Sunday, June 24, 2007

Adeus. (ah-DAY-oosh)

Ok, it's finally here. It's been almost 7 months since I accepted my Peace Corps invitation, and tomorrow I leave for Atlanta for staging. I'll be there 3 days, and will leave Wednesday afternoon for Dakar, Senegal, maybe a couple nights there, and then on to Cape Verde by Friday I think.

It's difficult to describe the feelings I've been having over the past couple of days, the most I can say is that its been an eerie combination of unbelievable excitement, anxiety, heartbreak and fear. Also a lot of packing and re-packing. Tomorrow will be hard, goodbyes to Mom and Marnie and Ivan. Then a long plane ride, introductions and ice-breakers, maybe a few shots and a lot of paperwork...all on not much sleep I think. Anyways.

What I really want to say is Thank You. I couldn't have a imagined a better last coupla days. Fantastic week with my lovely Ma, lots of scrapbooking, packing and re-packing, a visit to Grammas house, and more delicious food than I knew what to do with. Thanks to everyone for last night's get together at Casa de Magee. Great burgers and queso, friends and electronic games. Then today. Up at the crack-ass of dawn, brownie for breakfast, coffee on the way downtown to meet Nikki and Amanda for the Urban Assault Race. Race was great, cooler weather than we had any right to expect, and a hell of a lot longer than last year (29.2 miles!!!). Nikki, despite mechanical difficulties with her bike, water shortages and a few minor leg cramps, soldiered on, and we had a great race. We were, or course, no match for the powerhouse tandem of Carrie and Amanda, but I think a fine time was had by all. Lunch after, with a surprise appearance by a St. Clair - yikes, how's that for fate - then to the pool with Ma, Marnie and the Precious Darby. She LOVES the water and will be an excellent swimmer I predict. After that, a short nap, then to the park with Ivan for more swimming and off-the-leash-times. Also a rainbow was there. Then a nice dinner, a walk with Ma and Marn, a short chat with Dad and few phone calls to Darla and some other friends, a few beers, chat with Greg, a last minute emergency trip to Wal-Mart, one last episode of Entourage, some re-packing, and now this. Poyfect.

Tomorrow I know I'll ball my eyes out, but I have it on good authority that once I'm on the plane, I'm supposed to be able to "rip off the band-aide", and start the next chapter in my life. Whether that works or not remains to be seen, but whatever the case, please know all of you will remain in my thoughts always, until we're together again. PLEASE write me some e-mails, love letters, recipes, advice, minutia, anything and everything. I'm not sure when I'll be able to read them or write you back, but I'll feel better just knowing they're there. :-)

Take Care of each other. I'll write when I can.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Journal Entry: Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Time: 11:39 PM

Boa Tarde!

So its T-minus 3 weeks and counting to Departure, and I've been busy getting my affairs in order here. The labyrinthine process of preparing to leave the country for 2 years will drive you daffy, as I've discovered these past few weeks. Visas, passport, student loan deferrals, voter registration changes, income tax forms, medical documentation, life insurance, privacy waivers, travel insurance, will, storage, power of attorney, blah, blah, blah. I believe my ducks are aligned, but fear I've forgotten something important. Note to Peace Corps: Develop Final Departure Checklist. Other than that, my main source of anxiety is paring down my 2 years worth of luggage to the 80lbs weight limit. Also Ivan. Also there is still a ton of stuff on my "Must Do This Before I Leave" list. Hopefully more progress will be made there after I've quit work.

In related news, I recently received a tentative "schedule of innoculations," from Peace Corps, and eagerly await shots in the arm and/or ass for: schistosomiasis, filiariasis, Polio, MMR, yellow fever, malaria, and intestinal parasites. I CAN'T WAIT to get sick! I have it on good authority that the malaria pills are going to give us all crazy freaky dreams. Outstanding.

Also received from Peace Corps is my new temporary address. If anyone cares to write me during my pre-service training, my address, at least for the first 3 months, is below. Mind you the mail takes nearly 3 weeks to get there...if I'm lucky. For anyone TRULY motivated, Peace Corps suggests that you "request that your post office route mail to Cape Verde through Boston, where they are more familiar with the difficulties of postal service in Cape Verde." Uhhh? Wha? Not sure how much a letter costs to send, but I've looked into package rates and they're mortally expensive. (I believe the squarest deal to be a flat rate padded envelope, "Freight Delivery," by the Unites States Post Office...for those of you inclined to send a Care Package.) In any event, I've heard that language and cultural training is taking place Out in the Sticks...even by Cape Verdean standards...and that our phone and internet access may be imponderable for those intital 3 months, the idea being that total immersion and a Clean Break are the best ways to go about that sorta thing. Course it could turn out completely opposite.

Caley McCormick, PCT
A/C Corpo da Paz
C.P. 373 - Praia
Republic of Cape Verde
--via Portugal--

Anyways. Less than 20 days to go now. Bring Me My Brown Pants!

Monday, June 4, 2007