Monday, April 30, 2012

Packing Perils

I've been back in Omaha for a few weeks, spending time with family and friends, and most importantly, packing. Let me be honest here: I'm totally the type of person who packs at the very. last. minute. Not even the night before; I'm taking an hour before I need to leave. That would be fine by itself, but I'm also kind of OCD about leaving anything behind that I might possibly need. Add that to a weight limit of 100 pounds, and I've got a challenge on my hands. So packing early it is.

One of the reasons it's also difficult for me is that I really have no idea what it's going to be like in Rwanda. I feel like I'm one of the women whose fiancee tells them to pack for a certain type of destination (beach, mountains, etc) and then surprises them after the wedding with where the honeymoon destination is. Except in my case, my fiancee keeps telling me conflicting advice about what to bring and is being a total jerk about weight requirements.

The Peace Corps volunteers already in Rwanda have been really wonderful at answering our questions about what we can and can't find in-country, but my initial hopes of being able to pack my entire house into a suitcase have been quashed. I know there's going to be things I wish I brought, and things I totally didn't need to bring. I'll probably write a post in about a month about what a consumeristic a-hole I was to think I needed all of this stuff. What's hard is trying to reason through my packing list. If i can't fit 4 packs each of dramamine and ibuprofen in my suitcase, should I take 2 of each, or will I be more likely to get motion sickness than have a headache, and therefore take 3 of the dramamine and only 1 of the ibuprofen? I know, I know, I'm over-thinking it. See the "I'm OCD about leaving anything behind" part.

And different Peace Corps volunteers obviously have different preferences and advice about what to bring. Some value tents. Some value having a sleeping bag. Based on what my packing mound looks like right now, I value chocolate (actually, food in general) and not getting sunburned.

That's all for now, folks.

My song of the moment: Roam by the B52s

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

12 days

It's less than 2 weeks until I leave for Rwanda, and I'm both excited and nervous. My Mom and I have been busy running errands and I've made a couple of stabs at packing, with relative success.

I came across this quote today, and it really struck me.

The experience of being in between—between the time we leave home and arrive at our destination; between the time we leave adolescence and arrive at adulthood; between the time we leave doubt and arrive at faith. It is like the time when a trapeze artist lets go the bars and hangs in midair, ready to catch another support: it is a time of danger, of expectation, of uncertainty, of excitement, or extraordinary aliveness.” -Paul Tournier, "A Place for You"

and speaking of Trapeze Artists: