Actually, I will be bringing both of these clothing items.
But let me tell you, it is not easy deciding what I should pack, when I only have room for two backpacks that are to be filled with all the belongings I will need for two years! Not to mention that I really have no idea where I will be living or what it will be like. Sure, I can take the suggestions of past Peace Corps volunteers and follow the lists of suggested items to bring from the Peace Corps, but according to how things have gone for all of time, I most certainly will leave something out.
So for now, I will make due with what I hope is everything I need, at least until I can write my Mom frantically for a box of oatmeal or some other obscure desire that I cannot possibly purchase in my new village. (Don’t worry Mom, I’ll try not to do that too often)
Obviously, I have packed my basic wardrope which will consist of cotton shirts, khaki pants, jeans, and lots of long skirts and dresses. In addition to that I have been instructed to bring something that will make me feel most comfortable when I am homesick and missing America. After long deliberation with Lauren Sawyer, we decided that I should take my pajama shirt that I have worn since I was 12, with ratty and ripping sleeves, as well as my two favorite books of poetry.
I have also been encouraged to bring unexpected items such as a shake-up flashlight (I would have accidentally bought one with batteries), a big bottle of conditioner (conditioner is very expensive in Senegal), a small French Press if I am a coffee lover (and I am), and present for my host family. I have decided to buy a jump rope, hopefully making me an immediate favorite within the household if my family has children 🙂 and a Nebraskan calendar so my family may see where I come from.
As far as getting ready for my trip… I guess I am becoming as ready as I’ll ever be. Now that I am back from Santa Barbara, Senegal seems to become more and more real the closer I get to August 29th. I just booked my trip to D.C. for 7:00 am from Omaha to Washington DC! After one day of last details orientation, we are given our shots and shipped out to Senegal on the next day, August 30th. In order to prepare, I have now been working only half a week on the ranch, using the other half to finish my TEFL program and learn as much French as I can within a month. I am also tieing up loose ends by signing a Power of Attorney, closing bank accounts, re-opening new ones which won’t expire until I get back, and saying goodbye to friends and family. I have one month left in the United States… I really can’t believe it.