Monday, May 21, 2007

D minus Fourteen Days

It is like we are on a multi-lane highway. The lives and experiences of our family and friends seem to be travelling with us in parallel, sharing life together, with an occasional person entering and leaving. Now we find ourselves approaching a turn off. The sign ahead reads "Samoa". You set your compass from Minneapolis at about 245 degrees; your GPS at 13.8S 171.8W; your time machine at Fourteen Days.

Since it is we, rather than they who are exiting, their goodbyes, farewells, and Godspeeds take on a new meaning for us and I imagine for them too. The expressions no longer seem rote or mechanical, with the confident assurance their sentiments are only temporary. Each farewell is different; from tears, to doing something, or simply being unable to say or express anything at all. There is doubt in the air. This Bon Voyage is different.

As I read the emails from the other Peace Corps people with whom we are departing, I sense their nervousness and excitement. Their youth and optimism are apparent. We hope their energy invigorates us. Who they are and their motives for joining the Peace Corps are to be discovered in the months ahead. How different to see their undertaking as a building block for the future, as compared to the capstone of one's life.

There are still some minor things to do, but the major events and actions on our check list are crossed off. We often feel exhausted. Even the questions to ourselves about what will it be like in Samoa are now rare. Our focus is turning to actually packing what we are to take.

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