The End of Training, The Beginning of Peace Corps Service!

from 8/21 – 8/27

I’ve now graduated from Peace Corps Trainee, to Peace Corps Volunteer! This past week was a busy one- I moved out of my host family’s apartment, but not before witnessing China’s female volleyball team win gold in Rio against Serbia (lots of screaming and celebrations in the house, which delayed my packing, so all my clothing was shoved into random pockets of empty space in my suitcases)

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Mr and Mrs Ma! Goodbye, for now!

We had a cheerful goodbye and I was dropped off at one of the swankier hotels in Chengdu for a final, exhausting four days of training. We sat through a parade of sessions on security, how to use a water distiller, further language training, various policies regarding travel and leave, and other related courses.

The highlight came the final evening, when we were sworn in as one giant group of PEACE CORPS CHINA 22 VOLUNTEERS! The American Ambassador to China, Max Baucus, came to make a heartfelt graduation speech of sorts, in English. Later, Khyle (From my advanced language class) got up and made an excellent speech in Chinese. Luke (from the beginner language class) also got up and.. uhh… said a few words, in what sounded like Chinese but I’m not 100% sure what I heard 🙂  加油, Luke!!!

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Peace Corps China 22

It was our last chance to bond with friends we made over the summer, some of whom I’m sad to part from, others less so. Just kidding. Loved them all. I doubt any of the PCVs will ever read this blog, but here are my highlights and shout-outs from two months of training:

Advanced Chinese Class: 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, 10 weeks. We spent way too much time together and know way too much about each other 🙂

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Khyle, Brian, Henry, Zach, Katie – best of the best

Site Manager Cheng Yu and Language Trainers Guo 老师 and Dora: sorry for drawing Pokemon, and then pretending to draw Digimon (who were actually still Pokemon) instead, when I was told not to draw Pokemon in class. And sorry for never turning anything in on time, to the point where multiple, angry Bubble Pup emojis were sent my way before I began work on the assignments. And sorry that my host mom did most of my homework for me.

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my program manager and 2 of the 4 language teachers that had to put up with me all summer 🙂

Paley: WANG PEI!! PEI PEI! The man and legend, the most kick ass surrogate host brother we never knew we needed but couldn’t live without. Hope you continue showing American volunteers the good life, through Peace Corps China 50.

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the only photo we took in daylight. lol

And finally, my 绿茶友: Iliana, Jess, Greg. Thank you for a wild summer- neither words nor selfies could paint a worthy picture of our misadventures in Chengdu. Its so rare to find good company these days, the type that you can share endless moments of inexplicable/ nearly irrational joy and laughter with, night after night. On our escapades I felt alive and carefree, as if I were 17 again (but this time around, I’m finally the cool kid, comfortable in his skin!! Being 17 is SO much more fun when you’ve had an extra decade to learn to love everything about yourself). Miss you all and wish you the absolute best for the next 24 months

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okay, just one selfie! love you guys

PEACE CORPS TRAINING IS OVER… BUT PEACE CORPS SERVICE IS JUST ABOUT TO BEGIN!!!!!

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One thought on “The End of Training, The Beginning of Peace Corps Service!

  1. Donna-Marie September 19, 2016 / 2:27 pm

    Harrison I am so proud of you, and prouder that I even know you. You have managed to achieve more than most in their lifetime and you still have your lifetime to go. How lucky is the Peace Corps? More importantly, how lucky is anyone else whose life you will touch? Very, as I am one. Keep smiling, keep that amazing attitude and I know we will meet up again!!

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