Monday, November 21, 2005

Northern Hospitality

Sorry it has been almost a week since we have posted! But don't worry about us, everything is fine - just a case of being without Internet access. Last week we passed a Peace Corps milestone, we attended our Early Service Conference (ESC) which occurs three months into your service (service starting when you reach your site). Our conference was held in Runaway Bay, St. Ann at the HEART Hotel which meant that we got to spend 4 days on the North Coast. We also got to enjoy some of the luxuries that come with staying in a hotel for 4 days, 3 nights. It doesn't take much to get us excited but having a room away from home where we didn't have to cook or clean for ourselves was definitely luxurious. The hotel was a training facility for students who are training to work in the hospitality industry but that didn't really detract from the experience in fact it may have made the staff more hospitable because they were being tested. We ate extremely well not only for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner but during the two breaks of the day too when they would bring out tray after tray of fresh fruit and pastries. They would also prepare a special vegetarian meal for lunch and dinner in addition to what was on the buffet. Although the hotel wasn't on the beach there was a pool and we had one free afternoon when we were able to go enjoy the beach and local attractions. The hotel did have hot water although our room lacked it which was one downside, luckily Kaelyn got one hot shower in by going to our friend's room. But we did have satellite TV and were able to catch a few episodes of Sex and the City and Seinfeld which we have definitely been missing. Oh yeah and we went to meetings during the day which can be expected from any conference but we don't really want to dwell on the boring parts. Overall just getting away and being with all our friends was the best part. The conference was only for those volunteers who came with our Group (Group 76) and out of the 62 who we departed Miami with in July there are 54 of us left. It was nice to hear from others who are feeling and experiencing the same things we are. It was surprising to hear how many people where going home for Christmas. It was also nice to make plans to do exciting things with other volunteers because now that the rain has stopped we are definitely ready to get out of the house more and see more of the island.

-Kae and Shane

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