Ok so here’s the thing. Have you ever had this feeling when you know that something great is going to happen in your life soon and you’re happy about it but not hyped; excited but not as much as you should be? When it’s like the realization hasn’t quite settled in yet? Well that is how I’ve been feeling for the past 8 months… Until yesterday.
So we applied for visas a little more than a month ago to travel to the US for the Tour, and our interviews were set yesterday. And honestly we were a bit scared; I mean this is going to be the 3rd tour so it’s cool, but this year it is also an all-new team going so there was a little bit of uncertainty. Add to that that for various reasons I and Angela hadn’t still gotten confirmation letters from our schools, and they were among the necessary documents.
So on Monday morning our interview is at 8:15. I get to my campus at 7:25 am to get my letter signed and stamped. I figure it will be an affair of not more than three minutes you know, given that i have called the guy who’s supposed to do it, texted him on whatsapp and emailed him. But guess what, he isn’t in his office! I call, he doesn’t pick up. His assistant tells me he can’t sign in his place. So I wait.. next time i check on my phone’s watch it is already 8:00, so I say what the hell I’m going without it. Better to miss one document at the interview than miss the interview.
I take a bike, and hurriedly enter the embassy, get to my colleagues and then something hilariously stupid and funny happens (but that’s another story for another time :). Fortunately we all successfully do the interviews, are given some little yellow cards that we’ll hand in when we come back to get our visas the very next day. Harmonie takes hers and can’t quite believe it. She looks at the immigration officer like “So does this mean what I think it means or..” the guy laughs and says “Yeah it means just that. Come back tomorrow for your visa”. When I’m given the same little card I just get back outside like I was just in for a library card renewal or something. My mind still doesn’t grasp that I’ve just been granted a visa.
But yesterday when I picked it up, and looked at that page towards the end with my photo and the date of issuance and expiry and all, at that moment it hit me! I was like “Whoa, dude you’re going yo! To the US, for two months. And in less than a week!” And now I’m feeling it all. The hype of meeting new people, experiencing new stuff, eating at some of these cool places I’ve been being briefed about all this time (Chipotle, Chick fil A here I comeee), seeing the ocean (and feeling utterly stupid for marveling at the vastness of Lake Kivu), but also the anxiety and uncertainty of being outside of my comfort zone, the fatigue from all the flights and train and bus rides, the non-stop events, debates and class visits (yeah I’m already tired thinking about it)
But one thing I am sure of, this is gonna be an experience that will last me a lifetime. I know that when I land back at Kigali International Airport in November, I won’t be the same guy who took off in September. And that in itself is the greatest hype ever. So like I said in my very first blog about the tour, America, Here We Come!!!