Trying to Pack a Pachyderm

Packing has always hit me hard. It’s the one area that I am ever so slightly OCD about. Packing for a weekend requires at least a basic list and one repack. If I am packing for a week, the list is a bit more refined and requires probably one to two repacks. And when I am packing for trip requiring special equipment like a suit or cold weather layers, I have been know to repack upwards of five times. So, as I am preparing to pack for two years, should we take bets on how many time I will rewrite and repack? Hmmmm…

So I’ve been able to find most things on my (current) list: hammock, insect repellant clothes, tooth paste, multivitamins, toilet paper, biodegradable soap, iPad, and maybe a few pens. But the other essentials like underwear or socks or sheets or meal replacement haven’t shown up in my shopping cart yet. These items are needed before I leave this current home as there are no Targets or Whole Foods Markets in Béré, Tchad. Four weeks should be enough to find it all, right?

Moving to another continent for a new job in a different culture without online shopping is going to be a life changing experience. Not necessarily in the iconic “I-live-in-a-developing-country-so-I-have-an-even-stronger-savior-complex” experience that people share up front at church about. I hope to develop my skills of a communicator and program planner. Throw in French and basic Arabic along with a smattering of local languages and I’ll truly never stop talking. Writing, planning, administering, and evaluating a grant funded project will most like cause a few mental break downs followed by amazing data that can hopefully change the way public health is viewed in this region.

I’ve never been to this region of the world but I can tell you that I am ready to see what happens! I may not be packed yet, but as I walk on to that plane as it departs Reno International Airport and try to get some rest on the following four flight, I know I’ll be ready for that adventure!

Laborious Limbo




Since graduation in June, live has been less than action packed. It’s been filled with gardening, baking, memorial service planning, and running. Reflecting on these activities now, it seems that I have turned into an 85-year-old woman. Needless to say, it has been quite relaxing. Maybe a little bit too relaxing…

I’m still preparing for my upcoming job in Bèrè, Tchad, which is ending up to be a bit more work than I have expected (as far as the preparations). Since I am not living near Loma Linda University anymore, I have had to rely on emails and conference calls to suffice for my communication with most of the preparations. Between finances, the Global Health Institute (shout out to Angeli for TONS of help), and knowing what to pack, I’ve been on the verge of pulling out my fingernails several times.

I am stoked for this opportunity but I am also hesitant, as so much has already been jumbled. This position is dripping with potential but where my abilities end and luck has to take its course is still up in the air.

My tentative leave date is September 12, 2013. Less than six weeks away and so much has to happen. What would happen if I am offered another job in Syria or Sonoma or Siberia? One that paid enough to pay off my massive student loans, plus living, plus savings, plus a trip here or there?

Professionalism is a skill that us millennial need massive amounts of help on. Its just part of “learning to grow up” I guess. If anyone has some good links or ideas on how to be professional, positive, or productive, please let me know! I am always looking for ways to be a better employee, applicant, and colleague.

Stay tuned for updates as I continue to prepare for my next adventure!

Fresh baked today!