Yelp! Less than few days before I leave for Africa once again. I'll be gone for three months just like I was last time, but this trip feels very different.
Before my last trip 2 and half years ago, I was working as an overnight stocker at Toys r Us before the holidays. It was a crazy job and there was only one thing that kept me going--earn enough money to go back to South Africa! I really wanted to get back to the animals in Africa, maybe because I didn't have much happening with people in America.
This time is different. I am taking a leave from a job and a work family that I have come to love. It happened gradually from my first days as a volunteer at the Wildlife Care Network. Now I care deeply about the work, the animals, and the people. I'm nearing my last days at work and it has been emotional. Leaving, even for a few months, is a lot harder than I thought it would be.
Preparing for this trip has also been very different. One of the projects sent me a packing list with strong recommendation about what I should bring. It has been a very interesting scavenger hunt, trying to track down all the supplies. Surgical gloves first aid kit, water purification. They even wanted me to try to pack sterile needles because they often have shortages.
The craziest part about my trip is that I'm leaving on the Sunday after Thanksgiving...I didn't think about this when I booked the trip, but that's the busiest day of the year at the airport! I don't mind all the people, but I hate the waiting. I will be flying out from L.A.X. which is about a two hour drive when there's no traffic. But is it Sunday after Thanksgiving so there will be traffic!!!
I figure I need to leave my town 7 hours before my flight is scheduled to leave just to be safe. Oh how my nerves will be all over the place! I know from my experiences on the last two trips I was a wreck up until I took my seat on the plane. Then I thought "What am I worried about?" and I passed out from the wrecked nerves =). It's a long flight from LA to London, but I bet I will sleep like a baby!
Since this was Thanksgiving week, some family members I don't see very often have been visiting. I'm very grateful I got to see my cousins, my aunts, and my uncle before I leave for Africa. They have been telling me that they are so proud of me and that it is amazing thing I will be doing. I've been so caught up in the details that it was good to take a deep breath and just feel the gratitude. I am grateful for my family and my newfound friends, grateful that I've found work I love in States, grateful for the opportunity to go back to Africa.
And now I've got to get back to packing!!!