Friday, May 23, 2008

The face of Lesotho

9 days! It took 22 months from submitting the application to acceptance. And then 6 months of waiting. And now, all of the sudden, time is flying. I've been packing, saying goodbye to incredible friends..... I have had so much unbelievable support and I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

People have been asking me why Im going. Here's a couple of good reasons.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

17 DAYS!

17 days. I received my invitation back at the end of November. First it's more than 6 months. Now it's 17 days. A lot of "last things" are going on. My last day at work is Saturday. My last time to hang out with our Junior High youth group is coming up. The last time Im able to sit down for a cup of coffee or a chance to break bread with good friends is fast approaching. Im really excited, more than just a little scared, and ready for the next part of my story to begin.

I just returned from a few days in Yosemite with some friends. When I got home, the Peace Corps staging packet was finally waiting for me. When exactly Im leaving, (Sunday June 1st) where Im going for staging, (Philadelphia) and the day Im actually flying to Lesotho. (June 4th) I tore open the packet, reading all the details, all of the last odds and ends I need to accomplish before I leave. There was a small little book in the packet entitled "A Few Minor Adjustments, a handbook for volunteers." As I read throught the book, I could start feeling the anxiety in the pit of my stomach. The handbook is attemping to prepare you (and scare you I think) for all of the changes that will happen and probably overwhelm you. One section was entitled: "The Loss of Language." It explains how hard it will be to communicate your needs, conduct everyday transactions that we take for granted, and to be able to figure out the needs of others. It goes on to describe the feelings and thoughts that go along with that:
"On a more existential level, if you can't communicate your views and explain yourself, how can anyone know you? And, if you can't understand others, how can you know them? Not knowing anyone and not being known by anyone can make you feel isolated and profundly alone. As returned Peace corps Bolunteer Moritz Thomsen wrote in his book, The Saddest Pleasure: A Journey on Two Rivers, 'Because I speak no Portuguese and have chosen to move through those parts of Rio De Janeiro where tourists do not go, I find after a few days of not speaking that I have begun to doubt my own existence."
At this point, I stopped reading and looked up at my friend sitting across from me and said "what am I thinking? What am I doing?" I was feeling about 97% excitement, and 3% cold, icy fear. This paragraph spoke to me, because over the last 5 or so years, I have learned that when I forget who God made me to be, the world revolves around myself and I do a very, very poor job considering, thinking about and serving others. And above all else, I want to go to Lesotho and make a difference. This little Peace Corps handbook was a great reminder/ splash of cold water for me to be aware of forgeting my identity when everything changes.

Yosemite was incredible. I am convinced that it is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here's a few pics...

This is mirror lake.

I gave half dome a shot. I figured I hiked 19.9 miles in one day. You climb 4800 feet in elevation in 8.2 miles. The cables were down, and I made it all the way to the base and about 2/3 of the way up the cables. I didn't quite make it up to the top though. Some friends have said they will hike it with me when I get back, so thats something to look forward to in 2010!

I've met some people on my team through the wonders of internet. Kelly, Megan,'s pretty cool to already have a sense of some of the cool people who are on this Peace Corps team with me, and I have never seen face to face. But I can already tell that these people, (along with Kaye whom I met in Sacramento at a Peace Corps Bon voyage party) are going to be a priviledge to serve with. Im excited to talk to them in person.

If you've read this entire post, you're pretty patient. Thanks for reading my ramblings. Im excited to go, but I'll miss all of you so much.