I'm in LA right now for staging. I got here yesterday and fly out tonight. We registered and turned in all our paperwork yesterday, and then had dinner with our country director. The country director is not usually at training but she was flying through and stopped to meet us. She gave us a lot of information about the country and the culture, and just really emphasized being open and soaking everything up. It was sort of overwhelming but I think that'll be the general feeling I have throughout the first few weeks, which is okay. Today we have an orientation of sorts all day and then our flight is at 1115 pm.
Speaking of flights, little concerned about the luggage. I was definitely significantly over the Peace Corps weight limit, oops. I packed a little last minute- and by that I mean when I packed, I failed completely so my mom and sister did it for me and managed to fit most everything in. Thank you! The real problem, though, was that one of my bags was over the highest weight limit for Air New Zealand, which is what we are flying to Tonga. So I spent some of yesterday at the hotel moving stuff between bags in an effort to make things more even. There are things I could take out and wouldn't mind doing so but I'm running out of time. I don't mind paying the overweight fee, as long as my bags make it on the plane! It really doesn't seem like I have that much stuff in relation to how long I'll be gone but I don't know. We shall see!
Little recap of before I left. Hannah threw me a surprise birthday/going away party on the 25th which was so nice of her! I was totally shocked. We had dinner at the Blue Elephant, went to Gypsy's for drinks and then O2 for dancing. Laura and Zack came up from school, Ally from Connecticut, Mike and Curtis were back for the weekend, Sam Lindauer came, and J and his girlfriend made an appearance as well. This was all on top of everyone who is in the area as of now (Hannah, Meg, Bria, Nicole, Ashlee, Allen, K-ris and gf, Craig, Chase, Max... If I forgot anyone I'm sorry!). It was really good to see everyone and I of course cried multiple times saying goodbye but I am so thankful to Hannah for planning it and everyone for coming, I can't even say. I have the most wonderful friends ever!
Then this weekend Justin and Bre came up so I spent some time with them. And Darian came home from school- we carved Tonga pumpkins which I have pictures of and will put up someday. They were pretty amazing if I do say so myself. Then we had a party on Sunday with the fam and friends. I saw pretty much everyone which was really nice! It was a good way to get to say goodbye. After that, the packing started. Yup, last minute. Typical me.
Also! Jeff got me the most amazing present ever. He got me a Nook, one of those electronic book readers where you can download a bunch of books and have them to read. AMAZING. And perfect for this, since I can't exactly bring a bunch of books with me (especially since I already have luggage issues, haha). I downloaded a ton of books to read and am so so excited. It was really thoughtful and generous of Jeff, so thanks again Jeff! I love it. And him!
Anyway, now all the preparation is done and the actual adventure starts! I'll try and get in touch when I can but if it is awhile just assume I made it safely!
Love everyone and will miss you tons!