Well, as my March 1 departure looms ever nearer, it's beginning to seem as if this Peace Corps thing isn't just something I've been hallucinating for the last year and a half. The first thing that really made it seem real was getting rid of my car. I've had my '93 Toyota Camry since about 2003. As of last week I no longer have it. It's an odd feeling knowing that a constant, faithful presence in my life for 7 years is gone and I won't see it anymore.
I did my taxes on February 1 so I'll have time to receive my refund from the IRS and mail a check to the Oregon Revenue Department before I leave. I have to give my mom the power of attorney so she can do this for me while I'm gone. Even after spending more than 3/4 of my AmeriCorps education award (which counts as earned income), I still have a refund larger than what I owe the state (hooray for not finding work!) such that my net refund is $371. That get's me most of the way to buying a ticket home for Mom and Rich's wedding!
What really made me reckon with my future, though, was an email I got yesterday saying it was time to call the government contractor that would make my travel arrangements to staging in Washington, D.C. A phone call later and I was booked on a flight out of Portland on the morning of February 28, bound for the capital via Chicago. Yet another threshold crossed.
The Peace Corps has given me a document to share with friends and family who wish to keep in touch with me during my service. In addition to hosting it here, I'll be attaching it to a big email I send out when I'm about to go: