Looking at the calendar today, I realized it has been one year since I officially closed my service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zambia. Sometimes it seems like it was just a few weeks ago I was in Zambia; while sometimes it feels like it has been years. It’s been a crazy year – over the course of twelve months, I’ve had malaria, moved back to Iowa, traveled to Jamaica, got a new job, moved to DC, moved to a new house, went to my first NBA and NHL games, and met a ton of new people. It’s been a great ride!
I am really starting to feel settled in D.C. I have been playing softball on my office’s team, which has been a lot of fun. We play right on the National Mall – it’s crazy to look up and see the Washington Monument right there as you are running the bases. I have also started volunteering at Common Good City Farm. Common Good City Farm is an urban farm and education center growing food with and for low-income residents in Washington, DC and providing educational opportunities for all people. I am supposed to be helping with their after-school program, but in the two weeks I have attended no kids have shown up. So I have just been volunteering around the farm – harvesting veggies and herbs that are sold to support their educational programs. So between volunteering and softball, I have been keeping busy.
I moved the first week of March. Moving is never fun, but I am really enjoying my new house. I found this house on Craigslist, and so far it has been great. I have three housemates (one girl, two guys), and we all get along well. We have a great deck, so it has been awesome to be able to sit outside and eat dinner or have a few people over on the weekends.
In April, I went down to see the famous cherry blossoms. It really was a cool sight – so many trees all in full blossom. It was also a sneak peek into tourist season – so many people! I have come to the conclusion that if you are on the Mall in the summer, you need to be wearing a shirt that matches at least one other person, because you are either in tour group or on a softball team.
I have remained active in the Iowa State Alumni Club of DC. I have met some incredible people and I am glad that the club is taking off. We had a picnic to celebrate VEISHEA – it wasn’t as awesome as actually being at VEISHEA – but there were cherry pies. We also participated in University Row at the Gold Cup. The Gold Cup is a big race that is held out in rural Virginia each year, and the University Row is a big tent with about a hundred university alumni clubs, eating and drinking. It was a great excuse to stand outside (it was a beautiful day!) in a slightly ridiculous hat.
Work has been busy – Peace Corps announced this week that they would begin accepting applications for same-sex couples to serve together, so we have been in the news a lot. The announcement was mostly received positively – I hope that we will be able to keep this momentum going. We also just got a new press director (my direct supervisor) so it has been an adventure teaching her about Peace Corps and the work we do to promote the work of volunteers around the world. We have added two new people to our office in the past month – so I am no longer the new kid! I was really hoping to get some new RPCV blood in our office, but it wasn’t to be.
Summer is kicking off in DC – lots of outdoor parties and events. It hasn’t gotten unbearably hot yet, so people are still willing to be outside. I plan on keeping busy and continuing to explore DC. If you are planning to be in DC this summer, just let me know – I would love to have some visitors!