Armed with a better-than-expected chai tea latte, copies of Rolling Stone and Popular Science, and a cheesy trelby I am sitting in the Spokane International Airport. I’m headed to Portland for an orientation which will kickstart my year of Americorps service. The service will be in Spokane, but I’m looking forward to seeing Portland again. PDX is my city and I’ve missed it dearly, having been unable to afford a return since I’ve been back in America.
I am really excited to work with my supervisor Amber. She is full of energy and passion for this project and I am certain we’re going to be a great team. I also think this is a perfect posting for me and think it’ll go well. That said, I do have a few more butterflies going into this than I expected.
I’m expecting to be the oldest Volunteer there by at least a decade. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as far as the work will go–and wish I had the experience going into Peace Corps that I do now–but I think socially I’ll be missing a bit of the experience. I quit drinking a couple months ago so won’t be out partying with everyone, and that will definitely make the experience less fun than Peace Corps was. I’ve also grown into a bit of a loner in the last few years, and one of the best parts about my Peace Corps experience was the friends I made there. They say Peace Corps is “the toughest job you’ll ever love” and that really was my experience. I know what I can bring Americorps, but I wonder what Americorps will bring for me.
The fact that I’ve referred to Peace Corps so many times in this blog post which is decidedly not about the Peace Corps shows you just how much that’s on my mind. I am certain that in my life thread these two events will be connected, but it’s going to be interesting because I’m such a different person than I was then. In some ways better, in some ways worse. I think about that scared kid who got on a plane in this very airport headed to spend two years in a country I’d never been to in a continent I’d never been to, to live in a language I didn’t know. Hell, I’d never even really traveled before, just one trip to Japan, a visit to Hawaiʻi, and a few drives to Canada (but do those really count)? I think a lot about that kid and wonder how I found that bravery to get on that plane. Now, it’s no big deal, but how did I do it then? I guess the only answer I can get is I was so full of curiosity.
I still have curiosity, and I have excitement as well as experience, so hopefully that’s a good sign that it will all work out!