September 7, 2012 by jiejie768
Wow! We are actually doing this. I mean for real. In less than six hours I will be taxiing down a runway headed for — by way of Chicago then Ft. Lauderdale — Lima, Peru.
Meg and I have talked about this trip for more than two years. In one form or another, Meg and I have talked about this trip from the moment that it became apparent we each wanted the other to be a part of the rest of our lives.
It’s an uncomfortable feeling honestly. I know that I am heading for something that is likely to forever alter the way that I look at life. I know that I am leaving behind something (my job in Ellensburg) that I was mentally done with for at least the last 12 months. I should be excited. I am excited … I think. But really I am filled with an overwhelming sense of dread and worry. I’m not sure why. I know it’s “going to be fine.” Shit, if I’m gonna use quote marks, it’s gonna be “awesome” “life-changing” “an amazing opportunity,” “experience,” “adventure.” To listen to everyone tell it back to us after I explain what we’re doing, I’m pretty sure this the best thing anyone has done, ever. It doesn’t feel like it right now. I don’t know what it feels like right now. It kind of feels like I have a 15-page research paper due tomorrow and I haven’t cracked a book or attended a class in the past four weeks. I’m not even sure I know the assignment. I just know it has to be done tomorrow and I don’t feel like it’s going to be.
It’s difficult to explain what it’s like to pack up your life and head for something completely different. My wife, Meg, and I recently quit our jobs — her as a Spanish teacher, and me as a newspaper designer/feature writer — and are headed to Peru to work — for free — at a nonprofit education program called Kids at the Crossroads in Ayacucho, Peru, about 9,500 feet above sea level in the Andes Mountains. We’ve never been to Peru. We DO speak Spanish, her well, me passably. We do have friendly faces and my favorite aunt waiting for us down there. We aren’t actually diving off a cliff into nothing; it just feels like it right now.
The concerns most people bring up when we tell them about our adventure have long been dealt with. We saved long and hard, and we are going to be financially stable even without an income for the next year or so. It will be tough for us to be away from our families for so long, but it IS 2012. There is Skype. And email. And Facebook. And this blog. Really, we’re closer to our families now when we’re in Peru, than my Grandma was to her sisters and parents when, in 1970 (or so), she and my Grandpa and their three kids (Dad among them) packed up and left Kansas for Oregon. Sure the mileage is greater, but the effective distance is negligible. It’s unlikely I’ll have any trouble really communicating with the people I need to communicate with. It’s even pretty likely that I’ll get to watch all of the Husky football games via (not-so-legal) Internet streams. My friends are going to Skype me into the tailgate party, though I’ll have to provide my own beer; technology still has some hurdles to jump after all.
Really, I’m not sure what I’ve spent most of the past two or three days dreading. I should be stoked and instead I’m numb. I’m not really depressed. I guess you’d call it stress, but frankly, I don’t get stressed, and now I know why. This shit is stupid. I can be cranky with the best of them, but usually I have a good reason, like lack of sleep or the Nick-Holt-era third down defense.
I’m really just rambling now. Mostly, I guess it comes down to this. I am excited. I just decided. That’s it. Done. No more worries. No more sadness. Just looking forward. Meg and I are going to accomplish a long-standing dream, goal, aspiration and hope all in one fell swoop over the next day, week, month and year. We are going to live abroad. We are going to speak Spanish every day. We are going to give of ourselves to a group of people whose lives make my whining rant an embarrassment to read. We are doing the right thing. We are doing the thing we should be doing. We are doing the thing we’ve dreamed of doing, and I’ll be damned if I’m going let a little uncertainty and last-minute stress make that dream a nightmare. Peru, here we come. You’re gonna love us, and I know we’ll love you right back … after all, it’s what I do.