It is 2 months until I leave for Peace Corps South Africa. The application and medical clearance was grueling to say the least. There were many, many times when I was ready to throw in the towel but in the end , after hundreds of hours of completing the required tasks, they cleared me for take off. Despite the blood, sweat, and tears (literally) I can finally breathe again. This is a life long dream and it’s finally come true. We had a distant cousin that went to Peace Corps with his wife and from that moment on I have dreamed of joining. My sister in law, Fran was a PCV in her younger years in Lesotho, and has been immeasurably helpful as you can imagine!
I have watched myriad videos posted by PCVs describing their lists of what to bring and what not to bring and I am left feeling a bit overwhelmed. How am I going to bring my life to South Africa for 27 months in 2 suitcases weighing in at 50 lbs each? My skin care weighs that much, not to mention art supplies, cooking things, camping equipment, electronics, tools, solar chargers, headlamp, teaching supplies, gifts for host families, food, and books. Oh yeah, clothes and shoes! You can imagine my dilemma. I think I’ll pack lightly and ship the rest. Thank goodness for my Florida family.
Meanwhile, my little house is coming right along and will be waiting for me when I return. Living in Florida has felt like suspended animation. It is beautiful and I have really enjoyed spending time with the family that’s here and the gorgeous weather. I have been reluctant to try to develop a social and art life because I will be leaving soon, I have one foot in the future and one in the present so I’ll be glad to get on with it and get out of limbo-land. I leave for New York January 28th for staging and then we fly to Johannesburg SA! We’ll travel to somewhere near Pretoria for a 3 month training period. After that time, we will be sworn in and go to our permanent sites. I have no idea where that will be but as soon as I know, I’ll post it.
There will be 1 out of 4 languages I will have to learn but I can’t get a jump start on that until I know my final destination. Being the researcher that I am, this part of it is killing me! I may or may not have electricity, will not have running water, and will most likely have to use the hole in the ground type toilet. Not really excited about that. My house will be a modest dwelling with 2 rooms bare minimum and everything after that is frosting.
I will be fairly off the grid and wifi will most likely be spotty at best. I would love, love, love some letters and pictures if you can still remember how to do that! Ha. I haven’t had a picture printed off for years now that we are in the digital age, but I’m looking forward to returning to the “olden days” for a while and hope you will too in terms of letter writing and picture printing. As soon as I have a mailing address I’ll let you know!
If you have any thoughts on packing for the long haul I hope you share it with me. I’ll check in with you closer to when I leave.
This is my first blog and MAN was it hard to figure out. So please overlook the inevitable bloopers while you’re being very impressed that I got it. I think I do anyway. So here goes the first blog post. I’m pushing the publish button……now.