Two weeks ago I left Unalaska to begin an overseas journey of at least a year. The two weeks since I left have been a whirlwind of activity – a series of so long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen visits with friends in both Unalaska and Anchorage; eight days of training in an industrial park in Sterling, VA; so far vain attempts to complete my taxes and other finance-related projects; and seemingly endless shopping. With every passing day I find at least one more thing that, really, I just ought to take with me because, well, I might actually need it. My bags get heavier by the day and yet I know – I’ve done this before – that I will ultimately find that I need, want and use only about half of what I take with me.
I’ve met quite a few new colleagues, including three who will be working with me in Liberia; have confirmed that I have a place to live in Monrovia, 169 meters or so from the Atlantic Ocean (thank you, Abi, for this information!); and now know that rainy season flooding is bad enough that I should’ve packed my Extra Tuffs. Apparently Monrovia is second only to Quibdó, Columbia, in terms of capital cities with the highest annual rainfall: 182 inches a year. Who knew? I did get a yellow and white parasol… I mean, umbrella, to tide me over until my boots arrive.
Tomorrow I fly IAD-BRU-ROB, and by Friday evening I will once again breathe the warm, humid air of Sub-Saharan Africa. Between now and then I am on a mission to find pork.