I said my last goodbyes yesterday and took the first real step toward Macedonia: I drove to Philly.
I’m a NY sports fan all the way and the brotherly love is lost on me, but I was excited driving in. I dropped off my car at his new home at my cousin’s house on the way. I miss my man Oliver already! (That’s my car, not my cousin, but I think he’s the cat’s pajamas too.) Then Mama Brown and I continued down 476 all the way to the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
The bellhop (Jack. He was the man.) who greeted me when I pulled up asked right away if I was with the Peace Corps. (Is it that obvious?)
I told my mom that we needed to say goodbye before we arrived at the hotel because A. I’m a grown 27-year-old lady and my mom doesn’t need to walk me in. B. I didn’t want to be the volunteer walking in teary-eyed because she missed her mom.
I’m not typically an emotional person. The surest way to get me to cry is to make me laugh. My theory is that I have a surplus built up and my body needs to expel them. That being said, prepping to leave the country for more than two years has had me feeling all the feelings.
So, my apologies for rushing the goodbye Mama. I still love you the most. I just wanted to be cool in front of my new friends.
Once I settled in, I got to meet the 40-45 people I’m going to spend the foreseeable future with in Macedonia. It was really wonderful to stop answering questions about where I was going and whether I was crazy and instead, talk about our shared anxieties and aspirations.
We had a few sessions talking about the mission of the PC (see more here), and what we are about to get ourselves into. I left feeling really at peace with my decision and excited about what comes next.
We had skits to act out different scenarios we might encounter (which you know I was all over) and time to reflect on why we applied. Everything was great, until sessions broke and we got stuck in the elevator.
We spent maybe 10 minutes in a sweaty elevator. It got stuck again this morning while we tried to get our baggage downstairs. Apparently, the Crowne Plaza has been having some issues. To their credit, they were very sweet and accommodating in the face of trying to get hundreds of pounds of luggage down several floors with malfunctioning elevators.
Other than that, the stay was great. I had a big, comfy bed, where I spent my last night dreaming of bald eagles, (veggie) burgers, baseball and apple pie. There was great water pressure. They even have the hotel slogan written on the shower head.
“The place to meet.”
I give them credit for pushing their brand, but I think I’d prefer not to meet anyone in my shower. That’s just me though.
It’s weird because as is my way, I left my mom’s house in a rush and didn’t give it a long, lingering goodbye. (Minus the first day of school picture my mom forced me to take.) Now that I’m on my way to the airport, it’s sinking in that I might not see home for more than two years.
I’ve spent the last few weeks visiting as many friends, family and other loved ones as I can on my farewell tour. It was so rewarding to get to see all of them and get so many great hugs. (If you’re not a hugger, sorry, not sorry. I am.) I’m lucky to have so many great people in my corner as I make this big move. Thank you for all the texts, calls, Skype sessions, videos, posts, messages and most of all, the love and support.
The next blog post will be in Macedonia!