46 days until lift off

After two solid months of endless doctor’s appointments, filling out forms, calling and harassing doctor’s offices to send my lab tests to various locations to meet strict deadlines, filling out some more forms, and paying SO MUCH MONEY for internet access on a cruise to communicate with the office of medical services, I have finally received final medical clearance. I really thought this moment would never come, and I am thrilled that is has. I am also counting my blessings that my only medical setback thus far has been having to get new glasses. Here’s hoping my health can hold out in the Amazon jungle or on top of a mountain or wherever I end up!

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With the excitement of being medically cleared also comes growing terror about the fact that I am actually moving to Ecuador in a month and a half. I am SO excited to begin this adventure and I am one hundred percent confident that this is the right path for me at the moment, but the fear of venturing into the wild unknown is pretty daunting. I also have no idea how to pack two suitcases of stuff to last for TWO YEARS. I can barely manage to pack for weekend trips to Charlottesville. I’ve been able to connect with a few Peace Corps Volunteers who will be leaving for Ecuador at the same time as me (thanks, facebook!) and it is comforting to know that everyone seems to be experiencing the same terror and uncertainty. Luckily all of my friends and family have been incredibly supportive, so that helps! Although in retrospect, having mean friends and family might make it easier to leave.

I just finished reading an amazing book by Dauod Hari called “The Translator.” He’s a Sudanese tribesman from Darfur who worked as a language interpreter and guide for NGOs and press during the genocide in Darfur. It was a difficult book to read (because of the subject matter, the book itself was beautifully written) but Hari had a lot of really great insights about the idea of creating meaningful change through nonviolent means, specifically by educating people on an international scale about the injustice in Darfur. A lot of the lessons he learned seem applicable to Peace Corps work, so I wrote down a few of my favorite quotes:

“You have to be stronger than your fears if you want to get anything done in this life.”

“What can one person do? You make friends, of course, and do what you can.”

The second one seems especially applicable – I don’t know how much lasting, meaningful change I’ll be able to make in Ecuador, but I can certainly make friends and do what I can.

In an effort to further procrastinate on the ridiculous amount of work I have to do to prepare for this journey, I have been obsessively reading Peace Corps blogs. In my journey through the interwebs, I found a 2 year affirmation that a volunteer currently serving in Ecuador wrote. I love it, I want to print it out and bring it with me everywhere, and hopefully when I get to Ecuador I will meet her and tell her that I posted her affirmation in my blog! (this is a link to her blog, btw —> http://lilcdubinecuador.blogspot.com/)

2 Year Affirmation

You will be lonely.

But you will know you are loved.

You will be scared.

But you will have faith in your ability.

You will be nervous.

But you will remember a time when you were sure.

You will feel different.

But you will know we are all the same.

You will get lost.

But you will be found.

You will be transient.

But you will know a home.

You will be curious.

And you will learn a lifetime of lessons.

You will be selfless.

And you will feel the rewards in your heart.

You will be surrounded.

And you will create a global family.

You will teach and you will learn.

You will understand.

You will love.

I’m off to continue my wildly exciting bus ride from Tampa to Gainesville to see my very best friend Melissa! Traveling the country to see long lost friends and relatives is, incidentally, a very effective way to further avoid the realities of moving to another continent.
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