In less than two months, I’ll be at Peace Corps staging (in Philadelphia, I’m guessing), probably playing goofy get-to-know-you games and sweating the gazillion shots I’ll be about to get.
This is ok with me. I can picture the packing and the repacking and the drive to the airport and the goodbyes and the flights and the other soon-to-be Volunteers, smiling and nervous. I can picture approaching Dakar from the air, nose pressed to the airplane window, and the first moments on African soil. I can even picture the two hour drive to Thies and the late-night stumble into the training center, backpacks and bags and perhaps bunkbeds.
But after that—language training and planting seedlings and a host family and traveling through African streets and towns, wide-eyed and pretending to be as brave as everyone else seems? It gets vaguer.
But even that doesn’t worry me—the first days, weeks, even months of new places, new people, new air and new skies I can deal with. I worry what will happen when the newness fades away and the days become routine. What will that routine be? Will I be happy or desperately searching for my original motivations for setting off for two years in a foreign country, on a foreign continent?
Naturally, I can’t answer any of these questions until I’m there in my dusty room, fighting off spiders the size of my head (or so I’ve heard). Somehow, though, my anxiety about the unknown doesn’t diminish its attraction.
In the meantime, I’ve got a ridiculously long packing list. That, and a ridiculous amount of crap to get from Austin to Baton Rouge on Friday. Who knew a person could “need” this much stuff. I’ve been doing my best to get rid of as much as possible, I swear, but not only am I a packrat (props to my father on that one) I’m also emotionally attached to the dumbest things. Blankets, pillows, mugs, posters, toys, books, even plants. Though if anyone in Austin needs a full size bed, I’ve got just the one for you.