Friday, February 25, 2011

@ Staging! Leaving soon!

My family dropped me off in Philadelphia after a wonderful day together, and now I am at staging with the other 45 or so trainees in my group! My roomie is my friend Kathi whom I met up with a few weeks ago with another trainee Ilana. We are having a blast! Everyone in the group is so nice, I haven't been introduced to everyone JUST yet, ice breakers are later this afternoon (woot woot). Last night about 10 of us went to get dinner and drinks at the oldest pub in Philadephia- it was a wonderful night. Our real informative sessions start at 12:15pm today. Looking forward to it!

We leave for JFK airport at 2am so you can catch me on my cell phone until then, and I will be online for a bit too I am sure. Kindle me if you can, I am connected to the hotel's free wi-fi :) Can't believe now I'm REALLY LEAVING so soon. I'm sure as soon as I unplug from life, the letter writing shall commence.

I love you all! Thanks for reading, I'm not sure if I'll update again before I go and I probably will NOT be updating during training (9weeks), as we are supposed to be pretty unplugged. So keep in touch with me via snail mail as best you can!! XOXO

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Well... tiwonana.

I barely slept- not bad sleep (I got terrible sleep though the night before last) just went to bed late and I've been up since 5:45am. Too late now to worry about that business. Got my crying out a few times yesterday, I guess it had to be done.

Saying goodbye sucks. It really sucks. I didn't think I would be as emotional as I have been. Oh well. I guess I'm worried about being out of touch... which I will be of course. and I'll deal with it. I am really looking forward to writing letters and hearing from everyone.I hope that keeping in touch will be a positive experience, rather than making me sad and miss home.

Today, I head to Philadelphia with my family before I have to register at staging at 6pm. I'm really happy I can drive up to staging with them- instead of have to fly in (like most of my fellow constituents) alone. Although I'm guessing it will be a little harder for me since I'll be seeing my loved ones right up until the last moment.

I don't know what else to say, its kind of like the "it's all over". The wait is over. I get to meet my new PC Malawi friends tonight, and we fly out Saturday morning. It's time, ready or not!

I'll have my cell on til at least Friday night I hope- get your contact info to me thru that by then if you want to keep in touch!! Otherwise shoot me and email and I'll read it in a few months. Ha. But seriously. Otherwise, you know where my info is, drop me a line and I'll send you one back :)

"Tiwonana" means see you later in Chichewa (dag, I should have practiced my Chichewa more, oh well). So, see you. I'll be back. I love you all. My family and my friendships mean so so much to me. You are all so special and hold an important place in my heart. Thank you for supporting me.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Holla via Kindle

Hi Everyone! Because the Kindle is so awesome and now reads PDFs, you can send PDFs directly to my Kindle! I can download them for free when I am connected to a wi-fi network. I imagine that I will occasionally be connected to a wi-fi network, so I wanted to give you guys the info on how to get a friendly PDF to me :)

Make sure your document is in a PDF file, no other file will work. Address an email to and write "convert" in the subject line. Leave the body of the email blank. And hit send! When I connect my Kindle to wi-fi, your document will show up for my viewing pleasure :)

Of course, since my internet will be intermittent, I would say don't try to get any messages to me that are TOO important via this method. But I would love to get some fun messages this way. I will add a link to this info into my Keep In Touch tab so you don't lose it!

Also, I have to add your email to my approved receiving list for you to send it to my Kindle. If you have given me your mailing address, then I have probably recorded your email address into my address book and onto my Kindle approved list. So please make sure you get all your contact info to me!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"I'm Hollow Inside"

Just kidding. I'm not hollow inside. The title of this blog will all make sense if you just read further.

Sunday the 13th was my going away party just for friends. I think it was originally supposed to be a surprise party, but my amazing sister Kara who hosted/planned figured it would be easier if I gave her a list of people who wanted to come. Kara and my mom and my other sister all planned the party on their own and without my input- which I appreciated, because besides the fact that my brain can hardly handle thinking about anything more anyway, but it kept it kind of surprisey. And as much as I love to throw a good party, sometimes its just fun to GO to one!

Everything that it takes for a great party was there- amazing amazing Angelo style party food, AND all of my very best friends that I love so sooo much. There were so many people there who came from near and far and every walk of my life, I was so touched. I was so happy to see everyone there that I was actually so overwhelmed during the party that I couldn't eat any of the party food!! Honestly- I was made nauseous by the overwhelming awesomeness because I was so happy. This was a feeling I had never experienced before. Luckily, I live at the house where all the leftovers were, so I've been eating the leftovers ever since.

And now, I am literally going to give a shout out to everyone who came to my party. I appreciate you guys coming so much and making the drive since we all don't live so close anymore. It was such a wonderful day and all of your friendships mean so much to me. I can't wait to be in touch with you guys over the next two years keeping up with the great things going on in all of your lives!! SHOUUUT OUUUUT- Gina, Shan ,Chris, Ian, Julia, Rachie, BBourne, Kdo, Leebooboo, Ashie, Bob, Alice, Mike, Alex, Cliff, Ryan, Andy, Brian, Casey, Caroline, Ms. Jane, Ms. Peggy... thank you for making the day so wonderful!!

One of my favorite gifts that I received from friends at the party is a "funny bunny" stuffed animal with the message "I'm Hollow Inside" written on the stomach. It is just hilariously ironic as he is a smiley bunny. I carried him around thru the entire party and he is coming to Malawi, just because... he has to. He is pretty stoked.

This post is delayed, and although there's only 2 days left til staging, there are more informative posts to come!! Love you all!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Special Peace Corps Info for YOU!

I got an email from the Malawi country desk the other day with some last minute info- and there was something especially for you guys! It was a letter from the Malawi country desk meant especially for you- and it is meant to be referred to during my entire service. So, I copied the letter into one of the tabs at the top of my blog. For now, the tab is entitled "Malawi Family & Friends". I really hope you all read it as it is important information that you will need to know so you can adjust your expectations about my experience and hopefully alleviate any worries you have.

Later on I will extract some of the keeping in touch info into my Keep In Touch! tab so you will have your go to info for how to get in touch with me while I am in Malawi. What I can say now about keeping in touch is, during orientation post mail will honestly be the only way to be in touch with me. I will be in training until the end of April. So I plan on writing you all letters and I hope to hear from you. It will take a few weeks for letters to arrive, so sending some letters now would be great so I'm not too out of touch for too long when I get in country.

Speaking of- please start sending me your addresses and preferred email so I can fill my address book and make an email listserv for more personal updates! Either email it to whatever email of mine you have, or use the beloved facebook.

(And for those wondrous people who attended my goodbye party this past Sunday- do not worry. You will all get personal shout outs in my upcoming post devoted entirely to my super awesome party! <3 )

Monday, February 7, 2011


I was riding in my friend's car the other day when he put on some "African"-ish kinda music, and I was jamming along enjoying it quite a bit. Then I stopped for a sec when I thought I heard the singer say "Warm Heart of Africa"! I was like "Dude, did he just say Warm Heart of Africa?" And he was like "Yeah that's the name of the whole album" and I was like "DUDE! Malawi IS the warm heart of Africa!!" and it was a huge epiphany moment when we were able to deduce that the artist actually is from Malawi (later confirmed by accessing Wikipedia with a Droid phone).

The artist I am referring to is The Very Best, and let me say, his music is THE JAM. With this new news of a really cool musical artist from Malawi, I have decided that one of my personal goals for my Peace Corps service is to find The Very Best, and make him my very best friend. Okay, even if he doesn't become my best friend, it's my hope that he is somewhere in Malawi during the next two years playing a show for me to hear! That would seriously be crazy awesome. So... we'll see. The Very Best, if you're out there reading this.... we should be friends.

17 days until I head to staging in Philadelphia... I really can't believe it. I haven't been nervous at all really, about leaving my friends and family, but now I am getting a little sad. Because I realize that I am leaving my whole life- and everyone else's lives will continue here and mine will become 100% new. And again, its not that I never realized this before, its just that now I am really feeling it. I know I will be fine, but I also know that the next 2.5 weeks will be hard. But the past few weeks have been really really fun and I know the next 2.5 will be too. It's kind of like I'm not even living my real life right now- every minute of my day involves me doing something, work and fun (oh and packing?), so I don't miss any life moment. Let me tell you, this has led to me not getting much sleep at all. It's hard work seizing the day so much! However, it turns out its not TOO bad functioning with so little sleep. I can say without any doubt that the lack of sleep has been totally worth it (although last night I had to crash a little early- and when I woke up at my couch at 3am I was very alarmed haha). My new phrase is "I'll sleep in Malawi", and hopefully, I will.

Well, I'm off to go continue with my quest to have the best life ever with all my very best friends and very best family nonstop. Whew!

(my goodbye party is this upcoming Sunday. There will no doubt be some sort of emotional post after that for you all to enjoy)