So I was originally supposed to leave Kazakhstan some time in November 2010. However, I decided to "extend" (Peace Corps lingo), and I'll be around here until December 2011. I thought a lot about it over the past few months, and finally turned in my application at the end of May. I heard a few weeks ago that it was accepted. In addition to just extending, I'll be staying on as a "Peace Corps Volunteer Leader," so I will have a few more administrative tasks added to my normal workload. Overall, the expectation is I work 70% at my work and 30% assisting staff and other volunteers.
So why did I stay? Do I just absolutely love life here in Kazakhstan? I stayed because I think I can get some interesting work done over the next fifteen months. I came to my host organization seven months late after a site change, so I feel like I was behind everyone else in learning about their organization. I have some specific projects I'd really like to get done before I leave Kazakhstan, and I think staying an extra year will let me do it. I also have a rather comfortable life in Taraz (cable, Internet, a working oven). And life is still interesting here. I am used to a lot of it, but every week if not every day there is still something new for me here.
This doesn't mean I won't come home until December 2011 though. As part of the extension, PC requires us to go home for a month. And they even pay for this trip! (However, after coming back to country, if I decide to go home early I then have to reimburse them.) But free trip to America is tentatively scheduled for February/March 2011. I'll be home for about six weeks. So probably a few weeks at home, maybe one in Atlanta, one in Nashville, one in Illinois (maybe, but its far and icy that time of year), and one spent trying to find a late winter/early spring hat/pickup frisbee tournament. I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone even though its seven months away. :)