A few days ago, as my mom and I were packing up my childhood, I felt so overwhelmed. I didn't think I could get everything done. Many other volunteers going to Botswana with me were packed before I had even finished buying everything I needed. One full day shopping trip with dad on Saturday fixed that. I have two checked bags and I am even a couple pounds under the 80-pound weight limit set by the Peace Corps. Space bags (in which you vacuum the air out of your piles of clothes) are unbelievable, I tell ya.
My mom, unbeknownst to me, has been making me a quilt over the last month or two. She invited some of the most important people in my life to contribute a square. I can't express how beautiful it came out and how much it means to me to be taking this abroad. My mom contacted many of my close friends from childhood, high school, and college. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are all represented, as are close family friends who have watched me grow up.
We also had the final goodbye party on Sunday. My parents honored everyone in the room, stating why they were all important in our lives. Then everyone gave me their personal wishes for my safe travels. It was especially touching because everyone in the room felt appreciated. And isn't that what it's all about? Giving back a little?
It has been both bittersweet and amazing saying goodbye to everyone. Of course I feel sad and I know that I may miss some important milestones, like weddings and births and graduations, but it's worth it. And it's not really goodbye. To me, it continues to be, "until we meet again..."