Invitation- say what?

Its been 331 days since my interview with the Peace Corps, 300 days since my nomination to join, 290 since I received a huge pile of blank medical forms in the mail, 200 days ( 3 doctors appointments, 3 dentist appointments, and 5 trips to retain past medical documents) since I gave the forms all back, 14 days since I got the phone call, and 7 days until I finally received a little blue packet to call my own.

I spent all day Monday waiting for the mail. If it wasn’t below freezing outside, I  may have waited on the actual door step. I was afraid to use the bathroom in fear it would come and I wouldn’t hear the door. I didn’t eat anything too crunchy, so I could hear every crunch of snow as neared the front door. Alas, by 8pm I had given up hope it was still coming.

Tuesday I was thankful I was going to be volunteering all day, to keep my mind off the waiting. Without much luck, as I checked my phone every few seconds, searching for a new text with news, wondering to myself if I would forfeit opening the package in person, just to know where I was going before I got home. The day dragged on, and no word came to ease my nerves. I drove home ready to search under bushes, and snow banks, thinking maybe it blew away- it HAD to come today! I went to sleep that night drafting emails to the Peace Corps apologizing that I gave them the wrong address.

Its Wednesday, although it doesn’t feel like it could possibly be the same week. I feel like i’m stuck in a bad action movie starring “The Rock”, where you are tricked into thinking you have amnesia. I know my name, but can’t for the life of me figure out why i’m here, and what i’m suppose to be doing.

Thursday… I have fallen back into my Peace Corps denial. The one where you pretend you know all the missing pieces of information to restore your sanity. Its 4 o’clock before I know it, but it doesn’t matter, I stopped waiting for the mailman yesterday. I go outside to meet my niece in the driveway, a neighbor has just dropped her off from school. I’m chatting, explaining how its no big deal to not know anything about where i’m going- its totally normal. Then, there it is… the beautiful brown truck rolls to halt in front of our driveway. Its like i’m watching the opening scene from Bay Watch as it comes closer, in slow motion. I have heard rumors about love at first sight, but have not experienced it until right now, in this moment. As the UPS man steps out of the truck, I am lost for words. I love his pasty white legs peeking out of his too short cargo shorts. I love his petrified blue eyes, as he stares back at me, now running down the drive. He looks scared, like I may tackle him- and he’s right- I might! I am sputtering something resembling words as I run/skip down the drive, but I have no idea what, and by the look on his face it doesn’t matter. I snatch the envelope out of his hands and he retreats to the safety of his truck.

The envelope doesn’t feel heavy enough to hold two years of information about my upcoming life, but i am deliriously happy.  I realize that my neighbor and niece are laughing at me a few feet away- they have no idea what has just occurred or the magnitude of the situation. I apologize for cutting off our conversation so abruptly, and attempt to continue, but realize my chances for a normal conversation are limited until this envelope is open.

I tear it open, ripping the plastic to shreds, and nearly scattering it all on the ground in the process. I have watched at least 150 youtube videos from people opening their official invitations, so I know what to expect. My training has me looking for a blue envelope which I find, pull apart the velcro flap and uncover the letter inside. CONGRATULATIONS, YOU ARE GOING TO SWAZILAND!

I admit, I had a Homer Simpson moment… “HUH?” I giggled to myself and looked toward my neighbor for help. Where is Swaziland? By her giggling, I could tell she wasn’t going to be much help. Swaziland…. Swaziland- the more I said it the more I laughed to myself sounds like an African competitor for Disneyland or something. Clearly I need to research…

7 days of non stop google, wikipedia, and facebook stalking I have a much clearer idea of where i will be traveling to, and I am excited. It is a foreign feeling for me to have a good bulk of the information in my hands from the PC, but overwhelmingly comforting. I have 99 days to prepare, and research. I can not wait to get started!

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