16 August 2010

One week before leaving...

... And I'm starting to buckle down here – lots of packing and preparing left to do.  I am confident that I am caught up on any and all activities that take longer than a week to accomplish, so no additional stress there.  But it is a big step into the unknown, so everyone has been understanding of my small degree of nerves.  I'm sure it will increase by the end of the week, but any steps I can take in the meantime to lessen that will be promptly taken.

Thanks to everyone that made it to the going-away party on Saturday, and thanks to everyone that tried but couldn't make it.  It was a blessing to see everyone, and I was grateful for the opportunity to thank each of you in person for your support and contributions in getting me to this point in my life, and for seeing me through the last six months.

Now that I'm at the part where I pack two bags with (almost) everything I need for the next 2 years, I am forced to consider the clothing restrictions for a Peace Corps gig in the EC.  Essentially, one caveat: no touristy clothes.  No shorts, no silk shirts, etc.  In fact, when I am not traveling or in the privacy of my own apartment, I will be expected to dress "Business Casual," i.e. slacks, button-down shirt, dress shoes.  Which itself isn't so bad – I went and picked up a few more cotton shirts the other day and I altered a few older pairs of pants that had shrunk over the years, so I would have a more full wardrobe for service.

As for packing restrictions, I am allowed two checked bags each weighing no more than 50 lbs. and summing to no more than 80 lbs., and of course a carry-on.  I imagine the distribution ultimately looking something like this: 75% clothes and 25% everything else, like sheets, hygiene materials, decorations, chess board...  And a carry-on bag full of whatever doesn't fit in my luggage, like this laptop.  They say to not take anything I am unwilling to lose, but they also encourage bringing a laptop... My buddy suggested a happy medium: bring an external hard drive as well, and periodically transfer a disk image to it.  Sounds like good advice.

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