Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Africa: Preparing to Depart (Blog 2)

Africa: Preparing to Depart
(Blog 2)

            I would love to tell you that right now, I am completely confident and excited to leave Ohio and begin my African adventure in Moshi, Tanzania. 

However, it would be much more accurate to say that I am, gently put, scared sh*tless.

It’s like that starting a new job feeling, making a presentation in front of a large group, or going on a first date….times 10.

I’ve been having some stomach issues that past few weeks (that did not stop from eating loads of fatty but wonderful holiday food) and yesterday it occurred to me that it is probably from the fact I’ve been so dang nervous about the trip.  After all, I am flying half-way around the world to go into a country I know very little about, with a language I don’t speak, and a culture I am unaccustomed to.  In addition, I’ve never navigated an airport by myself nor am I going with anyone I know.  On top of that, I’ll be working at a pre-school and I am no pre-school teacher…will I be able to make a difference to them?  And last, but not least, there are bugs (and contaminated food).  Now I don’t mind swatting the occasional fly away, but I could get a tick, a tick that makes a home in my skin and could make me really sick and half to be dug out by a doctor….YUCK!

Anyway, I do realize I am being a bit irrational here and that part of my anxiety is to be blamed on myself.  Lately, I’ve been reading “Unlimted: How to Build and Exceptional Life” by Jillian Michaels (I’m a bit of a fan…many of her workout DVDs are in my workout room/basement), which has helped re-bring to my attention some errors in my thinking.  So, how can I blame some of my anxiety on myself?  Well, simply because I believe in taking accountability for my actions, or in this case, lack there-of.  For example, I really should have spent more time studying Swahilli and memorizing cultural practices.

The good thing is that it is not too late to be proactive now and work on how I think about things.  For one, I’m writing this blog, which is helping me process and rationalize some of my thoughts.  I still have enough time (especially on my 1+ day plane trip) to study key Swahilli phrases and basic cultural practices.  I have 2 ½ half days to pack and make sure I have everything I need.  I have gotten all my immunizations (it was hard to lift my arm for 2 days) and have my malaria prescription ready to start taking on Thursday.  I’ll get to the airport early, can ask anyone if I need help, and have the numbers I need in my phone if I have problems with my flight. 

And, if I look at the worst possible situations (that are realistic, so Im not going to mention my  plane crashing or getting eaten by a hippo…plus if it is my time to die, it’s simply my time) it will probably be embarrassing myself in front of all the natives (like forgetting to eat with my right and using my left, which used only for “hygienic” purposes) or, yes, getting sick and having to spend a day or 2 bedside or finding a doctor back home to tweeze out a bug...still…Yuck!  Really, being patient with myself and not getting frustrated is the big key.  Just like in an ultra, I’ve got to keep smiling (lucky for me, smiles are universal) and thinking positively. 

Everything else I just need to rationalize or just deal with.  I am going to miss my family and friends, I know that…but I will be back in a month.   Of course I am already a little nervous about a job and finances when I get back too, but really I know I’ll be fine.  I’ve paid off all my bills for the next month, so it is best just to stay in the present.  Plus, I know I’ll have so much more knowledge to bring back with me that I can also bring to starting my own youth compassion and/or adventure program.  I’ve already proven by this trip (and some races) that if I dream it, know it, and work for it, I can achieve it.  (Ex: I dreamt about going, I came to believe it was a possibility, I placed in BR to make a down payment, I got a temporary job at the United Way and spent very conservatively for the past 5 months, and now…I am about to depart).

Okay, maybe now I am not as scared sh*tless as I was yesterday.  I guess I have changed to more of a nervous/excited and throw in some extra praying that I don’t forget anything. 
But, I think that’s okay.  I’m going to leave at 6 am Friday (admittedly yes, I have thought of different excuses I could come up with for not going), and I will be in Africa before 3:00 pm on Saturday.  Everything is going to be new to me, but oh, what an Adventure it will be!
Anywho…I better go get packing! Hakuna Matata!


Some of you (if anyone besides Steve actually reads this) may remember from last post I was unsure about whether or not I was going to climb Kili.  Well, I’m still not 100% sure, but I am feeling more confident about it now.

I still have almost none of the gear I need, but I found a place where I could rent it, and I’ve connected with a few people who have climbed it before.  My main fear about the trip is honestly being cold! Lol

Plus, before my reasoning for wanting to climb Kili wasn’t exactly where it should be, now it is.  Either way, it is not a necessity to climb, but, if all goes right, I am going to.  It sounds like a nice little climb ;)

O yea, they do have internet in Tanzania so I will try and update everyone when I can.  I will miss you everyone, but I know you all have your own beautiful adventures to get on with as well.

Safari Njema (Have a good journey),


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