45 days.

Tomorrow it appears as if the government shutdown will be over. October 17th, 2013.

It’s been easy for me to put things off. After all,  I did have four years of excellent practice in procrastination (oh, college!). Pushing aside orders for solar chargers and hiking backpacks — “oh, I’ll get that next week” — only felt like a natural reaction to such a huge, daunting challenge that lies in my wake. The shutdown of our government only assisted these matters. In a time when I should have been taking online safety courses, practicing French, acheiving final medical clearance, and eagerly checking my e-mail for updates from our CD, I was instead staring blankly at a government in crisis and wondering if I would even leave on time. I still am not sure how this shutdown affected my stage and what is to come in the next 6.5 weeks, but I am sure about one thing — time always marches on.

October 17th. You once sounded so far away and yet here we are, face-to-face. I’m working on getting things together. Ordering the necessary items, beginning to cross things off of my packing list, thinking about the loose ends I’ll need to tie up — taxes, elections, bills, cleaning my dungeon of a bedroom, oh, and my disaster of a car. But there’s one thing that I am not sure how to prepare for; the reality of leaving.

I’m an adventurous soul. I’m also plagued by extreme Jewish guilt — sorry, Ma. Those years of religious school got to me. I look forward to the strides I will take in the next two years but I also look back with regret and anxiety at all those I have to leave behind. It’s unnerving to pack up from everything you’ve ever known and walk off into uncertainty. However, I have always chosen to live my life with a certain distinction. I would much rather regret a decision I made than to instead live with the mental possibility of “What if…?”

So, America, our time together is nearing it’s end. I’m not sure where I will be two years from now, or who I will be. The “ALL OF IT” is almost too much to even contemplate. With 6.5 weeks left, I plan on celebrating the love in my life. I am lucky to have a family, friends, and a girlfriend who all love me and support me in my journey. They will miss me, as I will miss them, but their support is extremely important to me. I feel extremely grateful for the opportunities in life I have been given. I cannot even begin to imagine all that I will learn in my 27 months of service in Guinea. I do know that, no matter the hardships, it will be worth it and I will return to you all a better person more capable of making real, beneficial changes in the world. I hope you all will continue to support me in my journey — even when I call you, crying, about how much I miss real cheese. Even when I lament to you that I miss my mother and I feel like I’m not getting anything done. Even when I miss my lover and friends so much the sobs ache my body to sleep. But, especially when I tell you about the young boys I’ve befriended in my village and taught English. Especially when I tell you about the older women who have taken me in and taught me how to cook. Especially when I tell you about the new bee-keeping project I have initiated with my village, or the new community garden, or the 100 trees I planted last week.

This will be a difficult journey at times, no doubt, but one I have chosen and one I look forward to with immense joy and excitement. I hope you will join me alongside my journey and continue to support me through all the ups and downs. And, you know, a package or two would be nice!!!

Thank you, reader! Until next time (where hopefully I’ll have progressed more in the packing department — yikes!),



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