Monday, March 19, 2012

I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello.

As my father reminded me during our last chat, life is simply a series of hellos and goodbyes. This week has provided me with a gentle reminder that this predictable cycle doesn’t make the goodbyes any easier or the hellos less sweet. As I sit in the purgatory of this in between, airports and hotels that are neither home nor particularly far away, I can’t help but grieve what I have left behind. 18 months of discovering the beauty of West Michigan through biking, beer, and blossoming friendships- it’s so good to be alive. Whether or not I always succeeded, I sought to find rest and satisfaction in my GR life while working towards the next step. The next step has arrived: 18 months after my initial Peace Corps application and 6 months after learning about my assignment, I have arrived at my staging. After weeks of tears and goodbyes, not to mention some extreme “anxiety belly” yesterday, I am relieved to finally begin the next step of my journey. Sunday’s playlists of Coldplay and indie sad rock have been replaced by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Le Roux. My 36 hour staging takes place at the Historic District’s Holiday Inn in downtown Philadelphia, PA. My roommate, Tiffany, had her own version of anxiety belly yesterday. Hearing about her fears and slight panic actually calmed my nerves. It was a good reminder that I’ve faced these challenges before; this year they are just being presented in a new way. A few added elements have made the last few weeks more stressful than the normal pre-departure worries: I’ve currently got three grandparents in the hospital (or just returning) and experienced my first car accident this week. I’ve got the emotional and physical bruises to prove it. This morning I took advantage of my Western freedom to walk downtown by myself, strange to think that it may be the last time for two years! I sipped on my delicious Starbucks and strutted around in a knee-length skirt, because I could. In an hour I will meet the other 120 volunteers headed to Morocco, receive a more detailed schedule and be able to ask my burning questions, i.e. “will there be ice cream?” It’s all happening. Thanks to my wonderful family and friends who have made my sojourn in Grand Rapids so memorable and painful to leave behind- I am truly blessed. Until we meet again!

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