Some More Things About Safety

dr. friend:  so i don’t think i’m particularly cool with this whole not being able to chat with you

me:  yeah, no kidding
i’m a jerk
 dr. friend:  you should really work on that
 me:  hell no
it’s your problem
 dr. friend:  lol
 me:  😉
 dr. friend:  i mean, no texting or anything
 me:  i know, right?
 dr. friend:  sheesh
[top secret stuff]
 dr. friend:  ahhhh
so when do you return?
 me:  [shh]
 dr. friend:  okay.
 me:  don’t worry, it’s before your birthday
 dr. friend:  brb…i gotta tell the dept of homeland sec “something”
 me:  haha
i’m going to bring a longform birth certificate from senegal
it was never kenya
 dr. friend:  hahaha
  me:  i bought some dramamine and pepto
 dr. friend:  imodium?
 me:  no
 dr. friend:  buy some
 me:  yeah?
 dr. friend:  if you get the traveler’s diarrhea, imodium plus the azithromycin
 me:  i like doctor friends
 dr. friend:  seriously.
and you know not to brush your teeth with the water too, right?
 me:  yeah. keeping the mineral water by the sink
using that for washing hands before contact lens insertion, too
 dr. friend:  good
and i don’t know that i’d do much wading in streams barefoot
 me:  you can look at all my parasites when i come back
 dr. friend:  hahahahah
[a friend] showed me a pic of a dude’s parasites once.  dude had brought them to the office
 me:  what
 dr. friend:  yeah
people bring weird crap in
like their bedbugs in a jar
 me:  why?
 dr. friend:  so i can see them
mucus too.  it’s an awesome job
 me:  you love it!
 dr. friend:  lol
most of the time
 dr. friend:  hey, good news
the worm i was concerned about, the guinea worm has been eradicated from senegal
 me:  did they put it back in guinea?
 dr. friend:  lol
 me:  i’m glad i don’t have to worry about that
 dr. friend:  yeah
me too
it’s pretty gross
 me:  would you be okay signing for a crate with a monkey in it?
it would be for your birthday
 dr. friend:  oh sure
 me:  what color?
 dr. friend:  it would need to be trained as a butler first
we’ve always wanted a monkey butler, you know
any color, as long as it’s trained.  i’m no racist.
 me:  do you like cufflinks for the monkey tux?
 dr. friend:  it would be nice, not necessary though
i’d be happy to dress the monkey
 me:  okay, that works
 dr. friend:  so do you have to wear a head scarf or anything?
 me:  no, but i do think we have to dress special for when we visit a mosque
 dr. friend:  probably long skirt/covered arms/head
 me:  yes
i should pack those :)
 dr. friend:  lol
 me:  do you like mangoes?
 dr. friend:  omg yeah
you should send me a bunch
 me:  i’m afraid the monkey will be easier
 dr. friend:  lol
you could um, smuggle them in your clothing?  ;-)
 me:  i could risk growing a cup size or four
 dr. friend:  hee
 me:  [la la la]
 dr. friend:  [confirm la la la]
[husband] says you’re going to get lots of marriage proposals
 me:  SWEET
 dr. friend:  in senegal.  they seem to enjoy foreign women
 me:  yeah, i KNOW not here
 dr. friend:  lol, not what i meant
 me:  (i know 🙂 )
 dr. friend:  lol
of course, with the whole muslim thing, you might be looking at quite a different life for yourself
 me:  maybe i can find one who practices animalism
 dr. friend:  there ya go
 me:  or one of the 4% of the catholic population
 dr. friend:  see, now you’re thinking
 me:  haha
 dr. friend:  so you leave [cuckoo!]
 me:  true
 me:  did you turn down your invitation [to the royal wedding]?
 dr. friend:  yeah…decided on iceland instead
 me:  priorities
 dr. friend:  yup
 me:  do you play portal?
 dr. friend:  no
 me:  okay, just wondering
 dr. friend:  what is it?
oh crap, have i gotten old?
 me:  it’s a video/computer game
 dr. friend:  oh
 dr. friend:  so old
 me:  i hear ya
 dr. friend:  woops
 me:  ha. huh?
 dr. friend:  i accidentally got off this page
 me:  ah. okay
i’m so flattered that you’re going to miss me
 dr. friend:  totally
 me:  will you say hi to björk when you go to iceland?
 dr. friend:  lol of course
i’ll send you one of her outfits
 me:  i would LOVE that
i’d wear it every day until the eggs hatch
 dr. friend:  unless you’d prefer that fermented shark’s head thing
 me:  haha. eww
are you going to try to buy iceland?
 dr. friend:  not right now.  we need a fence.
 me:  HAHAHA
 dr. friend:  yup
i heard a rumor that you designed kate’s dress
 me:  if it’s a cross between modest and yip-yip monster, then yes
 dr. friend:  that’s wild.  so you’re going to senegal to avoid the press, right
 me:  yes. and to find a royal husband of my own
 dr. friend:  okay, i’m lame so i’m off to bed
 me:  good night lamey
 dr. friend:  have a good night!  [dum dee dum dee dum]
me: thanks so much
 dr. friend:  get some imodium
 me:  yes’m
 dr. friend:  gnight!

Some Things About Safety

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.

Some Things About Packing

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.

Powder, Slush, Crystal, Dust

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?