So Much for Drama and All That
I've had this mapped out in my mind for a little while, how I've wanted to do this, and though what you're about to see isn't exactly the way I'd have liked it to turn out, it's the closest I can get.
I had delusions of getting an assignment, changing the blog name to AlliBelize or whatnot, and hitting you with a definite while you were still trying to figure out what was going on. However, apparently the gubmint doesn't work that way and I won't have a country assignment until, like, the minute I get on the plane. Here is what I do have:
...I have come across two programs that I think will be a good fit for you. Please look these over and let me know which, if either, you are most interested in.
1. English Teaching - E. Europe/C. Asia - departs Aug/Sept 2006 - will teach English at the high school level
2. Health Extension - Central Asia - departs Aug/Sept 2006 - community health working with nutrition, HIV/AIDS, 50% of time may be spent teaching or running workshops. Will live with homestay family for the first 6 months at site."
Central Asia. Central Asia. CENTRAL ASIA. Here is a map of the relevant part of the world. All the colored countries, minus Tajikistan, are options.
The short version: I am going to die. In the meantime, I am not going to get ANY of my mail (or there will be a six-month minimum lag, four months of which it will spend strapped to a camel somewhere).
There seems to be some interest as to what the hell I will be speaking while in these places. It depends on the country, but most of them (esp. the more centraler parts) have their own languages but use Russian as the official or to communicate cross-culture (like, say, with Quechua or Aymara in Peru). You can CIA WorldFactbook the countries, which is what I did; if you google the country name, in most of these cases, it's the first link to come up.
That said, if I go to Azerbaijan or something and start speaking Russian I don't think they'll appreciate it.
Also, some of these places have really astounding infant mortality rates (which I usually use as the best indicator of a country's not-messeduppedness), some along the line of 60-80 deaths per live births.
I emailed Robyn back, saying that my preffing a cold country wasn't a matter of life or death or anything and that I'd rather sweat for two years and be useful than be comfortable (or, you know, frostbitten) and suck. Part of this is true. The other part has to do with wanting to live with monkeys.
(Funny: the CNN article I stole this from is about cloned monkeys. The descriptive part of the source url - know how they're usually utilitarian, like new.york.subway.threat? - is monkey.monkey. Cute, CNN.)
All joking aside, Central Asia would be nice and I would feel useful and all, but you know that thing? about how I like trees? about how when I'm not around trees I get really cranky? Yeah. That would be bad. I want to go somewhere with trees, not steppes. I wonder if I could tell Robyn that. "I don't care where you put me as long as I can climb plants there". Or maybe I could just ask for the Eastern Europe part of the range. Or something. Or maybe they could just airdrop me into the middle of a pack of wolves. Would I be happy then? Huh? WOULD I?
I wonder if they'd let me rent an elephant.
Turns out Northcentral Asia is Eurasian wolf country!
When can I leave?