Hello, Goodbye
July 10, 2012, 5:55 AM

I’m officially done with staging in Philadelphia! Everyone is amazing and I am exhausted, so this will be super brief. We just got back from dinner and are getting ready to leave at 2am… I’m pinching myself that the day is finally here!! I’ll update when I can from across the pond.

Love you all!



She’s Leaving Home
July 3, 2012, 5:52 AM

Hey friends,

Welcome to my blog! For the new faces, here’s a quick about me: my name is Arianna Pattek. I hail from sunny south Florida and I just graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in May! I majored in Culture and Politics with a thematic concentration in Genocide, Trauma, and Marginalization, and I minored in Justice and Peace Studies. After a long and winding road, I will be serving as an Education Volunteer with the Peace Corps in Madagascar starting July 9th, 2012 for the next 27 months.

I’m going to use this blog to share my Madagascar experiences with all of you! In case you were curious, I previously used this blog to attempt to document my time working in Kenya in 2010, but I had absolutely no internet, so that plan fell apart pretty quickly. You can read the few stories I posted below I think. In a way, I think it’s fitting that those posts are on my Peace Corps blog because that experience is really how this whole journey began for me. For a brief history lesson, in Kenya, I spent time developing and implementing a writing and arts workshop with secondary school students in order to provide an outlet for their stories and experiences. I brought back a disheveled folder of over one hundred stories and worked with Dr. Daniel Porterfield at Georgetown to develop my students’ stories and my ideas into a published book. The resulting anthology,Till Human Voices Wake Us, honors the contributions of the authors while highlighting the ongoing need to focus on social justice and education. [Also, I’m still working on getting the book on shelves; it’s currently in the Georgetown University bookstore though – plus one for small victories! If you want a copy, get at me. More news to come on this later.] While I’ve always had an interest in educational equity both domestically and internationally, working on this project in Kenya showed me avenues I wanted to continue exploring. Enter the Peace Corps. This is something I believe in and something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember. I even found a vintage Peace Corps pin on my backpack from middle school a few weeks ago, so I guess that is a sign?

I’ve been wading through the PC application process since last summer, and it’s a worthwhile doozy. All that stressing paid off when I received my invitation packet on March 30th! I knew I would be going to Sub-Saharan Africa on a TEFL/EFL Teaching assignment, but until I received my packet, I had no idea which country. Madagascar was a bit out of left field, but I am so excited to get started! There are like a bazillion unknown variables in this equation (sorry to pretty much everyone whose questions remain unanswered…) but the not knowing what’s up is quite invigorating. Here’s a bit of a preview of the few things I do know…

I leave for staging on July 9th, when I fly from Miami to Philadelphia. I’ll meet my 25 other stagemates, aka the 25 other volunteers heading to Madagascar on an Education assignment. That Monday afternoon, we have a bunch of info sessions and lots of forms and everything, before we head out on a bus to NYC at around 3am on Tuesday the 10th. On the 10th, my stagemates and I fly to South Africa, then we make the 3 hour flight to Madagascar and pre-service training (PST, be prepared for a LOT of acronyms in the near future, by the way) begins. From what I heard, PST is intense, giving the trainees (aka me and my stagemates) all of the skills we will need to become successful volunteers. This means language skills, technical training, health and safety stuff, etc. I’ll also be living with a host family which is incredibly exciting! So basically, I’m a trainee (a PCT – Peace Corps Trainee) until we all get sworn in as official PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers, I warned you…) in September! After swearing in, I’ll be transferred to my site, which is where I’ll live and work for the next two years. Since I don’t know my site yet, I don’t know a lot of things…like weather, where I’m living, living conditions, etc. But I will know soon and I’ll share ASAP!

Anyway, now that my departure is a week away, I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who has been so supportive throughout this entire process. Special thanks to my family; I know this hasn’t been easy, but thanks for always being there for me! And hi to my friends; I know you might think I’m nuts, but thanks for loving me anyway. And everyone else: all of your kind words and well wishes mean the world! I have received lots of questions about how to stay in touch and everything, and there’s a page on my blog called “How to get in touch with me” that has my contact info. Please write! And send things ;).

I’m off for now…to go eat my fill of Brendy’s froyo (if you can find a way to mail me this, I will be eternally in your debt) and attempt some more packing. If you have questions, post them up here, and if not, I’ll write again once I’m settled overseas (or perhaps again before I leave if I’m feeling ambitious). I’m so excited/anxious/ready/whoknowswhat to start this next adventure and meet the people I’ll be sharing it with. AH! Much love!!



PS – If you’re in DC, I’m rolling through July 3rd-5th, so please find me to say bye/hi/whatever! We all know how much I love to celebrate America’s bday, so hunt me down somehow.