Tomorrow is the day! I depart for staging around 11 a.m. and arrive in Philly around 1:00. These last few days have felt really bizarre. Honestly, I've tried hard not to think about the magnitude of what I'm about to do. Sometimes I look at my packed bags or my comfortable bed or my loving partner or my adorable cats and think, "Am I really doing this? What was I thinking?" But, I have managed to limit my thoughts to just that. Any further and I might just stay in bed all day tomorrow and be content to keep my life comfortable and familiar.
Colin and I have been talking about the differences between being the Leaver and being the One Left Behind. Now that we're experiencing the opposite of our normal, it's so much easier to relate. I think I know what he's going through because I have watched him leave so many times. I think he knows what I'm going through because he has done this before. We both agree that it's probably easiest for the Leaver in a lot of ways. Everything will be new and exciting and overwhelming for me. Though I will have to strike some balance between sadness over leaving him and excitement about this adventure, he is stuck in our home with everything to remind him that I'm gone.
Right now is a good time for me to reflect on why I'm joining the Peace Corps and moving around the world for over 2 years, thousands of miles from the people I love. Since we moved back to Rochester almost 2 years ago after Colin finished his active duty Army status, I have felt unsatisfied with my circumstances. The job hunt lasted over a year and yielded no results. I felt stuck and like I was waiting for my life to start again. I'd been thinking about the Peace Corps and thinking that it would be an awesome adventure to take with Colin, but due to his job, he could not qualify for Peace Corps service. I finally decided that this is something I have to do, even if on my own. I don't want to feel like I'm not contributing to making the world better. As cheesy as it is, I want to do something, ANYTHING, good for humanity. These next two years will define the rest of my life.
I am a little bit older than a bunch of the volunteers in our Bots 10 group, and a little bit younger. Many in our group have just graduated from college, and then at the other end of the spectrum are people who have retired or are around my parents' age. I'm hoping that this will allow me to relate to everyone more easily. I'm excited to meet this group! We've been talking on Facebook and the blogs for months and tomorrow I'll finally be able to see their faces in person. I'm a little shy when it comes to meeting new people, but I'm hoping all of the awkwardness will be softened by the nervousness and slight intimacy we've achieved with our angsty/confused/panicky posts on Facebook. I think sharing our vulnerability in this way warms us up for the face-to-face "getting to know you" aspect of Staging and orientation.
I feel like I'm as ready as I'll ever be for Peace Corps. Colin and I went to the movies last night and saw The Last Lions. It was set in Botswana, so you know we had to do it. It was a nature documentary about lions (obv.) and it made me more excited and anxious (if that's even possible). My bags are packed and I'm almost 2 lbs overweight. I haven't decided whether I'm going to bother weeding through my luggage again or whether I quit and just keep my fingers crossed that no one cares about an extra two pounds. At some point, I need to post my final packing list- you'd be amazed what we've managed to fit into my bags. I say "we" as if I actually did anything- Colin is a professional packing genius and I tasked him with making it fit.
These last couple of weeks are sort of a fog already, and I know that a week from now, this day will feel like it happened years ago. I have said so many goodbyes. I really hate saying goodbye. I know it's sort of stupid to say that, because who likes it? I just don't think I'm very good at it. Typically, I don't cry and I think that can be disappointing to the other person if they are crying. When Colin deployed, I always waited until the last second to show any emotion and would usually wait until he was out of sight before tearing up. I'm wondering what will happen tonight. We're having my parents and Colin's parents over, along with our close friends, Marie, Lauren, Craig, and L&C's daughter, Evelyn. It will be the last time I see them before leaving tomorrow. Colin will take me to the airport, and that's probably when I'll be visibly upset. Something to look forward to!
I'm also looking forward to dinner in Philadelphia tomorrow night. Since I'm the only one (that I know of) in our group who has lived in Philly, I put myself in charge of making dinner reservations for all of us. None of the restaurants we chose would give us reservations for more than 10 or 11 without arranging it with the special events coordinator, so I just made reservations at 3 different restaurants. This way we will be more manageable and everyone has some level of choice in where they eat. I still haven't decided where I want to eat. I'm torn between Pod and El Vez, two of my favorite Philly spots.
This post has rambled on long enough! It may be my last one until June. Still haven't decided if I'm going to keep my computer with me during homestay. I may post in Philly or once I arrive in Gaborone, but this may be it for me. So, until June?! xoxo