28 August 2010

Really quickly!

Oh hey. I only have a couple minutes on the internet here in Kampala, so this is just a quick update. I have another blog post typed up on my laptop to post at some point, hopefully sometime next week. But everything is going really, really well, and I'm loving Africa as much as the last time, although I can't believe it's been two and a half weeks already and I can't believe it's only been two and a half weeks so far. I'm learning to speak Ateso, which is spoken out in eastern Uganda, so that's where I'll be headed in about eight weeks or so when we all split up and head to site (and I'll know specifically where my site is in like six weeks or so). And I'm living with a Ugandan family and the other night they told me that I'm already starting to change color and that in one year I'll look just like them and I'll be African. And they're African so I feel like they know what they're talking about. I walk 45 minutes to and from training each day and have at least fifty kids yelling "See you, muzungu!" and waving the whole time but they're adorable so you can't get mad about it and the walk is nice too, over rolling hills through banana trees and fields of cattle once you get out of town and stop having to dodge the boda bodas and taxis that kick up the red dust that covers everything here.

I don't know if that makes it sound nice or not, but I am loving it. Being back in Africa makes my heart happy.

More later this week (hopefully).

08 August 2010

Pack It Up, the Third

Adding one more thing to the packing list: this guy.

He shoots mini-Polaroids and is seriously awesome and I can't wait to be able to give the pictures out and/or hang them on my walls.

(Much thanks to Whit...)

07 August 2010


I'm also going to miss: Concerts at Neumos / the Showbox / the Crocodile / the everywhere else. The free concerts at the Mural, and Block Party. Lying in the grass and reading in Cal Anderson Park on sunny afternoons. Judging hipsters in Cal Anderson Park at all times and in all weather-systems. Monday nights. Jeopardy-time. Elliott Bay (the bookstore and the body of water). The chants at the Sounders games and at the George and Dragon. Trivia. Paseo (but I said that already) and, along those same lines, Serious Pie / Red Mill / Mr Gyro's / Hopvine / the Taco Hut / Molly Moon's / all those other places we love to eat. Nighttime bike rides. Angry Birds. Snow days. Fremont Oktoberfest. Fremont Solstice Parade. Fremont. Capitol Hill. Ballard. GChat. Those two cats in the mix. Alki and its bonfires and sunsets and frisbee and pizza and beer. KEXP and KUOW. HIMYM and LOST. Maybe even the Jersey Shore. The purple Bandit. Rock-climbing off Exit 34. Hiking and snowboarding. Sunriver. Leaving and coming back and the feeling, when you get back, of being home. The Olympic Peninsula and when you could see the mountains from the deck. Apple cider whiskey on the deck with a winter sunset when it's icy cold out. BBQing on the deck with a summer sunset when it's sticky hot inside the apartment. Walking around the city when you come around the corner of a building or to the top of a hill and you see the Space Needle sticking up into a sunny blue-orange-pink-purple or cloudy gray-gray-gray or a Blue-Scholars-inkwell of a starry night sky, reminding you where you are and how lucky you are to be here in this city and with these people during these -- the best, the best, the best -- years of our lives and your heart swells to fuller than full so that you never want to leave even when you do want to leave, so you can't leave, not really, because you're taking so much of it with you, in your head and your heart, and all you hear as you look out at your home, at your city, is that one distinctive voice, giddy and truly happy, reminding you, as if you could ever, ever, ever forget, saying, "We live here."

06 August 2010

Seattle Things

One of the best things about leaving is being motivated to do things around Seattle that I love doing or have always wanted to do but haven't gotten around to yet.

So, late on Tuesday night, Ryan, his friend Michael, and I hiked up to Camp Muir on the south side of Mt. Rainier. We started on the trail at 2:30am, brought our snowboards along, and just as the sun was brushing orange and pink across the summit, we were strapping in and coasting down, looking out on a jagged range of peaks across the valley while fog nestled in around their foothills.

It was stupidly gorgeous. I got a chance to sit in the snow and shiver and I don't know how long it will be until I am cold and surrounded by snow again. It was one of those things that I wish I had done earlier so I could have done it again. It was a great way to spend one of my last nights here.

(And when you include the fact that, before heading up to the mountain, I went to Paseo for dinner, it gets even harder to top this.)

(Also, just FYI, you can click on the picture to get the full size. It's pretty awesome.)

05 August 2010

Pack It Up, Again

Some of those various miscellaneous things I was forgetting last night:
  • Maps: Detailed map of Uganda / World map (to show everyone Seattle).
  • Tapatio! (Hot sauce) (To make the starchy banana-mash staple food more palatable.)
  • Gifts for my Host Family: Something small / Seattle-related (postcards or a calendar) to go with what I'll get them when I get there and actually meet them and see what they'd want/need.
  • Power Strip (for charging multiple things at once).
  • Pot Holders (which apparently are not available in Uganda).
  • Superglue (because, if you've seen my sunglasses..).
  • Bungee Cords.
  • Small sewing kit (for replacing buttons, stitching up wounds sustained while wrestling lions, etc).
  • Passport-sized Photos for official documents / copies of all important documents.
  • Aloe Vera (for my lily-white skin).
  • Seeds (in case I want to supplement my diet by growing a green thumb).
  • Addresses of friends and family.
And, again, I'm sure there's plenty of stuff that I'm missing. But, hopefully, I'll remember it all before Sunday.

04 August 2010

Pack It Up, Pack It In

At some point in every conversation I've had about going to Uganda, someone's asked me, "What, exactly, are you bringing with you?"

Until about two days ago, I always responded, "I don't really know. I haven't looked at the packing list yet. So we'll see." (And yes, I am currently vying for Peace Corps Uganda's "Procrastinated-the-Longest Award That I Just Made Up." It's really coming down to the wire, but we'll find out the results later.)

Now, however, though I haven't actually begun packing, I do have a packing list.

And here it is:

  • Netbook / Charger
  • Camera (Lumix) / Charger / Memory Card / Card Reader
  • Camera (Canon) / Charger / Extra Batteries / Memory Cards / Card Reader
  • Lenses: Canon EFS 18-55mm / Canon EF 75-300mm
  • Ipod / Powercord / Headphones
  • Hard-drive
  • Voltage Convertor?
  • Plug Adaptor?
  • T-Shirts (5)
  • Button-downs (4)
  • Tie (1)
  • Khakis (2)
  • Jeans (1)
  • Boxers - ExOfficio Travel (4)
  • Socks (Dress: 1) (Running: 2)
  • Khaki Shorts (1)
  • Gym Shorts (1)
  • Board Shorts (1)
  • Belt (1)
  • Thermal Shirt (1)
  • Jacket (1)
  • Hat (1)
  • Rainbows (Flip-flops)
  • Running Shoes (Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra)
  • Boat Shoes (For more formal occasions)
  • Headlamp (1) / Flashlight (1)
  • Knives (2 pocketknives, 1 kitchen knife)
  • Duct Tape
  • Towel (2)
  • Sunglasses
  • Flat Sheets (2)
  • Pillow (1)
  • Mattress Cover
  • Batteries (AA and AAA)
  • Cliff Bars
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Nalgenes (2)
  • Bandana
  • Pens
  • Moleskine / Small Notebooks
  • Pictures


  • Glasses (2 pair)
  • Contacts / Case / Solution
  • Eye-drops
  • Toothbrush / Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Razor / Shaving Cream
  • Shampoo
  • Beard Trimmer
So that is it for now. I'm probably 99% sure that I'm missing something important on there or haven't listed various minor extras that I'll end up bringing. For now, though, that's what I'll be leaving with come Sunday (!!!) night.

(And the picture at the top is of my actual packing list -- I was playing around with the new 75-300mm lens. I enjoyed it.)

01 August 2010

It's Been Awhile..

..But suddenly I'm running out of time.

So here's a quick update:

Since the last time I posted, lots of things have happened.

Job: Quit -- and I'm really thankful for the opportunity I had to work there; I wouldn't have gotten into the Peace Corps if I hadn't been working at the Arc.

Car: Sold -- and then I regretted selling it so quickly; the bus is slow and I'm pretty sure it's always late, but everyone (rightly so) tells me it's just getting me ready for Africa Time.

Apartment: Moved out of -- and it only took twelve hours yesterday, plus several hours on Friday, up and down fifty-one stairs, over and over; so by my rough calculations, I climbed to the top of the Empire State Building probably at least one and half times, carrying probably the weight of the Empire State Building.

Possessions: Down to four boxes and a little bit extra.

So now I've got a rough packing / shopping / to-do list and I'm trying check off the boxes and squeeze in as much time with as many people as possible and simultaneously process the fact that I'm moving to Uganda in a few days while also not thinking about it too much so it doesn't make my head explode in a combination of excitement and stress and anticipation and sadness or not necessarily sadness but bittersweetness or whatever the real word for that is.

Basically I want to be able to quote Daniel Faraday from Lost: "I can do it. I can make time."