Of course these people are normal, funny, kind. Of course we all worry about learning a new language (or two), about feeling isolated and living with a host family, about wolves, rabid dogs, and rabies. Of course we all look forward to gaining acceptance into a new community, to traveling to remote corners of the world, to serving something bigger than ourselves. Of course we all packed weird things, but only admitted to the group the cooler-sounding and barely more normal items. I don’t know why I was nervous about meeting all these people. It’s been less than a day, but I’m already pretty confident in saying: I can spend two years in Kyrgyzstan with these people.
It’s only a few hours now until we take our collective thousands of pounds of luggage to the airport and set out for Central Asia. I should get this out before I leave: Thank you doesn’t begin to cover how grateful I am for the support of my family and friends. You all have gone to amazing lengths to help me feel ready and safe for this journey (lookin’ at you, mom). I am amazed and touched by how incredibly generous and kind you are, and you should know that my heart melted with your gestures of friendship (lookin’ at you, everyone else). Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Dunno if it’s bad luck to wish myself happy travels, but take your pick: Счастливого пути, ак жол, iyi yolculuklar. See you on the flip side, USA. I’ll try to do you proud.