My Peace Corps group has a Facebook group. It’s mostly been a great asset, as we’ve been able to connect, ask each other questions, and support one another through all the tedious steps that it takes to go from Peace Corps Recruit to Peace Corps Volunteer. It’s also been ridiculous at times, with a lot of swirl and freaking out. Peace Corps has its own timeline. They’ve actually done really well this time around at keeping to that timeline, but it’s definitely all at the wire. So when we were told that we would be receiving staging and flight information on December 14, the Facebook group began to get all a-flutter about this step starting the Friday before.
Faithfully, Peace Corps followed through and we all received e-mails the afternoon of December 14. Those of us lucky enough to check our e-mails shortly after the arrival of the e-mail were able to call Sato (the travel agency which serves the US government and military, and manages all Peace Corps travel) and get our flights booked to Miami that day.
It was amazingly simple for me, although I’ve heard that not everyone has had my luck. I was asked my name, and they said, “You’re going to Colombia?” Easy. Confirmed date of birth, and they asked where I was departing from. I’ll be officially leaving Minneapolis on January 9 to head to my grandparents’ for a party, and returning to my hometown the 10th. Knowing that Peace Corps was arranging everything, I decided to avoid having to make my parents drive me to Milwaukee or Chicago and said Madison. “There aren’t any flights out of Madison that get you to Miami early enough for your staging events on January 12, so we’ll have to look at the day before.” My only concern: “Does Peace Corps cover the extra night at the hotel?” “Yes.” An extra night in Miami? Yes, please.
And that’s how I landed with the itinerary above. It stresses me out a little bit to think about all that is scheduled to happen between January 7-13. I work January 7, have a send-off work happy hour that evening, may work January 8 with a going away party with friends that evening, drive to Spooner January 9 for a familial send-off, return to Baraboo January 10, and need to wake up bright and early January 11 to fly off to Miami, staging on January 12, and fly to Colombia even brighter and earlier January 13. It’s just so real, and it’s very exciting/terrifying.