“Life is either a great adventure or nothing” –Hellen Keller
It’s fall in Alaska, which always gives the air a specific smell. Like leaves and a dampness that I’ve never smelled anywhere else. I love that smell. It’s a good smell of the earth and of home.
Today’s the day. I’m packed (for the most part) and my life has been stuffed into a large framed backpack and a humongous duffel bag. I went through the five stages of packing, which mainly involved packing, unpacking, and repacking five times until I was sure that I had it just right. If I forget something, I forget it. If I have too much, whatever. I can only accept my fate and pray to the luggage gods that my bags are less than 80 lbs (the Peace Corps requirement).
For those of you that don’t know my Peace Corps schedule, I’m leaving for Miami tonight, where I’ll spend the next couple of days in what’s referred to as staging, or a sort of orientation. This is where I’ll meet the 45 other amazing people who are going to Paraguay in the environmental and agricultural sectors. We will spend the next three months together, training and working on our language and technical skills in a small town outside of Asunción, the country’s capital. The plan is to stay with a host family throughout training, who will further help me with my language and cultural training, though we will also travel to see current volunteers and gain another perspective on whatever this is that we’ve gotten ourselves into. I cannot wait to meet these people. Think of 46 20-somethings, all who care so much about the environment and the world around them, all stuffed into a plane and then told to live and work together for three months. I think we’ll get along smashingly.
Until then, I get to spend about 16 hours on an airplane going from Anchorage to Denver to Houston to Miami to Paraguay. I have to say goodbye to my friends and family and continue reassuring myself that my bags are packed perfectly, otherwise everything will end up all over the floor again. Wish me luck and I’d love to hear from you all!