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Just got my travel information from the official Peace Corps booking agent folks. It’s looking like this:

Monday, May 24, 7 AM: My flight leaves from Albany to take me to KingofPrussia, Pennsylvania. STAGING. Overnight.
**Next Day**
9 AM: Bus to JFK
4 PM: Flight to Zurich, connecting flight to Nairobi
**Next Day**
Land in Nairobi, spend a handful of days there getting various safety/health/training briefings or whatever, then jump on a bus to TrainingTown. (Which is an actual place, not called “TrainingTown,” but I’m still undecided if I’m going to post the name on the internet.) It’s something like an 8 hour bus ride if nothing breaks down. Then, 3 months in training, Swearing-In Ceremony at the end of July, and onto the big solo adventure …

AAAAH I’M JOINING THE PEACE CORPS!!

I’m still way more excited (and consistently excited, not into the pre-departure rapid-cycling waffle of emotion that most people experience imminently before a big change) than anything else. I have my packing list, although I’m sure I’ll tweak it pretty much up to the second I check my bags in Albany. Except toiletries, I already have or have on order (new shoes!) everything I’m going to need. I have more paperwork to finish, but nothing due before staging. I’m right on track. On schedule. Cleared for take-off. Good to go. But I can’t shake the feeling that time’s rushing by just a *little* too fast for comfort … meh. Onwards and upwards.

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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.

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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