It feels like this trip has been on the horizon for aaaaaaaaages. It’s actually been on the horizon for at least 4 months. Plenty of time to do important things like transfer all my money to an accessible bank account, book my return flights, cancel my cell phone, obtain necessary medications . . . plenty of time you say. Unfortunately, in my mind, “plenty of time” translates into the freedom to spend several hours a day watching bad TV, (including High School Musical and a What Not to Wear marathon), burn random CDs for people and generally procrastinate. I did not heed Zac Efron’s jazzy musical advice to “get my head in the game,” so here I am trying to quell the rising sense of panic in my gut by drinking large amounts of coffee and writing a blog post. I am reassuring myself by re-living my all time greatest procrastination story: in college I once researched and wrote a total of 13,000 words on various topics in English Lit and Politics in approximately six days. It involved several midnight panic attacks and a desperate race to get the papers across the Atlantic, where the office at my study abroad site in London would only accept hard copies, but by god I did it.


I have some things in place. There are large piles of clothes organized by category on my bedroom floor, my passport is valid and has the appropriate visa stamp, and I have the plane ticket to get over there, at least. The bottom line is that there is no way to prepare completely for a year abroad in rural Uganda. Even if I was ruthlessly (ha!) efficient and 100% on top of everything I would undoubtedly get over there and realize that goddamnit I forgot all my underwear, or something. This adventure is going to involve a lot of compromising, adjusting and going with the flow. I think I’ll learn how much I can really do without. That’s not to say I should be irresponsible in my preparations, but I also can’t be a perfectionist.


Of course I have no option of bringing the things I’ll miss the most; people, animals, food. MAN I am going to miss french fries. I have the awesome calendar that my friend Kristina made me with pictures of a lot of the most important people in my life. I can take that down and cry over it every now and again, quietly though, so as not to disturb my 3-5 room mates. In general, I’m not too worried about homesickness. I’m extremely excited about all the new people I’m going to meet (do-gooder future husband included, fingers crossed) and the work I’m going to do. I’m fairly certain that I’ll spend the first few days in an overwhelmed daze. Then I’ll begin to tackle my “duties” list, which currently goes from a – z with several sub-sections and footnotes. Maybe I’ll look around a few times and wonder why in the name of god I’m in rural Africa when I should be in NYC drinking a stiff vodka-cran, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now I’m about as jazzed as Zac Efron was over that basketball game, and that counts for a lot.