April 28

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This is not a Dream!

Philly3As I write this I’m sitting at a pizzeria in downtown Philadelphia. I got here this morning and have had the day free to do a little exploring. This really is a beautiful city. Sitting at the bar I’m alone, not unhappy or lonely but admittedly a little introspective. Today I received my confirmation; I am officially headed to Nepal. Up until now this long process of approvals, applications, personality tests, and interviews has not felt real. For some reason I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. To stand by helpless as this crazy dream comes to a screeching halt.  “Wake up!  This isn’t really your life.” The voices in the back of my head were continually repeating. But now it’s undeniable, it’s tangible, it’s concrete. In just a few short weeks I will board a plane, leaving my wife, my family and my life, for a chance to make an imprint on something other than my small world. This brings me back to Philadelphia. I’m about to start the PULSE orientation session. These 3 days of training are designed to prepare me for the next step… deployment. So what will I be doing in Nepal? Good question. As I understand it my job is to strengthen the relationship between Care International and GSK by building a formal communication strategy.  I will also develop, communicate and showcase the achievements and impact of the SAMMAN project, a CARE-GSK partnership. But from talking with past PULSE volunteers these assignments tend to be very fluid to say the least. I just hope I can deliver on whatever they ask me to do. As of right now I have more questions than answers. In the weeks ahead I will have to coordinate visa applications, vaccination appointments, travel budgets, risk assessments and flight itinerary. Where should I stay? Who should a stay with? How do you even pack for six months? Nepal was devastated by an earthquake last year and from my research the cleanup is slow going at best, so I’ll be strolling into a potentially volatile situation.  As you can see there is a lot on my mind. After taking a walking tour and gazing at all the beautiful landmarks Philadelphia has to offer I’m reminded of all the struggles our country’s leaders had overcome and that put this whole experience in perspective. Well at least I know what to do now: Take a breath, align my priorities and GET TO WORK. I’ll see you on the other side!