The biggest challenge before leaving for Peace Corps is of course saying goodbye to family and friends and preparing yourself to leave them and the comfortable familiarities of home for two years.
This challenge, however, at times seemed small compared to the challenge of figuring out how to fit most of the things you will need for two years into two 50-pound bags. The days leading up to now have been spent days trying to fill squeeze items into every possible crevice of my backpack and suitcase. Then after every possible space that could hold something has been filled, the vicious cycle of weighing the bags, unpacking and repacking occurs. The process repeats itself until you take a wine break and then start over again.
The truth is that all of my fears, anxiety, excitement and uncertainty about the future aren’t as tangible as the items I am packing. Most of the stress about leaving the country for two years is projected into questions like how many pairs of shoes should I pack? Where will I fit a sleeping bag? How many pairs of underwear should I bring? Or how long can I go with two cardigans?
However, I have a feeling when I step off the plane in Costa Rica that the items in my bags will lose their importance. Instead of being dependent on the sleeping bag, underwear or the cardigans and the other items in the two, 50 lbs bags, I will instead rely on all hundred some lbs of me. My skills, my educational, my experiences and my ability. Me.
And so it begins, tomorrow I leave for D.C. for staging and Tuesday I am off to Costa Rica! My bags are packed. I am ready. Although I don not know if I am bringing the right tangible items with me, I do know what I hope to bring home in two years. A more patient, kind, confident Laura Getz than the one that stepped onto that plane with those two, 50 lb bags.
As the final countdown to my departure date approaches, I have been thinking about how wonderful the past few weeks have been. Full of celebrating with friends and family.
I spent a several days at a cabin with 12 good friends before graduation, graduated from Wash U with my MSW, spent my last weeks in St. Louis hitting up all my favorite spots one last time and finally making the move home.
Cabin before graduation!
Fancy hats on graduation day!
I am extremely thankful for getting to spend a weekend at Lake Cumberland with 8 of my college roommates. They came from Texas, Nashville, Chicago and all over Ohio. The weekend was full of belly laughs and a wonderful reminder of how many supportive and good people I have in my life.
I wasn’t happy we were all together again or anything 😉
I had a big family party up at my grandpa’s cottage on Lake Erie. I was very happy that we could all get together before I left, missing holidays with all of them will be one of the hardest challenges of being gone.
Siblings at Lakeside!
Party at Lakeside
The whole fam!
I really enjoyed spending time with my parents and siblings the past few weeks. From bike rides with my dad, walks with my Mom, winery trips with my sister and getting ice cream from my brother, it has been a daily reminder of how lucky I am to have them. I could not be happier that I got to spend this past month with them and am really going to miss them while I am in Costa Rica!
Now its time to soak up the last of my days here in the US and finish what seems like the impossible task of packing for two years in two bags!
Mon Ami Winery
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