Much has happened since last week ended and this one began, and I'd be lying if I told you that it's been a thrilling ride. An infection that I battled before my mentorship began (in fact, it forced me to delay it) has reared its ugly head once more, this time with more venom. After several days of trying to wait it out, seeking treatment from an Atlanta clinic, trying antibiotics, and worsening symptoms, I have decided to return to Illinois to receive better care than I can as a visiting adventurer in Georgia.
You learn a lot about people when plans change. Everyone is positive and upbeat when events fall into place, but when life has other ideas and reshuffles your calendar, sometimes ire supersedes compassion. Happily, this has been the antithesis of what I have encountered with my Atlanta and Eureka College contacts and supportive family members and friends.
My parents—truly the best in the world—have done their absolute best to be by my side throughout this painful, difficult time. Every time I needed them, they were there and handled me and my idiotic questions, fears, and needs like only the world's most amazing and selfless parents ever could. Shari Rich, Assistant Director of the Ronald W. Reagan Leadership Program that made this entire trip possible, has spent this week regularly checking in on me, coaching me along, and sharing in my medical frustrations. Though 800 some miles separate Illinois and Georgia, their genuine care and support made me feel like they were all right next door. Not to frighten anyone, but I could not have survived this week without these three amazing people. From the very bottom of my heart, thank you for everything.
My primary contact at the Carter Museum, Joshua, and the couple I am staying with have also been tremendously understanding, helpful, and supportive. In fact, though I am leaving Atlanta at the end of this week, I will still be able to work on curriculum development through the wonders of telecommuting! I am thankful that despite illness, as Joshua put it, "all will not be for naught!" My short stay at the Carter Museum was very enjoyable and enlightening, and I am thrilled that I will be able to fulfill some of my duties on behalf of such an awesome group of fellow history lovers.
And last but certainly not least, thank you to Kaitlyn Hild, Sarah Zuniga, and Kevin and Sue Glover for keeping me electronic company during this trying time. Your love has made this experience more tolerable than you will ever know!