Well….as of today I am officially a Peace Corps Trainee!
Yesterday morning I woke up and gathered my ~100 pounds of luggage and gave Heidi (my mini dachshund and literally favorite person on the planet) one last kiss… then headed to the airport! My wonderful parents were beyond helpful in making sure I got all of my stuff packed and was within my baggage limits with a minimal amount of stress. We had breakfast at the airport in Phoenix and then came the moment I had been dreading. I am very close with my parents and I was anxious about saying adios to them. We said a pretty quick goodbye with minimal tear shed and I was on my way! Knowing that I have their love and support makes it so easy to pursue my dreams and I will always be so grateful to them for that. I had a 3ish hour flight to Atlanta with a super quick layover (picture me speed walking through the Atlanta airport carrying 100 lbs of baggage…)and then another 3ish hour flight into Miami. When I arrived I met up with another trainee at the airport. We walked outside (still maneuvering an unreal amount of luggage) to catch the shuttle which was pulling away right as we got to the curb. We briefly considered the possibility of chasing it…mustered all of our effort and barely turned our bags around when we realized we were kidding ourselves and decided to wait for the next one! We got the hotel and checked into our very comfortable rooms and went out to grab dinner and drinks. We found a few other early arrivals and headed out to a restaurant down the street. The weather here is very humid compared to what I am used to in Phoenix…but nothing compared to the weather in Colombia so I guess it is easing me in!
Today was our ‘staging’ event which is basically like an orientation. At this event you register and officially become a Peace Corps Trainee (we won’t become volunteers until we swear in at the end of our three month training). Staging consisted of a lot of getting to know each other activities and ice breakers as well as sessions on safety, travel logistics, history of the agency, reviewing core expectations (including a skit), and sharing our aspirations and anxieties about service. Everyone in our group is wonderful and I am looking forward to getting to know everyone better over the next 27 months! We went out after and got a delicious dinner and a much needed glass of wine at a restaurant called “Madrid” complete with a Spanish speaking waitress. I had delicious chicken, cuban rice, and platanos.
Most of my nerves and anxiety is gone now that I have said my goodbyes and am over the initial shock of leaving. I am so excited to get to Colombia and I feel so confident in this organization and the all of the wonderful people I have met already. The next 27 months are looking very promising and I can’t wait to get started!
I am back at the hotel now and we are relaxing, making sure our luggage is all together, and enjoying my last night with my cell phone. We head to the airport tomorrow morning and fly to Colombia!
I will do my best to keep up with this blog and sharing pictures but won’t know my internet situation until I get to my host family this weekend. Be sure to sign up on the right hand side of the screen to follow my blog because I won’t always link it to Facebook. Just type in your email address and you’re done! (Lindsey …have Lin help you!) My phone is shutting off tonight so from here on out you can keep in touch with me in the following ways..the best being email (and please please keep in touch..I want to know whats going on at home!):
Email- katiecmccarthy@hotmail dot com
Mailing Address (for now…this will change in a few months)-
Cuerpo de Paz
Centro Empresarial Las Americas
Calle 77B #57-141, Oficina 713
Here are a few pictures from my first few days! If you want to see all of my pictures check out my pictures tab at the top of the page and there is a link to Picasa 🙂