OK, maybe one more post before I go……
So there are many ways to get ready for a big trip. I’m trying to avoid doing what I do to prepare for a short trip, namely, procrastinate then pack in a frenzy! This time I’m trying to do it the organized, and in advance kind of way. Of course, I’m fighting my own nature, which is why I’m still lying in bed with my laptop typing this instead of packing and cleaning right now. But what can you do, right? There’s only so much you can force yourself to change! I’ll get up soon enough – it’s only 7:34 am on a sunday anyway – I’ll be hard at work by 9 for sure! Things on my to-do list? Clean to get ready for the appraisal of my condo that’s happening tomorrow (trying to refinance my mortgage before I leave with these crazy low-interest rates); do laundry – lots of it, and get the dry cleaning ready to go to the shop; start packing in earnest (not just piling things up in a corner); clean out the fridge some; and organize the garage in the hopes that I might actually be able to fit the car in there before I leave!!!
For a trip of several months (or longer) there are more than just the logistical issues of preparation to keep in mind. You also have to prepare mentally. For me, I’ve been gobbling up favorite American foods (a strange obsession with American cheese, mostly in the form of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich has over taken me, as did an overwhelming need for Buffalo Wings last weekend) that I know I won’t be able to have for a while, as well as American culture & lifestyle. OK, no, I haven’t been watching marathons of the Jersey Shore or anything that, sadly, American. But I have been indulging in some unnecessary luxury product bargain-hunting (at least in my part of this mall-covered area of the universe, getting the best price on a high ticket item is kind of a rush – like the Cole Haan shoes I bought for a mere $38 last night – originally over $200!) In so doing, I have discovered two great online shopping invite-only websites, thanks to a coworker: Hautelook and RueLaLa – total unnecessary indulgence, in most cases (at least for me), but what can I say, I’m weak! I’ve been enjoying trips into nearby New York City and the company of old friends. I’ve been enjoying the variety of beers, cocktails, and wines offered at my favorite local bars and restaurants, which I presume won’t be as readily available in a Muslim country! Basically, the main thing I’ve been doing to prepare for a very different lifestyle is eating up every little detail of my life here, and relishing it while I still can. Rest assured, I’ll gobble up every detail of my new experiences as well. But in the meantime, I’m enjoying my regular life! Who knows how my new experience will alter my perception of my “regular” life, since a week in Africa in June already altered my viewpoint on many things (and made me appreciate this regular life even more), so I’ll make the most of my last couple of weeks before a life-altering experience takes its hold on me!