Friday, October 28, 2011

First Stop: Denver

At Echo Lake
I'm at my first stop of my 10 day trip that will eventually get me to VOICA training in Albuquerque. After a great flight from Kansas City on Wednesday night that thankfully was only delayed 20 minutes due to the SNOW in Denver, I've been enjoying my time as an Aunt and  tourist visiting my oldest sister, brother-in-law and nephew. We saw the foothills and mountains, Echo Lake and even tried driving up to the peak of Mount Evans. Un/fortunately the road up was closed--I say this because even though it would have been cool, with the snow, sparse guard rails (What is up with that Colorado?!) and my intense fear of heights it was probably for the best.Two days of more exploring!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Does this look like a year’s worth of clothes to you?

Believe it or not, as of right now, I’ve managed to fit ALL of my clothes and a good portion of my shoes for both Paraguay and Albuquerque into one large suitcase. I still need to pack a few pairs of shoes and a small stockpile of toiletries into my duffle, but my awesome hiking backpack I got from my boss is filled with mementoes, books, computer stuff and a change of clothes. Who would have ever thought I could pack this light?! I can’t take all of the credit though. I do owe a big thank you to my mom. She went through all of the things I THOUGHT I would need with me and helped me downsize. Because in the end, six fashion scarves might be a little much!

I’ve been getting a little crafty and sucked into Pinterest, so I decided to make my own cloth travel frames (with Mom’s help on the sewing). They hang on the wall and can hold multiple photos in each plastic pocket, so I can rotate my pictures. When I’m on the move, I can fold them up into a nice little pile to travel. I’m pretty proud. Check them out! 

They’re hung a little crooked, but you get the idea.

P.S. I’ll be home for Christmas!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Two Weeks!

Ahhhh two weeks til go time! Even with all of my excitement, I’ll admit that I’m a little bit nervous. Not really about moving to Albuquerque and being away from family and friends, just nervous that I won’t be good at being a volunteer. Currently I know about 15 words in Spanish. This is not an exaggeration! Sadly, it’s the truth, and 10 of those words are numbers. But, I got my Spanish-English dictionary in the mail yesterday. It’s not that I don’t want to learn, it’s just hard to start by myself. I was on the fence on if I should do a program like Rosetta Stone, and after two weeks of doing nothing without it, I think it’s probably a good idea. Intensive self taught course begins now!

I found out that I’ll for sure be working in Encarnación, Paraguay. Like usual, I’m a little confused by what Sr. Angela has told me, but it seems like they are kind of an offshoot of a larger group of nuns in Posadas, Argentina, which is right across the river and border from Encarnación.

It’s now down to possibly one companion volunteer. She’s still deciding if she wants to do it or not, so I hope to hear from her soon. Not that I don’t want it to just be me and the nuns, but please pray she comes!! I should be getting my schedule of what I’ll be doing during training soon, and Sr. Angela said she’s already working on my flight and insurance for Paraguay.

The past month or so has been filled with a lot of goodbyes, but I’ve gotten so much support, that none of them have really been that sad. I got to spend time with friends from St. Louis, friends from home, friends from Church, family, and I even made it to Chicago to see some of my friends from studying in Ireland, who probably understand my travel addiction better than anyone. I still have two weeks to spend time with family, and I’ve kind of started to go into more of a hermit mode than I was already in. Sorry friends!

I know that all of these people will be thinking about me the whole way through, and will be a part of my life regardless of if I take a one year break from seeing them, so goodbyes have been better than expected! I’ve been blessed with great friends and family! Plus, there’s always Skype.

I’ll officially be leaving home on Wednesday, October 26. I’m going to take the scenic route, flying first to Denver for five days with my oldest sister, Nicki, and her husband, Jason, and my nephew, Oliver. I’m pumped for this bonding time since we’ll be coming off of my cousin’s wedding weekend and Oliver might actually remember who I am. I’ll be spending the next five days in Flagstaff for one last visit with the BF, Matt. Then I’m off to the train station for my journey to Albuquerque at 5:41 a.m. on Sunday, November 6. So early, but I guess it’s kind of symbolic of and literally the end of my leisurely life the past few months of getting up at 8 a.m.