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  • Writer's pictureMichael Roman

Kiribati Bound

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Blog Entry #4

The flight was four hours to San Francisco. Amy was seated towards the back of the plane while I sat over the wing. My bright blue Sony CD player, a parting gift from my family, rested on my lap as I buckled myself into the seat. I was into Christian rock at the time, and Steven Curtis Chapman's song, Dive, detailing the start of a new life adventure seemed nothing more than perfect. I questioned what I had gotten myself into, held on tight and watched, with tears pouring down my face, as Cincinnati faded from sight. Barely sleeping the night before, I refused the complimentary meal and fell asleep wishing I was back home with my family and friends.

I woke when the flight attendants were preparing the cabin for our final approach into San Francisco. Being the first to deplane, I waited for Amy on the ramp. The walk from our gate to baggage claim gave us time to regroup and share the emotional rollercoaster we had just gone through. Relieved to be on the ground and onto our next task we made our ways to the hotel shuttles area. Weston International was where we and 25 other volunteers had to report for our 3 p.m. pre-departure staging.

Peace Corps Staff members greeted us at the meeting by announcing, Welcome K-27. You are the 27th cohort of volunteers for the Nation of Kiribati. You join the ranks of hundreds of others who have served in Kiribati. Our objective is to familiarize you with a brief history of the country and the program before taking care of a few other important issues. You will have the next day and a half to get to know each other while taking care of parting business; like vaccines, per-diem, and travel logistics.

With that, we began a 2-hour meeting before being let free to explore San Francisco. Splitting up, some visited the Golden Gate bridge. Some had dinner at Fisherman's Warf, and others toured Ghirardelli Square before returning to the hotel. The evening was so memorable, that the Ohio morning seemed like the distant past.

As we finished our second day of staging, travel stipends and boarding passes were issued upon room checkout. Tie these onto your bags. It will make the luggage collection easier as you travel to Kiribati. Peace Corps representatives distributed small yellow pieces of yarn, and once our bags were tagged, we boarded shuttles to the airport for our first leg red-eye flight to Australia.

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