I'm not sure if this will work or not, but I attempted to create a photo album where I can put up pictures of my journey. The link is here...let me know if it works: http://picasaweb.google.com/sarah.moglia/Africa?feat=directlink
So, recap of my last week. Let's start with the low, so we can finish on a high note. :)
Basically, money sucks for me. Apparently I was audited by the IRS, and they're trying to say I'm some kind of secret millionaire because I live in Pella and that's where all the millionaires in the world live and now I owe them a bunch of money (really, they're trying to say I made $8,000 extra dollars in 2007 and now owe them $300 in penalty fees). But I'm going to Africa so what are they gonna do, chase me down for 300 measly bucks? Good luck to them. (I'm sure my mom will be able to figure everything out, she's tricky like that.) Oh, and y'know that medical condition I was just diagnosed with? (Neurocardiogenic Syncope, in case you forgot.) Racked up about $7,000+ in bills for the test, talking to the doctor, and the prescription to take to Africa. Awesome. Oh, and my malaria medicine and vaccinations cost me a good $500. Then the Central College financial aid office somehow managed to just...forget about my loan. There's a whole story behind that which I'm pretty furious about, but I won't go into that here. Basically...they kind of sucked and now my payment will be late, so hopefully I won't get a fine or anything for that. (Not to bash Central College, I still love it, they just dropped the ball here.)
But, now the good stuff! My parents totally helped out with money, which I'm super grateful for. My Joan is gonna fight the man (the IRS and insurance company). She's a destroyer of worlds (*pause for laughs from the four people who will get that, everyone else just ignore that*), so I'm sure she'll help me out a lot.
Also, my final week at work was great. I'm really going to miss my coworkers. I did, however, leave behind a legacy that I like to call "Glenn Notes." Maybe sometime when I have nothing else to talk about (as if that'll ever happen), I'll explain what they are. Basically, they're hilarious notes to my boss that they're going to put in his mailbox every day.
On Friday, Erik came to visit. I was so glad that he did. He helped me pack, cause I suck at that...but I'm really good at procrastination, so, you know, I've always got that to fall back on. We went to Summerfest together and saw Carolina Liar, which was *amazing.* I love them, and we got to meet them after the show. Soooo great. Then I took Erik to Kopps, and if you're from Wisconsin, you're probably drooling at this point, but if you're not...just realize that if ever go to Milwaukee, you need to go to Kopps. Take my word for it (or ask Erik). He left after meeting a few of my friends, and then the party started. I'm so glad so many people came to wish me goodbye. I know a lot of people couldn't make it, but that happens. I'm happy for all the good wishes.
I'm actually quite humbled by how many people are interested in my trip, and how many people keep telling me I'll do great. I didn't realize so many people were interested in my life, and it's absolutely wonderful to have such fantastic people in my life. I probably don't say it often enough, but I love and appreciate all of you. It helps calm my fears when people (constantly) remind me to not get eaten by a lion. :) Of course, if I do die in Africa, I totally hope it's something cool like that.
My flight arrived about 20 minutes early, and it was fairly uneventful, minus the landing, during which I threw up everything my parents convinced me to eat (great advice, Jefe). (Warning: next sentence is gross) True story though, a Whopper still smells like a Whopper even after you puke it up. That's gotta be bad, right? Just for future reference.
After a small moment of panic at the airport about finding my driver and getting my bag, I found both, and we started to drive up to Bard College. I thought it was in the city, turns out it's 2 hours north of it. The driver and I had a fantastic talk though...we talked about politics, religion, life, travelling, etc. He's originally from Turkey, and he's a Muslim, and he was shocked by how much I knew about Islam. Thanks, Professor Kleven! He also was surprised at how friendly I was...since I sat in the front seat and talked to him. Apparently most New Yorkers who have a driver pick them up sit in the back seat...but that's weird to me? But he said I was very well educated for a 20 year old, and he was happy with how friendly I was (I may have even convinced him to visit the Midwest, because he said if people there are like me, he'd love to go)...so I feel like that's a good sign, that someone from another country said I was "not a dumb American." Yay! :) That's a big confidence booster, because I'm honestly afraid I'll be the dumbest person in this program...so far, I already found out that my roommate lived in Nigeria for 3 years, is a Poly. Sci. major, and basically a bad ass. I like her. :) Dunno if she'll be my roommate in Africa though. I don't even know where I'll be living there, in the International House or the dorms. We'll see!
Well, I should probably get some sleep now and adjust to the one hour time change... Johannesburg is 7 hours ahead of the Midwest, so that'll be fun, adjusting again. Anyway, my adventure is just beginning...I can't wait to see how things go!
My visa arrived today! Yay!! Oh, I don't even think you realize how happy I am about this. For a while it looked like it wasn't going to go through...that made me extremely nervous. Getting my visa was a huge hassle, but it finally worked out.
I have my vaccinations and anti-malaria medicine...now I need to focus on everything else I should take. Yikes. Any suggestions?
I leave for New York in 11 days, and South Africa in 13. Oh my. :)