Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ready to go

I repacked until my checked bag was down from 57.8 lbs to 49.6 lbs, barely making the cutoff. I've loaded up my kindle and prepared an episode of Doctor Who for the plane ride. I had my last vaccination, the flu shot, yesterday. I've already seen the Peru group off at seven this morning.

I'm ready to go.

I thought I was ready on Saturday when I got here, but instead I got to spend four days meeting all the other fantastic and fascinating Bridge Year students. A lot of the orientation felt drawn out, but it gave us plenty of time to get to know each other. I'll be keeping in touch with them through their blogs, Facebook, Skype, etc. I didn't realize just how different all of the programs are-- the kids going to India hardly took any clothes, since they need to buy local outfits later. We're the only site with 100% safe water.

I found out that I'll be going to more countries than I originally thought. I'll be flying through Zurich on the way there and Frankfurt on the way back, and on my trip I'll visit Serbia (obviously), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. All I'm missing is Slovenia and Kosovo and I'd have a former-Yugoslavia bingo.

My Serbian is still pretty weak so far. I know how to say "good morning," "apple," "rabies," "friend," and the numbers from zero to ten (you know, all the important things). Former Bridge Year participants came back with a pretty strong grasp of Serbian, so I'm not too worried about it (yet).

A few people back home have still been confusing Serbia and Siberia (and Syria, somehow) but they're quite different. When I land in Belgrade tomorrow afternoon, the high will be 91°F (33°C). Its climate seems pretty similar to Princeton's, just colder in the winter. We'll get all four seasons.

All throughout orientation, I felt anxious. Not worried, just ready. And now that the time's come, I still feel ready.

In about half an hour, I'll be on a bus to JFK. I won't be back in the States for nine months, and I'm sure I can fill that time with all sorts of adventures.

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