Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What's on the IPod?

School's officially over. Well, I guess not officially, seeing as I haven't walked The Lawn yet. All of my finals are over, so I'd call this whole Master's thing done. I'm now moving on to all of the fun pre-Africa, pre-graduation, pre-moving stuff I've put off all semester. This'll finally be a fun To Do list to wade through.

First on the list? Fill my IPod. With an approximately 8+ hour flight from JFK-Dubai, I'm going to be in some serious need of auditory input. I could totally count Megan as auditory input, but her seat's infront of mine, so we'll probably have to keep the chit-chat to a minimum. There's always the movie option, but that can be hit or miss. Either way, I want to have some music to listen to while I'm in Tanzania, maybe even to share some with the kiddos.

Without further ado, here's what I've uploaded (in no particular order):

  1. Into the Wild audio book, John Krakauer
  2. Into the Wild movie soundtrack, Eddie Vedder
  3. Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple
  4. The Avett Brothers, Emotionalism & Four Thieves Gone
  5. Duffy, Mercy
  6. Juno movie soundtrack

I was totally thinking I had uploaded more than just those in the past few days, but alas, I haven't. I already have my standbys, though:

  1. Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope, Soviet Kitsch
  2. Carbon Leaf, Echo, Echo & Indian Summer
  3. John Butler Trio, Sunrise Over Sea
  4. Jack Johnson, Brushfire Fairytales & In Between Dreams
  5. Coldplay, X&Y, A Rush of Blood to the Head, & Parachutes
  6. This American Life podcasts
  7. Bryant Park Project podcasts

I'm definitely looking for some recommendations. Read any good books lately? Any good indie bands? What about a good podcast series? Help me out!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How to stay in contact

Megan and I are hoping to get cell-phones when we arrive in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. We're also hoping to find a local Internet cafe to update the blog with on a weekly basis. If we're able to do so, the best way to keep in contact with us will be through this blog. You can even begin practicing now! Here are the explicit instructions (need mostly for my computer illiterate mom):

Click on this link and read the Blogger directions--

It doesn't get any easier than that!

Feel free to ask us any questions in the comments section. We're excited to create an open dialogue space here for the next 4 months or so.

Wherein I admit my status in the "Wimp Club"

Let it be known that I don't tolerate pain well. I probably shouldn't just say pain. I don't do well with discomfort or anything really that's too outside of my box. Basically, I'm a creature of habit and deviating from that habit is typically met with a great deal of stress and tears. Why then am I spending 2 1/2 months abroad? The logic there fails me as well. Here's to pushing my boundaries!

But back to the low pain tolerance. When I was 5, correct if I'm wrong Mom, I allegedly fell off of my grandpa's bed and cut my forehead after being told multiple times the famous child-hood words, "stop jumping on the bed or you'll get hurt!" I say allegedly because the way I remember things happening is that I was innocently swinging the chord to the window blind and bumped a lamp off a high dresser with the chord, causing the lamp to come crashing down on my face. Oh the travesty! Whichever story is true-- and I'm totally sticking to mine, 19 years later-- I had a huge gash on my forehead that required 2 stitches. Of course, this would be my first trip to the hospital as a patient-- I'd already visited my parents' offices enough times to now refer to the blue H on the hospital building as the "Hennick Hospital." Two stitches on the forehead doesn't seem like much, but to 5-year old me, it was pure torture. I honestly don't remember it, most likely because I literally went into shock. My parents claim the nurses had to strap my hands and feet to the bed a la Frankenstein in order to keep me from squirming away. My mother, a registered nurse, wasn't allowed to stay in the room during the procedure due to my crazy antics and claims she could hear me screaming down the hall. Yeah, it was bad.

When I was 6, I was finally allowed to get my ears pierced. I had been literally waiting YEARS for this glorious day to occur. I think I came out of the womb wanting to sport twinkling gemstones in my ears. Six-year old me believed that every cool girl had her ears pierced and of course my parents wanted me to be uncool. Who in their right mind would make their daughter wait until she was 6 to have her ears pierced?! Oh the humanity! I remember my dad of all people taking me to the local Claire's shop at the mall. I was giddy the entire ride over and through the mall, right until the moment when I walked over to the ear piercing chair of doom. The gun! Yes, they were going to pierce my ears with a GUN! I could fear my stomach knotting up and my eyes beginning to well with tears. I began to backtrack on my desperate need to have my ears pierced. I mean, you actually are stupid to get your ears pierced. Only stupid people get holes shot in their ears with a GUN! What had I gotten myself into? My dad, under explicit instructions from my mother to have my ears pierced with my birthstone gave me the ultimate bargain, "If you don't cry, I'll buy you a milkshake." Sold! If there is something I loved more in life at age 6 then ice cream, I don't remember it. Unfortunately as I sat on the chair as the Ear-Piercing-Woman-Of-Doom discussed the procedure with me, my true self shined. You can see where this is going. I of course cried through the entire 2 minute procedure and continued to cry for 15 minutes afterwards.

In the 6th grade I was the textbook image of middle-school horror. Bad skin, horrible haircut (no Mom, I didn't look like Julia Roberts in Hook no matter how many times you said so), hairy legs, and the mother of all sins... a bushy eyebrows. Luckily my peers looked just as homely as I did and I wasn't teased. My mom, however, took it upon herself to rectify the bushy eyebrow situation. Unbeknownst to me, she scheduled a hair appointment for me with her stylist, Tony. This was to be the first time I got my haircut somewhere other than Great Clips and being the image conscious pre-teen I was, I was totally excited. Maybe I would finally have a beautiful haircut. Tony cut my hair, but it must not have been too phenomenal 'cause I can't remember anything about it, and then proceeded to lead to me to chair in a part of the salon I had never been in. I had no idea what was going to happen next. I'm sure my mom planned things out this way to avoid the anxiety I would have had leading up to this day. For the next 10 minutes a beautician tweezed and waxed away at the two bushes lying across my face. Once again I cried and freaked out. With huge welts above my eyes, I cried and moaned to my mom for the next few days. Please, pity me.

I don't handle illness well either. I try and deny that I'm sick until I can't put it past anyone anymore and succumb to drinking OJ. My dad's the same way, except his beverage of choice is tea. When I'm sick, though, I hardly speak. That's wrong, I speak, just in tongues. I don't do well when I'm cramping either, hence my lack of desire to ever become pregnant. Sore muscles from working out-- whining. Sprained wrist from falling (thank you Evan for driving off and leaving me in the bushes!)-- lots of crying. Black eye from a flying coaster-- massive amounts of tears, at least out of my left eye.

All of this is to say, I buckled down and got my vaccines on Tuesday. The last thing I need is to come down with typhoid or malaria. You can probably tell how I did when visiting UVa's Travel Clinic alone. When the nurse came in with the shots I wimpered to him, "I'm not very good with shots. I think I might cry." He took one look at me and said, "Oh darling I hate 'em too. But here goes!" Bless that man's heart. He had all three shots done in under a minute, despite my tears. I wanted to be coddled and told stories like all of the other nurses in my life have ever done for me. This nurse, however, was all about efficiency. With a "one, two, three" he's stick me and move on to the next. He was even kind enough to leave the worst shot, Polio, for last. After wiping down my tear-stained face, I thanked him graciously and gave him a hug. What a wonderful man. I just hope he's at the clinic when I have to go back for my Yellow Fever vaccine.

Vaccines Received:
Hepatitis A
Oral Typhoid

Prescriptions Filled:
Malarone- anti-malaria (don't even get me started on the cost of this stuff)
Ciproflaxacin- anti-diarreah

For more information: CDC

PS: I've been "sick" ever since Tuesday. Whining and moaning to anyone who will listen. Evan might just ship me out early if he has to continue hearing me say, "But I can't do it, my arm won't bend!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What I'm Hoping to Experience

I'm a big list-maker. I'm not quite sure what it is, but if you were to see my desk at the moment, I have about 3 list going simultaneously. That, coupled with the overwhelming amount of school work left to be completed before graduation means that almost of all of my thoughts about this trip come in list format. Here then is my list of things I'm hoping to do while in Dubai and Tanzania....

* See the World of Islands.
* Put my feet in the Arabian Gulf.
* Ask for a "water with lemon" in Arabic.
* Smoke a sheesha at Sheesha Courtyard.
* Buy raw silk and cotton at Bur Dubai Souq.
* Hear the call to prayer.
* Meet people at an Arabian mid-night bbq.
* Watch a camel race.
* Visit the Heritage House.

* Make it to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
* Learn traditional Masai dance.
* Converse in basic conversations in Swahili.
* Eat home-made Ugali.
* See East African animals in the wild.... lion, giraffe, elephant, etc.
* Attend a Rwandan genocide trial.
* Drink fresh coconut milk.
* Snorkel in the Indian Ocean.
* Smell the scents of Zanzibar.
* Walk the streets of DES and Arusha.
* Sleep under the stars on Mt. Kilimanjaro.
* Teach Masai women English.
* Play tag with the children at Jane's.
* Read the book, Charlotte's Web, to the children at Jane's.
* Tuck little kid's into bed with a kiss on their nose at Jane's.
* Shower outdoors.

I'm sure more will come. I'll try to update as I think of them.