I haven’t written very much recently, I know, I know. I haven’t had a lot to say. Actually, I have had a lot to say, I just don’t want to talk about it yet. I’m still waiting to see how things play out. But I’m here now, writing this. So be grateful!
So the reason we’re both here…
A year ago today, I received my acceptance email and knew I’d be headed here, to Indonesia, for the Peace Corps!
I honestly remember it like it was yesterday. I had been out in New Jersey for a week and a half visiting Kristopher. But this particular day, I wasn’t in New Jersey, I was in Pennsylvania. Kristopher, Sheila, Greg and I were taking a little vacation to Dorney Park. We spent 2 nights in a hotel and one day at the park.
It just so happened to be the day that we were at the park that I received my email, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
We decided to spend the morning at the waterpark because everyone else would be at the waterpark when it got hot in the afternoon and the lines for the rides would hopefully be shorter. The thing I remember most about the waterpark was this water slide Kristopher and I decided to go down. It was one of those waterslides that you climbed into this little tube, and a glass case close in front of you. You had to stand there with your arms crossed…….and wait. There was a countdown. And then, the floor disappeared from under you.
I honestly can’t remember why I agreed to do it. It was terrifying. Even just standing in line waiting was terrifying. But there I was, waiting anyways. It was finally our turn to go, and I made sure to get into one of the two slides that dropped you first. Mostly because if I had to watch Kristopher and this other kid go down, I’d probably chicken out. Or cry.
So I got in, slipped a little, banged my arm, and tried not to freak out. Because I was on the inside. I was freaking out. Once we were all in and ready, the countdown started. I’m surprised I didn’t pee myself then and there. And then the floor gave out.
And the first thing I felt was water shooting up my nose at what felt like was 100 mph. I kid you not. It hurt so bad. So I grabbed my nose, kept my eyes closed, and waited for it to be over.
And that was the first, and last, time I ever did that.
But anyways, back to what you’re here to read about.
Later that day, we dried off, changed, and headed over to the other side of the park to walk around, ride rollercoasters and hang out. Sheila and Greg left and went back to the hotel, so it was just Kristopher and I. I can’t remember exactly which rides we got on, or how many we got on before we decided to get on the biggest rollercoaster that the park offered. But that’s where we ended up.
We decided that we were going to ride in the front of the rollercoaster, so we got in the slightly longer line. As we stood there, waiting, I asked Kristopher for my phone, which he was carrying in his pockets because it definitely would have fallen out of mine on those rides. I wanted to take a picture of the rollercoaster to send to my dad because we always used to go to Cedar Point when I was a kid.
He slipped my phone from his pocket, and he handed it to me. I grabbed it, hit the home button to turn the screen on so I could slide the corner up and open the camera.
But I never got that far.
As soon as the home screen of my phone lit up, I stopped dead in my tracks. The only thing I remember saying was, “Oh my god.” And then I burst into tears. I turned around and looked at Kristopher, and I could see the hope and happiness in his eyes. He knew before I even said anything else what was on my phone.
Although I didn’t even have to say it, I did. “I got in.” And he grabbed me and hugged me. And we stood there; me, crying and babbling on. Him, hugging me and praising me and telling me how proud he was of me, more excited than I’ve ever seen him in my life.
And then there was everyone else around us. Staring at me and trying to figure out why this blubbering idiot was standing in the line for the front of the rollercoaster if she was so terrified. But I didn’t care. Nothing was going to ruin that moment for me.
I quickly called my dad to tell him that I got the email, and then, just a quickly, had to get off the phone because we had to get on the rollercoaster. After that ride, we decided we were done for the day. I called my dad back, called my phone, and texted my friend Shannon, who called my instantly.
Kristopher and I ended up wandering around the park until Greg and Sheila came to pick us up. Just hanging out and enjoying the happy day. Once we were picked up, we told his mom. And she was happy for me but instantly worried about me. I don’t really remember much else that happened.
I just remember reading that I had 3 days to accept my invitation, which I promptly did the next morning.
And now, a year later, here I am. I’m sitting in the teacher’s room at a school in Indonesia, preparing for my first semester teaching at the school I’ll be working in for the next two years. And I couldn’t be happier with my decision to serve here.
*Because I will never remember this day without remembering the text I woke up to at 8am the next morning. To my brother’s childhood best friend; a fun, loving, kind human being. You will always be greatly missed.
RIP Riley ❤