Monday, September 19, 2011

Goodbye to my Sarah.....off to Ukraine with the peace corps..

Hi everyone,

Warning - long post with no cards on this one....

Well, today we brought Sarah to the airport.  Bob and I went together and yes, it was hard.  Yes, I cried.  Yes, I'm trying hard to not cry now, but yes, I'm also so happy and proud of her.  Okay, enough yes's.

She left today for a flight from Boston to DC.  She is going to Georgetown for an intense 1 day training before she flies out.  There will be @100 US volunteers all going to Ukraine on this assignment.  She will meet up with this large group in DC.  Her training starts at noon and will go through the evening.  She'll stay (with a roommate) in DC and then go back for more training in the morning.  Then the whole group will fly to Ukraine (via Frankfurt Germany) Tuesday evening, arriving Wed morning.  From there she will go to a 2-3 day training in a confrence/retreat center.  After that she will be put in a small group (probably 5-6) with a leader.  They will each get put in their host families home and then go to training during the day monday-friday until Mid-December.  Her small group will all be in one village together (different homes) and that will probably be within 1-2 hours drive of Keiv (the capital of Ukraine.)  When she arrives in her small group training they will get to know her and shortly thereafter begin to match her with the jobs in the country.   Within 6 weeks, they will give her an assignment and she can visit her village and begin to plan for her life in the village (or city depending.)  After 12 weeks she will get sworn into the peace corps in an official ceremony and then head off for her assignment.

So that's how I think it will go from the info she shared and what I read.  I am still grappling with my mixed emotions.  It was really hard to watch her walk through the security gate.  It's tough to wave goodbye to someone you love who you know you won't see for a very long time.  I feel for the military families who do this all the time!  I understand just a little bit about the sacrifice they are making.  It's also sad because a wonderful chapter of my life is over.  I really loved this last chapter of life I had as a mother.  Being a mother to teenagers and young adults was really very joyful for me, and I'm sad to see this time end.

I knew as I waved goodbye to Sarah that when I see her again she will be changed.  She'll be a young women, more mature, more independent and not my little girl anymore. Here I go again, trying to hold back the tears...
We had a really powerful time with Sarah on Sunday at church.  My DH Bob works with the Pastor's wife Sheila at our welcome desk.    They talk each week so she had known Sarah was leaving soon.  Pastor Mike came by the welcome desk unexpectedly just as service was starting and Sarah came up to the desk at the same time. Pastor Mike spoke a scripture over her and then he prayed for her.  I was parking the car so I missed the whole thing, but Bob says it was really cool how it all played out.  We are very comforted knowing people (lots of people) are praying for Sarah.  If you are one of them, THANK YOU.    I feel very confident that Sarah is following in the path God has put in front of her.  I know God will be with her.  I hope and pray that she will recognize HIS hand in her life during her day to day activities.

Anyway, do you want to see some pictures?

Yesterday we went apple picking.  Here is Sarah in the tree trying to get the perfect macintosh apple.
Here is Eric and Jessa.  They make the cutest couple.  Sarah said to Jessa as they were saying goodbye 'you can still contact me and talk to me even if you and Eric break up...'  It's nice that Sarah and Jessa get along well and I am really hoping they don't break up (but I"m also realistic and know this is a possibility.)

Me and Sarah...   We kept singing 'she's a lumberjack and she's okay' all day while she wore her flannel shirt.
 Sarah with her little apple.  There was some joke here I just don't know what it was.

Bob and I....As hard as it was this morning we had each other.  At one point I really broke down crying and Bob just held me in an embrace.  It was so great to know he was feeling the same emotions.  It was also great to be there together supporting each other.  He teared up a few times also.  It's his baby girl too.

Okay, a few more pictures and one quick funny story.

 Here is Sarah trying to manage all her luggage.  She had to bring everything she would want or need for 27 months.  Yes, some things she can buy in Ukraine but she did really need to bring a basic wardrobe and some essentials.  Everything had to fit in two 50 pound bags, a carry-on and a personal item.  She also had to be able to manage her luggage alone (although hopefully most of the time she will have the benefit of an airport cart.)
She brought all kinds of things.  A down coat, rain boots, work clothes, casual clothes, spices, gifts for her host families and toiletries (she brought a 3 month supply like they recommended.)  She also wanted to bring a blanket (recommended) but that didn't make it.   We very carefully planned and packed everything, but guess what she did at the airport?  She started freaking out that she had too much stuff and started unloading things.  I couldn't help but think of the book 'into the woods' by Bill Bryson.  In this very funny travel book, Bill goes for a hike on the entire Appalachian trail with a fat, out of shape buddy of his.  They had to carry everything on their back and very early in the trip his traveling buddy just starts hurling things out of his pack, water, food, batteries..... why?  because he didn't want to carry them on his back.  I'm just exaggerating a little.  Sarah unloaded about 4 things from her carry on bag and abandoned the electric blanket she had on her pack.  She didn't dump everything but it was funny how at the last minute she was thinking of 'how can I live without this' rather than 'how can I carry this...'  I'll be curious to hear if she had more or less stuff than the others.  I would guess she's in the middle.  Her one bag was big and full at 50 pounds, but her other bag was only 40 and she had pretty small carry on's.  I think her grandmother (bob's mother) brought more luggage for a 3 week trip to California.....  We'll see....

Okay, I know I rambled today.  Thanks for stopping by and listening to me go on and on...

If you want, Sarah is also keeping a blog.  Her link is below:

http://sarahkatemonroe.blogspot.com/

She's not nearly as wordy as I am...

5 comments:

ChristineCreations said...

That is no small thing to watch your child spread their wings and fly - especially so far away. Blessings on you today Linda...and in the days ahead. Sounds like you've raised her well, and that God has beautiful purpose for her!

Terry said...

No doubt it was so hard to watch your child leave, but how proud you must feel! Such a great and generous gift she will be giving to so many!

Karen said...

Glad to know that Sarah got off okay - what I want to know is whether her eyes were wet, too... She looks happy; she must have felt so excited. I pray her spirit stays strong as she enters unknown territory.

You're in my thoughts, as Sarah is in my prayers.

Kimberly Gajewski said...

I'm so glad that everything went well, Linda! All the best for Miss Sarah! I'll have to start reading her blog too! Looking forward to Sunday! :D

Shirley said...

I can't imagine how proud you both must be! How absolutely wonderful!!