Ted asked me to blog about staging. And there was there is a free computer in the lobby, so why not fill some requests. Staging has been great so far. The day began for me early, as my flight out was at 7:00. I arrived here and noticed another volunteer at the airport, as he was carrying a large backpack and a winter coat (in August). We rode to the hotel together and then met some more volunteers. After lunch, we had registration which was just filling out a bunch of paperwork. Then the sessions began. Pretty basic stuff: Peace Corps mission, backgrounds, introductions of everyone, safety concerns (which they stress a lot, which is of course, good), expression of general anxieties and aspirations. Then we were let out on the city for dinner and hanging out.
Everyone here seems awesome. There are sixty-three of us, and Peace Corps does do a really good job of creating diversity among the group. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone more and getting to know them. It's finally awesome to talk to people who have been going through the same things (explaining where Kazakhstan is, that we have no idea where we are going, or what we will be doing there, etc.) I mean, I feel that since I know so many other MI students, I have this support more than some other volunteers, but it's nice to meet people who have been going through many of the same things.
Philadelphia is also awesome. I got to see my good friend Lauren for the first time in fourteen months, so thanks PC for staging us here. Tomorrow we have more sessions, and then Tuesday we ship out to Kazakhstan. It still hasn't sunk in completely. It has, but it hasn't. I can't really describe what I"m feeling right now. Excitement, numbness, anxiety, anticipation.