Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Final Post

Dear Followers,

Thank you for your interest in my Peace Corps experience these past few year.  It has been incredible.  I hope that I've not only helped complete the third goal of Peace Corps (to share host country culture with the United States), but that I've also been able to enlighten you just a little bit to the diversity of the world.  That being said, if the only thing my readers have learned is that Africa is a continent with many cultures, and not a country with one homogenous people, it was worth all the work.

This will be my final post on this blog.  It's weird to think that I will no longer be sharing my life in such a public manner, but it's also weird to think that I did so in the first place.  The weirdest thought is that people cared so much.

If you ever want to hear more about Malawi and Southern Africa, please don't hesitate to contact me.  For those of you that don't know me personally, my email address is on this blog, and I intend to leave this up so that Peace Corps Invitees can get another perspective.

Yewo Chomene,
     Nick Parr, RPCV Malawi 2012-14

Q&A with this RPCV

I'd like to address a few of the common questions I've been getting since I've gotten back.

"Would you do it again?"
I have two answers to this.  (1) Would I sign up again and do a second tour? Probably not.  (2) Knowing what I know now, would I have gone to Malawi the first time? Hell yes!

"Do I plan to visit Malawi again sometime in the future?"
Of course, but I know that it will never be the same.  I've both traveled and actually lived in foreign places before, and I know that there is a huge difference in the two.  Even after living in Chilumba for so long, getting to know so many people, learning the language, and (hopefully) making a lasting impact, I know that when I go back, I'll once again be the outsider.

"Do you have Ebola?"
 Yes, come over here so I can cough on you.  Seriously though, people (not you, you're ok because you're reading this)!  Buy a map, and realize that Europe is far closer to the outbreak than Malawi.  Africa is big.

"How are you adjusting?"
Pretty well, I think.  I'm no longer freaked out by running water or refrigerators, or electricity.  However, I no longer feel the need to leave the TV on when I'm not actually watching it, I sometimes forget to turn lights on at night, and I still find air conditioning a little odd, but I think (hope) these are more permanent changes.  Overall, I'm quite happy.

"What are you going to do next?"
Find a job.  That's a much slower process than you'd think.  Non-competitive eligibility (federal job hiring preference) and having Peace Corps on your resume doesn't magical make everyone want to hire you.  It's a slow process, especially since I'm changing gears a little (I'm looking at work in Marine Ecology which my Bachelor's Degree is in, instead of Biomechanics, which is what my Master's Degree is in).  I'll be fine, and due to my cheap lifestyle, low gas prices, and almost free forms of entertainment (outdoors stuff), money isn't really an issue yet.  As for what else is in the future, who knows, and that's what makes it so exciting.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014 in Video Clips

It's done!  The 2014 Year, 3-Seconds at a Time, Video is ready (with only one small mistake).  I was going to put together an explanation of each individual clip, but that's probably not going to happen (and most are self-explanatory).  Plus, I'm being realistic here, it's 18 minutes of my life, so I don't expect to be winning an Oscar, or having that massive of a viewership.  So now that I sold it so well, grab your popcorn, sit back, and enjoy my mini-documentary: PCV to RPCV.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Holidays

The holidays were great to spend with friends and family.  I spent Thanksgiving around Daytona with family, and Christmas/New Year's in South Florida with Shannon, family, and friends.

The exciting parts were a couple of canoeing trips.  One was a day trip on the Loxahatcheee River, near Jupiter.

Great Blue Heron on the Loxahatchee River

Then, for three days, we went on a canoeing trip through The Everglades.  I've done this trip once before, but The Everglades are always magnificent and the others in the group had not been paddling through there before.  Due to 'complications' (a leaking canoe), we only got one night on the water and spent the first night at a campground that also happened to be the Skunkape Research Headquarters (Skunkape is the Everglade's Big Foot).  Quite a quirky place, but very fun.

Sunset on Lopez River, Everglades National Park

Paddling through Cross Bay, Everglades National Park

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Call for Holiday Giving: Camp Sky & D2D

I don't know if anyone still reads this, but if you do, it's that time of year again.  Camp Sky fundraising is going on now.  If you can give a little or a lot this holiday season, this is an awesome opportunity for the students of Malawi (and who are we kidding, the PCVs, too).  I donated, but will you?

Click here to donate to Camp Sky 2015.

Do you want to donate even more tax-deductible money to another cause?  Determined to Develop (our partner in the library project) is always looking for help with their projects.

Disclaimer: When I joined the Peace Corps, I swore I would not become one of the cliche aid workers that is always asking friends and family for money and using website with cheesy pictures of "Africans."  I am not trying to perpetuate the belief that only WE can help THEM.  However, these are two causes that I was involved with while there and are primarily aimed at empowering Malawians with the skills they need to help themselves.  It's not that they "need" us, it's just nice to help someone else when you can.  And you can.