5 Gifts for Peace Corps Volunteers

Photo By Caroline

Do you know a Peace Corps volunteer currently serving somewhere overseas? Unsure of what to put in their next package for Christmas? Here are 5 small gifts you can add to a package that will help make your PCV’s day!

Kicking Horse Coffee
1. Coffee

Even in the birthplace of coffee, the average cup is really not that great. Receiving a pound from a coffee shop in the States and freshly brewing it in my home beats a cup out any day!


2. Journal

It is possible to get stationary and paper-products in country, but only if you don’t want them to last longer than a month. My poor journals have had to sustain water damage, mildew, extreme sun and all sort of random creepy crawlies. As an added bonus, it can be eco-friendly, allowing us to feel somewhat less bad about using all those trees.

3. Silicone Baking Cups

This only really applies to PCVs who love to bake, but I got some of these silicone baking cups from a friend who left and they have been LIVESAVERS for my baking. I bake vegetables, bread, cakes, eggs and other miscellaneous things in them. Sometimes they really help save my sanity when it comes to cleaning.

4. Hot sauce & other spices

I’ve learned that even in a country with “amazing” food (because after all, amazing is relative), there is a definite need for some additional spices in your life. I love Cholula sauce and balsamic vinegar so made sure those were in a package.

5. Candy

Sure, I can get the crappy EMEA versions of some particular candy bars (Snickers and knock off Kit Kats namely) but sometimes it’s just really great to have the American version on a bad day.

Sunset Over Moulay Idriss

Moulay Idriss was one of my favorite places in Morocco. It is one of the holiest Islamic sites in Morocco and has only been recently opened to non-Muslims. We took an afternoon tour of the town and watched the sunset from the second hill.

Sunset Over Moulay Idriss Morocco


This past weekend, I made my last rent payment. I’m exactly month out from leaving Bahir Dar and then Ethiopia. For good. Things are winding down here and this is my penultimate Peace Corps update post.

Future of this Blog

I’ve had my blog for three and a half years now, long before it was ever a “Peace Corps” blog, and I intend to keep it. It may transform into a travel blog for awhile but it’s still my blog and I intend to continue using it. So follow along if you wish… I’ll still be here.

COS Trip

This past month, this trip got very real. We bought plane tickets out of Ethiopia. We booked hotels in India. We got Indian visas. This big trip is so close.

We arrive in India before dawn on Christmas Eve . It will be my third Christmas away, but my first with my fiance! Then after three weeks in India and two weeks in Thailand before Myanmar, we’ll continue our travels according to the plan we decided on months ago. I’ll be landing back in the States in less than 5 months, which is 30 months after leaving in September 2012. It’s weird to think about it like that!

Favorite Blog Posts

Some of my favorite blog posts over my 2 years (in reverse chronological order):

Cooking Tanjine

While in Marrakesh, my family and I took a class to learn how to cook lemon chicken in a tanjine!


Ten Things You Might Not Know About Me

1. I love to read and, if I accomplish my Peace Corps service book goal, will have read almost 200 books in the past 3 years. In particular, I like mysteries.

2. Christmas is my least favorite holiday. It’s true. I don’t love Christmas and it drives me insane that all the Christmas crap gets put out in OCTOBER. Let me enjoy my fall please.

3. People are constantly amazed that I have a neutral accent despite being born and raised in the same West Texas town. I can’t even count the number of times this has happened to me… typically a “Where are you from?” question is followed by an incredulous, “But you don’t have an accent!” Yep. That’s intentional.

4. I’m a coffee snob who has an appreciation for Starbucks. And no, I don’t think Ethiopia has the BEST COFFEE EVERRRRRRR.

5. I shamelessly love Taylor Swift, Ke$ha and Pitbull and I don’t care what anyone thinks of that. Once, I even drove two hours to go to a KeSha concert and it was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.

6. As much as I want to go home right now, I don’t want to live in the States long-term again. There. I said it. I love America and I still think it’s the most magical, amazing place in the whole world, but that doesn’t mean its the right place for me for all time.

7. Once I worked as a baker in a Vancouver coffee shop. I enjoyed baking before but now I really like it and can’t wait to have an oven where you can actually set the temperature again. In Ethiopia, my oven is either a dutch oven on the top of my stove or one that has two settings: on and off. I’ve mastered the art of knowing when a cupcake is done on sight though.

8. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. As a teenager, I wanted to be a meteorologist. The fact that I’m not very good at calculus and physics ruined those dreams.

9. I’ve never been to Las Vegas. Unless you count the time I got rerouted there due to bad weather on my way to Napa Valley for my 21st birthday.

10. My university won both the football National Championship and the College World Series while I was a student and I was lucky enough to celebrate in Pasadena and Omaha (respectively).