We have arrived on LA. Tomorrow we have “orientation” for 8 hours. It sounds like it will be “welcome to the PC, don’t mess up.” At 9:30 tomorrow night, we catch a plane to Aukland, New Zealand. We have a short layover in Aukland and then we are on to Port Vila Vanuatu.
The schedule we have for the next few months goes something like this. Sunday through Friday we will be at the training center 20 minutes outside Port Vila. We will be doing the “how to survive” portion of training. I think it is funny that this information is given to us when we are totally sleep deprived and jet-lagged. Anyway, that is the health, safety/security and language and cultural basics. On Friday afternoon, we will go in small groups to a community-based training site on the north coast of Efate, the island with Port Vila. Our literature specifically states that couples will train together, which is one relief. We will be in these villages/communities/huts-on-the-beach for 6 weeks. This time will include language lessons, but the expectation is that the best way to learn a language is through immersion. I agree, but that doesn’t make it less scary.
Sometime after those 6 weeks are up, we will be given our assignments and sent off to do them. Presumably, we’ll be sworn in as volunteers first. We won’t really know what our assignments are, where we are going or what kind of conditions to expect until we get there.
On less factual notes, these last few days have been chaos. We returned from the east coast late on Monday and spent the night at my dad’s. We dropped him off at the airport sometime before any sane person is awake and then continued on to my mother’s where we took a nap. Tuesday we spent the entire day shopping. We tripped the fraud detector on my card. I actually had to call the bank while in line at Target to allow them to run my card. We had dinner with Jason’s parents on Tuesday night and then went back to my mom’s to start packing. We spent Wednesday packing and sorting. Several friends stopped by which was wonderful for my mental state but not for my productivity. This morning, we finished stuffing things in bags and ran the very last minutes errands that needed doing. We and our bags made it to the airport underweight, underslept and with time to spare.
These last few days, and the east coast trip, have been so hectic I haven’t gotten a chance to really think about the fact that we, that I, am leaving the country. For real leaving the country. This is not a one month or four month trip. This is for real, I’m moving out of the US and expect to be living somewhere else long enough to have to pay taxes there. (If Vanuatu has an applicable taxation system.) Turns out, its a big deal and scary and exciting and sad and whole lot of other things.
Leaving friends is always hard because I never know if the older me will still be friends with the older them. Apparently I haven’t yet learned from experience that the really important ones just keep coming back and I shouldn’t bother to worry. Leaving family is hard in a different way. I’m close to both my parents, I’m used to talking to them several times a week. I won’t be able to call to ask advice, to complain about Jason not sweeping the floor or to beg for help with my broken car. The change is scary, because change always is.
Today it has sunk in a bit more that I’m leaving and I am worried and scared. But there is the little un-silenceable voice in the back of my head that keeps yelling “adventure.” With a voice like that, how bad can it be?