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Saturday, June 30, 2012

First Attempt

The beginning. That's what tomorrow is, the beginning of my two year adventure in Guinea. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling nervous, scared or anxious. Truth be told I'm all those and more. For the year and a half build that was the application process I wasn't nervous at all. It was almost like I was playing chicken with myself to see how far I would take this. Well, it starts tomorrow and I'm not flinching.....yet.

This past month has been amazing. My mini "farewell tour" consisted of five cities and many loved ones. I started in DC seeing one of my best friends in the world. People who know both of us asked me if it was hard to say goodbye. It was hard to leave but we never said goodbye. That's how it is with best friends, that extra second of what we ironically call a "homie hug" says it all. I know. He knows. To him I say thanks and good luck on the academic adventure he's putting himself through for the next two years. 

The next weekend wasn't any easier. I headed out to San Francisco to visit my sister and her boyfriend. This weekend meant a lot to me because I knew that she wouldn't be able to make it back home before I flew out. She showed me her side of the city and how beautiful it is. We got a lot of time to talk and it felt good to just hang around the house which we don't get to do very often anymore. I miss her more than she knows and hope that she knows that I'm only going across the ocean to one up her on being the farthest away from home. I love you. 

After my last flight back into O'Hare it was weird to think that I was leaving Chicago in a week after working hard just to find a place to stay a few months earlier. Those 9 months flew by and my Chicago adventure taught me a lot. It showed me that be independent doesn't mean you're alone. I made some amazing friends that I will never forget and some stories that I can't quite remember. Seeing so many people on the weekend before I left was exactly what I needed, made it even harder to leave but solidified my accomplishments in Chicago. I can't wait to pick up where I left off in Chicago upon returning. Thank you Chef, I'll miss you. 

Two weeks ago I finally made it back home to Michigan. Then I didn't hesitate to leave home again to visit some friends in Ann Arbor. I packed a lot into two nights in best city in Michigan. Kayaked in the Huron with some amazing people. Had dinner with a close friend. Danced like a fool at Rick's. It was great. I hope the best for you all and I will try to stay on beat in Africa. funKtion on 3.....

Finally, I'm home. Looking back I needed more than a week to collect my stuff and prepare for real but since when have I been early on anything. Figured I'd go for consistency. I've spent the entire week shopping, seeing movies, having drinks with friends and spending time with family. The last two nights have been some really tough goodbyes. A girl who I will never forget. Friends who mean the world to me. Family I'll miss every time I sit down for a meal. 

There's more to come tonight. These goodbyes tonight will be the hardest of all. Just don't know how to look my mom in the face and say goodbye. Guess I'll have something to write about real soon though. Thanks for reading. One of my good friends in Chicago and someone who's strength I won't truly appreciate until I'm abroad once said to me when I told him I was afraid to leave 

"The people who care now, will care in two years and those are the ones worth caring about."

So all I can ask as I leave: don't forget me and always know I'm thinking about you. 

Love Dante