I have included a Macedonian flag among my desk-top flag display representing my immediate family:
The other flags represent, our American nationality along with my wife's Irish heritage, my own German heritage, my Son-in-law's Guatemalan heritage, and my daughter-in-law's Chinese heritage. I couldn't resist adding the flag of the United Nations.
344 days after submitting my PC application, I received my written invitation in the mail. 23 days after that, I was an invited particpant in a "Send Off Event" sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Peace Corps Association, in which RPCVs (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) in the Philadelphia area pass the torch to current invitees and nominees. This was an informal evening of mingling and celebrating the legacy of Peace Corps. RPCVs representing each decade of the PC's history spoke about their experiences during their service, following which, there was a candle lighting ceremony acknowledging each invitee and wishing all of us success in our assignments. It was wonderful to be able to meet so many RPCVs and have informal conversations about their experiences. I had the very good fortune to meet another invitee who will be part of the cohort I will be joining when I go to Macedonia. I also met RPCVs who had, or will soon have two tours of service. All in all, an inspiring evening and I left with a heightened sense of motivation and eager anticipation for actually getting into training and settling in to Macedonia.
So, I now have a fellow invitee with whom to correspond and share research information about our assigned country and thoughts about planning as we approach departure.
The next events between now and departure will be a Peace Corps Expo at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on 5/22 and participation in the Welcome America Parade on the 4th of July in the historic section of Philadelphia.