Monday, September 22, 2008

Staging in Philadelphia

I detest packing. Practically loathe it. It's so hard to figure out what I need, what I want, and what I should just leave behind. But thanks for David, I managed to get it all packed and ready to go one day in advance!

Saturday at 4am, I woke up to embark on my way to Philadelphia, PA for Peace Corps staging. Mind you that I had only had two hours of sleep. Thanks for reformatting my iPod, calling people, and traveling to both Jackson, MS and Natchitosis, LA (I know I got the spelling wrong) to visit my Martin and Emily respectively. It was great to see them one last time.

So holding back tears and putting on a brave face, I boarded my plane from Lafayette to Atlanta. Then from Atlanta to Philadelphia. Finally get here, and feeling burdened in more ways than one. AND training commences. Oh goodness, I was so overwhelmed between the lack of sleep and all the information. Yet, after the end of my session, I met my roommate named Suzanne. She is absolutely amazing; a senior volunteer who has cycled through more countries than I can imagine is simply awe inspiring. A small group of us went to dinner, and after having the last tofu sandwich for a long time, I returned to the hotel to pass out.

Sunday, Su and I wake up early to procure caffeine in the form of coffee. Thank goodness we are both morning people. We just chatted and laughed. Then back to staging. Staging was less overwhelming today, and all 61 PCT leaving for Azerbaijan seem like wonderful people. It is great to be in a room of people so excited for the journey we are about to undertake. Again, at the end of the day, Su and I go out for dinner, drink some tea, repack our bags, and call it a night.

Today, Monday, we leave for Azerbaijan. Who knows what awaits for us there, besides training, language classes, and our homestay. What an adventure to have!

And so I sign off for the time being. Au revoir!