I don’t think I could bear the thought of going to the complete other side of the Earth – about as close to war as a civilian should ever get – and not make a pit stop to see my parents first.

I will start by saying that I have some of the most loving parents any person could ever be blessed to be born to.

I think this is how your parents always see you. Forever and ever.

They have completely supported my crazy ideas in the past.  This time, I knew it was hard for them yet again to say “okay, we support you – now how can we help you?”  I can only imagine what it must feel like to send your child away to a place you don’t know, to a people and culture that couldn’t be more different than what they have ever experienced.  Moreover – to a place about as volatile and dangerous as the world has to offer.

That said.  We have done this before.  At 12 I had the bright idea that going to boarding school would be the best thing ever for my young developing mind.  And, surprisingly (and I’m sure very painfully) they let me go.  They encouraged me, supported me, always left the door open for me to come home… which gave me the strength to make it through to the end.  That experience was a wild ride.  A girl from Gary, Indiana (murder capital at the time) going off to some school that looks like a castle in the middle of nowheresville Minnesota – with people of a VERY different tax bracket? … not to mention races, cultures, and languages I’d never heard before all huddled into this 150 year old school.  Yes.  a wild ride it was.

This time, I’m sure their fears are different….but I have that same feeling I did all those years ago.  Ms. Niki – wanting to do something everyone else she knows would pass.  Willing to fail – knowing she will do whatever it takes not to.  So they stand by and support.  Financially, physically, emotionally, and in whatever other way could possibly be imagined.

For example, they’ve agreed to play grandparent to the only grandchild I think they’ll ever know for quite a while – my cat Willis.

The Magnificent Willis Maguillicutty

My father seems to be kind of grumpy about this whole portion of “support” but, he’s always like that toward the family pet.  However, he’s usually the most sad when they go.  It’s an interesting dichotomy to watch unfold.  My mother will spoil him rotten in between almost stepping on him.  Again, normal for how family pets are treated in this house.  It’s cool.  I know he’ll be safe.  He’ll be loved.  And he’ll he happy.

Just like me.  I’m loved.  I’m happy.

That said, I’m also growing more and more nervous the closer I get to my departure date.  How will I make it with all these bags?  Will the people hate me where I’m going?  Will I be effective?  Will I truly be in harm’s way?  What if it’s just plain old hard to live there and I hate it? I’m brown – will folks treat me more harshly because of it?  I’m American – will the kids I work with (or their parents) hate me too? None of it too major of an anxiety… just thoughts that pass through my mind.  Especially the one “Niki, what are you thinking?”

Whelp, I leave on this epic journey in 4 days or so.  So many little details to remember and tie up.  I know I’m up for this challenge.  I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds.  I want to really suck up every moment of it.

Written by Niki

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