I thought I would let everyone know right off the bat that I have been invited to serve in Turkmenistan. I'm going, of course. It's sort of anti-climactic because I've essentially known since November which country I would be going to barring medical mishaps and the like, which we did have and overcame. It's all good though. Now that I actually know where I'm going there's a lot of apprehension as to what it will be like, but I've been reading the three blogs I could find of Peace Corps volunteers in Turkmenistan and that helps quite a bit. They definitely don't have a blast all the time, but crying and uncertainty aside, they generally seem to be staying beyond a year. I'm pretty sure the real excitement will kick in when I start to pack... packing also means that I'll have the opportunity to buy things. I've sort of been holding off for a while on purchases--even food, and it's really surprising to me how much my life revolves around consumption. Not as much as a lot of other people, because I've never been the kind to go to a store just to look at crap knick knacks, but still a large part. Anyway, buying things for my journey will certainly make me feel like I'm actually going and that this whole thing is not some fantasy of mine used to keep the real world at bay.
My ten day vacation to Houston, Mississippi, and Louisiana is over. I had a blast. Seriously, a blast--this even despite the fact that I was popping ib profin left and right. The first few days we hung out and played games, watched tv and movies, and ate an enormous amount of food. We had a lot of Tex-Mex, Indian, Sushi, and Asian, as well as French (don't ask). Actually, the first full day in Houston we met Jeanie and Ed, Dean's mother and her husband from Columbus in the largest liquor store in Houston. Nothing like that has ever happened to me and it was totally weird to meet someone under those circumstances. I'm not kidding when I say that our meeting was a complete accident. They were there for only a few days to celebrate Ed's mother's birthday and we hadn't been able to get in touvh with them via cell phone, but somehow managed to run into one another nonetheless. We agreed to have lunch with them and had a fairly good time, food aside. On the first day we also went to the Hong Kong market which was my idea of a real grocery store and managed to snag some Durian Fruit. We tried it, and despite everyone's promise that it tastes better than it smells, I must say that I am not a fan.
After a really enjoyable time in Houston, we headed to Mississippi to visit my grandmother, where we had the best peach cobbler ever. It was seriously, seriously good. Grandma, Chris, and Brian had a little bit too much to drink and decided that now would be the perfect time to shave his head. Despite my earlier warnings to Grandma, they first tried to use Veet, which is kind of like Nair except that it comes with a squeedgie. When it started to burn, they washed it off and decided that maybe razors would be the way to go afterall, but they were too "silly" to trust themselves to do it. Thye called Varina, but not having faith in her abilities, and Varina being really nervous about doing serious injury, I woke up to hollers and hoots of laughter in time to shave Brian's head. So there we are in the kitchen at 1:30 in the morning with a bag full of disposable razors, in our pijamas, laughing and shaving Brian's head. How awesome is that? It turned out great and he didn't have any cuts on his head at all. Woot! Go me!
A few days later we all headed to Louisiana to stay with Brooks and Jeb and tour New Orleans. We walked around the city, got soaked in sweat and humidity, bought really neat shoes in the bazaar, drank hurricans on the go, and had really great coffee and bignettes at the cafe du monde. It was a lot of fun, and probably more enjoyable than when I went as a youngster because there was more that I could do and see. Jeb showed us some of the flood damage in New orleans and it was pretty intense. It was basically up to the second story and the water lines in most houses was really obvious. I'd already seen pictures along the coast of Mississippi, but because the damage there was more along the lines of complete and total destruction and most of it had been cleared up, there wasn't much to see unless you knew what to look for. In New Orleans, most things were still there, but messed up beyond belief. At Jeb and Brooks, Dean managed to earn his nickname (no, I'm not saying what it is), and the first night was spent drinking beer and playing ping pong and pool. The day we left for Houston we had a shrimp boil which was delicious and so much fun. I love standing there in front of a pile of shrimp, potatoes, and corn piled high on a spread of newspapers and making a complete pig of yourself as you try to shell and eat shrimp as fast as you can, not to mention the fact that the spice really catches up with you. Dean had never been to one and at first he was a little freaked out at the fact that he would be eating the vein and popping the head off the shrimp. He relaxed as soon as he managed to put a pile on his plate and actually peel one, although he did get much faster towards the end.
If any of this sounds like I'm bored or out of it, it's because I'm sitting on a plane with a pretty good case of the dummies. We went out last night with a bunch of Chris' friends to Cafe Adobe and had a few drinks and appetizers. We then headed out to a karoake bar, but because that was so crowded we seriously couldn't walk, we headed to the gay club right next door. I'm not much of a dancer, and while I may think I'm a better dancer after a few drinks, I certainly know better. It was fund anyway though and the strobe lights and smoke effects were a lot of fun. Dean really really enjoyed being out on the dance floor (but then he wasn't wearing 3 inch heels like I was) and he had a few encounters of the not so straight kind. When he was at the bar getting another drink, a guy came up to him and asked him how old he was, when Dean told him twenty three, he squeeled with glee and asked if Dean wanted to party with them. Dean had to let him down easily and tell him that he was there with his wife. There were these massive beefcakes dancing in front of a wall of water and in the bathroom there was male erotica playing over the urinals. Dean said someone even checked out his willy while he was relieving himself. Good times, good times.
So here I am, wedged between two people on a plane typing in my e-journal and deciding whether or not this is a college length essay. Perhaps for mideterms, but I doubt finals. I'd need to add about four pages to it for that. It should certainly be interesting for you all to read it (or scroll through it- I doubt many of you will read it, unless you were there or somehow involved). All in all though, I'd say that this entry is done, stick a fork in it.