Sorry Jordan, looks like I win for the last, last minute blog! Me writing this the night before my departure by no means reflects that I haven’t been thinking about this soon-to-be adventure. In fact, it reflects the opposite of that. I have been thinking about it constantly, but I have been so busy and flustered getting everything organized, saying goodbyes to friends and family and working full time. That being said, it was only today that I truly realized how overwhelming it is to think that in less than 24 hours I will be in a completely different spot on this globe. It’s also crazy to think that in so many ways, no matter how much research, reading and mental preparation I have done (i.e getting the play by-play insights from the first groups’ blogs), I still feel like I have no idea what to expect. But that’s what I’m the most excited about I think-not exactly knowing what’s in store and testing my open mind in new and challenging ways.

Last night before bed I watched this short film that a friend of mine showed me months ago called “Glory at Sea”.  The first time I watched it was before I had even applied for this trip but I remember being so deeply moved by the way in which Benh Zeitlin told the story of human loss and suffering within the context of a natural disaster. Specifically, the film focuses on a group of mourners who build a boat of the debris of New Orleans in hopes of rescuing their loved ones trapped beneath the sea. Although the concept has beautiful fictional and unrealistic elements, when I watched it again, it reminded me of the emotional narratives of both misery and hope that sometimes get left behind. It was important for me to forget for a moment about the politics of Katrina and be aware of the fact these personal stories are simply waiting to be heard, shared and re-heard again. It’s 25 minutes of brilliance that will certainly resonate with anyone who has any connection to New Orleans and the hurricane. (That means you!)

As Isabelle and I anxiously played around with our video camera earlier tonight, working out all the kinks before take-off, it finally sunk in. This is really happening. What was once a distant, intangible opportunity is now a reality so close I can almost taste it! Time to learn, laugh, cry and make positive change in the lives of others and ourselves.

See you folks literally in no time!

Olivia

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