Friday, June 23, 2006

Pre Mongolia

School, Spring Break, Graduation, and Rugby Tour

So, been quite a while since I updated this thing.... Even though I am writing them all at the same time, I'm going to write a few different entries that will probably all be posted at the same time. I'm just doing it to keep the length of them down.

This entry will be pre-Peace Corps. I think the last thing I posted was finishing up living in Prague for the summer. If I didn't talk about my running with the bulls and Slovenia/Croatia trip, I will do so later (but I think I did). Senior year was fine, and nothing too big really stands out to me. I did my senior thesis on language and thought, a pretty interesting topic which I hope to continue doing some research on while in Mongolia. I started playing rugby this year and really enjoyed it while I was uninjured and able to play. A injured shoulder has kept me from playing second semester, but I've gotten really good at being a fan. One nice thing about rugby is that its a sport that you can continue playing when you are older, so I hope to play again in the future (maybe they'll even have it in UB).

For Spring Break, Rob Joe Isaac and I went to Costa Rica which was definately the correct thing to do. We rented a car and just Dihatsu'ed our way around the country. We visited some great mountains, volcanos, reserves, and beaches. We hiked, walked, swam, relaxed, and partied to the fullest every day. The sun was always shining, the food was delicious and cheap, and the people were friendly. We decided that most of the country were professional "chillers" that simply have the time to relax and chat with anyone who comes by and wants to talk with them. We spent 10 days there and had a blast.

My Birthday, May 1st, was also my last day of college. A few days later, as is tradition, all of the seniors travelled down to Mission Beach, San Diego, where we all have houses rented for what is called Senior Week. Seniors either don't have to take finals or they take them early, but then we all get off campus and celebrate down in San Diego so that we don't bother all of the other students who do have to take those finals. 10 of us rented the house that sleeps 8 together, but as always, underclassmen come in droves to see us off on the days that they don't have finals. On the most crowded day I believe we had about 18 people sleeping in the house. It was a fun week though, and it was nice to be able to celebrate our completion of college on such a nice beach with everyone.

May 14th, I graduated! The weekend was busy with entertaining and packing, but it ended up being a delight. I met all of my friends families and families met other families and everyone enjoyed each other's company. Graduation itself was a little boring, as most graduations are, but the feeling I got walking across that stage was unforgettable.

The next morning (15th) I left with the rugby team for Argentina. We had a very busy itinerary, but it was all worth it. We flew to Buenos Aires through Atlanta, and arrived on the morning of the 16th, we immediately headed off for Montevideo, Uruguay. A beautiful city sitting right on the water. After a nice city tour and a lost rugby game blamed on the lack of sleep due to travelling, we headed back to BA for a few days. BA is a huge city with tons to do. The beautiful people of Argentina like to party until dawn, and who are we to not do what the Romans do. The tour also took us to Cordoba and Mendoza. Everywhere we went had a rich history and a very different feel to it difficult to describe in such a short space as here. In rugby news, we won in BA and Cordoba in some really outstanding rugby matches, but were beat in Mendoza. Unfortunately, I had to leave the team ealry to make it back to make it to Peace Corps on time, but I still had a great time down there with the team. Cheers!

I left Mendoza on the 30th on a 16 hour overnight bus. After a day at the airport rather then hike around the city with a huge pack on my back for a few extra hours, I got on an overnight flight to Altanta. From Atlanta to LA, and finally from LA to San Jose arriving on the 31st. The 1st was spend doing last minute shopping and packing, and at 9.30am on the 2nd I was on a plane back to LA to begin PC staging. Although I believe it is currently the 5th because of the date-line, the 57 of us boarded a flight on the 4th from LA to Seoul, Korea, and from Seoul we will be flying to Ulaan Baator, or final flight destination. In two days we will be boarding a bus to being training for the next several weeks, and then finally all of this travel will come to an end. Its worth every minute of it though, and I can't wait to step foot in Mongolia!


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