Monday, January 9, 2012

Crunch Time

Greetings to all! I officially begin this blog with exactly 2 WEEKS on the clock before I embark on my greatest undertaking thus far.  But before I begin, some backstory on how I came to find myself 14 days away from joining the Peace Corps and moving to Africa:

Although I'm not sure I can pin point the exact moment I recall hearing of the Peace Corps, I would like to make a quick shout out to my 12th grade biology teacher Ms. Hounton, and say thank you for telling us stories about your PCV experiences in Africa.  Eyeliner-resembling parasites and muggy hospital visits aside, your stories stuck with me and in their way prompted me to begin the application process.  So thank you! Without you, I surely would not be where I am today!

Skipping ahead through much of the painstaking and tedious application process, involving essays, interviews, medical evaluations, and more patience than I realized I possessed, I found myself standing in line at DU graduation.  With no answer yet from Peace Corps, and no solid job prospects, my mind filled with apprehension over what I was going to do with myself once I got to the other side, as well as the hope that I would actually make it without tripping over my robes in front of thousands of people.

Luckily for me, I managed to reach the other side of the stage and shake the Chancellor's hand without major incident and a mere 4 weeks later, received my invitation to train as a Peace Corps Volunteer specializing in HIV/AIDS Outreach in South Africa.

2 weeks out and I'm as excited as the day I received that invitation, although nerves are arguably a more significant part of the equation as the days fly by.  I'm sure they will continue to do so with increasing velocity as the count down continues and I begin to fill my bags, sell what I don't need, and see all the people and places I love before I depart for 27 months.  Thank you to all of you who supported me during this process whether it was driving me to doctors appointments, lending me your cars (special and infinite thanks in these departments to Joey Fox, Julia Butcher, Bobby Caplin, Trevor Schimshock, and Amy Richman!) or simply helping me organize or listening to me stress and then smacking me out of it. I wouldn't have made it without you!

I'll end this post with the address I've been given where you can reach me by mail in Pretoria for the first 3 months if you feel so inclined.. I hope you are!

Alyssa Bonini
Peace Corps
PO Box 9536
Pretoria 0001
South Africa

Love e tantissimi baci,