Friday, May 18, 2012

Some Musings on One Way Tickets

I've done a good bit of traveling in my life, and there's a lot of excitement wrapped up in an airplane ticket that means going somewhere new, or somewhere familiar and beloved.  Usually I've had round-trip tickets - going somewhere exciting, but then returning to every day life.  Lately, however, my tickets have been one-way.  It started with leaving Boston for West Virginia - a one-way ticket to join my family for Christmas.  Then there was the one-way flight out here to California for my farm internship, not being sure where I'd fly back to when it was over.  And I've just bought three more one-way tickets for early June when I'm done here at the farm.  One to LA, a second to Boston, a third to the Adirondacks.  And of course, there will be the all-important one-way ticket to Benin.  There's something exciting and special about having switched to a one-way ticket mode of travel.  It means that there isn't really an every day life for me to return to,  and every step and every new destination is a step forward.  Change and new horizons aren't my vacation, they're my way of life.  At least right now!

Peace Corps is fast approaching.  I've just learned that I leave for Benin a few days earlier than I expected.    Between now and then I'll spend time in the Adirondacks and West Virginia, never more than a week in one place.  I'm glad I started packing for Peace Corps before coming to Green String!  All the current volunteers say not to stress too much about packing.  After all, people do live in Benin and they can find anything they need there.  Instead, I should enjoy every moment of my time before departure - which I plan to do.

I got an exciting e-mail from Peace Corps Benin recently.  This year, they've decided to allow trainees with a good command of French to start learning Fon, a language spoken widely in southern Benin, right at the beginning of training instead of taking more French classes.  Usually, local language classes would not begin until later in training.  I have a phone interview at the end of this month to see if my French is good enough!  Learning a local language or languages is one of the things that I am most excited about - I love languages.  We'll see how the phone interview goes, but I'm thrilled that I may have the opportunity to start learning Fon right away when we get there.  I also have to fill out a questionnaire to help place me with my host family, and I need to go to a bike shop to get measured for the Peace Corps-issued mountain bike which I will receive in country.  Lots to do!