22 August 2012


Ah, where to begin...

My last week in Louisville was full of happy goodbyes, family and frantic packing. My brother came in for the weekend, and I was so glad to have the opportunity to celebrate his birthday with him on Saturday. Sunday was my commissioning at Second Pres (with the gift of a lovely prayer shawl from the Busy Needles knitting group) and a goodbye party hosted by my dad and step mom in their home.

Annual "August Birthdays" dinner
Kind words from friends

While my intention was that I would be packed and ready to go in time to get a good night's rest on my last night in my own bed... of course that didn't happen. My second carefully-packed bag ended up being overweight, so I spent hours unpacking, repacking and weeding out unnecessary items to reach my goal of 50 lbs. per bag. As a result of that and other random last-minute preparations, I got about 1.25 hours of sleep before we had to leave for the airport soon after 5 a.m.!

My travel buddy Will was a lifesaver...
And incredibly tolerant of sleepy Tricia, hyper Tricia
and bomb-scare-in-Newark -airport-causing Tricia
(I'll save that story for another time)
The aforementioned "Sleepy Tricia",
in my Busy Needles prayer shawl
(post-nap in the Chicago airport)
We arrived at the conference center in Stony Point, NY that afternoon, and have been "orienting" ourselves ever since. It's been so nice to be in the company of the friends I made back in March, as well as meeting MY FUTURE FLATMATE and those matched with National sites (and therefore not involved in the International placement event).

I know some of you are confused as to why I'm in New York right now instead of Belfast. This week is meant to be a transition from our homes and familiar cultures into our lives in new cities and countries. We will spend time in fellowship, learning about the challenges we will face in these new communities, and preparing ourselves for the journey. 

Everyone I've spoken to in the past few weeks has had some version of the same questions for me: "Are you excited?" / "how are you feeling?" My honest answer was usually some version of "yes I'm excited, but mostly exhausted" / "I'll tell you in a few weeks once I've been able to process everything." It doesn't matter how much you try to prepare yourself, there are always unexpected challenges when you move - especially when that move is split between a storage unit and a foreign country you've never visited. The past few weeks have been exhausting emotionally as well as physically, and I still don't think I've fully recovered! Of course, all-day seminars on serious topics like sexual harassment and cultural sensitivity, combined with the desire to stay up late socializing don't help much, either! 

I'm sure I'll be able to express my experience more eloquently at some point in the future, but I know a lot of you have been texting, calling or facebooking to check in with my time here ...and I've been relatively unresponsive. It's nothing personal, but I'm just trying to take things moment by moment in an attempt to be present in the emotions and with people that are going through this journey with me.

Love you, mean it!

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