Friday Five: Malawi or Bust
1. I leave for Malawi in 5 days. I actually leave Madison in four days. I have a mid-morning flight, so I'm staying at an airport hotel in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. I've spent the past two weeks running errands, spending way too much money, and generally working myself into a panic.
2. I don't want to leave. I went to visit a kennel for Rowen yesterday, and I bawled almost the whole way home in the car. The kennel wasn't bad. It was clean and roomy and has playpens for the dogs to go out three times a day, which is more playtime than she gets with me. And she'll only be there for a couple of weeks; most of the time she's staying with a friend's husband. But still . . . she'll be in a dog run all by herself. She won't have anyone to cuddle with at night. No one to give her belly rubs and snuggles first thing in the morning. I feel like I'm abandoning her.
3. One of my many pre-Malawi appointments was getting a wisdom tooth removed. All of my wisdom teeth are out and have been out for a while, and I've got plenty of room for them. But one of them has had several cavities over the past few years. So the dentist recommended I get it removed. I've been surprised by how pain-free I've been. The first 24-hours, I was still sleeping off the anesthesia, and I started taking the extra-strength ibuprofen as soon as I could. And so far, no pain. And I got to eat ice cream guilt-free all week!
4. Most of my friends in Madison are already gone or are crazy-busy getting ready to leave, so I've become addicted to Scrabulous on Facebook. I resisted signing up for Facebook for a long time, but someone suggested that it would be a good source of volunteer narratives and photos for my research. But, of course, I've been using it to goof off instead of getting any work done.
5. I always overpack for any trip. I can max out the checked luggage limit for a long weekend. But I decided that I was going to pack light this time: only what I can fit into an oversize backpack (about 4500-in. capacity). But I'm looking at the pile of things to be packed and I'm looking at the backpack and I think I've got some editing to do. My pile of "10" books is more like a baker's dozen and I probably have enough toiletries to outlast a nuclear disaster. So far, I'm being reasonable about clothes---two pairs of pants, two skirts,* and a half dozen shirts---but I've been mentally adding items: a sweater, a sweatshirt. Maybe I should take a fleece? It is the cold season, after all. And maybe a blouse or two? Just in case, you know. I have a feeling that I'll have a complete meltdown on Tuesday morning when I realize that it ain't all gonna fit.
FYI: While I'm in Malawi, I'll be posting my fieldnotes and other researchy thoughts on my Malawi wiki. Feel free to peruse, comment, and add your own thoughts and experiences on international volunteering.