Visiting and packing

Yesterday was a hectic day of visiting with family and packing. It started with a trip to my parent’s church, Highland United Methodist. There, I visited with a few of my friends and many of my parents’ friends: Beverly Hall, Chris Piper, Mrs. Sheets, Mrs. Racey, Mrs. Piper, and many more. It was nice to see everyone.

For lunch, grandmothers Beulah Cameron (Momsi) and Sarah Pearce (Nana), as well as my dad’s cousins David and James Pittman came over. We visited for several hours and talked much about genealogy, which is a project I have recent become interested in but has long been a hobby of Nana.

I also received several nice phone calls today from people wishing me good bye: Michael Colocado, Ruth Coble, Julie Smith, to name a few.

Then comes the project of packing two years of clothes and gear into two (now strained) suitcases. It really is amazing how much stuff I was able to cram into them. One bag is a hard case Samsonite suitcase. It, alone, weighs 65 – 70 pounds. My second bag is a large hiking backpack. Using two compression internal compression sacks, I was able to cram 45 pounds into that bag. I also have a carry-on backpack, stuffed with the normal travel gear (walkman, shades, jacket, magazines, etc.) and gifts for my host family.

The Peace Corps says I am limited to a total of 80 pounds for my luggage combined. Boy have I overshot that limit. But I have called around. My first flight from Raleigh to Miami will be in American Airlines. Their domestic weight limit is 70 pounds per bag, so I am within their limitations. The problem might occur when I board my BWIA West Indies flight from Miami to Georgetown on Tuesday. Their baggage weight within the Caribbean and South American may not exceed 20 kilos (44 pounds) per bag. So the baggage gods might screw me on Tuesday.

For those who are curious, here is my upcoming schedule:

Monday, June 3, 2002

  • 5:00 am – Wake Up
  • 6:00 am – Depart for RDU Airport
  • 6:30 am – Get searched thoroughly by airport security
  • 7:51 am – Board American Airlines Flight 707 to Miami
  • 9:53 am – Arrive in Miami
  • Noon – Check into Doubletree Grand, 1717 N Bayshore Drive, Miami FL 33132, (305) 372-0313
  • 1:30 – 2:30 pm – PC Open Registration
  • 2:30 – 4:30 pm – PC Welcome to Peace Corps & Aspirations and Anxieties
  • 4:45 – 6:45 pm – PC Policies in Practice, Bridge to Pre-service Training, Nuts and Bolts, Logistics of Departure, and Closing
  • 7:45 pm – Meet former Lambda Chi staff friends Sean Torres and Chris Cichoski for dinner and drinks

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

  • 8:00 am – Last Hot Shower and Air-conditioned Room
  • 9:00 am – Check out of hotel
  • 10:00 am – Bus leaves for airport
  • 2:30 pm – Board BWIA West Indies Flight 431 to Georgetown
  • 7:55 pm – Arrive in Georgetown, Guyana (5 hrs 25 mins flight)

Wednesday, June 5, 2002
I don’t know much of the schedule from here. I expect that I’ll move in with a host family for the next three months of training. After training, I will be assigned a location and new housing (apartment or another host family) and begin my two years of service. I’m expected to finish my Peace Corps experience August 2004.

I’m excited and will likely have trouble sleeping the next few nights for I will be in eager anticipation of the adventure that lies before me. Once I arrive to Guyana, I’ll still likely have trouble sleeping for I will be kept up long nights complaining about how sweltering the heat is.

Thanks for all of your support. Wish me luck and stay in touch.