Friday, February 26, 2010

Greetings from Philadelphia!!

Close-up of the pole (the next picture). Layers of rust and paint. It looked like it used to be a streetlight before electricity but who knows. Anything that close to Franklin's grave has to be important and historically significant, right? That's the problem when you're in a city older than your state, to many things to be fascinated by.

This pole didn't have a sign but I was in the historical district and it looked old so I thought I would give it some attention.

Philadelphia is so patriotic, they like to put cement blocks with amendments carved in them around the city.

Me with the Liberty Bell!

The Liberty bell with its old home in the background.

Its case you didn't know.

Me and Susan B. Anthony, we go way back. Thanks Susan you know, for the right to vote and the whole suffrage movement thing.

China town (a few blocks away from the hotel).
Warning:This will be my last post from the United States and my last post for 8+ weeks. Try not to cry...

I arrived yesterday in the evening. I took a cab (my first cab ride) to the hotel. My cab driver was REALLY excited that I was paying cash and leaving the country: he asked me to marry him. That kind of made my day. I spent the night unpacking and repacking anxiously. This morning on the today show, they were in Vancouver B.C. showing video of Mt. Baker...there was a slight shock of how much I am going to miss the beautiful Pacific Northwest but not enough to keep my from going (sorry Grandma). I skyped my family a bit then headed out to see the liberty bell. No, I don't know what freedom taste like due to a lot of security but I did get to see it. Oh well. I snapped a few pictures, hit the gift shop for some postcards, then headed back to the hotel where I was meeting some folks from my group for lunch. I finally got my Philly Cheese steak. I think it would have been better if I appreciated steak...but I don't. Oh well, now I can say I've had one, right?

After lunch we had just enough time to come back, change, and meet for staging. 6-7 hours later, I'm an official Peace Corps Trainee (my identity for the next 8 weeks). Exciting!!!

After staging, a big group of us meet for dinner, I had sushi for the first time (I've seen the light) and then headed back here to finalize some packing decisions for the last time. I also found out that people not from Washington think people from Washington live off of sushi. Maybe some people do?

Anyway, there is a group of 21 of us (almost all here) and everyone seems pretty great. I'm excited!! I'm hearing that JFK is closed down so we'll see if we actually get to fly out tomorrow but I'm excited. Once we land in Lilongwe we'll be whisked off to training so we're all going to hit the ground running, despite the jet lag. Ready or not, here we come!!!

P.S. Note on the previous post: PLEASE if you send me something, send ukulele songs...your favorite or something I've heard. As much as I love Bob, there's only so much Dylan a girl can play on a four-stringed instrument before people want to throw rocks at her head. Thanks!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Hello Guest blogger Diana is writing this for Amy today. Amy has taken her Ukulele with her and had a request for me to pass on. When you write her a letter, which I am sure all of you will be doing, please include Ukulele or Guitar Songs that you like, or think she should learn to play. Amy can play songs with chords or Tabs. You can find lots of songs on the internet.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

All my bags are packed; I'm ready to go

Tomorrow morning I leave my house at 5:am to go to the Seatac airport. My flight leaves at 8:30am and from there I'm off to staging. By mid-day Sunday I will be in Malawi starting off on the adventure of a lifetime. To say that I'm excited/nervous doesn't quite cover it. I am feeling every emotion you might imagine wrapped up in an awe of disbelief. We'll see what this adventure holds but I can only imagine how wonderful of an experience it will be.

To all of my friends and family, I would not be doing this if not for your constant support. You all mean more to me than I could ever explain.

Next time you hear from me I will have completed eight weeks of intensive language and job training.

For once, I'm at a loss for what to say out of shear anticipated exhaustion. Please write me letters and keep me updated on what is happening in your life. If you are feeling generous, send me candy (gummy things and chocolate, the darker the better). Also, send me pictures of you or us. I want to know how you are because I miss you already.

Amy Cross PCT
Peace Corps
P.O. Box 208
Lilongwe, Malawi

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Post for Packing

I'm losing energy on the packing front. Last week, packing was the most calculated/planned escapade I had ever embarked on; that being said, it has turned into this...
In other news, here is am mostly complete and deeply unorganized list of everything I am bringing:

  • Glasses (2)
  • Ukulele strings (2)
  • Floss (5)
  • Toothbrush (5)
  • Chapstick (2)
  • Hair-cutting scissors
  • Comb
  • Wind-up clock
  • capo
  • Swiss armyknife
  • headbands (2)
  • Calendar
  • Inhaler
  • Harmonica
  • ork gloves
  • books
  • 3 Musketeers
  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galexy
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Bible
  • Peter Pan
  • Postcards for gifts (4)
  • Stationary (some)
  • Titanium spork
  • Netbook
  • External harddrive
  • headlamp
  • sleeping bag
  • gortex poncho
  • Inflatable Pillow
  • solar charger
  • ipod
  • knitting needles (2)
  • HIking boots
  • chacos
  • dressyshoes
  • sneakers
  • ukulele tuner
  • tape measure
  • cards (2)
  • solar charger accessories
  • mug
  • tent
  • sheets (full)
  • sewing kit
  • jewelry (cheap)
  • hair pins
  • kite
  • toothpaste
  • fishing line (to teach kids how to make kites)
  • deoderant
  • Colored pencils (presents)
  • spices (Rosmar, Basil, Cumin, cayan pepper)
  • Creole seasoning
  • nutella
  • chicken bullion
  • underwear (23)
  • seeds (11)
  • mouthwash
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (8 week supply of a 2 in1)
  • plyers
  • multi-head screwdriver
  • duct tape
  • ukulele
  • inflatable globe
  • Jeans (1 maybe 2 depending on space/weight)
  • dress pants
  • Tank tops (5)
  • T-shirts(7)
  • Blouses (3)
  • Long sleep T (1)
  • Bat6hingsuit
  • shorts (for sleeping-2)
  • capris spandex
  • long underwear
  • socks (2)
  • skirts (2)
  • hanky(5)
  • bras (8)
  • french press
  • 8" cast-iron skillet
  • metal spatula
  • knife
  • convertable pants
  • towels (2 thirsty ones)
  • thermometer
  • bunjee cords (3)
  • razor/refills
  • sweatshirt
  • flannel
  • slinky
and there you have it! Things I will add: short wave radio and bananagrams. I think I'm pretty much set.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"Good Feeling" -Violent Femmes

Before I begin to ramble on again talking about myself and my preparations, here is a quick note to those of you who know me: My folks are throwing a going away party for me (they're a little excited to send me away) at my house. It's an open house this Saturday from noon-4, come hang out! There's no need to bring anything but an empty stomach (we all know how much my Mom loves to feed people). Hope to see you there!

Things I'm nervous/scared for:

Since I got my invitation in October, I've been looking through a lot of blogs and facebook photo albums of current PCV's in Malawi to get a better idea of what daily life will be like for me after I arrive. This has done nothing but excite me, except for one part...I can't even count how many 'toilets' or 'chimbudzis' I've seen which is something in and of itself; however, the part that scares me the most is the fact that will all of these pictures, from oh so many people, I have yet to see a single roll of toilet paper. Call me an American, but yuck! I refuse to accept the reality of what this means. I keep telling people, "maybe they're hiding them?" That's what I'm hoping. Hmm, we'll see!

I'm scared that I'm bringing the wrong stuff. I've been making some serious packing progress (that's new) so when I get everything together I'll put a list of everything I'm bringing (for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing).

More than anything, I'm scared that I'm going to get sick of the music I'm bringing with would be too!

So, in the mean time, I've been spending as much time doing things I won't be able to do once I'm gone: hanging out with my family/friends, watching movies, talking to basically everyone I know on skype/cell phone, and packing (its kind of hard to pack when you're already gone to the place you were packing for).

Soon I'm going to post my little bloggy blog on the giant list of all peace corps volunteers' blogs (exciting).