The boyfriend goes to Africa (post #1)

I am FREAKING out. My very serious boyfriend is virtually disappearing for 27 months.

You see, my boyfriend is currently at staging (the first leg of his two years in the Peace Corps, held in Philadelphia), and is leaving for Sierra Leone this coming Saturday morning. He is going to a remote location devoid of any consistent cellular coverage, running water, and electricity. He will learn two new languages over the span of three months, and is going to teach high school students.

I want to mention that this strand of posts is entirely inspired by, whose blog I found when I first began researching and forming expectations about this upcoming experience. She writes often about how blogging, keeping a journal, and really expressing her feelings throughout was a large factor in the success of her relationship. (I would definitely check it out for some afterthoughts on the whole thing — her boyfriend has been home for some time now, and hindsight is 20/20.)

Most of the available literature says not to expect to make it through this experience and still have your relationship. The Peace Corps itself even sends you a document about this following your application and acceptance. I am working very hard not to believe this. I might be in a state of denial, or I might have a real understanding of what my relationship looks like — it could go either way.

I have no ability to conceive of what a two-year absence of my best friend, and the supposed love of my life, will look like.

When we first found out that he had been accepted, I cried. Just immediately burst into tears. I didn’t want to cry, I wanted to fist-pump the air and be supportive and ecstatic for him, but the tears couldn’t be stopped. I took that moment and made it about me, just as I have been throughout the months leading up to his departure — but the truth is, this experience is for HIM. My sadness and impending loneliness are simply effects of the decision he has made.

I would never, ever discourage him from taking on this incredible challenge, and I really am incredibly proud of him. He will do an amazing job, and come through the experience with flying colors and a deeper gratitude for his place in this world, the privilege he has experienced by being born in the United States.

There is definitely pressure to live up to his expectations as the girl he leaves behind, the long-distance love. I want to be the amazing, strong, supportive girlfriend that he believes he has, but it will take serious self-control from my side of the world not to show too much how much I am suffering in his absence. We are the couple that is attached at the hip. We have slept over at each other’s respective houses every single night since about three months into dating each other (over a year and a half ago). We fell hard, and we fell fast, and we have serious long-term plans.

We just have to make it through these 27 months.

I thought I would take a page out of someone else’s book, and also blog my experience. There weren’t a ton of resources when I was looking, and I’d like to contribute. I’m committing myself to blogging at least once a week. Hopefully someone gets something helpful out of this chronicle! (And hopefully it helps me too.)