I am now (as of Wednesday, so this post is a little late) in Chicago for YAGM orientation! It's been a blur of a week, trying to finish getting everything ready at home, saying goodbyes, and traveling to Chicago to reunite with the YAGM family.
On Sunday Trinity included "Thanksgiving and Godspeed" as a part of the service. This included laying on of hands and blessing, but it wasn't for just me. Thanksgiving for Erin arriving safely home after her year of service in Uruguay with YAGM, and Godspeed for me as I begin my journey with YAGM in Chicago and eventually in Cuernavaca.
I only got to see Erin for two weeks, and I think it was an odd transition for both of us. She slept a lot, was clearly experiencing reverse culture shock, and had a hard time finding the English word at times. I, on the other hand, was starting to feel the anxiety that comes with a fast-approaching transition, and was probably a little short in my nerves about getting everything ready to pack up my life for a year. Everyone else in my family will get to spend more time with Erin as she processes her year abroad and transitions into the next phase of her life. I'm stuck doing that, once again, over email. But she has been a constant presence in my thoughts here at orientation. I met Kari, her fellow YAGM volunteer in Uruguay for the past year, who knows far more about Erin and how she's changed than I do. Erin's last advice and gifts stick with me, and I worry that I am once again "Erin's little sister." It's a hard place to be. I'm walking that line between wanting every little bit of advice for how to adjust to the coming transitions, and Erin is a good resource for that, and wanting this to be my own experience, and to experience it without her stories to cloud my perception of everything.