Kate and StevO...excuse me, Dr. StevO, are three days away from joining me in the 'Baijan! For the first time in my life, my parents will be looking to me for guidance. They'll be the ones wide-eyed and clueless, overwhelmed and dumbfounded, hanging on to all little bits of familiarity as they embark on this epic adventure together. Like most people's parents, I've always looked to mine for advice and experience. I was usually (and often still am) the dolt praying someone would be there to move me through adolescence, and I am grateful my parents always were. Now, it's my turn. I have a feeling they'll be pleasantly surprised by the place I have come to call home, but it is nonetheless a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I wanted to share with all of my readers. So, I asked them to write a short commentary on their fears and expectations. It's fascinating to see the parallels between their concerns and presumptions, and the emotions I went through when I arrived in country nearly a year ago. It's bound to be a remarkable two weeks. I'll be sure to follow up when I return!
Here you are:
My wife and I leave in 3 days for our adventure with Jake. Jake has asked us to write a short note about our expectations and emotions prior to the trip. What a mix of emotions and uncertain expectations I currently have.
First and foremost will be the joy of seeing my son in person for the first time in a year. Skype has been a blessing, but nothing can beat physical presence. Jake is a joy. He is an inspiration. He, like his brother, is one of my heroes. It will be spectacular to see him in his element, in Azerbaijan, where the Peace Corps experience is affording him, his site mates, and the subjects of his efforts and activities such an amazing growth opportunity. I expect to be awestruck.
I look forward, with some nervousness, to experiencing completely new and foreign cultures, but worry slightly that I will find discomfort in “being in a fishbowl” (as Jake has put it), and in not sharing a common language. I trust in the warmth and welcoming nature of the people that Jake has portrayed, and will happily travel on the coat tails of his popularity.
To be honest, I expect that the experience will be so new and different, that my expectations are not very clearly defined or vivid. They are more just emotions: wonder, excitement, and a touch of trepidation.