That means WHAT UP in Chichewa, the local Malawian language that I will be learning during my service. On the invitee toolkit there is downloadable lessons to listen to and a complementary PDF. I already love the language, it looks pretty awesome, and the vowel sounds seem similar to the ones I learned when I learned Wolof in The Gambia. From my experience in The Gambia I know how important it is to learn the local language, so I am planning on being a mega Chichewa nerd throughout my Peace Corps experience.
Not too much is going on since I accepted my invitation. I am working on updating my resume and writing my aspiration statement- I feel a lot of pressure about this aspiration statement... writing out all my aspirations for my experience? It is proving to be a little difficult... but I'll get thru it soonly. Otherwise, my application for my Peace Corps passport is filled out and I will hopefully be FedEx-ing it away later this afternoon- which will feel like a big relief. Don't want any lingering paperwork getting in my way :-)
Otherwise, I have been able to connect with a few Malawi invitees via facebook! I am excited to be in touch with them and get to know them! There is also a facebook group of some of the invitees and current Malawi PCVs, and the current PCVs have been extremely helpful in giving us tips on what to bring. It looks like packing is going to be even scarier than I imagined... so much pressure! And it looks like I'm going to be spending some money on things I will need to bring, so it is a good thing that Christmas is literally around the corner. After Christmas I will feel more clearheaded about getting the perfect packing list together and shopping the crap out of it!
I also said my first "goodbye". My good friend Ben came to visit this past weekend, and unfortunately it was the last time I would see him before I left, as he is leaving for Florida for work just after the holidays. It was sad! But honestly, it is something that is going to be happening with a lot more frequency in the coming weeks. I can deal with it- I signed up for it! It is all part of the learning experience. Ben was nice enough to give him his old multitool- and buy me a small wind up/solar lantern to bring with me- so it will be cool to have those things in my little mudhut in Malawi to remind me of my friend.
Anyway. I hope you guys are ready for the upcoming holiday (I should really finish that shopping...) and that it is a wonderful one. For the applicants still out there reading, good luck!! For those of us preparing to go, I wish us some good luck too!! Any Malawi volunteers or invitees out there, please identify yourselves :) Happy Holidays!
Tiwonana!! (See you later!)