2009.09.09: September 9, 2009: Headlines: COS - Macedonia: Orange County Register: Christine Moore to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Macedonia: Peace Corps Macedonia: Peace Corps Macedonia: Newest Stories: 2009.09.09: September 9, 2009: Headlines: COS - Macedonia: Orange County Register: Christine Moore to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia

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Christine Moore to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia

Christine Moore to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia

Last month, she ventured to Haiti, traveling from Port au Prince in a van to a lush area known as Les Cayes. Peering through the van's window, Moore saw streets lined with makeshift shops and heaps of garbage. Women in bright cotton dresses balanced bananas or laundry on their heads. Moore and 11 other volunteers were traveling to Espwa, an orphanage and school surrounded by lush trees and bushes. Moore spent a week in the school's small library a cinderblock structure with a bookcase of about 100 titles. Her voice fills with joy and longing as she talks about Jackson, the shy 6-year-old who stayed at her side throughout her stay. They read Dr. Seuss's "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" and Moore's favorite, "Hop on Pop," together, as the other boys in the school crowded around them. Moore says that visiting the orphanage and the connections she made with the children confirmed that she wants to adopt a child in the future, when she's ready to "settle down." But that will have to wait at least two years. After a yearlong application process that she started before she began bartending, Moore was accepted by the Peace Corps as a business development volunteer in Macedonia. There, she will troubleshoot for local business owners everything from performing market research for established businesses to securing grants for new enterprises. She hopes to help businesswomen gain a toehold in the local economy. Moore says she felt she had two choices: Get married or join the Peace Corps. She laughs when she says it. It's shorthand for being comfortable with the life she's chosen, even if it doesn't follow the predictable script. After a year of making classic martinis, she's ready to write the next act.

Christine Moore to serve as Peace Corps Volunteer in Macedonia

At 35, she's joining the Peace Corps

Lake Forest woman chooses unexpected path after recession sinks her business.

By RASHI KESARWANI
The Orange County Register

Caption: Christine Moore works as a bartender at Infusion in Ladera Ranch to make ends meet during this recession. Photo: Andy Templeton for the Orange County Register
Tiny ice crystals swim in Grey Goose vodka as Christine Moore nervously sets the classic martini on the bar.

A rookie bartender who's already broken glasses and spilled drinks, Moore prays that the stern man at the bar doesn't complain and get her fired.

She sucks in a breath as he takes a sip.

"That's the best drink I've ever had!"

For Moore, who works at Ladera Ranch's popular restaurant, Infusion, it's a moment of triumph if not the kind she bargained on at age 35.

In 1998, when Moore finished college, she envisioned another path. She called it "The Script," and it went something like this - own a business, get married, have kids, buy a condo.

But 11 years and several plot twists later, Moore is shelving the script. Today, she will board a plane destined for the Eastern European country of Macedonia.

ACT I: Own a business

Moore didn't grow up in a business-minded family. Her dad wrote computer manuals; her mom stayed home to raise the couple's nine children.

Moore, the second-youngest child, loved puzzles. She sees running a business as akin to assembling a jigsaw puzzle, moving pieces until everything fits perfectly.

Seven years ago, as a Cal State Long Beach grad with a flair for business and a passion for working with children, she launched Abacus Education.

By the fall of 2007, Moore was set for a banner year. She was tutoring 10 students, had hired three other tutors and had secured a homeschooling client (a position that paid half her salary).

But everything began to unravel on an overcast day in December. Moore was reading with her 7-year-old student at the child's home in San Clemente when they heard voices and footsteps in the other room.

A blonde in a navy blue suit introduced herself as a real estate agent.

"This is not a good sign," Moore thought.

The client's business had nosedived. A few weeks later, their San Clemente home was sold, and the family moved away. Gone, too, was half of Moore's income.

Month after month, clients dropped away. Moore doubted herself, not sure if she'd lost her business savvy or if she was simply a victim of economic forces beyond her control.

Moore turned to best friend Debra Chavira for advice.

"I'm just really stressed out about not having clients," she told Chavira.

"Why don't you get a second job?" asked Chavira, a mortgage broker facing her own harsh business reality.

Moore dismissed the idea as a sure sign of failure.

"What's failing more?" Chavira replied. "Not paying your bills or getting a job?"

Moore started to consider all her options: She took a bartending class, pored over MBA programs and looked into the Peace Corps.

By the fall, Moore found herself making cocktails at Infusion.

ACT II: Marriage, kids, condo

Moore, the hard-charging business owner, approached her quest for a husband as an academic pursuit, reading dating books and following to-do lists.

She broke up with her boyfriend of eight years in 2005, a man she describes as sweet and kind. It just came down to timing: She was ready to get married, he wasn't.

On the hunt for Mr. Right, Moore created a profile on match.com. She asked friends and family to set her up (a chore she describes as "embarrassing"). She joined social groups.

All the while, she wondered: Why does this feel so forced? "I didn't find the joy in it," she says.

Moore did meet a lot of nice guys and had plenty of dates. But none of these men were willing to volunteer with her at Heart Outreach, serving meals and giving away hygiene bags.

Eventually, Moore realized she could give herself permission not to play the dating game.

Now she tells herself, "Maybe it isn't for me. And it's OK for it not to be."

ACT III: Rewrite script

When society's script or our idea of how we're supposed to live our lives doesn't fit, what then? Moore has decided she can't wait around.

Instead, she's broadening her horizons.

Last month, she ventured to Haiti, traveling from Port au Prince in a van to a lush area known as Les Cayes.

Peering through the van's window, Moore saw streets lined with makeshift shops and heaps of garbage. Women in bright cotton dresses balanced bananas or laundry on their heads.

Moore and 11 other volunteers were traveling to Espwa, an orphanage and school surrounded by lush trees and bushes.

Moore spent a week in the school's small library a cinderblock structure with a bookcase of about 100 titles.

Her voice fills with joy and longing as she talks about Jackson, the shy 6-year-old who stayed at her side throughout her stay.

They read Dr. Seuss's "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" and Moore's favorite, "Hop on Pop," together, as the other boys in the school crowded around them.

Moore says that visiting the orphanage and the connections she made with the children confirmed that she wants to adopt a child in the future, when she's ready to "settle down."

But that will have to wait at least two years.

After a yearlong application process that she started before she began bartending, Moore was accepted by the Peace Corps as a business development volunteer in Macedonia.

There, she will troubleshoot for local business owners everything from performing market research for established businesses to securing grants for new enterprises. She hopes to help businesswomen gain a toehold in the local economy.

Moore says she felt she had two choices: Get married or join the Peace Corps. She laughs when she says it. It's shorthand for being comfortable with the life she's chosen, even if it doesn't follow the predictable script.

After a year of making classic martinis, she's ready to write the next act.

You can read about Moore's adventures in Macedonia on her blog, www.cnaomimoorego.blogspot.com.




Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: September, 2009; Peace Corps Macedonia; Directory of Macedonia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Macedonia RPCVs





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Story Source: Orange County Register

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