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Departure
by Rainer Maria Rilke

My friend, I have to go.
Do you want to see
the place on the map?
It is a simple black dot.

But if this turns out
well, then in me
it will be
a spot of rose
in a green country.

Antique map - Africa

Oy vey. In case things weren’t WHIZZING BY at warp speed yet, now lots and lots of things all start happening very very fast. Sooner than I can breath, I have a dawn flight to Albany. This will take me to the Staging area, King of Prussia, where I’ll get an all-day safety briefing and spend the night. Next morning, bright and early, to JFK. JFK to Zurich. Zurich to Nairobi. Few days in Nairobi, then on to TrainingTown, and my host family, and official Peace Corps training, and the last 3-month hard push to become an official, sworn-in Peace Corps Volunteer.

(Or, translated for short attention spans: AIRPORT.AIRPORT.HOTEL.BUS.AIRPORT.AIRPORT.AIRPORT.HOTEL.BUS.MOTHERLAN D .)

I will try to keep you guys updated during all the transit madness, but the next time you hear from might be from TrainingTown (hereafter, TT). If that turns out to be the case …

Keep it real, kiddos.

Catch you on the flip side.

airplane sunrise

Today I received my “Bridge” electronic packet from the Peace Corps, which includes such vital information as suggested packing lists, staging information, flight numbers, and details about what the first three months of my life are going to be like when I arrive in Kenya. (Apparently, we’re spending a couple of days in ‘robi to start with after all; who knew?) I read it immediately, of course. After the year-long application where updates are brief and sporadic, having ACTUAL DETAIL to plan by is like the blessed start of the rainy season. But as I immersed myself in instructions about toothpaste and shoes and passport-sized-visa-photos, I felt a … twinge. A tension. A hitch in my diaphragm.

That’s right, for the first time in 12+ months, I felt a legitimate fluttering of nerves.

The point of traveling outside your comfort zone isn’t to do things that don’t alarm you in the least, but to be uneasy and do them anyway. THAT’S what courage is. A little apprehension is required for travel anyway; it is, after all, what keeps one from getting into trouble. In my various adventures, I’ve learned to let my instincts serve me as they wish.

Still, a moment of “OMG, I HAVE SO MUCH LEFT TO DO BEFORE I GO, AND THEN I’M GOING, WHAAAT” isn’t what I was hoping for. I just finished my thesis this morning. A slight break for shameless relaxation would have been nice. But … here we go. My spaniel-like levels of excitement are tempered slightly by the rush of time, the multitude of tasks left to do, and the visceral realization that I’m 32 days from 2+ years in the Rift.

As they say, shit just got *real.*

Apparently, there was some sort of minor change at headquarters such that now, PC volunteers will be arriving in Kenya at a time better coinciding with the beginning of the Kenyan school year (PC ships in people to teach science, higher math, or whatever else is experiencing pedagogical shortcomings in a particular region.)

In other words, I leave one week earlier than I was originally slated – May 24.

Which, incidentally, is less than two days after I graduate college.

Well. Ok then. That makes things a little more interesting. It was always going to be a tight squeeze to be ready, but now … huh.

My initial reaction was one of some shocked dismay (HOW WILL I HAVE TIME TO PACK UP MY APARTMENT?!) but honestly? I’ll figure something out. It’s just part of the adventure, right? Hell. I’m happy enough with my post that they could ask me to change out of my cap and gown in the security line at the airport and I’d do it.

Kenyan Flag

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The opinions expressed on this blog do not represent those of the Peace Corps, the United States government, or any other organization. The author is solely responsible for all content on this blog.
Yours truly