Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Lists

I received my staging papers on Monday of this week. I fly into Washington D.C. at the end of the month. I spend a day and a half in D.C. completing MORE paperwork and getting MORE shots (Hurray!). Though I am NOT looking forward to the flight (I HATE flying) or the paperwork and the shots, I AM looking forward to meeting the "Peace Corps Rwanda" team.

Later that week, I take a seven hour flight from D.C. into Brussels. After a brief sparring session with Jean-Claude Van Damme (*Pictured Above: Van Damme accepts Emmett's challenge at a press conference*), I get on another flight (this one is eight hours) that departs from Brussels to Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. I spend a couple of days in Kigali and then I drive about 2.5 hours Southwest to the city of Butare. Once at Butare, I begin my ten week pre-service training - six days a week, eight-ten hours each day. When I complete my training, then I am sworn in as a volunteer and I receive my official assignment.

Anywaaaaaaays...estimated total flight time for Emmett during the last week of January:
17 hours!

Can you believe it?! Grooooooooooooooss!

I wish I could tell you more, but that is really all I know right now. HOWEVER, I did finally get my packing list, so that is cool. In honor of receiving this coveted piece of paperwork, I would like to dedicate this blog entry entirely to lists...check this entry every so often because I will be adding to it as my journey continues!

What I have packed thus far and What I need to pack:

Yeah, I feel like packing isn't going to be all that bad. I can bring 80 lbs of gear, but I hear that I can buy most of what I need in Rwanda. Sooooooo...yeah, that is kinda what I plan on doing...we will see how that works out for me...anywaaaaaaaaays...

What I will miss (in no particular order of importance):

-Family and friends, of course
-All the service agencies, non profits, schools, churches, etc. I have worked with and all the awesome, hardworking people I have met working there...especially at the House
-Playing Game Cube with Trevor at the House
-Teaching Rikiesha magic tricks and jokes at the House
-Heart-to-heart discussions with dad, Kevin, Rick, and Rick
-Taking Lisa out to dinner
-My mother's cooking; especially her baking
-Playing tennis
-Eating the animals my dad and brothers kill on their hunting excursions...yeah, I'm not a big fan of guns, but the fork suits me just fine!
-Going to mass with my family on Sundays
-Long, hot showers
-Playing bags
-Tailgating before Chicago White Sox games
-Speaking poor English
-Having four distinct seasons, especially the FALL (my favorite season ever)
-My car radio, which has been broken since like August...I blame Lisa only because she was there when it crapped out and it totally couldn't be MY fault...yeesh, thanks a ton, Lisa!
-Checking my email and FACEBOOK...hourly...and "You Tube" (granted I don't have much computer access)
-Playing Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" on "Rock Band" with the guys, then being accused by John of breaking his "Rock Band" instruments
-Playing "Rock Band" on the drums...then breaking them...ha!
-Wednesday night pub quiz at "The Auld Dubliner"
-Sending people mob wars invitations on facebook KNOWING they are not going to join my mob
-Tricking people into believing my wild, ridiculous stories and seeing how good I am at getting people to believe know what I'm talking about...
-Annoying my friends by yelling out "flavor flaaaaaaaaaaave!" and/or "booyakasha" when I enter a room, win a game, or whenever the mood strikes me
-Getting my butt kicked in pool by Rick every Monday...I am soooooo glad we never put money on those games...and P.S. I KNOW you let me win those few times too! Be ready when I get back!
-Short jokes about me; especially those of Emily and Kevin ...J's are pretty funny too...ha!
-Telling people to "prove it" after they make a statement or claim about something...I have to thank J for getting me started on that one
(Example: Person: "I had the best cup of coffee today." Me (or J): "Prove it")
-Being on the same darts team with Johnny, destroying the competition for hours on end, and being total jerks about winning the entire night! Hahahaha! I want 1,000 points next game, Johnny!
-Movies at Hollywood Blvd.
-Watching The Three Stooges and Svengoolie with my youngest brother
-Getting early breakfasts with Jeff. Though I was late to half of them, they were awesome
-Playing video games with my brothers...we must have beaten all three "Halos" like one million times each by now
-Poker nights
-Coursework at The Second City on Thursday nights...and the improv show that follows

What I won't miss (in no particular order of importance; they all suck equally):

-The nickname "Butters"! Somehow I "earned" that name within the past 18 months. Ah applesauce, I hate that name!
-Chicago Winters
-Paying for gas, oil changes, my car loan, and pretty much any expense that is car related
-Working evenings and weekends, though I will probably have to do that in Rwanda too
-Spam (the meat and the junk email...again, if I have computer access, then all bets are off)

What I am looking forward to (again, in no order of importance):

-The change of scenery
-Wearing summer/spring clothing all the time
-Meeting new people
-The challenges that will come with the work I am doing
-Using my French
-Possibly getting a tan that will last all year...this may turn into a burn that will last all year...we'll see
-Catching and training my first butler monkey; there will be one at first, but he'll train others
-Writing letters home; receiving letters from home
-Getting MUCH more exercise
-Tasting new foods and drinks
-Trying my hand at photography and writing
-Haggling with store owners
-Telling people to "Prove it" in Kinyarwandan and French
-Learning about Rwandan humor and telling jokes in the native tongue
-Improving on my character flaws and strengthening my better attributes; being completely out of my element and observing my behavior, in general

What I am not looking forward to (you get it by now):

-Bug bites
-Sweating all the time; at least in the beginning
-The plane rides
-Getting sick...I'm sure my body will need to acclimate for the first couple weeks/months
-Missing everyone and their important life events

Meh, that's all I got for now...I am sure I missed a bunch of things on these lists...I will add to this entry as the weeks continue...Moreover, I promise my next entry will have more to do with the country of Rwanda too...and I will try not to make it into a history lesson, I promise.

Keep me posted and I'll do the same...more to come...

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