And so it goes

This post is a continuation of the last one, with a little bit of this and a little bit of that…

THE AGENCY

I feel very privileged that I was able to visit a very special place that not many people get to visit, once with my entire orientation class and once alone to meet with the MED people. Unfortunately, I can’t say much about it, but I wanted to share something that really surprised (and delighted) me. On the wall of the grand lobby, in huge letters engraved in stone, is John 8:32–“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” How cool is that?

CONSUMABLES

So apparently if the State Department moves you to a location where it is deemed that you are either unable to obtain normal, regular things to eat, drink, clean and live with, or obtaining such things would set you back one and half pay checks (e.g., a box of Cheerios for $40–seriously), you are authorized what is known as a “consumables” shipment. All that really means is that you can ship an additional amount of weight that can be filled with things that are consumed, or used up. (Shampoo would qualify, as would toilet paper, but tires would not as they are worn out, not used up.) Sounds wonderful, right? Well, maybe. Or maybe not if you’re not much of a shopper or a planner like me. (Randy, on the other hand, is having a blast. He’s been going to Costco daily and orders from Amazon Prime all day and all night long.) It can be very stressful to think about A. all the things you might need in the next twenty-four months, and B. how much of those things you will need, and C. whether or not you really need them or could maybe do without. I mean, if you decide later you want some Cheetos or Oreos, it’s not like you can run out to the 24 Hour Kroger or King Soopers and grab some. And I mention those two products, because they are the poster children for things you crave when you can’t get them. I mean, I don’t even eat Oreos in America, but just wait until I can’t have any. And then there’s amounts! If you estimate that you use a tablespoon of shampoo a day, but then you take measuring spoons into the shower to verify that quantity (yes, I did that), you could be WAY OFF on your two-year calculations if, in fact, you use a teaspoon. Really. Do the math. I could be leaving BOTTLES of shampoo in Africa.

I’m mostly leaving the shopping to Randy, but in an effort to appear useful, I purchased the items below from a nearby Costco because they were on sale. Keep in mind, I don’t have a car. It was a sight to see me walking home carrying these goodies.

IMG_3349

Aside from a few toiletries and the above purchases, I think I’m going to fill up the rest of the 2500 allotted pounds with the main essentials you’d never want to be without: Herdez salsa, chips and toilet paper. That oughta keep me in good shape for a couple of years.

TMTALK

So I was all stressed out because I didn’t have my TMONE and there didn’t seem to be any real reason why they couldn’t just get that done, which I really needed done so I could get my TMTHREE from post so we could start getting ready to go and I could submit my TMTWO online so they would issue my TMFOUR so we could go.

Wait. You don’t know what a TMONE, TMTWO, TMTHREE AND TMFOUR are? Yea, well, neither did I. And all I know now is that 1. they don’t go in order (TMTHREE comes before TMTWO) and 2. they all have different names (TMTWO is AKA My Itinerary), and 3. you have to have all that in place before you can ship anything or get a plane ticket issued. But all of that seems to be in place (finally. It took me two weeks to figure out how to do the online TMTWO.) and it looks like we’re actually going to launch this adventure. Have I mentioned that there are some forms and paperwork involved in this bureaucracy?

SO WE’RE MOVING

I know. I know. That’s what this has been all about all along, but for awhile it seemed a long way off. But folks, IT’S HAPPENING! Today we booked tickets (which we changed four different times trying to accommodate Quandary). Unfortunately, we ended up deciding that the best connections forced us to spend a night in Brussels. Poor us. But who knew Brussels Airlines flies DIRECT to Bujumbura?!?!?! (Some of you may remember that Brussels became my new favorite city after visiting it a few years ago–what’s there not to like in a city whose most famous offerings include french fries, beer, mussels, chocolate and waffles? These are a few of my favorite things.) I will certainly enjoy that last little taste of western civilization on our way to this new adventure!

AND LASTLY, SOME BLOG NEWS

I have to give all the credit and many thanks to my incredible blog host, Jared King. He is absolutely amazing, talented, and most importantly, patient with my many requests and pleas for help. Among his many contributions are:

  • You can now sign up to get email notifications for new posts. As you can see, I don’t post often, so it’s not like it’ll be filling up your inbox. And this is especially good if you don’t check FB or are not on it. There’s a place you can subscribe on the right hand side or at the bottom. Thanks, Jared!
  • The map at the bottom of the blog is an interactive map that shows what countries I’ve visited. You can see the entire continent of Africa is empty. I’ll be working on coloring in a few more countries there in the next few years. Especially with all the “hook ups” I have now with my classmates! 🙂
  • The timer counts down to our arrival in Bujumbura, Burundi, our new home! Hooray!

STAY TUNED FOR MY NEXT POSTING WHICH WILL BE ENTITLED:

ALL ABOUT BURUNDI AND OUR NEW HOME, BUJUMBURA

I hope to include information about the country, the people, the city, our new home, my job and our hopes and dreams for the next two years. In the meantime, you can let your imagination run away with you as you imagine me doing my work in a setting like this:

 

ambulance 2

 

Or maybe this:

FD ambulance

 

OK. I’m kidding. Stay tuned for the real deal.

3 thoughts on “And so it goes

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your adventure with all of us. Keep safe. I look forward to hearing about this place and of course hearing about Randy’s adventures shopping in the local markets.

  2. Does the capital city not have toilet paper? If they have flush-able toilets in places what do they use 🙂 You might want to get clothes and shoes as shopping is not the same there. 🙂

    Love you!

  3. Don’t forget, you can split consumables into two shipments so all those Oreos don’t expire. Also, you can order paper and dry goods through pouch with only 3 weeks or so planning. It’s the liquids you’ll really be missing!

    FYI, check out If This Then That – ifttt.com (or org?) you can configure it to post your blog to Facebook automatically (ask Jared).

    Have a blast!

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