In two days, these two bags will be all I have left of “my stuff” to see me through two years of the Peace Corps. I enlisted the help of my two other “greats” Liam and Lilah Beth to underscore that when I return from this experience, he will be 7 and she will be 5 and neither would be able to fit inside these bags as easily as they could at this point in time!
I saw that there’s been quite a bit of time from the last post to this one. I don’t have a schedule for when (or for that matter what) I’ll be sharing, because I’m pretty much going on inspiration. Whenever anything hits me … and I have wifi … I’ll let folks know.
At this point, I know very little:
— I will keep my email address — firstname.lastname@example.org.
— For one month, I’ll have the same phone number and will have unlimited texting. However, calls are a $1 a minute so unless you just fell in love, had a baby, or need me to come home immediately, texting will be my preference! (Remember … the Peace Corps is mostly voluntary, i.e., no real salary.)
— Those bags and a carry on must not be more than 107 inches total and must weight 50 lb or less. That endeavor alone is a major reason I haven’t said anything too profound over the last week or so. Ultimately, I had to purchase new and less weighty luggage so that I could take the clothes, goodies to give to my host families, props for teaching and board games that I wanted. Those tight couple of bundles represent the end results of at least ten repacking attempts!
— My orientation begins Monday at noon in downtown Houston. I love that the Peace Corps selected Houston of all the cities that could have been what they call my staging city. I’m getting to hug a few more necks before I go. And, though I have dearly loved being in Tennessee with family, I have felt somewhat like I was borrowing a life or the constant guest. I like returning to where I most recently was “me” before I meet so many new faces.
— I leave the country on Tuesday to spend one week in training and then I’ll travel to where I’ll spend the next three months. I don’t know that location or the location of where I’ll be for the bulk of my tenure.
— The first three months I live with one family. The second three months I’m assigned another family who lives in my permanent location. After six months, I can get a place of my own but at the level of income of the community in which I live. The Peace Corps covers your basic room and board and allows for some “walking around money.” I’m betting it’s not the kind of walks I’m used to so I’m ready to adjust my spending habits … except when visitors drop in! Then, I’ll be a tourist right alongside you … yes, you, Friends/Family of Karen Campbell, I’m talking to you!
Now back to the twos — In my current state of ignorance, I’m (1) nervous (about my Spanish, about leaving a family I dearly love, about travel) and I’m (2) sure (about the “rightness” of this decision and my ability to adapt to whatever comes my way).
We used to think we were cute when we wrote 2 good 2 be 4 gotten. But those words seem like an apt summary for the last few weeks and the days ahead.