I know it’s not a good sign that I do not remember the last update I posted, but I know that a lot has happened since that time. While things seem a bit crazy lately, I still end up with more free time than I know what to do with. I feel busier here (or that I have more going on in general in my life) than I did many times in the USA, so I keep asking myself why did I not seem to have so much down time to fill. I suppose the answer is simple, there is just more to entertain myself with in the states. Though I maintain that much of what we are accustomed to having in the states is unnecessary, I could go for a bit of that familiar distraction right now.
First thing first, while the countdown to my return home is still on, there have been some slight changes to the original game plan. After much waiting on the visa front, we have been told that it will be just a little longer than we had hoped. While we have gathered all of the paperwork, passed the necessary exams, and sent in the required forms as mandated by the embassy, we have been told that we cannot schedule an interview until an interview package has been mailed to us. An embassy rep told us (at a bargain rate of $2.10 per minute!) that due to the large amount of work flowing through the consular department that we can expect to wait anywhere between one and a half to three months for such a package to arrive. That being the case, we are looking forward to that paperwork toward the beginning of August. So plan B is this: I am flying back to Minnesota on July 18 and will be returning to El Salvador on August 7 in order to see the paperwork through and return with Ismael in September (hopefully). I will be in Minnesota for about two weeks and will be at Aaron’s wedding, so I should have time to catch up with everyone before I return here. You all will have to wait just a little longer to meet Ismael, though. As for wedding plans, I do not expect this to set us back much. For now we are just returning the prospective date to late October (say the 26th) as was originally proposed. Though I will no longer technically be a Peace Corps Volunteer when I return, I have work that I will be continuing as long as I am here.
The second big news is that Donovan (my puppy) has braved the cross-continent journey and is now safe at home in Minnesota. It was quite an affair to get him there, but I am glad at least that step has been completed. Ismael and I made the trip to the airport (twice!) to get his paperwork in line and to send him off. After a few long rides in the back of a pick-up, getting up and on the road before the sunrise, and a long day in the Houston airport, he made it to MSP. Mom and Dad were waiting for him and say that although he was a bit nervous he was fine and is now adapting to his new home. The house is a little lonelier without him, but he is in good hands.
Work is pretty booming as of late, though, as I say, I still find some time to get some rest. We are in the middle of spending the $4,595.25 that you all kindly donated for our trash project. We have about half the garden planted and fenced in, one of two murals painted, and construction on the work shed at the composting lot is set to commence this week. Maggie (the new volunteer and I) have also been working on the plans for the environment classes we will be giving at the school next week. On the soccer field lighting project front, I am awaiting the contracts from the embassy which are to be faxed this week. Once those are signed we should receive the money and be able to start construction. The plan is for them to work while I am in the USA and we will have an inauguration celebration (possibly with the ambassador) when I return. The last project is the school library. We are still plugging away at those books, though there has been less and less time to dedicate to that project. That is where I plan to concentrate my efforts when I return in August.