Welcome friends, family, and stumbling strangers into my blog-o-sphere. The time is currently 0147 CST US and in a slight bit more than a day I leave for Niger. Many of you may be wondering what are my emotions, my thoughts, concerns, and most importantly what is going to happen to charlie while I am away for the next 27 months in Niger.
This my first offical posting and experiment, I'll try my best to excercise breivity and keep my thoughts concise and to the point. As for the many who know me best, you do understand that this truely is my most challeging disability and I expect to fail miserably on this occasion.
Concerning my emotions they have been on a pendulum ticking back and forth between anxiety (to leave) such as "my goodness can I really do this"...To overexcitement, for example. Roy our resident golden retriever is infamous for his ability to wake up from a dead sleep and be overjoyed and uncontrollable when he has had someone either call his name, step over him, rattle some car keyes, or throw a ball in general direction. Lately I have woken from many -a- dead- of -the- night slumbers and given myself the all too familiar white guy congratulations by heaving my fist in the air and slamming it down to my side and making a swooshing "Yesssssssss!!!" sound.
Or I have been spotted on occasion weeping happily to myself or with a close friend when I think of all that it has taken to get to this juncture especially in the twilight hours prior to my departure, and how appreciative I am to have had so many wonderful individuals guide me, or feed me along the way.
On another spectrum I wonder if I am being that beloved family pet who was flattened when they forgot to take the time to look both ways before crossing the road. "Should I have checked the other way for cars before running over to chase that ball?" Its not that I feel like resident Roy, its just that he's sleeping contently near my feet and I know we can all relate to our beloved pets.
I guess my greatest concern is how am I going to deal with the distance, and the detachment from my own culture and family. While pondering this concern I often reflect on some very influential lyrics an amazing musician named Bruce Goldish put in his song it goes "Home is where I am and the Company that I keep". Roaming about for nearly a decade I left my home as an 18 year old bright eyed boy who had aspirations to see the world, and after many, many, adventures I roamed this planet true. Now I look into the mirror and look into the eyes of an older, slightly wiser 28 year old man and think to myself that none of my adventures would have been accomplished if it were not for the inspiration, hospitality, and love shared amoungst so many great people throughout the many homes and countries passed through along the way.
With this notion in mind, I am reminded of how great it is to be human and share worthy moments amist so many delightful souls. Joyfully then, my concerns dissipate and the only thing left worthy to ponder extensively is if I learned everything I could from these people. Afterwards balancing the weight between wondering if you are saying good bye or see you later to friends and loved ones becomes much more bearable. I assume this is just little jitter that everyone will naturally have before embarking on 27 months in the Sahel. Its going to be a challenge, but as I say if Jesus can survive for 40 days and nights in the desert with no food or water and only faith I can make 27 months in the Sahel with the help of freinds, and a little nudges of encouragement from the maker from time to time.
Now to address what is going to happen to charlie. I expect her to live a full life lazily observing the goings ons in our backyard and occasionally darting, nay wobbling, her way towards a squirrel who will undoubtedly be in much better shape than my aging, pudgy puppy. I am really going to miss the excitement of witnessing her own typical white guy self celebration, after she wakes herself up from a dream while kicking her legs and barking rapidly after those cotten' pick'n squirrels.
Well guys I'll try to post prior to leaving my 3 day training in Philly, but on the occasion I am not able to, please know I am going exactly where I am supposed to, and be rest easy knowing that as long as my heart leads, the wind stays to my favor, and my feet don't blister, I'll never stop moving.
Your sojourner of peace,