It's hard to believe it's finally here. After starting our application in May 2010, continuing through our year in Egypt. and making final preparations this summer, we're going to be on our way to Namibia in just a few days!
You can probably imagine some of the things we're feeling - excitement at meeting lots of new people and experiencing a new country.... nervousness at meeting lots of new people and experiencing a new country. Of course right at the moment there's a lot of anxiety over what to pack. Will we bring the right things? Will we regret not having this or that? Do we have enough warm/cool clothes? I think all my stress is pouring into packing simply because that's the one thing I feel I have control over. Everything else will be out of my hands once I get on the plane!
At times over the last few days I've felt really ready to go. We've been so fortunate to get to stay with my parents this summer and largely relax and visit with people we love all over the US. But we've been here since mid-June and that's a lot of relaxing. It's just like the end of summer break when you're secretly glad to be going back to school because you've had enough time to get a little bored with the easy life. We're ready for a challenge, ready to be productive again.
At other times I've felt myself clinging to all the comforts I'm going to be leaving behind (not least plumbing and electricity!). Right now is not one of those moments so it's hard to put words to it, but.... Good food, hot water, a big house, a car to get around in, all this free time. It's hard to give up, knowing that had I made a different choice or taken a different route, I wouldn't have to. At the same time, I feel privileged that this a choice for me, not a necessity. In a book I read recently (Terry Pratchett actually) there was a character described as "so rich that she could choose to live poor." I feel like that's kind of what I am. I'll be returning to all my stuff, and all the comforts of America, two years from now.
I've been surprised to hear a couple people say to me something about how they're glad I'm living my dream, doing what I always wanted to do. That makes it sound like this is what I've been working towards my whole life and I'm finally doing it. I guess I'm already looking beyond that though. This is just a step in the journey to me, not an end. It's just what I'm doing next. There will be another next after that and after that. Yes, this is a big deal, but in some ways it's also just another trip in another country. That's what my life has been made up of. I feel like this is the only logical continuation of how I've lived so far and how I expect to keep living and working in the future. I guess that's a good place to be in?
Usually I don't write much about my family, but leaving them for two years is a big part of this process. One of the hardest things I'm doing is saying goodbye to my grandparents, all four of whom are in their 80s and in varying degrees of health. I know this sounds silly, but it's hard to say goodbye to my almost 8-year-old dog (our old dog had to be put to sleep when he was nine). Some things I know I can't count on being here when I get back in two years. My brother is currently in Afghanistan, as is Dylan's dad. Dylan's mom is still in Egypt and my parents will be here in Fort Wayne. Dylan's brother will be graduating from college while we're gone, and his sister will be a junior in college by the time we get back! Although we've both done a lot of travelling with and without our families, we are used to seeing them at six month intervals (summer, Christmas, summer, Christmas...) so this will be a new experience too.
Please keep us in your prayers as we leave on Sunday for a brief orientation in Philadelphia followed by the long trip to Namibia on Monday-Wednesday. Good health is my primary concern for the first part of our stay - I remember being sick when I arrived in Rwanda and it made my life so much more miserable those first two weeks. Also, please pray for us to form some strong relationships with our fellow volunteers as the time while we're in training is the only time we'll all have together before being spread around the country. Peace Corps is not a Christian organization and I'm guessing a large percentage of the volunteers are not Christian. Since we're going to a country that's 80% Christian, our mission field may be more our fellow volunteers than our national hosts. =) If you still have time after praying for those things, it would be nice if our luggage all arrived on time and in one piece (or rather, four pieces). =)
Thanks! We have every intention of continuing the blog from Namibia although our posts may not be as frequent. Keep checking!