Savoring time with family and friends has become all the more important to Emily and me since we accepted our invitation to the Peace Corps. Thankfully, we were able to squeeze in some pretty epic adventures before leaving for our road trip. Some highlights include:
There were countless smaller, but equally savory moments, such as tuna poke at Uwajimaya, campfires at the homestead, farewell potlucks at church and work, pinochle with the parents, and good wings and better conversation at Fire on the Mountain, to name a few. With our impending Peace Corps service, these interactions have been imbued with an awareness of my place in a rich web of relationships. Although it is not a surprise that I have many friends and family in Portland, my home since age three, I was repeatedly overcome by a sense of gratitude for the presence of so many awesome people in my life.
This appreciation, however, was underscored by the reality that I would soon be voluntarily extricating myself from my social support system to move thousands of miles away. I have vacillated between the sadness of goodbyes, the fear of starting anew in Nicaragua, and excitement for the new relationships that I hope to form through my Peace Corps service. Through all of this, though, my gratefulness to the people who love, support, and ground me seeps into my daily activities. Thank you for the hugs and well wishes. Thank you for empowering me to feel confident in my abilities to craft new friendships in a foreign country. Thank you for making me feel that I matter.
I will miss you all over the next 27 months, but will never forget that I am because we are.