8/4/10
We are done. PST is over. Tomorrow we swear in. Of the 58 original people, it looks like 55 of us will swear in. That’s pretty good.

Monday we had our language exam. It’s an oral exam where you sit down with a teacher from another village and have a conversation. I was a little nervous for mine but thought it went okay. Yesterday I found out I received an Intermediate Mid score, which is two notches above the Novice High we are required to reach. I was really happy with this score, although I still don’t feel at all competent in the language. I can’t understand most of what my host family says, especially to each other. I do have the feeling now of what can I do to keep learning? I know we can get a tutor, but we are definitely on our own now to keep increasing our language skill.

There are a lot of thoughts right now…how am I going to get all my laundry done so I can pack for Friday…will they pick us up with our luggage or do we have to haul it across town…will I enjoy my next family as much as this one…can I survive for 2 years in Vardenis…what will I do at work…PST went fast…I’m going to miss my friends…I miss America…I don’t want to pack…

I’m looking forward to Vardenis, but it is a cautious optimism. The reality is it will be so much different from PST, I just don’t know what to think about it. But this is the experience that I wanted all along. I didn’t sign up just to do PST, even though I enjoyed it. I believe that I can become part of the community there. I know the more language I can understand, the more at ease I will feel. I’ve had a few brief moments already where I felt like I was almost at home here. It is intoxicating because of all the frustrations we face to get to that point.

Overall I feel proud in completing PST, which was grueling at times. I am excited to move on even though I know I’ll miss the way stuff is now. The next 2 years could be awesome or frustrating. Maybe they will be both. But I can say that after 10 weeks in country, I’m glad to be in Armenia. Bring on the next 24 months.

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