I've been contemplating the steps to the journey I am preparing to begin:
1. Leaving: I must leave beloved Minneapolis and St. Paul. The community here is absolutely amazing. Although the weather is at times brutally cold, there is a protective warmth that comes directly from the willpower of the Minnesotan people. I have already witnessed my own going away party with sadness but more so excitement. I left my employment, my co-workers, rented out my apartment, sold and given away most of my belongings, and now I am in transit.
2. Traveling: I am going to celebrate the winter holiday with my family in Wisconsin. My best friend Carrie is visiting on the 25th from Alabama. I will say goodbye to my sister, who will return to Birmingham. I am flying to London to say hello and goodbye to my friends Ben and Will, which was planned before my invitation to Rwanda. I will then have a week in Philadelphia to say hello to a dear friend Liz. Then I will ground myself for ten days in Wisconsin to fly to Rwanda. I will fly there perhaps with tears in my eyes. I am very excited for this change.
3. Studying: I've always been a procrastinator, but I have been doing Rosetta Stone to touch up on my French vocab here and there, and reading books on HIV and Sub-Saharan Africa. I was able to take two classes on HIV and education. Those were helpful.
4. Relaxing: The most important step of saying goodbye is just experiencing the feelings of leaving, and relaxing. This has involved having a beer with close friends, eating great food, singing, writing, crying, laughing, hugging, and of course accidentally meeting new companions in the process.