Some people celebrate Saint Patrick's Day with corned beef and cabbage. These two baby boomers leave Grand Junction for 27 months in Albania!
As I chatted with Medical Drs. Susan and Paul Oupadia, it became clear why they were ready to join the Peace Corps. It all started years back with Susan’s trip to Nepal.
“That’s where we met," explained Paul. "A long story short, I came to the States. She went her way, I went mine. And we reconnected. She was in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I was in Grand Junction. And she came to join me here and we’ve been married for almost ten years now.”
Reconnecting, marriage and medical practices made time pass quickly and then, an idea.
“We decided to retire from the active practice of medicine. Maybe ‘rewire’ is a better word than retire," Susan clarified. "And, we’re going off to spend twenty seven months in Albania in the Peace Corps.”
What was it that led them to this point?
“I think we’ve both had a great career in medicine," said Paul.
“I’ve always wanted to do international aid and development work, which was the reason I went to Nepal many years ago,” Susan added.
“I still remember more than fifty years ago when President Kennedy challenged all of us to serve and do something for the country and I think we figured this would be a great way to serve the United States and use the Peace Corps as a vehicle to serve the rest of the world,” Paul continued.
So began the Peace Corps application.
“We applied and they go through the legal clearance, the medical clearance and it’s a very thorough evaluation before they nominate you," said Paul.
I just assumed they choose Albania.
“No, we did not select it," replied Paul. "Peace Corps tells you right off the bat that you do not get to choose the country you go to. You can say ‘no’, but most people like us said ‘sure, sign us up.’"
“’Wherever you need us, we’ll go,’” added Susan.
So, what’s life to be like in Albania?
“Most people don’t have air conditioning, no central heating and water is rationed," detailed Susan. "The first three months, we’re in what’s called ‘pre-service training’ and we will be living with a family.”
“We’ll be in health education," said Paul. "It’s related obviously to health and we’ll be working closely with the health ministry of Albania.”
As they prepare to leave, the question is how and what to pack within that poundage limit. I think Paul has it figured out.
“We’re allowed to take a hundred pounds each, but in our case I think I’ll be taking fifty and Susan will be taking one hundred and fifty.”
What about reactions to this move?
“It was a gamut of reactions but the vast majority were very excited for us, very happy for us," said Susan.
And what’s in their future after those twenty seven months? We’ll have to stay tuned! Good luck to Susan and Paul as they transition into their new life’s adventure.
Now that's what I call a definite boomer re-wire. If you are interested in the Peace Corps, contact email@example.com or call 800-424-8580