“The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love”

After being in Miami for 3 days, myself and the rest of the trainees took flight for Lima. I’m always blown away by air travel like this. A metal tube, with wings, hurdling through the air at 35,000 feet, stuffed full of human beings. Some people hate the idea of airports and travel, representing to them a busy, a frustrating and unsanitary experience. For me, a privilege.

There are 47 other trainees, so 48 total including me. We are split, some as health trainees and others as youth development. Majority are women, about 38 if I’m not mistaken. We all come from different parts of the United States and each have different backgrounds, levels of education, professional experience and logged volunteer hours.

Despite the myriad of differences amongst us,  we too stand on common ground. For one, we are all Peace Corps trainees. That then, comes with a lot of other similar motivations and a general passion for doing service. We’ve also each transistioned away from local cultures, favorite material items, and most importantly, our loved ones.

Lucky for me, my family and friends have been 100% supportive. However, that doesn’t make the schism that now exists between us any smaller. It’s very real, and spans thousands of miles and multiple time zones. Saying good bye to my immediate family was hard. There were hugs, smiles and some tears. Overall though their glowing eyes and warm hugs sent me off in good spirits. Saying so long to my friends was bit sweeter, but still bitter. Each of us, I think, attempting to be strong for the other.

I made sure also to call my grandparents on both sides. Each were thrilled to hear from me, and I of course, reciprocated the enthusiasm. In general though, it was sad. Time moves a bit differently at that age, and the thought of not seeing their grandson for 2 years was disheartening. It is for me also. I love them each deeply, and the thought of perhaps losing one during my travels saddens me. No sense in worrying though. Only time for thinking positively and manifesting good health. On a lighter note, my mom’s dad turns 89 tomorrow! So happy birthday to you grandpa, much love and many thanks!

I slip on my sweater now as the temperature in the airplane cabin begins to cool off. The cold sweat on my shirt reminding me of the heat and humidity we just left behind in Miami. We’ll be arriving during a Peruvian winter. Around 60 degrees on Lima, I think. Sounds pretty welcoming to me. As I settle in for our flight, I try to imagine what Peru will be like; where I’ll be placed, who I will meet and what type of work I’ll be doing. I think it’s good to try and visualize our futures, but there’s so much mystery built into this experience that it’s actually really difficult.

Only time will tell.