© 2012 Daniel IMG_0078

The Beginning and the End

Dear friends…

Here we are at my last update. In the past twenty-eight months, I have worked in Bulgaria; been evacuated to Thailand; taken examinations in Romania; gone sightseeing in Turkey and Spain; briefly stopped in Ireland and Germany; spent time with my family in Chicago; visited friends in New York City and Washington, D.C.; and started graduate school at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Thank you for supporting me.

I had about a month at home in Chicago before leaving for D.C. I spent most of it with my family. My grandmother was on a long visit from San Jose and the two of us were constantly whisked off to restaurants to celebrate. My uncle and his girlfriend took us out every weekend, mostly to order Szechuan food. There isn’t any good Chinese food on campus here, so I still think about those meals.

I took one trip into the city over Lollapalooza weekend to meet with friends and walk around. Kevin, Brett, and I had originally planned to visit the Bulgarian part of the city, but plans went awry and I ended up shopping along Michigan Avenue with Jenny. We all shared a deep-dish pizza at Gino’s late at night before heading to Union Station to part ways.

My one week in D.C. was wonderful. I first went to a county fair with Priscilla, Peter, and Lindsay to watch a piglet race.

We had come from watching the U.S. Women’s Olympic soccer team at a sports bar, so we unfortunately didn’t have any space in our stomachs to indulge in unhealthy county fair food. I’ll have to pick up a corn dog the next time I go.

Dave, Evangeline, Stacy, and I put together a seafood feast the next day. Dave, Steph, and I had gone out to H Mart the night before to buy mussels and discovered that they were only $3.99 per bag. I think we picked up four bags of mussels and a bag of clams, enough to fill a kitchen sink. Everything was delicious. I cooked the potstickers, Dave and Stacy cooked the mussels, and Evangeline cooked the clams.

We could hardly move afterwards, but we had arranged to go to Truckeroo that evening to meet up with others. Truckeroo is a monthly food truck festival, sort of like a very miniature Taste of Chicago. Rather than eat, we spent most of our time chatting and playing cornhole. Dave is a cornhole whisperer.

Myna and Lay arrived late at night and feeling famished from their long drive from Philadelphia. I think Evangeline and Stacy went to bed, leaving me and Dave to head out with the newly-engaged couple to Hee-Been, an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant. Lay ate like a carnivorous horse. The food was incredible and we ate until closing time at 2:00AM.

It’s safe to say that my diet has been a failure. We had a delicious brunch the next day, where I had the best corned beef sandwich I’ve ever tasted in my life. At risk of boring you, here is yet another picture of something I ate.

Dave, Myna, Lay, and I went to explore National Harbor on Saturday afternoon. While there, we wandered into an upscale hotel and decided to explore. We rode the elevators, toured around the halls, and checked out their swimming pool. I liked how much of the hotel was enclosed within a glass “bubble”; It felt like stepping into a work from science fiction, maybe one where humans had rendered the outside world uninhabitable, forcing the population to retreat into cool-looking biospheres.

By Sunday morning, I was in Williamsburg. Here is Jason, my new roommate:

School has been great so far. We focused on networking for most of the first week. Classes have been easy so far; In fact, I’m hoping for some more homework to fill in the empty spaces in my schedule. So far, I’ve been spending my free time on cooking and inviting classmates over for dinner. Everyone is pretty friendly and the first group projects have already ended smoothly.

Recruiting season is heating up and interviews will be held over the next two months. I had more fun meeting recruiters during orientation week than I had expected to, so this part of my job hunt isn’t too intimidating. The scary part for me is wondering whether or not I’ve landed the interview.

For now, all I can do is try my best in my classes and study for the CPA exam. This is my life for the next two semesters, a sort of transitionary period as I step out from the Peace Corps and into the business world. Life’s been good to me so far, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me next.


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