Last minute preparations

Well it’s officially countdown week and the nerves are starting to set in.  Even though I have most of what I need, I still feel like my “To Do” list is never-ending.  I feel very rushed and that there just never is enough time!  Although I have been attending the prepatory meetings from the beginning, I was attending as an alternate candidate.  I just found out I was going Mid-March so I didn’t have the full 6 months or so to process this trip.  Not to say I am complaining in the least – but I still feel a little overwhelmed and I know my other teammates are as well (and they had a lot more time than me to prepare!).  So I just have a few more gifts to acquire for my hosts, just a little more shopping to do for some odds and ends and waiting for some items I ordered to arrive.  I have purchased my first professional-grade digital SLR camera solely for this trip.  No, not something I could necessarily afford right now but something I felt was a necessity!  I MUST capture all the beautiful sights and I would much rather do so with the creative freedom an SLR camera provides than just on my point-and-shoot alone.  Also, one of our hosts has graciously set me up with a professional photographer and I feel it’s necessary to have the equipment.  Packing it all is another story. 

 I have decided to invest in a laptop backpack so I can take my computer with ease, but also use it to hold all my magazines, books, iPod and whatever else entertainment I will take for the 8hr flight overseas, not to mention the layovers.  I think the backpack will be a great carry-on!  I decided to purchase brand new toiletries so I can pack those now and not worry about it after I shower the day I depart, etc.  My list keeps on getting longer.  Last night I had a notepad next to my bed because I was literally thinking of new things to add every other second.  Things I need to buy, things I must remember to pack, bills I need to pay (or arrange to have paid while I am gone, etc., etc., etc.)!  Sleep has been few and far between as I am also finishing final school projects this week and trying to get things in order at work for the replacement that is covering for me in May – who also doesn’t have much knowledge of any computer applications that we use daily.  It’s taking a lot of focus on my part.  I am also trying to cram in as much Norwegian as humanly possible – even though they speak English very fluently, I want to be able to thank them for their hospitality, etc in Norwegian as courtesy.  I just purchased my English-Norwegian dictionary and also picked up a book on customs, which I think will be very handy from what I skimmed so far. 

I feel so blessed to be going on this trip and it’s still very surreal to me.  Even though I am jumping, screaming and doing cartwheels on the inside, when I speak about it to others I probably seem very calm and composed.  Maybe I am being modest and don’t want to gloat.  It’s been pretty cool telling people about Rotary and the purpose of this trip as 95% of the people I talk to have never heard of the Rotary.  I hope this will get them more intrigued.  I think it will take landing in the airport and being greeted by our first gracious hosts before I realize “Yep, I’m in Norway!”  But I thank God for bringing me this opportunity, making it feasible too both with getting the time off of work and being able to afford it, I thank the Rotary for having such an amazing exchange program, I thank my teammates for being so efficient in getting everything prepared and helping a frazzled me get everything I need, and for our wonderful hosts who have taken the time to put together very detailed programs for each and every one us and for opening up their homes.  This will truly be life changing! 

(post by Anjanette Merriweather)

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