No more Prep Time, Maybe.
Prep Time, Definitely-Right-Now-Maybe-Even-Should’ve-Started-Last-Week is here.
Since I was notified in August, I’ve been making financial arrangements, trying to set up a new account that I can access on site, training someone at my job to take my place, and otherwise trying to get my house in order. Even in the midst of all that preparation, the Peace Corps felt abstract. It wasn’t until this weekend that reality hit me.
Just last night I bought my first pair of waterproof hiking boots. I also received a monstrous suitcase and some calling cards (thanks Daniel!). I sat down and created a list of things still needed/desired and what I’ve come up with is listed in the sidebar. Until now I’d only made mental lists to prepare for my trip. The second that I started making purchases and writing things down (or typing them, because I’m so 3008) the more real the trip became. It sounds silly but it’s true.
These past two weeks also mark the influx of e-mails, phone calls, and conversations requesting/demanding that I stay in the States. Really, guys? Since August I’ve heard little other than “Bon Voyage” and laughter, and now everyone is laying it on thick? I’m not sure what to think of all this. The obstacles I’ll face are rough, and the comforts of home are very tempting, but I really want to do this…
I’ve been asked a few times, “What will you miss most while you’re away?” My reply usually involves sushi, coffee, a constant electric supply and my car. But the truth should be obvious to anyone who knows me. I’ll miss the people who ask me stupid questions like, “What will you miss most while you’re away?” I’ll miss my goofy family and friends, the people who get my odd sense of humor and my disdain for “meat pieces.” I’ll miss the people who know who I am beneath my façade and love me anyway.
I’ll also miss English. I’m use to manipulating language for my numerous objectives. I’m used to subtle word play and being able to express myself adequately–sort of. In Paraguay, I’ll be reduced to an infant or worse, forced to point and gesture and probably draw pictures in the dirt. Knowledge is power. I don’t know Guaraní. You put it together.
But I’m not worried. The peace that transcends understanding is with me and I’m not afraid. Not really. I’m mostly excited. There is something fun and intriguing about being tossed into shark infested waters and being told to find land. I’ll be like a humanitarian SEAL, right? Except in my case, finding land leads to self discovery and the edification of those around me. At least that is what I am hoping for.
3 thoughts on “This is ACTUALLY happening”
I've already packed and said goodbye to my home and family, and I'm visiting friends in Lansing until flying from Detroit to Miami. I'm in this weird limbo phase… I've definitely started the journey, but haven't really STARTED, it seems. I realized that my luggage very well may kill me before I even begin, but here's to hoping.
Even though this will be a challenging experience, we are not the first, nor the last new trainees to feel nervous, anxious and excited! We have precedent to follow, current volunteers and our friends and family back home to offer us the support we will need to find our footing in “el Corazón de Sudamérica!” The language will be one of the toughest challenges, but we just have to realize that it will come with time, and the struggle will give us a new perspective and appreciation for the realities of living in a diglossic country.
See you in Miami! 😉
Have a great trip!
I'm sorry that people are berating you with “stay here, or else.” I guess they weren't preparing for you to leave. I'm going to miss you like crazy — but if I didn't hug you, say “have fun” and see you off, then what kind of friend would I be?
I think you are so brave for going. I think you'll have a great time, and if nothing else you'll get awesome stories! Can't wait to hear them!
Don't worry. Language comes with time, patience, and practice. Being in the culture while learning the language is the best way to do it. You learn the subtleties that no one can get from a classroom. Soon enough, you'll be able to manipulate the language for a laugh. Or, you'll get laughed at. Either way, you're learning. I got laughed at a lot. A lot. It was fun; I promise.