36 straight hours of travel later – including many, many security checks and thorough friskings – a 3-hour delay in Brussels – a 9-hour flight in a center seat between an older couple, one member of whom spent the entire trip attempting to cough up a lung – many odd looks for being the only person in the snowy Brussels, Chicago, and Philly airports in flip-flops and a light sweater – a mad dash through the Chicago airport, with only 1 hour to clear customs, recheck my bag, re-enter security, and find my connecting flight – a 4-hour drive through the snow to arrive at 2 AM (thanks again, Dad!!!) -- I'm home!
My bag is not home, but I know that it made it to the US, as we had a brief but joyful meeting in Chicago, and I have faith that we will soon find ourselves happily reunited.
Anyway, now that I'm back home, I'm starting to get REALLY nervous about these interviews. I'm thoroughly clean now, but the hair and clothing still need work, and I still have a lot of preparation to do, including arranging all of my travel within the US.
I'm hoping that, by the time of the first interview, the feeling that I'm a weirdo will have somewhat passed. I definitely felt conspicuous and eccentric in my summer clothing in the airports. Maybe I'm too sensitive, but I dread the conversations in which I have to explain where I've been to people I don't really know (such as the one I will soon be having with the hairdresser, wherein I will try to excuse my unruly moptop). “Peace Corps, cool!” people always say with false enthusiasm, but many times I can see something behind it that says “This girl must be very strange.” I know it's silly for me to worry about such things, but part of me can't quite help it.