The Annual Returned Peace Corps Volunteer meeting was going to be held at Vanderbilt. How could I not go?!
So I called up my friend MattE who had been asking me to come visit him in Nashville. (He’s currently working on his 3rd Vanderbilt degree, a PhD in Political Science to go with his Masters of Divinity and his law degree.) It was the perfect trio – MattE, Peace Corps, Vandy.
So I got in Betty and we headed down, and down, and down, until we arrived late Wednesday night, hot, sticky and smiling at Cafe Cocoa where MattE and his friends were gathered.
During the day, I went to the Peace Corps events and got to meet up with some people at the law school that I like to say hi to when I’m in town. MattE and I were able to hang out in the afternoons and evenings. He showed me all the changes that have happened in East Nashville – it’s going from ghetto to Hipster-ville a block or so at a time. We went to a number of restaurants, ones I’d been to when I lived there and ones that were knew to me. And he introduced me to the girl he liked, who was his girlfriend by the time I left. ;)
MattE just bought a house a few weeks before I came down. It’s super cute, and he has it really well setup. It doesn’t look like a bachelor’s pad at all. It even has a library with patio doors that go out onto a deck, and a very nice guest room with an antique bed he and friend assembled.
The Peace Corps events were fun, too. I found a friend from Cali, the president of the NorCal RPCV group, and we were able to hang out a bit. He introduced me to some other RPCVs he knows, one runs a chocolate company based in Madagascar. Neat. I met lots of other RPCVs over the weekend, including some that served in Nigeria. It was interesting to talk with them because they served in the 60s. The city I lived in in Nigeria wasn’t even built until the 90s.
I also met some recently returned volunteers from Zambia! I know Zambia’s changed a lot in the past ten years; that much I can tell from Twitter. It sounds like the program I was part of in the Peace Corps has also changed a lot.
Overall, Nashville was a great trip. I had a lot of fun, enjoyed beautiful weather, saw old friends from different areas of life and picked up a present for Mzzzz Jones’ expected little one. I also found out about some opportunities to go back to Africa in an IP context…