17 February, 2013

This is REALLY happening!

Part of my horoscope the other day:

"Just because you only have one life, that doesn't mean you can't fit many different lives into it."

I was talking with my aunt the other day, and she said "So, this is really happening, huh?" I said "Well, I'm quitting my job and moving to NY, is really happening!"
The beginning of packing my entire life....to fit into a Dodge Caravan...

So yes, as of 2 days ago, I am now officially unemployed. Weird. Good. Scary! Last weekend, while I still had a job, my car, etc., I reserved a Dodge Caravan, online, to use to drive all of my stuff back to NY (gosh, I have soooo much stuffffff). (I decided to just sell my sweet little Kia here in Nashville, instead of using it to pull a trailer back to NY). I was literally shaking while making the arrangement. I mean, I'm still here in Nashville, at that point, I hadn't heard anything more from the PC, I still have my Kia, but I'm now supposed to pay for a rental to take me back to NY in 2 weeks! I hadn't even really started packing! "C'mon Johanna, you have to commit to this!", I kept saying to myself...."Ok, here goes something...."....and there it was. Rented and paid for. A Dodge Caravan. Whatever fits in there, goes  back with me to NY. My entire life. The last 12 years of Nashville, plus things I've brought with me from Ithaca, Raleigh, Lansing....now back to Saratoga. Scary. But at the same time, it feels really great to get rid of so many things I really don't need anymore...starting new....You should try this some time! It's very cathartic...which feels wonderful!

On Monday, I finally received an email from the PC! It gave lots of travel info...including the phone number to the travel agency who would be booking my flight from Albany to Philly - where we all meet for "staging" - or the first orientation, registration, training, etc....So I called, booked that flight, and then looked at the rest of the flight info they sent me - the flights from the US to Windhoek. You're gonna love this travel plan:

Monday, March 11 - 
  • 9:30am - leave Albany airport. 
  • 10:30am - arrive in Philly - a few other volunteers are coming in at that same time, so we're going to meet up at the airport. Then we head to the hotel.
  • 1-6pm - orientation, training, etc at the hotel in Philly
Tuesday, March 12 -
  • 2:00 AM - check out of hotel
  • 2:30 AM - bus arrives to take us to JFK (why we didn't just do all of this staging in NY, I have no idea)
  • 11:15 am - leave JFK and the US for a 15 hour flight on South African Airlines
Wednesday, March 13
  • 8:05 AM - arrive in Johannesburg!!
  • 2:25 PM - leave Johannesburg for Windhoek (yes, you read that correctly - a 6 hour layover!)
  • 4:25 PM - arrive in Windhoek, Namibia. From here, I believe we get on a bus, truck, etc. to drive 1.5 hours to our Training Center in Okahandja, where we immediately begin training for 6 nights. Then, I'll be moving in with a host family for 5 weeks....
A few very long days.....(especially because I don't think I, or any of the other volunteers, will be able to sleep much from our excitement....)

So, during this process of trying to find out all the information about what to pack (thru current PCVs there already in Namibia, and the info the PC sent us, along with the facebook group I'm in - most of those who will be volunteering with me over in Namibia)....I think I started feeling overwhelmed, stressed and worried. What kind of shoes? How many skirts? How much deodorant? How many solar-powered things do I need? What about a knife? What about suntan lotion? What kind of luggage? Ugh...it was driving me crazy at times.

And then, in the middle of all of this craziness in my head, 2 clients of mine (a couple), who have also become truly wonderful friends, AND the first to make me cry when talking about my leaving, as well as humbled me by their kindness and friendship, said to me "You are about to go do something wonderful for the people over there."

It hit me. This was the reason I was going in to the Peace Corps. THIS was the important issue. Not how many shirts and shoes I could fit in to my luggage....

You know, part of this adventure, IS the adventure! So what if I forget my toothbrush? Or don't have a warm enough blanket? Or my (heaven forbid) iPhone 5 doesn't work in Namibia! Or I can't charge up my computer! So??? This is not what matters. Of course, I'll find a way to communicate with my friends and family back in the US, but this is NOT what this adventure is all about. It's about working, for the sake of working and helping people, and not worry about bills, saving, retirement, etc.  Side note: My father would not be too happy with me saying that - but don't worry dad, I'll get back to my retirement-saving after 27 months :)

The point is - over here in America, we get so wrapped up in our jobs, our bills, toys, etc, that we forget about everything else...and because of this, we are stressed, overweight, unhealthy, and we become selfish and greedy. I want to live, at least for 2 years, in a totally different way. Not only to learn about another culture and people, and to hopefully enrich my own life, but also, I want to help others. And maybe their way is better. Who knows? I'm excited, though, to help make their lives better - through the little I know, and hopefully they can thrive as a community. I wonder if they really want to learn the ways of the western world. Maybe not. Maybe they don't need it. Maybe they already are. But to be able to give of my knowledge, and lend a helping hand - THIS is what truly matters....

Well, except, I WILL need some Starbucks instant coffee to help me along the way....lol!

I am leaving Nashville in 5 days. Wow. So, if you don't hear from me, it's because I'll be spending quality time with good friends here (and Bear, of course!), packing and driving!! I'll update you all once I get back to NY, where I can then concentrate on the PC and Namibia....

Here is another video about Namibia:

p.s. I have also updated my Namibian mailing address in my Contact tab....this is temporary, until I find out where my permanent site will be!

You'll actually look forward to your morning commute. Life is calling. How far will you go? Learn more about the Peace Corps