Erik and Polly's Madagascar Peace Corps journey, from invitation to service completion.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Quick! To the volcano, before we all come to our senses!
We're two days away from U.S. departure. Currently in the Ithaca, NY, area visiting family and finalizing packing, it's getting down to the wire. We leave Ithaca at 7am tomorrow for DC (via Philly). In DC, we meet our Madagascar 2010 group and go through 24hours of staging/orientation. On Monday, March 1, we depart Dulles Airport for Madagascar. It looks to be a 2-day venture via plane, with stops in Dakar, Senegal, and Johannesburg, South Africa, before arriving in Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Since our last (first) blog entry, Erik and I have extracted from our jobs with Total Wine and More and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, respectively. Then, it was a rapid packaging-up of our lives in the DC area. With an immense amount of strategery :) we packed a 2-bedroom home's worth of stuff from our 1-bedroom apartment into a 16-foot moving truck. Meanwhile, the blizzard of the century (i.e, Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, Snownami) hit DC on a rolling basis throughout the week. Though the snow was helpful in forcing us to focus on packing, we did miss out on seeing several folks for a going-away happy hour, even when it was rescheduled (more snow hit!). :( What can you do!?
Here in NY, we have split our time among family to visit, and also to work through the process of long-term storage and final packing for travel abroad. It sounds easier than it's done. Today, one day before we leave NY, we're exhausted. Yet, the list of to-do's for today is long, and we have no other option than to push forward. In a couple of hours we will head up to Erik's mother's home and secure a few large tarps over all of our storage in her barn. So far, a fair amount of the storage has been shrink-wrapped, thanks to Erik's brother, Seth. However, we still have a number of bins and some exposed items that could use a tarp cover to protect them from 2.5 years of dust as well as any sneaky animals who'd love to leave a urine splash or more. Following the final tarping (thank you, Jim, for the free tarps!), it's the time of reckoning: We must cram all of our remaining stuff into three bags each -- two bags to check and one as a carry-on, per person. Heartburn.
As for the kitties, Chava and Roscoe, they've been adjusting to their new homes in NY for several days now. Last night was my last night to snuggle to sleep with Chava, so that was a bit sad for me (and her, I think, actually). Tonight we'll be with Roscoe at Erik's father and step-mother's place. They both have lovely homes and families to care for them these next couple of years, and we're confident we couldn't have found better options for them while we are away.
Chava has been loving the many windows here at my mother and step-father's place, watching the birds and squirrels flutter and jump through the snow (yes, more snow for us!). She's ventured outside a number of times, but not for too long as of yet. She's not a big fan of getting her paws all snowy, but when spring comes -- watch out! Being a very outdoorsy kitty, she will be more than ready to go for long prowls following the snows. Meanwhile, Chava's getting to know her new roommate kitties, Tiddle and Quarry, through indoor games and general observations as she strolls through the house.
Roscoe was here with Chava for a few days, and then we moved him over to his final destination at Erik's dad and step-mom's place. He's been there adjusting to a new life with dogs, and doing surprisingly well. Chloe is a sweet golden lab, who's trying her best to make friends. Chico, the chihuahua, is a little more skeptical of Roscoe, given his large size for a cat, but curious nonetheless. Roscoe's warming to them both slowly, and taking to the house a bit more every day. Now that Motley's visit has ended (the American bulldog of Erik's sister, Molly, and her husband, Eric), Roscoe feels he might become king of the world.
It's getting to be late morning, so I must switch gears. Get us on a plane already!!!