Here goes nothing…

As I’m writing this, I’m currently sitting at Seatac airport, awaiting to depart for Washington D.C. for the first installment of my pre-service training for the Peace Corps.

There’s about 36,000 things going through my head at the moment, but some of the most important are as follows:

I really, really, really love my friends and family who have helped shape me into who I am today. My girlfriend Izze, my parents and sister, and all of you hooligans back in the Ellensburg area (Will, Zach, Maureen, Ryan, Evan, and the rest of the crew), I literally wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all the constant support, reassurance, and push to challenge myself.

Don’t give up on your dreams! Six years ago, I had no high school degree, was working full-time at a Papa Murphy’s (nothing against it, just not where I wanted to spend my young adulthood!), and didn’t have many long-term goals to speak of. After a series of events encouraged me to reevaluate where I was in life, I realized that there was a lot more that I wanted to do. I knew I had an avid interest in history, cultures, and traveling, so naturally the Peace Corps was a good goal. However, the Peace Corps requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. So, I got my GED, enrolled in community college and earned my Associates degree, and transferred to Central Washington University where I graduated last June with a BS in anthropology and environmental science. Now, I am sitting here waiting to spend two years with the Peace Corps in Togo. So, basically, the Peace Corps is what encouraged me to go back to school, hone my interests and passions, and push myself to grow and learn.

Out of all the emotions I’m feeling right now, by far the strongest is a sense of overwhelming and crippling excitement. It’s been a long time coming and part of me still feels like it might be a dream. I am borderline terrified of being in a completely different country and attempting to speak and understand French at a somewhat competent level. I’m confident, however, that the Peace Corps has got me. I am unceasingly nervous at the thought of when and where I’m going to poop my pants upon arrival in Africa (when and where, not if). I already miss many of the things from home, but mostly the people. I also keep picturing my luggage being loaded onto the wrong plane in my head over and over, so it goes.

Above all my worries, nervousness, and paranoid fears of everything that can go wrong, there lies my anticipation. I can’t wait to meet all of the wonderful people who will enter my life in the next two years. I can’t wait to dive in to all the experiences that are heading my way, from trying new foods to riding in strange taxis to getting stung by weird insects. I am excited to learn even more about myself, and to learn as much as I can from the people I meet and the cultures I find myself in.

So with that, I’d better get ready to board. Hopefully my blog writing will get better as time goes on, or else you’re going to be in for a long two years.

So it goes!

James King

P.S. the picture on this post is of my dad and I, just before leaving for the airport.

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