Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Eye of the Storm

These last couple days have been a real rollercoaster. Update; teeth are filled and a little sore, suspect mole removed and sent to lab, power of attorney given, vaccination records in the mail (let’s hope they get here before Monday), shopping done, and packing tonight. My sister comes in tomorrow so I want to have all the Samoa packing and prep done, so the weekend can be for family time. Things to do; eat Chipotle for lunch today, have Wings and More for dinner with Meg, have nice goodbye dinner with sisters and mama on Saturday, then Sunday have one of our family picnic style days where we sit outside, drink wine, eat cheese, olives, salamis, and other tasty treats. During all this there will be lots of crying, kissing, laughing, cuddling, and knowing my family dancing around in the kitchen. What a wonderful way to say good bye to my time in the States, me my sisters and my mama all together. I wish my dad could be here too but he is off in Nigeria preparing for my parents new life there and my mother will join him in a few weeks. So I will have to save up my papa love to pile it on him when my parents visit my in Samoa. It’s kind of hard to explain how I am feeling about leaving, especially as it seems to change daily. On Monday I did my last big Wal-Mart shop and left feeling like electricity was running through my veins, I wanted to scream and run and jump up and down. Then later that day I just kept saying “Oh my god” and trying to breathe deeply because I couldn’t catch my breath. Yesterday I had butterflies in my stomach all day and kept randomly crying. Today I have settled into some weird calm. It seems like I might be in the eye of the storm waiting for the other wave to hit. All of a sudden it’s the people around me freaking out and I just kind of keep saying “yeah” and nodding my head. Tomorrow is my last day of work and then my weekend and girl time begins. I am determined to spend the weekend basking in their love, laughing, and soaking it in. I don’t want to spend every minute thinking about leaving I just want to have a good time with my family and have that memory to take with me. Next time I write it will probably be from staging, so till then wish me luck and strength to say goodbye to the most wonderful mama and sister in the world.
Pino and Picasso in Houston with the girls!

The girls at my parents 25th wedding aniversery.

The Camp ladies throw back style! Check out the matching out fits mama made umm! She is such a bad ass!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dallas Weekend...Oh Wait Just Kidding

There is one week left... and today is almost done… and I leave early in the morning on the fourth so… it doesn’t really count either. This means there is only six viable days left in the USA. OMG. I still feel like I have so much left to do. This past weekend I came done with a really bad upper respiratory infection, which cramped my style several ways. One, I couldn’t drive down to Dallas to say goodbye to my two roomies. Two I can’t get any immunizations while on antibiotics and the cycle doesn’t end until the day that I leave for LA. Three, I couldn’t do any Samoa shopping and I wasn’t able to play in my last softball game of the Season. This all equals, LAME. But there are also some nice upsides. My wonderful roomies surprised me and drove all the way down to Houston when they found out I was sick. The pharmacist says that he will make an exception and give me my N1H1 the day I leave as long as I promise not to still be sick (fingers crossed). Also it’s Monday and I already feel better, yay for drugs. I rallied enough on Saturday to take my girls for some amazing shopping (the non-Samoa kind) at our epic mall here in The Woo. Also we got to spend some quality time cuddling and watching movies. So all in all definitely ended up a pretty good weekend. Some more teary good byes, or like I said before really just see-you-laters. I know the hardest ones are still to come, but I will have to face that when it comes on Monday.
This next week is a big one. Fillings tomorrow at the dentist, worrisome moles check on Wednesday, sister comes in on Thursday, hopefully flu shot on Saturday, then last minute craziness on Sunday. Somewhere in there I have to love on my family as much as humanly possible. I did a little Samoa shopping last week at the outdoors store and am doing my last Wal-Mart shop tonight. My aim is to try and get some of my packing done this week because as Paul put it in his post (, I don’t want to be wasting my last couple days with my family locked in my room trying to make my luggage work.
Fun things to share
-there are now ten of us in contact from 83! Nancy, Lindsey, Sarah, Katie, Natalie, Jenny, Danny, David, Karen, and myself! (Seems like the girls are going to outnumber the boys)
-I bought a whole of bunch silly bands to give the kids in my class as rewards. This way they will learn the English name of the object the band makes and get fun toy type things. (I’m also curious if they will trade them and if they will migrate across the island and any other PC’s will encounter them)
-I bought a huge US flag and a huge Texas flag to decorate my classroom
- OU vs Texas is the weekend!! BOOMER SOONER!
-It’s beautiful weather in Texas, breezy, balmy and sunshine. What a great farewell J

All the tripod united

The Silly Bandz in their shapes

the bandz on a wrist, Im thinking Ill start a trend

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Weekend and The Email

This weekend I went to San Antonio to meet Trent. A little bit of background, without getting too personal/emotional. Trent was my boyfriend for my first year and a half of College. Due to his being in the military, my travels and both our impending departures; him for Afghanistan and me for the Peace Corp, we have been in and out of each other’s lives. We have been saying "good bye" for about two years now, but just keep seeing each other again. This weekend in San Antonio was the real one, with me leaving for Samoa in two weeks and his deployment in March. He was testing for their fire department so I drove up to spend the weekend with him. From the very beginning we both knew that our futures were headed in opposite directions. Goodbye may have been easier if we never got together, or if we had stayed away when we broke up a year ago, but I also would have missed out on some great memories. It was an awesome weekend and we had a blast watching the OU game, drinking too much, and laughing a lot. It was hard to say good bye, but I know that we will always be in each others lives; it’s just the capacity that changes. My love, my prayers and thoughts will be with him in Afghanistan. It’s time for us both to start our adventures and I feel so blessed for the times we have had together. Another hard good bye and I know there are more to come. This weekend I complete my tour de Texas with a trip to Dallas to say good bye to my college roommates and the other legs of my tripod, Emily and Sabrina. After that it’s going to be saying good bye to my mom and my sisters. I know it will be hard but I am feeling much better about my goodbyes, or as I like to think my "see you laters." I received an extraordinary email this weekend from Jane, mother of Paul 81. She read my recent blog post describing anxiety over leaving people, and wrote to me about her experiences from the other side. This wonderful email inspired tears, laughter, and a lot of faith. She described to me how the space can actually strengthen relationships not dim them and how although it will be tough, the new relationships I make will be just as extraordinary as those I have at home. Thank you so much Jane, because of you I picture spectacular night skies, diving on the reef, and a new family waiting for me. I can’t say I’m any less nervous, but I can say my excitement has tripled. The mix of emotions is just indescribable, only 14 more days. WOW!
Trent and I and his Basic Training Graduation


Monday, September 13, 2010

It Has Happened

So I guess I knew this was going to happen, but I was hoping I might just skip over this step. The nerves have set in. Up to know I have just been excited. In my correspondence with my group members many have mentioned anxiety and panic but I seemed to be immune. Maybe I thought, “hey Im used uprooting my life every two or three years. This will be like all the other times, piece of cake.” At first all I could see was the adventure. I knew it would be hard, but come on that’s the fun of it. Then I went on another weekend trip to say good bye to another friend. This time to A&M. I got a little tearing in the car because it really hit me; I have such wonderful people in my life. My family is loving, supportive, and so much fun. My friends are understanding, steadfast, and amazing. For the first time in my life I have people that I don’t want to leave behind. On most of my adventures I had my family with me, and I was too young and my friendship too fleeting to really miss them. It was the nature of the expat life you were always leaving friends or being left, but you knew there would be a new batch to replace them. It’s different this time. My family is dispersing, my little sister in school in Oklahoma, my big sister working in Houston, and my parents living in Africa. Also, I have friendships I want to keep. It seems ironic that it would be harder to say goodbye to people you know will always be in your life, then to say good bye to those you may never see again. Why is it trickier to say good bye to people you know you will see? I think this is what brought on the nerves. The real understanding of what I am leaving behind. I value my relationships so much and I know I will feel there absence this time. It got me thinking about how much of a change it will be, I guess I have gotten too comfortable in these 6 years living in the states, just traveling a few months a year. I’m not scared, just nervous. I know I will be successful and I know I will love it. I was made for this, and I have wanted it for longer than I can remember. Now it’s finally here. Its just that the immensity of it is becoming clear to me. So I guess I’m not immune, I feel anxious too. My sense of adventure and excitement have not diminished but it’s hard not to be nervous when I look into the eyes of my sisters, my parents, and my friends and wonder “how do I live without these parts of me?”

On the right is Reginald who you have already met, on the left is Luna a new Frenchie my sister has just gotten. She is a pain in the ass but also lovely!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Travel info!

So I finally received my travel info! i will be leaving Hobby at 10:30 am on the 4th of October and will arrive in LA at 1:30 pm after a short stop over in Dallas Fort Worth. After a world wind orientation I will be leaving for Samoa on the evening of the 5th to begin my ten hour flight. Gosh it seems so real now. I feel like I still have so much to do and so many people to see. I'm soooo anxious and excited, I can't believe its really happening. I made appointments today to get some tender teeth sealed and to have some moles looked at just in case. I have already been all cleared but I though hey better safe then sorry. Still shopping and gathering I have a suspicion that I may be doing this a lot last minute when I have finished with my job. Hey I always do my best work under pressure. I'm so glad that there are a couple of us in touch, its so nice to hear from them and talk about all the prep work and nerves. Good luck all you 83ers! xoxo

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Austin Trip and Thoughts of the Future

Last weekend I and three of my best friends from high school met up in Austin for a belated birthday celebration and a little bit of a farewell get together. Since my older sister, Heather’s birthday is only two days after mine we made it a joint thing. So Friday after work me and Heather pile into our explorer, affectionately named “Bertha,” (which by the way totally suites her) and drove to Austin. Since it was Labor Day weekend we decided to take the back road route and although added to time, it was much prettier, and we didn’t have to deal with traffic. So off we went with our Tom Tom, Bertha, and a romance novel audio book (our favorite). The drive was gorgeous; I called it a cultural exploration of small town Texas. All the old main streets and worn down buildings had so much charm and character. It is easy to feel sad when seeing these building falling into disuse but all it takes is a closer look and you will see that the stores still hold little treasures and smiling faces. Four hours later, about an hour and a half long then necessary, we arrived at my friends Jenna’s house, and not soon after so did my friends Adam and Nate. It was a great reunion and we even got to meet Nate's lovely girlfriend Amanda. We spent our days rummaging around on Constitution and our evenings hitting Sixth Street. It was a blast. Being a Sooner it is tough to admit, but I really enjoyed the city. There was so much going on, the stores were so unique and different, and the food was amazing…not a chain restaurant in sight. It really made me realize that I want to do grad school in a city. I benefitted so much from the small town feel of Norman but I think I’m ready to do a city next. I have been looking into the Peace Corp fellow program a lot and I think after service I might take advantage of it. That way I will be able to continue serving here in the states, get a grad degree, and explore a new big city.

Enough talk about the future, the exciting thing is now! It is officially less than a month before I leave. I can’t believe time is flying so quickly but am glad that it’s getting closer. I know that with my jam packed schedules it’s only going to speed up. This weekend some friends are coming into to say goodbye, next weekend off to San Antonio to say good bye to Trent, then the weekend after that to Dallas to say goodbye to my colleague roomies, then the last weekend before I leave my sister is flying down to say goodbye. Somewhere in all of that I still have shopping to do. I have gotten all my skirts and shirts, which was quite a challenge but found that the “mature lady” section of Macys was a total gold mine for long skirts and blouses. Now I still have to do my electronics shopping; speakers and rechargeable batteries, my athletic store shop; board shorts, sport watch, exc., then my camping store shop; sleeping bag liner and nalgenes, then last but not least army surplus store as I have decided I want my travel side bag to be an old army bag. Don’t ask me why I just got it into my head how cool that would be and how I’m going to sow badges on it. So lots to do! I have been contacted by another girl so now we are up to nine and Nancy (another woman found out there will be twenty of us total! Can’t wait to meet more and wish me luck with all the shopping!

Cupcakes from the cupcaketruck before we had a large messy cupcake war

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Calling all members of Groups 83 leaving on Oct. 5th 2010 for SAMOA!!

There are seven of us total who are leaving for Samoa on the 5th who have all gotten in contact, but I know there are more out there!! Come out of hiding guys! Email me! I hope I hear from some more soon! Its been great fun to chat with my fellow volunteers and creep on them via facebook and email. Come join in the fun!! Can't wait to meet all of yall!