Monday, August 12, 2013

So Long, For Now

The countdown has ran out and my journey has begun! The last two days have been quite a whirlwind, I arrived in Philadelphia yesterday morning for staging and met all 65 volunteers that I will be working alongside for the next two years. We spent seven hours in seminar yesterday which was quite a struggle considering I still haven't slept since Friday. I am currently sitting in JFK Airport (fitting, considering he founded Peace Corps himself) waiting for our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa and from there to Gaborone, Botswana, arriving Tuesday afternoon. Upon our arrival, we get to spend two days in a lodge together with hopes of recovering from some severe jet lag. Bring it on! After that, we will be bused to Serowe, Botswana where we will take part in a host-family matching ceremony, and leave from there to live with our host family for the next 10.5 weeks! After that, we will be placed at our permanent site. From now until October 15, my address is:

Sarah Pagenstecher, Peace Corps Trainee
c/o Peace Corps Botswana
Private Bag 00243
Gaborone, Botswana

Please write me, send me pictures and keep me posted on your lives stateside. I have heard from many Peace Corps Volunteers that letters and packages from home are what keep you going throughout your service. Being homesick is my greatest anxiety about my service.  

As I write this blog, I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support I have received from both family and friends over the past few weeks. I cannot adequately express how much that means to me and how much strength I draw from you all. At the same time, it makes the act of leaving incredibly difficult. Saying goodbye to my family at the airport was, in a word, brutal. I can't even begin to imagine the ways and levels in which I will miss them. Mom, Dad, Katie, Carrie, Brian, and Josh - your support is invaluable. Thank you for everything you all did to help me prepare for this very moment. I will be thinking of you every single step of the way. Saying goodbye to Emree broke my heart. It is hard to believe she will be three years old when I return and the thought of missing all of her milestones is perhaps the biggest sacrifice I am making. Luckily, I trust that Carrie will send me videos and pictures and I will Skype them as much as possible.

Despite the sadness that overcame me yesterday, today I feel an overriding feeling of excitement! I am sitting among 65 individuals who already feel like friends and I imagine soon will feel like family. It has been great to finally put faces to the names of those I have been talking to for months and to have people to talk to that are feeling exactly what I am feeling right now. As I am about to board I ask that you all keep in touch and don't forget about me. When hard days strike (as I am confident they will) push me. Remind me that this has been a dream of mine for a while now. I am counting on you all!

I'm not sure when I will have internet next but will update as soon as I can.

All my love,


1 comment:

  1. Sarah, I will say it again you are such an AMAZING writer! I am so glad that you started this blog! I am so excited to be updated every step of the way! You are right, you can count on me to send you videos, pictures, and tons of letters! In fact, I took some pictures specifically for you tonight and a video last night! I am so incredibly proud and completely awed by you! You will be missed every second, thought about every minute and prayed for everyday! You are so far away, but you are with us all! I look forward to your next post!!