by Charles Gussow (T-11)
There are many reasons you may want to communicate that you were an RPCV in Turkmenistan: making new friends, impressing potential romantic partners, cowing your enemies, or applying for a job well beyond your qualification range (though running an etrap-wide day camp should really count as experience managing an international NGO). The problem is how to let everyone know that you were the best Volunteer in the toughest country of service without people getting the wrong-headed idea that you have a big ego. FoT is here to help.
Tactic 1: Marry another RPCV. When people ask where you met, respond, Turkmenistan, when we were in Peace Corps, serving our country… you’re welcome.” You may, however, find this tactic does not help find new romantic partners. But, there is a common misperception that this approach requires that you laid some groundwork while serving. Not true! Simply call an old sitemate, travel buddy or casual acquaintance from PDM Conference and explain the valuable networking you could accomplish by marrying not only your souls, but your Close of Service records. Just remember to invite FoT to the wedding!
Tactic 2: Pretend you see a Turkmen person in the crowd. Shout a friendly “Salaam! Gowami?” in their direction. When it turns out the person isn’t Turkmen, say, “I’m sorry, I could have sworn your scarf pattern was reminiscent of the stylized gül pattern favored by the Yomut people of western Turkmenistan… oh yes, I learned all about local handicraft when I was in Peace Corps, serving our country…. you’re welcome.”
Tactic 3: Use comparatives. “I haven’t been this hot since that day in Gurbanguly, Turkmenistan…when I was in Peace Corps, serving our country….you’re welcome.”
Tactic 4: Name your pet, car, child or bicep after a Turkmen geographical feature. This is highly effective, assuming you bring little “Kopet Dag” or “Garagum Canal” with you to parties.
Tactic 5: Always wear your group’s Peace Corps t-shirt. Unfortunately, some groups made t-shirts a little too subtle, so don’t be afraid to sew a Peace Corps patch and/or Turkmenistan flag patch to get the point across.
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