Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Between Goodbye and Gone

 This whole process of staging is very interesting to me. While it makes sense to me that there is a day of orientation before leaving for 27 months in a brand new country and culture, it feels like a strange limbo. I’ve said my goodbyes, but I’m not yet gone. This also contributed to some difficulties in packing.

I tried to pack strategically, planning out my outfits for the next two days and making sure they would be readily accessible if they ended up in my checked bags (which they did) and also trying to leave my toothbrush and other such items were also accessible. In theory, this was a simple idea. In reality, it was not. The packing process took almost three hours, thanks to my packing help (my family). Without them, it would have taken probably twice that. I was almost done with packing about half way in, when I looked around and decided that everything left would not fit in my carry-on bag, and that I simply had too much stuff. I didn’t think I had that much stuff, nor did I want to try to carry all that stuff on my own. So everything came back out of whatever bag it had been in, and it was pared down. Some clothes were left behind, some items were put aside to be brought or shipped later, and everything else fit inside two checked bags, a carry-on, and a personal item. Four bags is still a lot, but it didn’t feel as excessive to me so I went with it. One difficulty of having help packing is that I don’t remember where everything is, and I forgot how many things I actually use over the course of one day. I had to go back to my bag multiple times to look for face wash, pajamas, a hairbrush, toothpaste…you name it.

The airport was of course a teary goodbye, but the flight went by fast enough. The weather in LA was not at all what I expected – instead of sun and heat, I got clouds and a slow drizzle. It is pretty chilly. After getting settled in my room (I have a sleep number bed, super fun to play with!), I went to check-in with the Peace Corps. Found out I get $120 for my time in LA – 4 meals and apparently anything else I want that fits within that budget, which won’t be hard, I’m pretty sure. A couple of us went to dinner at Subway (no, I really have no desire whatsoever to go to In’N’Out burger). So many new names are very difficult to remember and I’ve already introduced myself to the same person twice (unfortunately, they remembered me from the first time).

So I’ll hang out here in a hotel for a few more hours before I’m fully gone. It's the paradox of leaving - I’m sad to leave, but I’m so excited to go!


  1. Oh, goodness, I am so excited for you! this is going to be such a great adventure. Great post, keep us informed :-)

  2. You're unlucky. Rain is pretty uncommon in LA. I can't believe you packed everything you need in so few bags!