, Anonymous Allison said...

Looks great Julya... I'm looking forward to reading about your trip when I'm bored at work. ;-) Good to see you the other day. Let me know when you're off the island!

 
At 9:42 AM, Anonymous The Worm Guy said...

I have never blogged before. Am I doing it? Julya: I was in the middle of employees not showing up and a long running harvest. I didn't get to True Value on your last day, BUT I do have a gift for you. You can call me on the Worm Guy hotline at 817-0388. This is Friday.

 

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