Saturday, September 24, 2011

Significant 2s

I leave in 2 days for Puerto Rico.  I'll be staying in San Juan for 2 nights before I fly to Martinique.  Then I'll stay in Fort-de-France for 2 nights before I get picked up by my tuteur and see my apartment.  I'll stay in my apartment in le Morne Vert for 2 nights before returning to Fort-de-France for 2 nights for my orientation.  That's a lot of 2s.  Must be significant somehow!

My current favorite activity is making lists.  And then crossing things off those lists.  So:

Things to Do:

  • Repack my suitcase.  Again.  I packed it completely, realized it was 2 pounds overweight, repacked it to make it lighter, only to discover that my suitcase is falling apart.  So I now need to transfer all of my crap into a different suitcase.  Ugh.
  • Figure out my travel insurance.  Yeah, I know I probably should have made this call before now.  But I forgot.
  • Deposit money into my checking account.  I went to do this yesterday, but I didn't have a pen.  I hate how drive-thu ATMs never have pens.
  • Back up computer.  Kind of important.  
  • Make plans for Puerto Rico.  I want to have an idea of what I want to do while I'm there.  Or at the very least, write down directions to my hostel.  Side note: I got an email from them the other day saying that there have been setbacks due to the hurricane so my room wouldn't be available.  Instead, they're putting me in a bigger room (by myself) for free.  Yep, free.  There might not be hot water, but come on... FREE.

Off to be productive before a family dinner tonight!

Monday, September 19, 2011


I leave one week from today.

Somehow it doesn't feel real yet, unless I start looking over documents and my lists of things to do.  Then I feel unprepared and get overwhelmed.

So I'm taking a very avoidance approach to this whole thing.  As soon as I start to feel stressed, instead of freaking out, I just avoid doing anything Martinique-related.  Whenever my mind starts to buzz and I feel overwhelmed, I just pour myself a glass of wine.

So far this approach hasn't helped to cross much off my to-do list, but I am doing a good job at helping my parents out with their abundant supply of alcohol...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

T minus 10 days

I leave for Martinique in 10 days, and I'm feeling extremely unprepared.

My head is a big jumbled mess right now.  For the past several days, my mind has been running a mile a minute trying to make note of things I should pack and what I need to do before I leave.

I'm anxious to go abroad again.  It's been over 3 years since I've left the country, which in my opinion is way too long.  I've stayed in the States for so long that I've become a little too comfortable with life here, and I've been feeling very nervous about traveling to a new area again.  Excited, definitely.  But nervous. I think that's a good sign that it's past time for me to do something new.

I studied abroad in France for a semester in 2008.  I was 21, which felt old at the time.  But that was when I began to really figure out who I am.  Those short few months in France taught me so much, but I want to get so much more out of my upcoming experience in Martinique.  So... Time for a list.

DO be prepared.
... but DON'T overpack.

Monday, September 5, 2011

"Everything Is Under Control"

Last week I heard from my tuteur in Martinique.  Her name is Karine and she is my main contact person in Martinique.

I had actually gotten a phone call from her while I was in Chicago.  My mom and I had been shopping in Ann Taylor Loft when I received a call from some weird number.  When I listened to the voicemail (actually, voicemails--one in English, one in French) it was from Karine.  I had a hard time hearing the message, but it basically consisted of her repeatedly saying "Don't panic!  Everything is good, everything is under control."  She had been vacationing in the south of Martinique, so she said she would call back.

Last week, I was dealing with a customer when my phone rang.  Again, it was the weird number, so I let my manager take over as I scurried outside to take the call.  My first impression of Karine is that she seems amazingly sweet.  She told me she would be my "mother in Martinique" and would help me with everything once I'm there.  She kept telling me not to panic and that everything is under control.  (Hmm.  I wasn't panicking... but should I have been..?)

I found out that I am actually going to be living in le Morne Vert.  It is a bit further south than le Morne Rouge.  I am assuming that maybe le Morne Vert is a part of the school district of le Morne Rouge.... Minor details that I will just figure out when I'm there.

Karine said she will pick me up from the airport when I arrive in Fort-de-France and drive me back to le Morne Vert.  She found an apartment for me (apparently with a view of the sea), but if I don't like it, she'll help me search around for something else.  She also told me that the Spanish assistant that was supposed to be placed in the same district is no longer doing the program, which is disappointing but explains why she had never responded to the email I sent in July.

Things are coming together, and I'm starting to get excited.  It still doesn't feel real, but it will soon.  Tomorrow is my last day of work for the summer, and I'll be able to spend my last few weeks at home getting packed and spending time with family and friends.

3 weeks from TODAY