oh here we go. now, when i ask myself how much time i have to get all my ducks in a row, the frightening reply is "less than a week." LESS THAN A WEEK. Lord, please help me.
the packing process began nearly 2 weeks ago, which is incredibly out of character for me, but has proven to be a good idea. i can take two 70 pound bags to london, but those same bags can only weigh 55 pounds when they leave london for freetown. why? i'm not really sure, but it would cost about $15 for each addition 2 pounds, so i'm not so worried about the 'why' as i am the actual weight of the bags. oh! and my carry-on can weigh no more than 17 pounds... yes, they will put it on a scale. i have plenty of space for everything, but not enough pounds to spare. turns out that contact solution, shampoo, and books (DUH, STEPH) weigh a lot more than you would guess. or i should say, more than I would guess. so i spend hours each day moving things back and forth from one bag to the next, hoping they will weigh less in my suitcase than they do in my backpack... i know, it doesn't sound like it makes sense, but there is a method to my madness.
so we now have piles all over my room. there are 'necessary' items, 'comfort' items, and items that fall into both categories (this really only means that i find them so comforting that they become necessary, i.e. my press-pot and DVDs). so the lines that form these categories are very blurry. but every single ounce matters in this quest. it's making me crazy. CRAZY.
i started my malaria medicine yesterday. i forgot how much i hate that stuff. i'm on lariam which is known to give people nightmares, hallucinations, and anxiety. this morning i realized (2 years after the incident) that my only brush with REALLY intense anxiety was the day i took my second dose of larium. which just happened to be the day i left for freetown for 4 months. that was a fun day. i am actually kinda relieved to think that the medication contributed to the chaos of that day because i've kinda beat myself up about that for 2 years now. so, we're just hoping and praying that nothing similar occurs this time. i was fine for the rest of the 4 months that i took the medicine. also i never did experience the joy of real hallucinations last time, but i came close. i regularly saw little flashes of light in my peripheral vision. first time it happened i thought, "ooh fireflies!" and then freaked out when they really weren't there. but then i got used to it. a UN pharmacist told me it was the lariam and it was causing random neurons to fire or something like that. but i will endure this if it lessens the chance of malaria attacking my brain and killing me. dad said something along the lines of 'so you can let malaria mess with your brain, or you can take medicine to do it for you?' yes, dad. that is exactly right. i only have a one month supply of the stuff and will likely switch to another drug once i'm in freetown. it is a drug that a well-educated local doctor recommends for long-term use. i don't think it would be smart to take the nightmare-hallucination-anxiety causing medicine for 3 years...
okay, i must return to the mess that is my room and continue shoving things into a suitcase that already weighs too much. 55 pounds per bag... and my suitcase alone weighs 10. it's a setup for failure.