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Staging packet

So I've received my "staging packet", which is typically sent out three weeks before departure, and it's slowly dawning on me that I'm leaving REALLY SOON. I mean, *really* soon. It also finally occurred to me that twenty-seven months is a LONG TIME. I've lived in DC for about 30 months.

Yeah, OK, so maybe this should have occurred to me sooner. But...whatever. I'm still really excited to go. This has just added a bit of urgency to the to-do list (that doesn't seem to be getting any shorter).

Now that the long-awaited Staging Packet has arrived, what useful information is at my fingertips? Some very useful details, like my flight number and travel times, plus some bigger-picture things like tips on adjusting.

I've also been reading extensively. Other Morocco PCVs recommended In the Caliph's House, which I've now read, plus I've started Power, Faith, and Freedom, which is a comprehensive history of the relationship between the US and the Middle East. (From a US perspective, anyway--the author, Michael Oren, couldn't get access to most of the Arabic archives.) I checked the index, and there's not a single reference to the Peace Corps on any of the 800 pages. Admittedly, Oren had over two hundred years of history to discuss, but I still thought that we'd rate a mention. I brought this to his attention at a book talk/signing. From his very brief response - he was trying to get to the next person in line - I think he thought I was trying to zing him with a "Gotcha! You left something out!", but really I was trying to see what role, if any, he thought Peace Corps Volunteers had played in US-Middle East relations over the past forty years. (Yes, 40 years. Pushing 45, actually - Morocco was one of the first countries to get Volunteers, after all.) Morocco was also only the second country--ever--to sign a treaty with the U.S., and claims to have been the first country to recognize our independence from Britain. The book is full of fun facts like these.

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps