Pre-Departure Jitters

In two days I will be getting up bright and early, taking a trip to the airport, and getting on a plane to San Francisco, CA for Peace Corps staging.

I’ll spend three days in SF attending meetings, exploring the city, meeting the other M28s (we’re the 28th group to go to Mongolia), and eating a lot of In-n-Out Burger.

From there, in the early hours of May 27th, we’ll be flying to Seoul, South Korea, eat some Korean food during the layover, and then fly to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

It’s crazy to me that in just less a week from now, I will be in the “land of the blue sky.”

I remember getting my acceptance email back in October while I was at work and crying from how happy I felt.

I remember thinking May 24th would never arrive and I’d be stuck in Michigan for what felt like decades.

I remember making a countdown that said 210 days until my departure, and now I have two.

A lot of people keep asking me how I feel about leaving home for so long and I never really knew what to tell them – until now.

Have you seen Jaws? Of course you have! And if you haven’t, don’t fret because you will still know exactly what I’m talking about.

When Chrissie – yeah, I’m talking old school, original Jaws – takes her infamous last swim and the haunting “dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun, da-na-na!” plays eerily in the background as the great white shark makes his slow approach, you can’t help but feel on edge because you know this huge event in the movie is about to happen.

And that’s exactly how I feel!

As the number of days until my departure lessen, I can’t help but feel like this journey I am about to embark on is going to be a major part of my life, and to be honest, my emotions are all over the place.

Some days I’m happy and excited, while other days I’m sad and anxious.

I just want the day to be here already.

Now, I don’t mean to compare this huge life event of mine to a death scene in Jaws (sorry mom!), but I just wanted to create the perfect metaphor that captures my ultimate love for Shark Week and my anxious/excited feelings about the Peace Corps.

Thankfully, after giving my readers that great visual, I’ll be heading to a landlocked country – so no need to worry about any sharks!

 

 

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A Year in Reflection

A year ago from today my mother dropped me off at the Windsor airport.

I held back my tears on the drive there, but ultimately began sobbing once I hugged my mom goodbye. It was the first time we would be so far apart for so long. I was terrified.

Now, when I think back to everything that I experienced when I was away, I can’t believe I was so terrified.

I watched the sun set from seven different countries over the course of 200 days.

I ate Belgian waffles in Belgium, and I fell in love with Kasteel Rouge.

I drank a Guinness in Dublin, and I sat on the edge of the Cliffs of Moher.

I saw the entirety of London from the London Eye, and posed for a typical tourist pic next to a red phone booth.

I toured the oldest castles in Wales, and watched the biggest rugby game of the year in a pub.

I tried banana beer in Germany, and walked the beautiful streets of Kleve.

I did my best to make zero eye-contact in the Red Light District, and I visited as many coffeeshops as possible in Amsterdam.

I went snorkeling every day in Malta, and I ate the best burgers from the Hot Shots burger van every night.

I cried tears of joy and tears of sadness when I landed in America.

After coming home, I finished my last semester at Ferris and I was a featured student at my commencement ceremony in December.

I spent my semester co-planning the Conversations on Race event on campus, and I tutored Umair, a Pakistani international student, in English. He passed his Michigan English test and I somehow managed to pass my exams.

I applied to the Peace Corps and was accepted as a Secondary Education English teacher in Mongolia, my country of choice!

This past year has been the best year of my life – so far – but I know the years ahead will be great too.

Below, you can watch the short video I made composed of pictures and videos from my time in Europe:

Welcome to America

I am currently writing this to you all from the airport in Boston while I wait for my flight to Detroit.

In 5 hours I will be landing in my home city where I will be met by my mom and Leona (the pug).

When I arrived at the airport in Boston, I was greeted by a TSA agent who gave me a high five and said “welcome back home!”

Initially, I felt so happy to be in America again, but after about five minutes his words felt like a slap in the face.

There was a point during my trip where I wanted nothing more than to return home and see familiar faces. I wanted to be in a place that felt like home to me.

Now that the day is here, I wish I was sitting on a canal in Utrecht or laying on a beach somewhere in Malta. Or basically anywhere outside of this airport.

I have extended this trip three different times and I would extend it longer if I could. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look up flights to other countries.

Luckily, my dwindling bank account talked me out of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to see everyone that I’ve missed, but I think a part of me will always want to go back.

Over the past seven months I have visited seven countries, seen the sunset 200 times, flown in 10 airplanes, drank at least 100 bottles of wine, met thousands of people, and made countless memories in the process.

I would not change a single thing.

This little chapter of my life has been so transforming and personal for me, and I feel that if I share more with my readers I would be giving away a part of myself.

So I will end with this:

If you are thinking about dropping everything and seeking out something greater for yourself, do it.

It took me way too long to get the nerve to travel on my own but I finally did it. And I will do it again, and again, and again.

See you soon, Michigan.

Until next time, Europe.