Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pre-Ecuador gitters oh my!

Ecuador- Galapagos islands not in the picture
This is my one Month Count down until I leave to Ecuador!

Well it has finally happened I got my assignment and it will be in Ecuador! woot! - This was my reaction about 2 weeks ago when I got the news from Peace Corps. 

Now this is how I am feeling -

"What have a gotten myself into!??!?!!" is as of right now on my mind 24/7. I haven't yet gotten that "OMG I will be gone for 27 months and will not see any of my family and friends for a long time" feeling. Not yet. I have gotten more of an overwhelming feeling of "I need things done now!" than anything else. I NEED to start packing, paying bills, and getting ready to leave. I will say this- I am excited, thrilled, sad, scared, overwhelmed, scared! (with emphasis), just in awe that my medical stuff went through, Afraid to fail, and over all excited to be part of Peace Corps. I have a lot of thinking to do in the Month ahead before departing. I also am going over my assignment, looking it over and over and over again. My role will be to train and advise teachers, students, and community members in basic teaching methods and concepts and teaching them English. To be more precise, I will be teaching English at a university level. I am so petrified to teach to a large group of people that are really expecting me to know everything there is to know. I am afraid to fail in teaching them or worse to fail in serving the community I am assigned to. Some fears, I cannot change but I can stop obsessing over them by gladly entertaining myself with good company (My amazing friends <3) and creating things like this blog!

Anyway, if you want to know what I am going to be doing please check out this pdf - . I need to figure out what to take, the list they gave us of items we should THINK of taking is huge! I mean holy s*$t huge! Check it out:

General Clothing
  • One or two pairs of nice pants
  • One to four pairs of heavy work pants or jeans (agriculture and habitat conservation Volunteers usually
  • need more and health and youth Volunteers usually need less; anything over a women’s size 8 is difficult to find locally)
  • Six T-shirts or short-sleeved polo shirts (T-shirts are readily available in Ecuador unless you need something larger than XL)
  • One or two dress outfits for occasional formal meetings
  • Three or more long-sleeved shirts
  • Two to four pairs of shorts (not too short) or capris (quick-dry are the best option)
  • 12 or more pairs of cotton underwear
  • One or two pairs of long underwear or other clothes to layer (bring items that are easy to wash by hand)
  • 12 pairs of good-quality socks (lower-quality socks are available)
  • One or two pairs of heavy wool socks
  • Two or more sweatshirts, sweaters, or fleeces
  • One warm jacket
  • One waterproof windbreaker or poncho
  • One pair of heavy work gloves (agriculture and habitat conservation Volunteers)
  • Athletic clothing for working out
  • One or two bathing suits
  • One or two sun hats, visors, or caps with a bill

  • Women
  • Six or more bras
  • One or two nice dresses or modest sundresses (read above)
  • Two or more tank tops
  • Skirts can be a great alternative to shorts, as shorts are often culturally unacceptable outside of sports and the beach. Also keep in mind that longer skirts are more acceptable

  • Shoes
  • Two pairs of tennis or running shoes
  • One pair of good-quality hiking/work boots (agriculture and conservation Volunteers)
  • One or two pairs of comfortable dress shoes
  • One pair of flip-flops (decent local brands are $2-$5), sandals (easily purchased locally), or sturdy sandals
  • One pair of rain/mud boots (sizes under 10 available locally and are inexpensive)
  • It is difficult to find men’s shoe sizes over 10 and women’s shoe sizes over 8

  • Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items
  • Shampoo and other toiletries are readily available in Ecuador
  •  Contact lens solutions and extra cases and travel bottles (available in larger cities, but much more expensive than in the United States)
  • Tampons (expensive and difficult to find, except in main cities). An alternate option is a menstrual cup
  • Makeup (U.S. brands are expensive here). Good quality sunscreen and bug-spray. You can find the basic brands down here, but if you are particular about either sunscreen or bug-spray, better to bring your preferential brand

  • Miscellaneous
  • Sleeping bag (Depending on the Volunteer and if he or she travels a lot, sleeping bags can be helpful, but
  • are far from necessary. They are, however, expensive on the local market)
  • Sheets (full size is recommended) and pillowcases (available locally, but are expensive and low quality)
  • One shower towel (expensive on the local market)
  • Towels (note: camping towels fold up small and dry quick)
  • Camara and film (expensive locally)
  • Portable music player and good quality headphones
  • Guitar or other musical instrument (if you play)
  • Charger and rechargeable batteries
  • Sunglasses (important to have with UV protection)
  • Wide-colored markers and other art supplies (available locally, but expensive)
  • Decorations for your room or apartment (e.g., posters, maps, and postcards of your hometown)
  • Favorite books and “how-to” books with illustrations (some Volunteers teach English formally or informally)
  • Flea collars, if you plan to have a pet
  • Equipment for hobbies, such as sewing patterns (expensive and hard to find in Ecuador) and musical instruments (you can buy a good handmade guitar in Ecuador)
  • Favorite games, Frisbee, foam footballs, word games, etc.
  • Knapsack or day pack (very important)
  • Medium-size backpack or duffel bag for weekend travel (available locally, but expensive)
  • Photos of family and friends (important) to show host family
  • Pillow, if you have a favorite one
  • Small flashlight or headlamp
  • Small pocket calendar or daily planner
  • Pocket knife or multi-tool (highly recommended)
  • Good quality water bottle
  • Duct tape
  • At least one good quality kitchen knife.
  • Ethnic spices (e.g., Indian) from the States if you plan to cook a lot
  • Travel alarm and watch (nothing flashy or expensive)
  • Small tool kit (available locally, but expensive so only bring if you would normally use one)
  • USB flash drive
  • Hair dryer (if you use one frequently in the States)
  • Laptop (useful for work purposes and tracking progress and activities throughout service, but not required)
 Keep in mind I can only take two luggage (together they cant exceed 80pds), a small carry on, and my laptop bag. This is going to be interesting.

And then I took a look at my closet and thought, "oh my goodness I cant possibly pack all of this in 2 bags and not exceed 80 freaken pds!!!"  In the past 5 years living here in Tucson I have accumulated too much clothing items and SHOES. Oh well I need to go through it all and just get rid of things that I have not utilized in the past 6 months.

I also have another to do list but I will not post that on here. Not because it is personal or anything just because it is scattered in notepads and post-it notes. I don't feel like rounding up all these little pieces of paper and compiling them into a massive list, I know I will have to do it at some point soon enough or chaos will take over.

I hope to keep up with this blog as much as possible as the time approaches when my new and exciting journey begins and as it unfolds. I will try my hardest to post on here and to also post pictures :) I know everyone enjoys having a visual to go along with a story.

Ciao for now!