Ask Me Anything

This is a permanent invite that I should have posted a long time ago.  If you are looking into joining the Peace Corps and have random questions, feel free to ask me anything.  If you are in the Peace Corps and just want to know my experience, ask away.  If you have no affiliation with Peace Corps, I’ll still answer whatever you want.  Send me an email or find me on Facebook.  I’ve been through it all.  I bordered on Early Termination.  I have loved my service.  I have dealt with how romance effects service.  If you want advice or have a specific question, I’m sure I can help or point you in the right direction.

FFman@comcast.net

Making a Life-Long Project Better

I’ve been doing the Everyday Project for six and a half years now.  I knew joining the Peace Corps would add a unique spice to my project.  Two years of projects with weird landscaped and veiled women in the background?  I loved the idea.  It will make my project stand out.  When I started getting used to being here in Morocco, however, I realized there was another advantage to being in the Peace Corps.  Time.

There is a lot to do in the Peace Corps.  I spend a lot of time hanging out with my Host Family, eating, and teaching kids.   But, inevitably, there is a lot of free time.  I knew this would happen.  As a result, I made a nice long list of personal goals I wanted to accomplish during my 27 months here.  Most of them were writing goals.  But there were a few random ones.  Genealogy was one.  Another, however, involved my Everyday Project.

I’ve seen a couple projects that aligned the eyes in their pictures.  They are some of my favorite projects.  If you can find a way to align the eyes of the pictures, you can go as fast or as slow as you want.  For me—without aligned eyes—I dare not go faster than ten pictures per second.  Even at that rate, my face bounces around enough that it is slightly disorienting.  So I put it on my list: Align the eyes in my Everyday Project.

I knew it was an ambitious project from the get-go.  To start, I wasn’t sure how to do it.  I tried several different projects over a week in February.  Finally, I realized the best way to do it was with the Ruler option in Powerpoint.  I did three months that week.  Later I realized I was making the pictures too large.  I started again.  It takes about half an hour to do a month—a little less than a minute per picture.  I’ve been doing this for six and half years.  That’s about 2,200 pictures.  Like I said…it’s an ambitious project.

When I started working, I thought it would be a rather monotonous project.  It is, at times.  But, more and more, I find that that is not the case.  I see my face and realize things.  I have a slight tilt to my head.  My eyes look better in the sunlight than in the faux light of the indoors.  I can see when I had been crying—eyes still red.  I can tell when I just got out of the hot tub—hair still wet.

More importantly, I look to the background.  This is the part that brings back memeories.  I like it when I am not home in the pictures.  It’s great to try to figure out where I was…and why?  Who was I dating at that point?  How long till we break up?  Who was I hanging out with?  What did we do?  These pictures hold my life in their pixels.  I’m loving this “monotonous” part of this fantastic project.

Here’s a quick look at what I am doing.  I am currently 300 pictures in.  If you are looking to start your own project (which I strongest suggest you do) or need any advice on aligning eyes, feel free to contact me.  I love spreading this project.

A Month Without Her

I spent a month (Oct. 20 through Nov. 20) falling in love with a girl who lived 1,300 miles away from me.  It was easily the best month of my life thus far.  Now it’s been a month without her.  It’s been strange.  It not like I think about her everyday.  No.  That would be easy.  I find myself thinking she would make each destination in my daily life so much better–so much fuller.  Some days are easier than other–but some days are downright lonely without her.

I’m moving forward in going to the Peace Corps.  Which means another 800 days without her.  The idea frightens me.  I know I asked for this by letting myself fall in love with her so soon before leaving the country.  The thing is, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  Period.  The time apart will be impossible.  It’ll teach us much about ourselves and each other.  It may rip us apart.  But it may make us stronger.  I do not know the future.  All I know is that, right now,  I see no other option.  The Peace Corps is where my life has been pointed for years.  With it finally on my doorstep, how do I walk away?  What kind of life will be waiting for me if I do?

The internal conflict burns inside of me as–each day–I read over more forms and learn Arabic.  It’s like I’m living two lives at this point.  At some point, one of those lives will have to fall into a hibernation–hoping to be reawoken in the near-future.  At this point, I expect that to be the life with her.  I do not like that.  I hate that that is going to be my decision.  I try every day to re-imagine what life would be like if I stayed in the states….but it’s getting harder and harder to see it.

This blog is going to transform in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  As I make the transition to living overseas, it will remain my writing blog.  But it will also take on the aspects of a Peace Corps Journal.  Although I am not legally allowed to share my specific whereabouts or doings, I will be able to share my personal thoughts and writings.  That will not change.

I have much from my teenager years that I still want to upload before I leave.  I think I need to up it to three per update.  Here’s today’s batch of poems from nine years ago:

One Thing Left

What It’s All About

Our Autumn Fall

 

More Memories to Come

I have been neglecting my writing a bit too much in the past month.  I am trying to get back in the swing of things now that the final draft of “The Stagner Chronicle” is complete.  Getting back is easy with things like the Memory Challenge.  I am going to try to do one each day like I originally intended.

With 39 days until I leave for the Peace Corps, I can’t help but find myself evaluating my life and decisions.  My time in Fort Collins has been fun, but it is time for me to move on.  I can’t wait to start my service–even if I am scared.  Even my back up plans–for if the Peace Corps doesn’t pan out–have me somewhere other than Colorado.  I just need to find my own life.  I can’t wait for it to start.  39 days is too long…

Day Sixteen: Lightning in the Cemetery

The Peace Corps

I must apologize for my absence over the past couple weeks.  I am still editing the final draft of The Stagner Chronicle in my free time.  The thing is, my life has taken a rather dramatic turn over the last two weeks.  I am set to leave for Peace Corps service in Northern Africa in 47 days.  I am starting to spend my days preparing myself in every different manner possible.  Teaching more often.  Talking with friends about Arabic customs.  Talking with my parents about what will happen within the family over the next 27 months.  Filling out paperwork.  Following news articles about my country.  As the date approaches, I only expect the thought of service to occupy more and more of my time.

I will make one promise to my readers.  Before I leave, I will make The Stagner Chronicle available for sale via Lulu.com.  I will do my best to keep the price cheap and allow for very cheap digital copies.  The draft that I am working on is very clean.  It is ready to be published.  This is the first time I don’t want to just pocket a manuscript with the hope of future publication.  I want my fans, friends, and family to be able to read it.  I can’t wait to get it out to everybody.

With Love,
Richard