Monday, July 29, 2013

Next Stop: Croatia

          This morning I received an email letting me know that my placement for Brethren Volunteer Service is official and my plane tickets are being bought! I have been looking forward to sharing about my future plans for months now, but have been waiting until everything was set in place. I will be working for a small non-governmental organization called RAND (Regional Address for Nonviolent Action) in Sesvete, Croatia, which is just outside the capital city of Zagreb. This peace organization promotes nonviolence as a lifestyle and a way of relating through training courses and networking. I am still a little unsure about the specific work I will be doing, but I am so excited to be learning about peace work in a post-conflict zone! My term is for two years, but they do not need me until May.
          In the meanwhile, I have secured two interim placements with Brethren Volunteer Service. In two weeks from today I begin my first interim placement in Elgin, Illinois, working as the Brethren Volunteer Service Volunteer Coordinator. Essentially, I will be helping coordinate the next BVS orientation that begins at the end of September. It will be strange going straight from my own orientation to being staff for the next one, but I am looking forward to working closely with the awesome staff and learning more about this organization I am a part of. I will be living in a volunteer house with three or four other people  (some who are with me now at orientation). I am looking forward living with others and being close by Chicago for a few weeks. I will then end the placement by coming back out here to New Windsor, Maryland to help lead the fall orientation.
          From Maryland, I am going back to Indiana for Jana's wedding (on October 12) before flying to Switzerland on October 15 for three days of getting over jet-lag and getting oriented with the European director of BVS. I will then take an overnight train to Zagreb, then a day train to Osijek, Croatia. In Osijek, I will be working in the library of the Evangelical Theological Seminary for six months. I will live in my own bedroom in seminary dorms and eat my meals in the cafeteria, while meeting several times a week with a tutor to learn Croatian. I am excited to see another part of the country before beginning my official placement and get a six month jump on language before I move where little to no English is spoken.
          I am just so excited about these next three years! I know that it won't be easy, but the adventure is calling my name and I am ready to go!

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