This dream I’ve long had of joining the Peace Corps is almost a reality…10 days from now I’ll board a plane from Tallahassee and fly to Philadelphia for a seemingly very brief orientation. The following morning we’ll go to clinic and get a few shots (not sure what we still need…) then head over to Newark (to a central park in Newark! Flight of the Conchords reference for all you fans out there!), where we will leave for ETHIOPIA at approximately 5:50pm on Tuesday, October 6, 2009. We have a layover in Frankfurt before arriving to Addis Ababa 25 hours later and 7 years ago. We'll be traveling back in time. The Ethiopian Calendar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethiopian_calendar) is a bit different from ours…the new year just started on September 11 and it is now 2002.
Here’s a brief timeline of my Peace Corps experience so far:
Applied: September 2008
Interviewed/Was Nominated: November 19, 2008
Sent Medical Kit: January 30, 2009
Got Medically Cleared: June 2009
Was Invited to Ethiopia: July 30, 2009
…So this journey has already been a year in the making! I'll actually explain what I'll be doing in Ethiopia in a different post, as I'm sure you're curious.
In a nutshell, I haven’t had too much time to prepare for this trip (and by trip I mean the next couple years of my life). I know very little about Ethiopia, although I have purchased a Lonely Planet book and Amharic phrase book (I know I'm going back in time, raw meat is a delicacy, and there's good coffee). I feel as though I’ll just learn as I go. Another exciting thing is that my group (I assume there are about 40 of us) is the 3rd to go back to Ethiopia since an extended Peace Corps absence.
I haven’t actually put any of my belongings into bags yet, but I am limited to 80 pounds of luggage. Packing is one of my least favorite activities ever, but my goal is to have it done this weekend. (Oliver has been kind enough to help me pack -->)
I’m glad I’ve been able to spend the last month and a half back in Tallahassee with my family and friends. It really hasn’t hit me yet that I’ll be gone for quite some time and I am truly going to miss you all when I’m overseas.
Hillary (my lovely sister) and her fiancée, Martin, are getting married next Saturday and I leave Monday morning. Next weekend is going to be a whirlwind of emotions, but I’m extremely excited about these two epic days and the fact that I'll be able to see all of our out of town relatives before I leave. I haven’t really had time to freak out about my departure because I’ve stayed busy since moving back from Colorado, which is a good thing. If anything, I'm looking forward to starting this next chapter of my life while not being nervous, which is also a good thing (don't think my mom is on the same page).
I guess I should explain my blog title…I went to college at UF, aka the SWAMP! I was in college when I decided to join the Peace Corps. And the Nile…you may have heard of it before. Anyhow, part of the Blue Nile runs through Ethiopia, which is where I’m moving. So, from Gainesville (then Colorado and back to Tallahassee for a bit) to Ethiopia it is, but that would have been a boring blog title. Thus, from the Swamp to the Nile was born…Enjoy :)