I really do believe that it is a small world. Or at least, that feeling the smallness of it makes the bigness of the world seem more manageable. And to help us both feel like the world is a little smaller while I am gone, I just made a "Keeping In Touch" tab on my blog which will have all the information and tips you need to be in touch with me. Currently it is still incomplete- but does include my mailing address for while I am in training (and mail will be the best way to be in touch with me while I am in training)!
This past Wednesday I met up for dinner (at a very delicious Lebanese place called The New Deal Cafe) with two girls who live in MD/DC who are a part of my Malawi training group!! Meaning we're all going to Malawi together in 32 days!! I couldn't even believe there were two other Malawi volunteers going with me in this area. SO COOL! Anyway, they are Kathi and Ilana and they are awesome and I am super happy they are in my group! It was great to meet up and talk some stuff out before going (like our many packing woes and expectations and excitations). And doing all that over Lebanese food made it even better :) They will both be Community Health volunteers like me, so cheers to our future HIV/AIDS work in Malawi over these next two years!
Not too long after I had this great dinner, I heard about a girl named Ellie from St. Mary's College (my alma mater) who is going to Malawi with me! Her story is a little different in that she was already serving with the Peace Corps in Niger. She had been there for 4 months when unfortunately the program had to be suspended and volunteers had to be evacuated for safety reasons. You can read about the program suspension by clicking here. All the volunteers got out safely, and they have a few different options of what to do next when an evacuation happens. Ellie was able to join our Malawi cohort! She sent me a facebook message and I am super excited that there will be another SMCM-er there. She also went to The Gambia during college so we have that in common. So we, by default, have all these cool bonds as a result of our very awesome school. I don't really see how the world can get any smaller!
This past weekend has been extremely amazing, and just another reason that I hope the smallness of the world stays in tact; Because I have a lot of really awesome people in my life who will be continuing their lives in America when I start mine in Malawi. Wah. On Friday, my gracious and wonderful friend Mike hosted a party in my honor at his apartment in Baltimore City, and then we went out to the crazy awesome REGGAE NIGHT that takes place every Friday on the 13th floor bar at the Belvedere Hotel. The music is live and awesome, and there is an amazing view of the city. I danced my feet off and the whole night was incredible. I really love my friends. (The next morning we got the "Best Breakfast in Baltimore" at Pete's Grille, a place I suggest to everyone in the area! Best way to end the friendtime :)
Yesterday, was my cousin Bobby's graduation party- at the 2nd oldest Italian restaurant in the USA (and the oldest one still owned by the same family), Ralph's! What I'm saying is, the restaurant is kind of a big deal and we have had many family parties there over the years (and also had tons and tons of delicious Italian food there as well obviously). It was great to see all of my extended family and celebrate Bobby's success, I am super proud of him- he is like my counterpart in the family because we are about the same age. I love my family (and Italian food) and it was so wonderful to be able to spend that time with them, and it makes me sad to think about the family parties I will miss out on in the next two years :( I actually had my welcome back party there after the first time I went to The Gambia, so who knows, maybe we'll all be back there again when I return in 2013.
This past weekend was so unbelievably great, and it really meant the world to me. These are memories I will never forget, and will keep my heart warm while I am serving in the Warm Heart of Africa! (okay that just sounded really cheesey but I thought and wrote "keep my heart warm" before I remembered that Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa. Gimme a break!) Just accept the smallness of the world people, and we will be in touch no matter where we are! <3