The contents of this website are mine personally and do not reflect any position of Elon University, the U.S. government, or the Peace Corps.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My life as a PC Trainee begins in EXACTLY 24 hours.





Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So, my attempts to pack "simply" for the next two years (with the exception of a couple items, not bringing anything frivolous), are making this process vastly more complicated.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Finally down to the wire… :)

It's funny. For MONTHS, I've had months until I leave for Peace Corps. Then things got a little more specific, and I knew that service in Bulgaria was in my future, but I still had all this time to get things done.

Now, its Monday morning, and I leave on Friday. THIS Friday.


I've gotten to the point that I actually have to start dealing with all the junk I've been throwing in the spare bedroom. I literally groan every time I walk in there. There is infinitely more stuff pulled aside than I actually want to take. We're allowed to take 100 pounds as PCV's. That's 20 more than more volunteers because Bulgaria is considered a "cold country." My goal is 70 pounds. That way if I overshoot a little bit, I still shouldn't be standing in line at the airport shifting items. Although, all of my little items that don't weigh much sure add up… I just want to focus on things that are important to me, and then learn to live with less. Far less… J

Yesterday I said goodbye to everyone at church. A few people commented about how calm I seemed. I have found that the closer my departure gets, the more at peace I seem. Maybe that's because it hasn't entirely hit me yet, and maybe it's because I KNOW this is what I'm supposed to be doing. All I know is that after that first set of goodbyes to my North Carolina boys a couple of weeks ago, even my goodbyes have gotten easier. But they aren't over yet!




Now, it's time to OFFICIALLY start packing!

Friday, July 11, 2008

2 Weeks from TODAY...

... I leave for Pre Service Training!!!

I love how my B-24 team mates will be flying in from all over the United States for our Staging Event the couple of days before Friday, the 25th with plane tickets from the Peace Corps, and I will probably leave my house around noon to get to the hotel by our staging starting time... and have a good hour and a half to spare before things kick off at... 2pm!!

But such is life. :)

{And I'm still taking packing advice, BTW..... ;P}


Throughout my time in NYC this spring with the Center for Student Missions, we had some absolutely incredible student groups come through.

While I can honestly say I didn't have a favorite, there were groups I connected with on a deeper level than others.

I will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart for my Lousianians (my first group!!) and my Appies from NC, but I remember helping Michael out with one of his first groups, and how excited I was to meet Abby - a college senior from Michigan - who was applying for the Peace Corps!!

We talked a lot and exchanged stories, and have kept in touch about the sometimes painfully stressful application process since. My departure date was schedule for about a month before hers, and we've both had our horror stories (your not a true PC applicant if you haven't!!).

Anyway, I just found out yesterday that Abby's destination has changed from the Caribbean to.... Turkmenistan in Central Asia!! The Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions are the two closest PC regions (often referred to as one region), and Bulgaria and Turkmenistan are about as close as you can get without actually being in the same region.

We knew the big guy upstairs was looking out for both of us when we met on her service trip to NYC, but we had no idea we would be equidistance from Turkey!

It'll be so great to have someone {almost} on my time frame to stick together with through all of this and compare notes on service!!

seriously, He's pretty darn incredible :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

16 days!

Wow - time is flying! I begin my staging event in 16 days... crazy.

Hard to imagine that I've been dreaming about this for so long, and things are about to start happening!

And I have A LOT to do before then!

I've been dropping things in a pile for the last month or so, and at some point I am going to actually have to start dealing with it and begin packing! (I'm taking packing advice, btw, from all those world travelers out there! :)) I don't think I've ever been so intimidated about a task before! I'm not worried about teh weight limit. I just want to make sure I have the things that are most important to me... sounds like most of what I'll need I can get later if I need it.

This weekend we had an open house for our family, friends, and beighbors as a sendoff for my grand adventures. It was so great to have *most* of the people who mean the world to me encouraging me like they did. Nothing like knowing you have such an incredible extended family praying for you while you set out to do what you know you're supposed to be doing.


The 2008 season for the camp I worked at last summer began again yesterday, and I can't stop thinking about it. If you know me at all, you know that last summer challenged me in ways I never imagined possible. I made a lot of mistakes, but I also poured my heart into that camp. I spent most of the fall working on my capstone project for my Adminstration class, and I utilized the assignment as a way to offer my thoughts to those who support and run the camp. As much work as I put into the proposal for restructuring, I decided to package it up and send it on to 12 professionals in DC who have a direct hand on the camps operations or existence. I wrote a cover letter from an academic feedback perspective in hopes that someone would request to discuss my project further. Other than a quick message from the CEO saying, "Thanks for your proposal, I passed it on to so and so," I never heard back... I don't want to get too specific because of the way the internet works these days, but please keep the kids of this camp in your prayers. These are kids that DESERVE to have a SAFE and FUN summer away from their lives in the city, and the environment I worked in last year couldn't provide much of either...

If you think about it, please say a quick prayer for the staff, the camp, and especially, those KIDS.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

This ones a long one!!

I've been spending a lot of time at the gym lately.

Well, a lot for someone who has spent a long time convincing herself that gyms were evil. :)

I'm of the mindset that exercise is great.... when I don't know I'm getting it.

Hense my (rudely interupted) devotion to the sport of basketball... :)

When I have a lot of thinking to do, I tend to be one of those people that just hops on my bike or starts walking somewhere in order to process everything swirling around in my head. If you know me at all, you know that I don't usually require a sounding board when I'm trying to work something out. Sure, I'll run my thoughts by someone when it comes down to the deadline, but before I ever get to that point, believe you me that there were hours of intense contemplation leading up to it.

When I was making my decision about Peace Corps verses continuing my job hunt in NYC and DC this spring, I just started walking after I left my favorite coffee shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Next thing I know, I'm standing in front of my church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, some 80 blocks later.

Its just how I do things. :)

Anyway.... I'm back at the gym to try and get back in shape, and because its a good way to spend my time and process things before I get ready to leave for the Peace Corps.

I start each day at the gym with a warm-up before either focusing on my upper or lower body (depending on the day) on the weights. I've found that I love working out my legs, but if its an arm day, I dread even walking into LifeTime. Considering part of the point of even getting back into the gym is my desire to try to build strength back into my arm (3 surgeries later...) and maybe someday feel confident in my strength to survive the Police Academy, this is a horribly inconvenient dread of mine. Then when you consider that my attention span for cardio is.... lacking.... things at the gym can get interesting.

The other day, I upped the weight stack on the arm curl (an already cumbersome movement for my bad arm), and started my workout. The first two sets were great. Enough resistance to give me a challenge, but not so much that my bum wrist or my muscles were screaming at me (too loudly).

When I hit my third and final set, however, my confidence began to waver.

Then, a funny thing happened.

I cheated on my last set.


I just kinda, forewent the last few repetitions.

I ignored the last few reps I should have done, barely acknowledged that I was doing so, got up, and moved to the next machine.

I think its funny how as humans, we think that we can even manage to fool ourselves. Like no one, including ourselves, will notice. Like it isn't letting ourselves down or something. Like there won't be consequences. Like the pain, the resistance, the struggle isn't part of the workout. Like its not the entire point of growing stronger and yielding results.

We can be kind of silly sometimes, can't we?

The same thing happens in our walk for Christ.

Even if we actually make it to the gym or stop for a devotional amidst an already hectic schedule, we approach it like we doing as a favor to ourselves or to God. Because of this, we think that if we shave a few minutes off our workout (whether it be physical or spiritual) it won't affect the final outcome.

"Sorry muscles, you don't need to be as strong as I planned."

"Sorry God, a few less minutes won't hurt."

Or the biggest phony statement - "I'll do better next time."

And yet, we've got no one to let down but ourselves.

In church today, Pastor Vic reminded us that God didn't NEED to send Christ to die on the cross. But WE needed him to., and He did it because He loves us, and without it, we have no chance at an eternity with Him.

And without a daily workout in the gym or with our Father, we have no hopes of growing stronger to "finish the race and complete the task" (Acts 20:24) that we've been given.

Time to go to the gym. :)