Flight Attendants, Prepare for Landing
Last week, the 28 twenty-somethings from G-29 (my training group) congregated in a hotel outside of Asuncion for three days of paperwork, discussions, and thrilling Powerpoints complete with gripping animated slide transitions (and sound-effects!). Our group started with 31 trainees in February ‘09, and losing just three volunteers to ETs over the course of two years is, statistically speaking, very rare. Apparently, Paraguay has one of the highest retention rates of volunteers of any PC country in the world.
The conference, known as COS (Close of Service), is an exciting sign of how close the end is, sort of like that moment in a flight when the plane starts its descent and you can feel it in your gut. It marked the first time in over a year that we were all together, and it was great to find out what everyone had been up to. It felt like a high school reunion, though the hotel we stayed at was decidedly nicer than my old high school gym.
Dear Future G-35 Trainees
I sometimes get contacted by future trainees back in the US who have questions, and I thought I’d address some of their most frequent questions:
Dear future G-35 trainees,
I think it’s customary for most soon-to-be-leaving volunteers who keep blogs to write up a post full of advice for the incoming trainees. I recently realized that writing such a post in April when I leave would be useless, since the group that will replace mine (G-29), will be swearing-in at that point. G-35 will arrive next month to begin their three months of training, and I wanted to offer some advice and perspective in a post before they leave for Paraguay. Hopefully the advice will be more useful to those of you in the incoming group, since most of what I will discuss will be more valuable before departure.