Finally...staging forms received!

Trip Start Feb 06, 2007
Trip End Apr 26, 2009

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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Tuesday, January 16, 2007

So, I have finally received my staging kit. It contained valuable information regarding the basic logistics of the orientation where I will formally enter duty as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer. The staging kit also fives me permission to set-up my travel arrangements. I will be staging in Miami if you didn't already know. I will be leaving on February 6 for Miami out of Columbia. My flight leaves at 6 am - so I will have to leave my house by 3:30 or so to make it in time to check-in and say my goodbyes. Boy, I am certainly not good at goodbyes and it is going to be a rough can you say goodbye to the people you have spent your whole lives with while in the back of you mind you are thinking....will I ever see this person again? Peace Corps has prepared me somewhat for all the literature I have read over and RPCV's (Returned Peace Corps Volunteers) that I have talked and security was their top concern....and the fact is that most volunteers come back safe and sound .... in one piece! In my staging kit, I also read over some new information regarding recent events that have shaped the political future of the country I will be serving in. Paraguay has recently been through some "bloodshed" in their move towards democracy with the overthrow of a self-imposed dictator. Kind of scared me for a minute...and then I realized that Paraguay has the same dangers that volunteers face in other host countries that are in Africa and Asia. The challenge is definitely there, and I am up for it!
I am going to miss my family the most. My mom and I are extremely's because we are alike in so many ways. Then, there is my dad. He has always been there for me. We didn't have the best father-son relationship as I was growing up, but I have got to know my father so much over the past 5 years. I never understood his role in the scheme of the family thing until I moved out after I graduated high school. He was the provider. If it weren't for him, I know I wouldn't be where I am today. I am really going to miss my dad. He is always there to bail me problems, financial problems, and so much more. Then, there are my brothers and sisters. My brother, Brandon, is set to get married to his fiance, Nikki, of several years. All one has to do is to sit with them for an hour or so to realize that there is definitely love between them. They are learning a lot already in their short-lived relationship...things that married couples of 5+ years have yet to accomplish. I am proud of him - he has got his future lined up...a career and a family! My older sister Amber is still working at a doctor's office and is soon to move into a new place. I recently spent some time at the local community college in Sumter to get her back into school. I hope and pray that she sticks with it this time. If you read this Amber - know that I love you so much, am proud of you for decisions that you have made in your life....while not always good, they have taught you a lot and I hope that you stick with your goals and priorities! You are so blessed to have a talent to work with very young children....there is so much potential. My younger sister Cherish has finally decided to try the college thing....after realizing that a couple of jobs everyday back to back isn't going to cut it...she, too, is blessed to have that desire to want more for herself. She's got a boyfriend...don't know too much about him. All I think about is when I come back in 2009 - where will everyone be in their lives? I will be all behind...that's all I can think about! I love my family so much!
I gave blood today--the last time for the next couple of years--probably a little more than that since Paraguay has high risks of malaria. Boy, the thought of taking those pills everyday for the next 2 years....don't worry....I will take them with pride! If you're caught once not taking them and PC finds out about it, the CPD (country project director) can send you back and "administratively separate" you from the PC and you will COS early...I don't want that...sure there are the side effects...and I probably will be singing a different tune after I have spent some time on the toilet getting the diarrhea out of my system (commom side effect), but life is a roller coaster....isn't it? It certainly is worth the ride!
While in Miami, I will be staying at the Crowne Plaza  Miami Airport....boy that sounds so cool and expensive....certainly it will be at the government's expense! I'm only going to be in Miami for a couple of days. The agenda includes welcome and introductions, Peace Corps approach to Development, personal definition of success, safety and support, anxieties and aspirations, nuts and bolts of the next 2 years of your life, managing risk and unwanted attention from HCN (Host country Nationals), and cross cultural training. Geez....what was this person thinking when they wrote the agenda....that's a lot to digest in less than 48 hours! We will all leave together from the hotel for Miami International for our flight to Paraguay. We have a three hour layover in Buenos Aires, Argentina, before we head to Asuncion - the capital of Paraguay. I will be arriving in Asuncion around 12 Noon on February 8 - remember, there is a 2 hour difference of time (ahead 2 hours, that is, from South Carolina time Eastern Standard). I imagine we will be in Guarambare, the training site and my home for the first 3 months, around 3 or so. It's an hour from the airport- just enough time before night fall to meet my host family. I wonder what my host family will be like? What will my Paraguayan mother and father be like? Will I have both? Will I have any brothers or sisters? I've gotten several gifts for them all - just some knit knacks from home...picture frames, South Carolina stuff, candle, charm bracelets, and some other cool things.
As I sit here and write this, I am filled the so much anxiety. I'm just nervous and excited wrapped up all in a present waiting to be open! For those of you who don't know I am ADHD - I just have never been diagnosed. It's hard for my to keep my attention on one thing - so I bounce back and forth, shake my legs, chew on pen caps, and other habits that have come about. I can't just sit back and wait for the day....I need to occupy my time as much as I can. That's why I took this long-term sub job at a local elementary school. I'm in a 5th grade class, teaching math and science. The contract teacher comes back right before I leave, so it works out pretty good. I had a weekend job for almost 4 1/2 years at the same restaurant...but I said goodbye to that this weekend (one weekend early, I might add, then I originally intended...but that's another story). I want to use this time to be with friends and family...but my mom is soon returning to the work force, so that eliminates some of that time....I wonder all the time -------- where does the time go?
The bottom line is ..... life is calling, how far will I go? I'm excited that I have received this opportunity to fulfill this dream of mine. Not many people get this kind of opportunity. Life is just like riding a bull....I make what I want to make of it....and I sure as heck better grab it by the horns so that I can destine myself.......getting this far in the process of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer has certainly not been an easy task. I've had to lost a lot of weight and give up alot even before I leave for service....I'm at 13 months since I turned in my application for volunteer service, and I am still as excited as I was on Dec. 26, 2005 when I mailed it in!
People keep asking do you know this is for you, Trevor? The truth is...I don't know if it is for me...all I know is it sounds like a wonderful experience and God obviously wants me to get something out of it...whether good or bad.....He wants me to learn something from this experience....otherwise, He wouldn't have let me get this far! For that, I am grateful to Him and I pray that I will have a good experience. Will you pray for me?
Until my next entry.......
Your ambassador to the world, Trevor
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