Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Milk Carton Wake-Up Call

Normally, checking the sell-by date on the milk carton fills me with little emotion. This week of my life, however, things will be going far from"normally." As I got out the milk to pour in my cereal this morning, I noticed the date on it was 9/26/10. Good news to anyone else- you still have a whole week of good milk! Shocking news to me- I only have one more week in the United States! And maybe only one more week of good milk for the next 27 months, for that matter! Yes, September 26th will be my last day at home before I head off to Mozambique for the Peace Corps. I have been lucky to be able to fill a lot of you in on my upcoming adventure in person, but in case I haven't, I'll give a little summary here.

After a year of applying, waiting, seeking medical/legal clearance, waiting, panicking about a lack of concrete plans after graduation, waiting, complaining constantly to my friends and family, and a little more waiting, I finally received an invitation to serve in the 15th group of volunteers in Mozambique, Africa. I was invited as a secondary science teacher (most likely biology), but they do warn you that your assignment may change according to your skills and the country's needs. We (apparently around 70) "Moz15ers" will be meeting in Philadelphia on September 27th (one week from today!) for our "Staging," and then all flying together to Mozambique the following day. After a couple days in the capital, Maputo, we will all move to Namaacha, a village an hour west of the capital for our Pre-Service Training. Here we will live with a host family and participate in intensive language, cultural, and technical training for 10 weeks. Seeing as I do not know the national language (Portuguese), have never been to another country besides Canada, and have taken no Education classes, this training is much needed! If we make it through this, and they deem us worthy, we will be sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers on December 3rd and placed on one of the many different sites. I will not know any more details about this until I get to that point!

I moved back home at July and had a great July and August spending time at my cabin in northern Michigan, seeing friends and family, camping with family friends, and traveling out to Oregon for my sister's wedding. Although my sister deserved all the attention there, it was great that I got the opportunity to see so many relatives and old family friends before I go. Once September rolled around, I finally had some time at home to really start getting ready. I have taken far more trips to Walmart than I hope to ever take again for the rest of my life, but I feel like I am, for the most part, as ready as I can be. They have given us a large packing list, and many current volunteers in Mozambique have given us packing tips, but the resounding advice I have received is to "not worry too much" about packing. Easier said than done, but I do keep reminding myself that living in Mozambique is not the same as being dropped on the South Pole; people in Mozambique do wear clothes, prepare food, and bathe, so the basic necessities are going to be available!

My feelings right now are hard to explain. Surprisingly, most of my good-byes have already been said! My friends down at U of M had a fantastic going away party for me this past weekend, followed by a wonderful "reception" hosted by my parents and "second parents" yesterday where I got to see many Midland friends from church, sports, and high school. It was so great to see everyone and I want to thank them all for all their support! It's kind of odd that knowing I have so many people who love me back home makes it somewhat easier to be away for a while- you would think the opposite would be true! Regardless, while I am very sad to say good-bye for the next 27 months, I am so excited for what is to come and just grateful for all the people that will be cheering me on from back home. That's hopefully the cheesiest I'll ever get on this blog, but it really is true! :)

Now that I am nearing the end of this post, I'll finally say "Welcome to my blog!" I'm unsure as to how often I'll get to post, as it depends on my access to electricity and internet. I won't post again until I get there, but will hopefully have an update shortly after arrival.  Please e-mail me or leave me a comment with your e-mail address if you would like my address while I am there!

The goal is to have a song to go with every post, hopefully matching my mood and feelings about my experience. There is probably a way to insert a song clip into the post, but who knows what kind of internet I'll be dealing with when I'm there- so for now, I'll just plan on listing the song.We'll see if I can keep it up, but here is my tune for the "one week out" post:
"Wildflowers": Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, & Emmylou Harris from their album Trio
I feel quite a bit fonder about home than the song suggests, but the rest of it is fairly fitting.  Enjoy!

That's it for now! Thanks for reading, and I can't wait to see what I have to share over the next 2 years!