I went through my mental checklist about a million times on the way to the airport, frantically scanning my brain in the hopes I hadn't forgotten something vitally important. Thankfully it appeared that I'd been successful in packing everything the night before.
My flight to Dulles Airport was uneventful, and upon arrival I waited until a bus arrived to take us to the 4H center - the site of this year's PDO (PreDeparture Orientation). There was the usual hanging about until rooms were ready, and then we split to go take naps until dinner. All of us going to Oman had a chance to "re-meet" and converse a bit, which was nice, and got to know each other a little better. Later we had a workshop and afterwards all of us went to bed, exhausted as we were.
But the next morning was early wakeup for a long day filled with workshops (eight, to be precise) before we were allowed back to sleep around 10 pm. In between sessions, we talked amongst ourselves and with our alumna group leader, who shared insight regarding Oman. Valuable lessons and program sayings I learned include:
1. It's not good, not bad... Just different
2. Everything will go wrong and it will be okay
3. The 6 of us going to Oman next year will be each others biggest support network
Thursday was DC day... So in the morning, we split off by organization. AMIDEAST manages the Oman and Morocco programs, so we went together to the AMIDEAST center to GooglePlus (Skype is blocked in Oman) with in-country staff. Then we went to the Omani Embassy, followed by a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, both of which offered interesting perspectives and lots of useful information.
Next, following lunch, we headed to the State Department, where we met up with the other YES Abroad students. We had a Q&A session inside with a panel of experts on the YES countries, and left feeling that much more confident about ourselves and the journey we are about to undertake. The photos included in this post were taken at our final stop for the day, a bit of touristing around the Lincoln Memorial.
I realize that this Sunday is the first day of the journey for some of us. I wish you all the best - stay safe, be strong, and remember that we all support you, whether or not we can be physically beside you.
🎶Lean On Me - Bill Withers🎶
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.