Cleared for Takeoff.

This might have happened...

…this might have happened…

There aren’t really a whole lot more ways that I can express how excited I get, but I feel like every time the excitement grows. First it was a Happy Dance. Then it was Holy Batman giddy girl excitement. Today I hugged people. I mean, I actually demanded my coworker hug me. For those of you who don’t know me well, I’m not really a hugger. There’s not really a ton about me that screams, “Hug me, I’m cuddly!” But today is the day this shit got real. I have (FINALLY) gotten final medical and dental clearance to serve in the Peace Corps.

Most of the time now, I am functioning as though I am going to move to Indonesia. I mean, I’m going to the doctor a billion times and giving notice to my work and moving out of my apartment. You know, planning and preparing, but there are very few moments where I actually believe it. It’s pretty rare that I can really imagine that in a mere 72 days I will be on my way to a whole new chapter. Rare, but not impossible. It happens sometimes, like today, where I think “Holy Hell, gaux. You’re actually moving to Indonesia for two years.” And I get excited. I mean, jaw dropping, butterflies in my stomach excited.

PROOF!!

PROOF!!

People keep looking at me askance with a puzzled look and remark in a quiet voice “You’re so brave!” To which my only response is to look at them with a similar quizzical face. I can’t really say I think of this journey as brave. Is it brave to take an opportunity when it’s presented to you? (I can’t say it was handed to me because I’ve worked like hell to get here.) Is it really all that brave to let the government pay for you to move to another country and then pay for you to live there and do the thing that makes you happy? Really guys? Really?  I feel lucky and honored to be able to do it. I’m stoked that I get to be involved in something this awesome. But brave? Naw. Scared? Sometimes. I’m sure as I get closer I’ll develop an ulcer or something from worry. The packing, the moving, the bills, the anticipation. Worth it? Oh yeah.

How it all began

MUNI! Inspiring even the wildlife…

MUNI! Inspiring even the wildlife…

I remember being on the bus. I think it was the 47 or the 49 which means I must have been going to NCTC for work. I was sitting in one of the solo seats toward the back of the bus with my mind whirring in a thousand directions at once. I was staring out over San Francisco, spacing out while I looked at City Hall, when a woman got up to get off the bus. She was standing in my line of view when I noticed her bag: a basic black canvas bag with a small Peace Corps logo on it and nothing else.

So, in my contemplative state I sit and I stare awkwardly at her thinking to myself, “What the hell is the deal with the Peace Corps? I mean, what is that? What’s the catch?” Then I realized I live in a magical world of technological wonder with a small computer in my pocket and I looked it up. I started reading about it and took a really critical eye to it, convinced there was a problem somewhere. I was waiting for the moment when they said they owned your soul or would make you pay them tons of money or had some secret super religious inclinations. But I didn’t see any of it. I couldn’t find the problem. Almost before I knew what was happening I was filling out the forms and writing my initial essay. I didn’t even tell my parents until after I had submitted all of the paperwork. It was my first big step, my first independent change; I hadn’t even applied to college on my own. I hated my job, I’m so tired of theatre, I didn’t have a direction or aspiration. I knew that I loved teaching. I had always planned to end up in some small school, hopefully like the high school I went to, but in some tucked away little town in New England. It had always been an ‘eventually dream’. You know, I can’t get there right now, but eventually I’ll grow up and take the tests and become a teacher and be happy.

Dream Job: Not afraid of ghosts. Will travel.

Dream Job: Not afraid of ghosts. Will travel.

But why wait? Here was this shining opportunity for me to travel somewhere completely new and get training to teach. In the state of California, people who teach in the Peace Corps can come home and have those hours applied to their credential. It’s a no-brainer, really. I saw that movie, We Bought A Zoo, and there’s a great part where the dad is explaining to the son that you don’t need to be this huge, courageous person to get what you want (he’s talking about a girl, I’m talking about life). You just need 20 second of insane courage. The 20 seconds it takes to walk into the restaurant and talk to the girl. The 20 seconds it takes to ask them out. The 20 seconds it takes to push the submit button. Just 20 seconds of courage in a whole myriad of emotion to make the change you want.

So, why am I telling you this ridiculous story about serendipity and 20 seconds of courage? Well, I need help to get where I’m going. I have a lot of things to do in a very limited amount of time and the funds are not going to last me. I’ve started an online campaign (as you can see the new widget to the right!) and I would love for you to take a moment and go visit it (either by clicking on the widget OR by clicking here), share it with your friends and family, pass the word along. Every little bit counts, even $5 or a kind word of support.