DH and I have decided to go to South-East Asia in January. (For any family members who may happen to be reading this post, this is your official notification, okay?) We have friends who have dedicated the last twenty years or so to working with the poor and marginalised and we have decided to go visit and, hopefully, help in any way that we can.
For someone who:
For someone who:
- hates flying,
- hates being away from home,
- hates leaving her children (even if they are all grown up),
- can speak only English and half a dozen words of te reo Māori (yes, Son#2, I can pronounce those words correctly),
- has forgotten all her high-school French and Latin (not that I'll need those languages where we're going but they do say that being able to speak a second or third language sets you up for learning another language),
- is fearful of contracting some dreaded tropical disease,
- hates snakes and spiders and other creepy crawlies (why do you think I live in New Zealand),
- is fearful of giving offense in another culture because we all know that Australians are brash and uncouth and show no respect,
- dislikes trying new food especially if it contains bones (I don't know if it will or not but if DH's experience a few years ago is anything to go by ...),
- fears travelling in a plane, boat, car, even on foot in a country that doesn't have our safety standards and regulations,
- doesn't want to miss anyone's birthday (even though it can't be avoided - apologies in advance if you're going to be one of them),
- has forgotten what temperatures over 28 degrees Celsius feel like (actually that's one aspect I'm really looking forward to),
- struggles with accents as a result of hearing loss,
- is likely to fall in love with every child she meets and want to bring them home,
- is allergic to sand flies (I don't care about the mossies even if they carry malaria - if I'm standing next to DH they'll bite him and leave me alone if they're anything like the ones back home),
- has finally had a shower in her own home for the first time in five years (relevant if you understand that where we're going there are no showers),
- is technologically challenged (I'm not sure how this fits in but it's obviously a disability),
- has never had any desire to use a squat toilet,
this is a huge step. Huge!!!
But we're going and I feel not just a peace about it all but am actually quite excited.
Yesterday we placed our feet on the first steps of the ladder that will see us reach those giddy heights of foreign travel. We applied for our criminal records (not that either of us have one but the only way to prove it is to have a letter from the Justice Department saying that we don't have one) and I had the first two jabs of what will probably be a total of six (seven if you count the one I have to have when we return home because I don't have time to fit it in before we go and I might as well have 100% immunity as opposed to 96% and the risk here of that particular illness is probably almost as high as where we are going). One arm is blissfully unaware that the nurse stuck anything into it. The other arm ... well, let's just say it's a different story. I'm just hoping that this is the same jab that DH has to have so that he can't say ever again that immunisation doesn't hurt (he had a lot of his jabs a few years back when he went overseas and, unlike me, has retained full immunity for other more standard ones).
But I'm sure it will be worth it. In fact, I know it will be!