September 11, 2016 I arrived to JFK without having a clue of what I was going to go through these 12 months. I took a Megabus to DC and in a few hours I was in Union Station. Rebecca from America Solidaria was there waiting for me and ready to guide me all the way to Dunn Loring metro station deep in Virginia. The initial idea was to rent a room in a house near the Red Cross office in Fairfax, VA. But after 2 months I asked my supervisor if I could change my duty station to the Head Quarters in DC and eventually relocate somewhere nearer to town, the fellows, etc.
I remember my first night in VA, even before meeting the fellows or anyone from AC. I had dinner in an Indian restaurant on my own and saying to myself “All this is so random, what I’m doing here?” Not because I was eating Indian food (which I love it!), but the whole situation was pretty bizarre. All of a sudden I was living in the same house with a random couple, on the next day I was going a meet new people, I was now living in Virginia, 1 year ago I was living in Kenya, I was about to start working for the American Red Cross, etc. Nothing made real sense. But I’m used to accommodate easily to new environments and experiences so I took it as a new adventure in my book of life.
September 12, 2016 I met a bunch of random people in the same situation than me, so I felt that I wasn’t the only one on this boat. Orientation, T- Mobile Plan, setting up my bank account, local ambassadors, etc.
On my first day at my host organization my supervisor told me that in 10 days I was going to travel to Panama to present our flagship program to Latin American Red Crosses.
Mid November I moved to DC where Amira, Jia and Abdul received me very well in the legendary Channel Square 1466. Virginia was a very quiet place for me and I thought I was going to explode. Nothing happens there.
I discovered Yoga District a studio where I managed to volunteer for them in exchange for unlimited yoga classes per months and that was when everything changed. My yoga practice is one of the most sacred things so finding a place like Yoga District saved my life (or my fellowship).
In December I went to my first NBA game (Wizzards vs. Spurs) and visited a friend in New York. I also had a beautiful multicultural Christmas in Channel Square with the fellows. New Year wasn’t the best of my life, it was pretty boring but it was OK since I had such a bad hang over from the previous night.
January 2017, GLL and new fellows on board.
February, my grandmother passed away and I was sent to Tunisia to represent the Red Cross in a Reginal First Aid Meeting.
April, I spent my birthday in NY with friends and my parents visited me in DC.
May, I took 2 week holiday with 2 friends in California and we had a blast. More fellows on board.
June and July: work, yoga, work, yoga. I was sent to Panama again for another conference and I traveled to Philadelphia. Such a weird place. But I had a good time with the person that I traveled with.
August: work, yoga.
September 11, 2017 I was off to Argentina. Not because my fellowship ended, actually I extended for 6 months. But I had to attend some weddings so I asked my supervisor if I could work from home and he said it was ok. I love internet.