Peace Corps

Happy Valentine’s Day

You’d think that, being as dedicated to staying single as I am, my Valentine’s Day would have been relatively uneventful. Of course, if you’ve been with us for a while (especially if you’re a holdover from the Bitter Club days), then you’re well aware that in my life, no such thing is even close to remotely possible.

The day started out well. Katie’d been in town for a few days, and we’d already started looking for trouble. My first opportunity presented itself when my mid-day formation was canceled, giving my the opportunity to take the rest of the day off. I stopped by the Bureau to find my erstwhile companion. She was nowhere to be seen, but you know who was? The Peace Corps videographer! Sweet love. Hey, did she want to come shoe shopping with Katie and I this afternoon? Of course! And she was going to record the whole thing too! She also wanted pictures of volunteers on Zems, so we conned some Zems (actually, paid them an arm and a leg) into driving around the block with us. Fantastic.

So what’s a girl to do but catch a ride in a Peace Corps vehicle back to my place to meet Katie? Then what’s a girl to do when the vehicle passes Katie on a Zem?

“Hey, that looks like a Volunteer!” (Because of the helmets we’re required to wear).
“Nah, it can’t be.”
“Well, let’s pretend it is, and take some pictures.”

Jason, who is sitting I the *middle* seat, leans over me and hangs out the window, snapping away.

“Holy shit! It *is* Katie!!! KKKKAAAATTTTTIIIIIIEEEEEE!!!!!!!!”

Needless to say, she was moderately surprised to find a car full of white people screaming at her during what had, 5 minutes ago, been a peaceful ride back to her hostess’s house.

Flash forward past an uneventful trip to the market, where the videographer didn’t stay long, and I bought some awesome stripper shoes. Several volunteers are dressed very nicely (oh man, we clean up so well!) and we’re waiting for a shuttle to the ambassador’s house. What? That’s right! The Peace Corps Director was in town, and the American ambassador was throwin’ a party for him. And all the PCVs in Cotonou were invited (or were crashing, whatever, the distinction is unimportant).

I met a lot of interesting people. I had a lot of great food. And of course there was an open bar. And of course the PCVs closed out the party. And of course nobody was surprised. It was a pretty good time, as was the bar afterwards. I only I wish I’d had my camera to grab a picture of Jason sashaying around in my hooker shoes.

Needless to say, it was a memorable Valentine’s Day, spent in fantastic company. And the rest of the week hasn’t been too bad either.
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