Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Life of an Explorer

The closer departure day is, the more excited I feel myself getting. I've been thinking a lot about how I am going to document this journey - I want to do it in a special way. A combination of journal entries and art - a living document.

I've been reading this book recently and it has inspired me and the direction that I hope this blog takes over the next few months ... and years.

The idea is simple. To always be looking and exploring and PAYING ATTENTION. The only way this can happen is if you're in the moment and that is exactly where I plan on living.

Here are the rules for "how to be an explorer of the world":

 I'm so excited.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Passports and Aspirations

I am still in the magical land that is summer camp. It's a great place for me right now. I know that if I were home I'd be dwelling on the fact that I am leaving America in just 6ish weeks for my next big adventure. Here, I am required to live in the moment. Not worry about the future or being away from my friends and family or making sure I have all my boxes checked (they will get checked... in time).

I sent my passport to D.C. last week. As a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV), I am required to get a special government-issued passport for my 27-months of service. I had my picture taken at the crack of dawn so I look a little wonky (and by wonky I mean that I look a little cross-eyed, disheveled ... not a good picture. At least I don't have to keep the passport for a long time ... oh wait. Derp.)

Currently, I am tweeking my resume and making sure that my aspiration statement is complete. This letter will be read by my country director, as well as the community members I will be working with in Tonga. It will be some of the first information they receive about me... before meeting. I hope they like what they read.

Over the next week I will continue learning Tongan (I can officially count to 10, say "hello", and about 30 other random words...), get a plane ticket to staging (a quick stop in a US city before I take off for the South Pacific), get some financial business sorted out and start with my packing list (apparently I need to bring Leatherman, a hammock and a small non-stick pan... any advice on where to purchase that?).

Friday, July 13, 2012

Here I go.

Last summer I had a conversation with a friend about what I planned to "do with my life" (What does that even mean anyway?). That I wasn't sure I wanted to be a regular ole elementary school teacher forever (I applaud anyone who is an elementary school teacher - one of the most difficult jobs ever). That maybe I was meant to be doing something else (art? coffee shop owner? professional Pinterest pinner?). I jokingly made a comment that was something along the lines of "maybe I'll just join the Peace Corps".

Fast forward to March of this year. I am sitting in an international and comparative educational policy class at Colorado University - Boulder and finally feel that "yes" feeling. The one that inside screams "This is it! This is what I'm suppose to be doing!". Working in schools at the global level, trying to understand what role culture and location play into the educational experience. My professor was amazing - think Kris Kringle meets Mother Theresa. Well-traveled with so many stories to share, that's Professor Kraft. 

After a particularly taxing day teaching fourth grade in the Rocky Mountains, I came home completely drained. Not just physically, but emotionally as well. Some of my friends call it the "two year itch" ( due to the fact that I have not lived in a location more than a couple of years in quite awhile) - well, whatever it was was gnawing at seemed to try to be getting me to listen. How could I go abroad, teach, work in schools and learn about different cultures? The Peace Corps. 

So I applied. 

And two days ago I found out that I am moving. Moving to the Kingdom of Tonga to be a Primary English Teacher. I depart on September 2, 2012 for Tonga. 

This blog is meant to chronicle my journey. Though I'm not sure when/if/how often I'll be able to update it.  I hope it's a place where I can try and organize my thoughts, to make sense of this amazing experience... to share with you what I learn. I'm excited to teach the children of Tonga and equally as excited to see what they will teach me. My world is about to get turned upside down and I couldn't be more nervous and thrilled.

This image was borrowed from National Geographic.