dr. friend: so i don’t think i’m particularly cool with this whole not being able to chat with you
A few weeks ago, I was in my Study Abroad prep class. Someone had come in from the Study Abroad office to give a presentation on international traveling safety. The first topic on her slide show was about virtual kidnapping. She asked the class if anyone knew what that was. After a reasonable pause, she explained that virtual kidnapping is when bad guys get a hold of your personal information, call family or friends, tell them that they are holding you for ransom and threaten not to release you until their requests are met. The bad guys will usually have a recording of someone screaming and/or crying in the background to heighten the effect. So, while family or friends are on the phone with the bad guys, the “victim” mostly likely has no idea someone is threatening her loved ones for money. The victim could be sunbathing at the beach or having monkeys pick nits from her hair or exploring a sacred mosque in the city.
That’s some scary, right?
I haven’t broadcasted my departing and returning dates here or on facebook (which is where a lot of bad guys get their information). If you’ve asked me personally about my itinerary, I have told you. I’ve limited viewing of personal data on facebook to friends, and I swear, if any of you relate that information to a bad guy, and I hear of someone threatening people I love? My new pet hippo will attack you. Horace will bite your head off then sit on your body to squirt blood from your neck like a tube of toothpaste. Then Horace will brush his giant, flat, plant-pulverizing teeth with your blood.
A few of you should have gotten or will be receiving a packet with my flight information, passport number, health insurance number, and contact information of the hotels where we’ll be staying. A few of you know how to get a hold of my mom in case anything happens.
I won’t have regular internet access or international cell phone service, but I’ll leave updates whenever I can.
Like I mentioned before, our class is going to have its very own bus, so we won’t be riding around with strangers. I won’t carry my passport with me, and hopefully my stint in New York City has trained me to be wary of pickpockets and various hoodlums. And, I’ll always go out with a buddy. Maybe this buddy will end up being the guy I date when we get back to the states and eventually marry. No dating is rule #1 on a BYU Study Abroad. 2. No proselyting. 3. Obey the Honor Code. However, that is a gigantic “maybe,” even bigger than Horace. And Horace is a rare breed of enormohippo. FYI.
This is all precautionary stuff. I’m looking forward to having an unbelievable and very fun time.
Well, I’m taking these two items with me. The suitcase is 21 inches, and the backpack is just cool. You know how people enter races just for the “free” t-shirt? Well, I can’t say that I would pay as much as I did for the study abroad to get the “free” backpack, but the backpack makes me feel like part of a very privileged club.
I intend to carry on my luggage for as much of the trip as possible. I’m going to try not to overstuff the suitcase.
You can see the suitcase is half-empty. The other half is for some donated clothes that we’re giving to the orphans.
Here is the backpack. I’ll be putting my shoes, my books, and then school supplies for the kids in it. I’m really looking forward to the service aspect of this trip.
It’s required for us to have this tattooed on the back of our left shoulders before leaving. The tattoo contains a special ink used for tracking students by the university. Mine is still a little bit sore, but the image is really clear. My technician had a very steady hand.
This the converter and possible adapters for the electrical outlets. I wish countries could at least agree on electricity, but I understand there are far greater problems for them to deal with. Like mortality. And clean water. To counter the water issues, see a few of the supplies below.
These necessities seem … necessary:
-trusty white running cap, for protecting my head from becoming an Easy-Bake Oven with my dark hair under the sun being so very close to the equator
-new razor, for silky smooth legs for free time at the beach and pool
-tampons, for that very lucky week
-bag of 3-oz bottles, containing: lotion, sunscreen, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, contact lens solution
-a ton of Q-tips, I don’t know why
-sunglasses, for protecting my eyes when monkeys or hippos spit in them
-contact lenses, mostly for looking less nerdy and enabling more physical activity
-doxycycline, for pre-treatment and prevention of malaria; must take daily; must take with a small meal and a full glass of (bottled mineral) water or else I feel very, very woozy; I already know this first-hand
-azithromycin, for traveler’s diarrhea; this does not sound very fun at all
-Tide detergent packs (not pictured), for doing laundry in the hotel room sink
-Kleenex pocket packs (not pictured)
I may add:
-Immodium or Pepto Bismol, for less severe stomach upset
-dramamine, for bus rides; we’ve chartered our own bus for traveling across the country, and if I’m going to get any reading done, I need to keep my stomach calm
You guys, I’m very, very excited.
Almost done here in Midtown.
One more box. And one big box for my quilts and pillows.
Getting ready to pick up the truck.
Fixin’ to head out to my location for a national moving truck company.
This post is 50 words long. Sorry. I definitely have tons to write later.
Here’s another poll. Right now I’m in the middle of packing my things for the next big move. My mind is pretty fixated right now. I took apart my bed and am making sure the boxes are efficiently packed. I need to put away some more books and leave out enough clothes for the next two weeks.
Do you notice anything about the front page, here? Feeling a little chill? Having the sudden urge to build a snowman or start a snowball fight? Wanting to go sledding or skiing or making snow angels? Needing to bundle up, perhaps with another sweater or socks or flannels, maybe even a Snuggie?