Friday, February 4, 2011

Packing Pile

I wanted to post some pictures of the mess I have created of packing.  Having too much time to prepare for Peace Corps is not good for me because it allows me more time to think of crap that I "need".  Thus, I have way too much stuff and it's never going to fit into my bags, let alone fit the 80 lb. weight limit.  I'm definitely going to have to get rid of a bunch of this or have it mailed once I am at my site.  I'm still waiting on the arrival of my duffle bag and my ExOfficio underwear. There are still a few things I have yet to buy, but most are small and won't take up much room.  I think.  I feel like my grandmother who packs 6 months early for a week long trip.  But I'm packing 2 months early for a 2 year trip.  It's just getting ridiculous at this point, but I just have to feel like I'm doing SOMETHING to prepare. 

From top left: my pack & the detachable day pack, sleeping bag, journal, water bottle, condom/contraception demo kit, black laptop case, orange bag for jewelry, green veggie bags, ziploc bag with flashlights and leftover glow sticks from Colin's paratrooper days, bag with knives in it, ziploc with markers, pens, pencils, etc.
 From top left, clockwise: Yellow clutch, re-usable shopping bags & drawstring backpack, flip flops, Merrells, bagged clothes, bag with extra glasses, etc.
 Shoes, bras, clothes, bag with extra glasses, radio, speaker, watch, external hard drive
 Another angle
 Bin that is holding stuff that I definitely want during training: toilettries, green fleece sleeping bag liner, blue quick drying towel, washcloths
 Bin holding stuff that I definitely want at staging: Make-up & toilettries, sneakers that I plan to wear on the plane, purple fleece and pink rain jacket to wear for travel into Philly
 Stuff that I will keep in storage while I'm in training, or things that will have to be mailed to me because they won't fit under the limit.  From top left: non-stick pan, extra bras & clothes, Camelbak, good kitchen knife, veggie peeler, can opener, extra toilettries, waterproof camera cage
 Another view of the same stuff
 Bag with my glasses, radio, watch, speaker, & external hard drive
 Another view of the same bag- tape measure is for keeping track of my body measurements since I won't be bringing a scale and my clothes will get all stretched out from hand washing/drip drying and I want to be able to monitor my weight so that I can maintain a healthy weight while I'm gone.  I didn't lose 38 pounds just to gain it back in Africa. 
 My luggage tags, yellow ones stolen from Colin from his deployment, my various pouches for money & passport, luggage locks
Another view of veggie bags, orange jewelry bag, black laptop case, yellow clutch, bag of glow sticks & flashlighs, bag with knives and bag of markers, pens & pencils

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Peace Corps Playlist

I have a playlist for everything.  Every road trip I've been on has included a playlist.  There is a playlist specifically for Bachelorette parties (I've planned a few back in my days as a professional bridesmaid).  I have a playlist for painting my house, tiling my kitchen countertops, holidays from Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year's Eve to Easter to various birthdays.  There's one titled "Awesome", that I'm kind of scared to look at for fear that it's not actually awesome, and moreso, that it's probably really embarassing.  One was made with a drag show in mind, aptly titled "good things to listen to" (??) which I think was used when we ordered a male stripper (named TRACY!) for a bachelorette party which almost got us forcibly removed from a very nice hotel in Manhattan (sorry, Parker Meridian).  There are some for various weddings, people in my life for whom I've made cds, and various cities in which I've lived or visited that are associated with certain songs.  I have a playlist for deployment that thankfully hasn't gotten any use in recent years (and will hopefully never get use again).   So obviously, I would have a Peace Corps playlist.  It's cheesily entitled "Inspire" and was made with the idea that I'm going to need pick-me-ups in the form of music during my service.  It's also made with the idea that I love depressing music.  A little bit of juxtaposition for ya.  Anyway, I thought I would share some of it, mostly because it makes me laugh when I think of what a huge dork I am, and thought you might like to laugh at me yourself.  Feel free to share your own Peace Corps inspired music selections- I'd love to add to my collection, and maybe laugh at you, too.

Inspire Playlist
ABBA: I Have a Dream (needs no explanation)
Alanis Morissette: You Learn (because I am a product of 90s angry lady rock)
All-American Rejects: Move Along
Beatles: Carry that Weight, Blackbird, Let it Be, Getting Better, With a Little Help from my Friends (gotta have some Beatles)
Black Eyed Peas: Where is the Love (come on, this is cheesy)
Bon Jovi: It's My Life, Living on a Prayer, Who Says You Can't Go Home (because what's more inspiring than Bon Jovi?)
Britney Spears: Stronger (Britney's always good for a dance party)
Bruce Hornsby: The Way it Is (Please tell me you remember this song written by a rich American white dude about tough lives, like he really knows much about "the way it is")
Songs from the Lion King, because I'm going to be in Africa, duh.
Cat Stevens: Wild World, Peace Train
Cher: Believe (one of the top gay anthems of all time, and thus will inspire me to be awesome and timeless like Cher)
Dixie Chicks: Ready to Run, Heartbreak Town, Landslide, More Love, Top of the World, Long Way Around, Wide Open Spaces (because you may learn that I have a semi-secret past as a country music fan, also the Dixie Chicks are amazing)
A Fine Frenzy: Come On, Come Out, The Minnow & the Trout
Fiona Apple: The Child is Gone
Fleetwood Mac: Go Your Own Way
Garth Brooks: Standing Outside the Fire (yes, embarassing)
Glee Cast: Don't Stop Believin' (one of my all time favorites), 4 minutes (because sometimes you only have 4 minutes to save the world), Somebody to Love, Keep Holding on, Defying Gravity, Over the Rainbow, Taking Chances, Dream On, I Dreamed a Dream (GLEE IS AWESOME, don't hate.)
Guster: Manifest Destiny, The Captain, Amsterdam, Homecoming King, Keep It Together, Rise & Shine, I'm Through, G Major
Imogen Heap: Wait it Out
Ingrid Michaelson: Keep Breathing
Irene Cara: Flashdance... What a Feeling (sometimes I'm a steel town girl on a Saturday night)
Jewel: Till We Run Out of Road
Jo Dee Messina: Bring on the Rain (there's that country past creepin')
Joan Baez: Blowin' in the Wind
Kate Nash: Mouthwash
Katy Perry: Firework
Kelly Clarkson: Breakaway
The Killers: Smile Like You Mean It
Lee Ann Womack: Something Worth Leaving Behind, I Hope You Dance
Little Shop of Horrors Cast: Downtown (I always wanted to play Crystal, Chiffon, or Ronnette).

Lynyrd Skynryd: Free Bird (no playlist is complete without it)
Owl City: Hello Seattle
Sara Bareilles: City, Uncharted, King of Anything
Sara Evans: Born to Fly
Sarah McLachlan: Fallen, World On Fire, Do What You Have To Do
Shania Twain: Up!, She's Just a Pretty Face, C'est La Vie
SHeDAISY: Out of My Mind (seriously obsessed with this song when I was deciding to apply for Peace Corps 3 years ago), Whatever It Takes
Sheryl Crow: Sweet Child O' Mine, Light in Your Eyes, If it Makes You Happy, Good Is Good, Wildflower, Lifetimes, Where Has All the Love Gone
Sia: Little Black Sandals, Clap Your Hands, Bring Night, Cloud
Simon & Garfunkel: Sound of Silence
Stevie Wonder: Superstition
Sugarland: Something More, Settlin'
Taylor Swift: Long Live
TI: Live Your Life
Tom Petty: American Girl, Runnin' Down a Dream, Learning to Fly, Into the Great Wide Open, Walls
Vanessa Carlton: Ordinary Day, A Thousand Miles

 This one is a particular gem.  Thanks, Genesis!