I love my cousin Michael. He is one of the best people in the world. He is about 6 years older than I and I always looked up to him. My earliest memories of him are from visits to him and his family in Huntington Beach, California. He was a great tour guide at Disneyland. I proposed marriage to him on the Queen Mary. Who could have blamed me? He’s such an awesome guy!
On Saturday Michael got married to a lovely woman named Michelle. I really couldn’t be happier for them. They are such a wonderful match and I’m sure they will have so much joy and happiness in their life together! They are both hysterical and crazy. If you need evidence of this, watch the following video I took at their wedding reception.
One of the ways that Michael has most inspired me is with Peace Corps. I had talked about joining Peace Corps for years… ever since high school. I would send away for the application packet and start filling it out about once a year, but never sent it in. Michael beat me to it. He left for Chad not too long after I graduated from OSU. He ended up being assigned a site that was really close to Darfur. I was so in awe and amazed to hear about what he was doing. I was so proud of my cousin. Unfortunately due to protests and the generally unsafe environment of Chad, Michael and his fellow PCVs had to be evacuated to Cameroon and had their service interrupted.
I found the above photo on the internet (on one of the returned Chad PCV’s blog.. it’s amazing what you can find if you look hard enough!).
When Michael came to visit after he returned State-side, Jesse and I were enthralled by his stories and photos. That night we had the either-we-buy-a-house-and-have-babies-or-we-finally-apply-for-the-Peace-Corps discussion that every married couple has (right?!?). The next day we applied and a year later (to the day) we were on a plane to Azerbaijan.
Michael was a constant inspiration to me during my time in the Peace Corps. I knew that I had things a lot better in Azerbaijan than he had in Chad, and I constantly reminded myself that if he could survive that, I could survive this.
I love my cousin and I hope he’s having a wonderful time on his honeymoon!