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Friday, June 13, 2008

Its Official!

We are now official Peace Corps volunteers! This morning all the PCTs, host families, PC staff/ teachers, members of our host communities, local mayors/ ministers, and the American ambassador met in Elbasan, at Skampa Theatre, where we sat through a lot of very rigid speeches before raising our rights hands and repeating the oath of inaugeration. "I do solemly swear to uphold...."

And, to top it off Greg, one of my future site-mates, and I stood at the podium and gave our own Thank You speech, completely in Shqip! I was semi-nervous; less than I thought I would be, but happy because I felt confident while speaking and didn't fudge it up... I had practiced reading aloud many times the day before and on the bus ride into town in the morning, so I felt pretty well prepared.

Part One of the Speech Video:

Afterwards we had a "cocktail party" of cookies, soda, and slightly stale crackers in the hall outside, said our goodbyes and then fizzled out in small groups to grab lunch. Even though it is June, every few days here we seem to have spring-esque downpours, and today was one of those days. I went with a group of girls to Maggie's house (she is one of the 4 PCVs who will stay here in Elbasan), where she hosted us like a proper Albanian woman by serving us coffee, tea, and chocolate, and then we grabbed our umbrellas and raincoats to go find some pizza and soufflace. I can't believe training is over! Now there will be no more schedules, classes, superiors to answer to, etc., and thus we are having a final celebration here tonight.

Chris and I will return tomorrow to Cerrik, and spend one last evening with the Cepa family, then on Sunday we'll make the 6+ hour journey back down to Gjirokaster. And that's it--- we're home!

I am posting the videos from the speech on You Tube-- which can be found by searching for Swearing-in Speech, Peace Corps Speech, Courtney Albania Shqip, etc. For now I only have 1 of the 3 videos here because the connection is too slow and it times-out, but please do take a look if you have the time! [ ]

Goodbye for now, next time I post will be from Gjirokaster~~~ :)

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