Monday, June 27, 2005

New York, New York

Greetings from the Big Apple!
I've begun my journey a little early, taking advantage of some flexibility in my schedule to lay over in NYC with my youngest brother Marc - who has lived here for a few years and just gotten a new apartment in Manhattan.  It's a somewhat cramped little place - but not as bad as New York apartments are rumored to be, and not nearly as cramped as a center seat would feel on tomorrow night's flight after a cross-country flight from Seattle. 
Tonight we made it out for some of the best coal-fired pizza to be found, at Lombardies on Mott & Spring streets, and then walked downtown to the WTC site.
Tomorrow evening I'll catch an overnight flight from JFK to Vienna - where I'll be changing planes for the capital of Albania - Tirana.
Once there, the 400+ volunteers from around the OSCE region will begin our briefing and training before being paired off, assigned a driver and translator, and sent off to somewhere in Albania to observe what will hopefully be a successful democratic election.
So - just for fun - I have no idea of where in Albania I'll be going, nor with whom.  Anyone want to venture a prediction?
I've been told by others who have done this before that the organizers try to keep the teams as diverse as possible - pairing volunteers of different genders from different countries, though not always.
So - will my teammate be a chap from Belgium?  How about a lady from Estonia?  An old guy from Ukraine?  A young Danish woman?  Or just another middle-aged American guy like myself?
Correct guess get a special present from Albania!

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