The time has finally come to begin this new, exciting, and a bit crazy journey. I finished packing this morning, with the patient help of my parents. My largest concern was how to get all the books I want to read over the next year into two pieces of luggage, along with clothing, toiletries, and my electronics. After weeks of thinning out the gigantic stack I originally wanted to take to Thailand, I placed the final selections into my large backpack. Packing all my shampoo, contact solution, lotions, and other essential toiletries was another story, one my mom can attest to! As for my carry-on backpack, I must have packed that at least four or five times and only found a satisfactory order after my dad lent his packing skills :)
We arrived at Mitchell International two hours before departure, which was a good idea because it took the check-in desk at least 20 minutes to figure out how to route my bags all the way to Thailand, as they need to pass through St. Louis, Los Angeles and Taipei before reaching Bangkok (yes, these are all layovers I have in the next 24 hours). We also got to play the game of overweight baggage, since my rolling suitcase was about 3 pounds over. I was tossing my mom flip flops, playing cards, maps, and books-anything to bring it down to 50. Luckily my backpack was only at 44 pounds so we transfered the items-and won.
Right now I am actually on my way to LA, testing out the new WiFi they offer on the plane! I will be departing LA at 1:00am tomorrow morning with other WorldTeach volunteers and reach Bangkok Tuesday morning. There we will meet our field director and take an overnight bus (about 10 hours) to Nakhon Phanom where we will begin our month-long orientation.
I’m so grateful I’ve been able to visit with and talk to so many family members and friends over the past few weeks. Thanks to everyone who’s helped me get here, both financially and emotionally-it’s scary to think I will be away for a year but I am very much looking forward to teaching in Thailand. Updates on my arrival to come in a few days!