“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is rather than as you think it should be.” –Wayne W. Dyer
So I’m down to one week left in Glenview! This whole month has been SUCH a whirlwind, with work, shopping, visiting, everything. This past weekend I was able to make it down to IWU to help out with sorority recruitment and then over to U of I to visit a few friends before leaving. Now I’m pretty much down to figuring out how to cram everything I’ve got into a suitcase and a hiking pack, and enjoying my going away parties!
As I’ve been preparing to go, a lot of people have said to me, “I could never live like that,” and have asked questions such as “will you have electricity?” “Will you be living in a hut?” Apparently a common reason why people join the Peace Corps is because they want to experience living with almost nothing or going back to the basics. Is it crazy to say that it was never something that really crossed my mind when I applied? Sure, I wondered about what kind of amenities I would have, if I could access internet, etc, but I didn’t join to live a rustic lifestyle or to live off of my backpack, just like I didn’t join to save the world. I joined the Peace Corps to travel, to experience a new culture, to meet new people, and to exchange experiences with people across a variety of cultures and backgrounds.
It’s actually quite interesting how many times I’ve been asked if I’m either going to die in Africa or come back with AIDS. Where do we get these stereotypes of an underprivileged, “dark” Africa? Are these remnants from hundreds of years ago? Current news coverage? Lack of education? I believe the people there probably experience many of the same problems we have here (frustrating work situations, stubborn family members, relationship woes, peer pressure, the list goes on and on…). I read something once (I don’t remember where) about how traveling makes the world smaller because you actually realize how similar people are everywhere. So chill guys. I’ll probably get sick quite a bit, but I won’t die. Plenty of people have done it before me, and plenty will do it after me. All I ask for is your support! And maybe a few letters or pictures to take with 🙂
I have quite a bit to look forward to: meeting my host family, traveling, the beautiful scenery, living on a new continent (#3 of 7!), learning a new language, teaching and learning from the people in Moz, learning to live on less and be more sustainable, meeting other volunteers, and, of course, adventure! This isn’t to say I am without worries though. I’m definitely worried about not being able to keep in touch, struggling through the language, running my own separate project, getting sick, being perceived as young and inexperienced and standing out, etc. Despite my worries, I am confident I will adjust, and plan on dedicating myself to making this an awesome two years.
Next Monday I will fly to Philadelphia to meet up with some of the other volunteers. Everyone will be there by Tuesday, when we will have our Staging (in-country orientation). At 2am on Wednesday they are bussing us to New York, and we are flying out of JFK at 11:15 on Wednesday. It is a 15-hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, and then another hour to Maputo. I will try to keep everyone updated on here, but I’m not sure how often I’ll have internet access. Try to keep in touch, and I look forward to sharing my adventures!
French word of the day (since I’ll have to keep up with my French!): Avion (airplaine)
Portuguese word of the day: avião (airplane. As you can see, they’re similar!)