The first week has been easier than I expected but then we were able to text nearly daily; Caitlin even sent a few snap chats. And we were able to face time twice. The communication was awesome. Last night we texted back and forth as she prepared for her journey to her host family. It was her Saturday morning. She is being placed with a family that will help her learn the language of her region which is Afaan Oromoo. I had to google it and found it is the 3rd most popular language in Ethiopia and is also spoken by people in Kenya and South Africa. Here’s the regions that speaks Oromoo.
So…..now comes the tough part (well for me) as regular communication will be more difficult. But Caitlin is excited to meet her host family and to be fully immersed in the culture.
Cait landed in Ethiopia at 7:30 a.m their time on Sunday morning – 10:30 p.m. our time Saturday night – crazy right?
57 PCV met from around the nation and flew out together to Ethiopia. Some are serving in Health Care and some are in Agriculture (Cait is in the latter).
I received this email from the PC today:
This is to let you know that your loved one has arrived safely in Ethiopia! They were met at the airport by a welcoming committee of Peace Corps/Ethiopia staff members, and have gathered their luggage to head to their training site. They will spend the next twelve weeks in Pre-Service Training (PST), where they will receive training on language, cross-cultural adaptation, technical skills, and maintaining their health and safety during their two years of service.
Please keep in mind that communication with your loved one will likely be sporadic and minimal during PST, as they are in training sessions every day and mostly in training villages without internet. Please also note that, while we are happy to share this news of their safe arrival, because the trainees are adults with legal autonomy, Peace Corps cannot discuss specifics about a trainee or Volunteer with anyone other than that individual.
Attached are two photos from the weekend – the first is from the Staging event in Washington, DC, and the second is upon arrival at the airport in Addis Ababa. You will find Caitlin in the front in both photos – advantages of being short 🙂
For more photos of arrival and throughout your Volunteer’s service, please see the Peace Corps Ethiopia Facebook page.
Cait flew out of DC at 9:30 am cst. It’s a 13 hour flight so she should land about 10:30 pm In Addis which will be 7 am on Sunday! She was bummed she got a middle seat haha
her last emoji sent to her grandma – so Caitlin.
We had so much fun at Cait’s open house/going away party on Sunday – we missed the friends and family who weren’t able to be there but we know you were there in spirit. We enjoyed some traditional Ethiopian food, laughs and…… maybe a few tears. We are excited for Caitlin to start this new chapter of her life and so proud of her courage to pick up and move so far from home to make a difference in one small part of the world.
So I started at UPS to mail the package and they said it would be $200! Holy Cow! I left UPS and went to the post office. It was still expensive, costing $71.00 to send a package that weighs 7 lbs. I think i will send a much lighter package next month 🙂
I also feel a little silly as the package is totally non-functional – who really needs to tie-dye t-shirts! Oh well, i will make the next package more functional.
Lighter and functional my goal for next package.
So I made my whole first post without even talking about one of the main points of this blog; the 27 boxes. It is now 18 days before Caitlin leaves for the Peace Corps – and I am doing much better as far as the crying and sadness I shared in my first post. I know i will miss Caitlin but I am also very excited for her as she begins this adventure.
Today we packed up Box #1! At the beginning of each month I will be sending a care package. Caitlin will be in Ethiopia for 27 months- thus 27 boxes! I will send the box tomorrow and she should get it 2 or 3 weeks after she gets to Ethiopia. I believe the travel time is 4 to 6 weeks.
For this box I got input from one of my friends and we came up with the idea of sending a tie dye kit. We thought it might be a nice, American, activity for Caitlin to share with her host family or with the other PCVs.
Follow along, give ideas for the next box or provide a post to share a message for Caitlin.
26 boxes to go!
So it is officially 53 days before Caitlin leaves for the Peace Corps but I am struggling with so many feelings of loss already. We just finished an awesome Thanksgiving weekend – with everyone together – and i am sitting here on Sunday evening writing my first post. I am embarrassed to admit, but I literally, have cried most of the day. My husband said, “Why are you crying? She’s not leaving for 2 months.” I know! Right?! I cant understand this overwhelming sadness I am feeling. I think I am wrapped up in the feeling of “lasts”; last Vacation (yes, cried at least 5 times on our way home from family vacation this summer, thinking about this); last Thanksgiving and soon to be last Christmas. But my good friend reminded me, I should not think of it as ‘lasts’ but just a ‘pause’. She will return (in two years) and in the mean-time she will be having the experience of a life-time and making a difference in the lives of other people.
I have great support from my family and friends and my daughters actually bought me a bouquet of yellow roses tonight to help me feel better. I generally pride myself for my strength and independence but damn! I am not sure I was prepared for these circumstances. I cant even imagine how Mothers, throughout the ages, have sent their sons off to war. The grief and fear they must have faced would be unimaginable. I would not begin to compare my grief to that….but maybe it relates?
I have gone through all the actions of the holidays – I cleaned, and put up the Christmas decorations, activities that usually bring me joy, but it all seems so empty……and sad…..dang it and she hasn’t even left yet.
I know I need to get out of myself and focus more on the positives like, how proud I am to have raised a daughter that wants to help other people and that she is willing to give 2 years of her life to make a difference in the lives of others. I also know that this experience will be life changing and she will grow to better understand herself and where she should be in this world.
#shehasnotleftyet and #NewYorkCity