I am freaking out slightly. I started applying to the Peace Corps over a year ago (June 2009, to be exact), and at the time leaving in September of 2010 seemed so far away. I still had all summer, my senior year of college, senior design, crazy amounts of classes and homework to complete, graduation, plus Yellowstone. It has been my plan to do this for so long, but until very recently it was always in the future. Now that I am packing and leaving in a week it is very much in my present. I don’t know what I should bring, have no idea where I will be living or under what living conditions. I am pretty in the dark about everything in fact. I am nervous. I have traveled and lived abroad plenty, but never in a third world country. Two years is so hard to even imagine. It is such a long time. I know this nervousness will pass, and it is good to know that at least for the first 3 months I will be with other volunteers who are in the same situation and probably feeling the same feelings. I just need to keep on trucking. Meet new people, adjust, teach some kids chemistry, and throw the peace sign up a lot (just kidding).
As for gifts for my host family and people I meet, I have tons of cool little knick-knacks (courtesy of Little Shop of Physics—Thanks y’all!) that will teach kids (or anyone) some cool physics principles, glow sticks, I was thinking some cheap jewelry will be nice to give away, plus a map to show everyone where I hail from. I feel like every single time I travel abroad and people ask me where I am from in the states and I say “Wyoming” they all think I am saying “Miami”. This has happened countless times (I know mom, I should enunciate better), and it is always followed with an “ohhhhh!!! MIAMI!” And then I reply with, “No, WYOMING” and they just give me blank stares. I feel like Wyoming is a poorly represented state. I mean, in my opinion it is the best state around, and Miami isn’t even a state, so why the heck does everyone get sooo excited about Miami and all I get is an “I have no idea what you are talking about” look for Wyoming? Just a thought.
Anyways, I digress, I was going to get my host family a knife because I guess good knives are hard to find, and my mom has a brand new, really sharp, really big knife I could give them, but after some thought I decided big knives can kill, so I am going with the much smaller, way duller paring knife. A good choice I feel like.