Sunday, June 27, 2010

I'm in South Africa, trick!

I made it Joburg, our luggage and all! It was a big fiasco, but we made it here! For being 16 hours, the flight wasn't too bad, I watched Valentine's Day, When in Rome and Post-Grad. : ) Then we are staying in the airport so we were able to grab a burger at a bar and people watch the World Cup crowds. It's pretty easy to tell where everyone is from that is in the airport because they are all wearing their respective country's jerseys. I've seen (and heard) many vuvuzelas. They're very loud when blown in an airport, but I really want one. ahah We don't have our checked baggage, but it is supposed to head to Manzini with us tomorrow, so good thoughts that it will be there when we arrive.

Tomorrow we leave at 6:50am for Swaziland and after that I have no idea what we'll be doing! Training type stuff I would suspect...

There's not too much to update here. Just wanted to let you know we all arrived safely!

Hope all is well at home! Love you much!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

Welcome to HOT-lanta

Hello all!

Well I'm officially on Day Two of my Peace Corps service!! SO surreal! I kept saying to everyone, "can you believe we're moving to AFRICA. . . TOMORROW?!" haha. I am so excited for the next two years!

Yesterday started out hard, not only did I have to say goodbye to my parents but I had to do it on just a few hours of sleep... : / needless to say I was a mess. The lady sitting next to me on the plane asked me if I was moving away from my family and I was so embarrassed because I couldn't even get the words out! But I did get out "But I'm really excited!" which was true. It was SO hard to leave, but I was very excited about what was ahead.

I got off the plane in Atlanta and it was hot! Like Africa hot! : ) Guess I should just shut up and get used to the heat... I got off the plane and trekked it to baggage claim and met up with a few other PC people at the train station to head to the hotel. I thought it would be difficult to find them, but we all had an obnoxious amount of luggage so we were actually pretty easy to find! So we jumped on the train and headed to the Buckhead Station and I called the hotels complimentary shuttle service there. And as we headed up to meet the shuttle, dripping sweat from carrying all of our luggage in the Georgia heat, a limo pulls around the corner. We all joke about "oh yeah guys! that limo is for us! we're going into the Peace Corps, but they sent us a limo!" but then the limo stops in front of us and we see it is from our hotel. No joke we rode in a limo from the station, to the hotel. HILARIOUS.

We got to the hotel and met some more people and started registration about 20 minutes after we got there, so it was perfect timing on the whole schedule, except I hadn't gotten anything to eat but those little Biscoff crackers on the plane so I was starving. We had a workshop the whole day about expectations, what to expect, our anxieties and aspirations and then logistics of the next leg of our travel. None of the staff is traveling with us to Swaziland so we were all split into groups and someone from each group volunteered to be a group leader. So he had everyone in a group stand up so we could see who was in our group, then we had to sit down if we didn't want to be the group leader. And each group had a few people who wanted to be the group leader and he made a comment about it right before my group's turn. And of course, when he asked us to sit down if we don't want to be the leader, we all sat down as fast as we could. So we had to do it again, and we sat down even faster. So I said FINE, fine I'll do it. So you're looking at the Group 3 Leader and Hotel Group Leader and I'm helping at the airport today as well. So I have to be in charge of my group's tips, and making sure everyone is checked out, and no one left anything behind, then helping the Airport GL get everyone checked in at the airport, then my big job is finding the hotel in the Johannesburg Airport and getting everyone checked in there! Fortunately there is one other Hotel GL. At least I'm not the Document GL in charge of everyone's passports and tickets. : /

After our seminars ended, at 7pm, none of us had eaten all day, save for the cookies the hotel brought in at about 5, so we went for an adventure. We ended up at some dive of a pizza place that I was sure would not fit the 25 of us that rolled in. But they did and since no one had eaten all day, we all had a lot of Pizza and Beer. Nothing like it for our last night in America!

Today, we have to check out and load onto a bus at 2 and head to the airport to watch the USA vs Ghana game, because I'm going to Africa I have to care now, and we head to South Africa at 7:25pm! We get to Jo'burg 16 hours later at 5:05pm local time, about 10am in Minnesota.

I think that's about it for now. I'll try to update in Johannesburg, and after that, who knows when the next update will be... Miss everyone TONS! Love you!!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Hello Friends!

I can't believe I am leaving in just two days!! I'm not sure what you'll be doing this weekend but I've got a pretty full weekend of traveling ahead! eeek! It has been a busy week so far, trying to get the final goodbyes in, and will be finished off tonight at Cirque du Soleil - Alegria with RD! Then tomorrow is my last day in Minnesota, before beginning my adventure to Swaziland! If I missed saying goodbye to anyone, don't worry I'll be back soon! : )

I think I can now say that I am done packing!! I have closed both of my checked bags and, after ditching a few sets of clothes and finally resigning to shipping some things, I am under the 107" requirements! I haven't weighed them yet, so I hope they're under 80 lbs. : / After my interview with MPR yesterday, more on that in a second, I had to do some major packing reorganization. We got an email from the Peace Corps that said we will be spending the night in the hotel in the airport when we get to Johannesburg, meaning we will not be getting our luggage back. So the toiletries and the pjs and the next day's clothes need to be in my carry on. Also, when we get to Swaziland we will have to put one of our bags into storage for three months during our training. Needless to say, I had to reorganize everything, but I think I got it all figured out!

Okay about my interview at MPR! On Monday, my mom saw a tweet from a reporter at MPR that said he was looking for recent college graduates who are joining the Peace Corps to avoid searching for a job in this crummy job market. So I sent him and email and told him I was leaving Friday and had just graduated from the U! Although I hadn't joined the Peace Corps to avoid looking for a job, I am certainly VERY thankful that I do not have to look for a job having just graduated from college. So he came here yesterday to do the interview and take a few pictures of me packing! He said that his story is now kind of going along the lines of my story, people who have joined the Peace Corps/AmeriCorps and are very thrilled to not be looking for a job, because the application process is long and it is not something you can just decide to do because you can't find a job... So anyway, it should air late next week if you are an avid listener of MPR, and if you're not it will be online as well. I won't know when its up because, well, I'll be in the Swaz but if you see it, let me know and if I get a chance I'll see if I can look at it! :)

Finally, I'll just give you a quick overview of my schedule, incase you are interested to know where I'll be and when!

Friday, June 25: 6:45am flight from MSP to Atlanta to meet up with the rest of my group going to Swaziland with "What to Expect" seminars that day.
Saturday, June 26: 7:30pm flight from ATL to Johannesburg
Sunday, June 27: 5 pm arrive in Johannesburg (the time is about 7 hours ahead in Jo'burg and the Swaz. FYI) staying in the hotel in the airport
Monday, June 28: 6:50am flight from Jo'burg to Swaziland (50 min flight)
Tuesday, June 29-Friday, July 2: orientation sessions at the Ngonini Lutheran Farmer's Training Centre.
Friday, July 2: Move to Host Family for the rest of training (end of August)

Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers everyone!
Love, Megan

Monday, June 14, 2010

Let the Packing Commence!

Well the goodbyes have begun... We just returned from a weekend trip to Texas for Danny's graduation and one last cousin hangout before I leave! Goodbyes are always hard, but it's hard to wrap my head around two years so I'm not really freaking out about the not seeing people for two years part yet.

Packing has been in an awkward state of limbo the past month. I've been acquiring things, but it has been way too early to pack. But with only a week and a half until the big day, I think it's time to begin putting things in compression bags and into the luggage! I pretty much bought a whole new wardrobe (thanks mom and dad!) so no need to worry about packing clothes I'll need to wear too early!

This coming weekend will be my last at RD (shout out to the Nation!) I'll miss you guys! Then the party on Sunday for even more goodbyes : (, before my last day on the ice for two years on Monday! No ice rinks in the Swaz I would bet. Now THAT may be one of the hardest things to get used to! I've never had a break longer than like two months without having my skates on, and my feet do begin to ache for my skates after some time so we'll have to see how that one goes!

I suppose this would also be a good time to mention how to talk/send things to me for the next two years...
Well, you've obviously found my blog (yay!) and this will probably be my main way of communication, I would suspect. I won't have any idea what the exact internet situation is until I get there (the training site as well as my eventual permanent site), but I am bringing my laptop so here's hoping! So until I know more about the internet situation, and I'll let you know when I know, lets all just stick with letters and the blogosphere. ; ) Here's some other ways to get a hold of me:



Skype and Twitter name: megekey (I don't know how often I'll be able to do these but just incase... gotta keep the Nation updated!!)

Below are my mailing addresses, one for letters and one for packages that need a physical place to send other than a PO Box:

Postal Service Address:

Megan Key, PCV

PO Box 2797

Mbabane H100, Swaziland


Courier Service Address:

Megan Key, PCV

Farm 188

Gate 256 Muzi Road

Dalriach West, Mbabane



Here are a few tips from current PCVs about mail:

It takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for packages to make the trip from America to Swaziland, and 3 weeks is average. Flat rate boxes are probably the cheapest option from the US post office, don't send things on expedited shipping, they do not come faster than regular 'air mail'.

Note the stressed importance of Africa on the bottom of the address, Swaziland shares a very similar postal code to Switzerland (SD) and it only takes one keystroke form a busy postal worker for a package to end up in Zurich instead of Mbabane. Adding Africa severely diminishes that possibility. Many people believe putting Christian symbols or phrases (i.e. “Jesus Saves”) on packages reduces the likelihood that things will be stolen in the process. In general, though, packages make it there intact.

Thanks to everyone for the support, good thoughts and well wishes for my journey! I hope to see you all on Sunday to say goodbye! : )

Love, Megan