To-Do Lists and Goodbyes

Hello readers,

I imagine that anyone who has ever moved, gone on vacation, or started a new job can understand the scramble that ensues when you realize that your time has disappeared rapidly and you need to kick it into high gear to be prepared.

I am currently in that state of panic.

Troy Barnes is my spirit animal

I have roughly 2 weeks until I leave. 6 days of that will be spent at work, 4 days are reserved for my last weekend with my sister, and 1 day will be occupied by my going away party. This leaves about 4 days for shopping, packing, and otherwise preparing to live and work in a foreign country for 9 months.

When I get to this stage of an impending deadline, I tend to write to-do-lists. Here is my most recent draft:

  1. Catalog clothes and determine what you still need
  2. Buy case for netbook
  3. Try out new camera
  4. Look into expat insurance plans
  5. Find educational materials to bring (Apples to Apples JR, etc.)
  6. FINISH A DANCE WITH DRAGONS (in capitals because I am borrowing the book)
  7. Load up external hard drive with TV shows and movies
  8. Find all electronic chargers, USB connectors, and electricity converters necessary
  9. Print TLG Manual and packing list
  10. Find baggage weight limits and fees for all airlines
  11. Look into banks with better international options
  12. Bring enough U.S. cash for medical exam
  13. Load music onto iPod
  14. Find a purse that fits camera, crosses body, and sits under arm
  15. Get enough of my prescriptions for entire 9 months

I am almost certain that doesn’t cover all that still needs to be done, which is why it is still a draft. On top of the boring, technical preparations, there is the bittersweet struggle to spend time with all of my friends and family before I leave.

Tonight, my older sister Jenna will arrive and stay through Monday in what will more than likely be our last few days together until she (hopefully) comes to visit me on the other side of the globe.

Jenna and I in South Korea, where she taught ESL in 2010/11

My going away party is one week from today, and according to Facebook it should be a good turnout, but my friends are scattered all over the place, so I won’t get to say my goodbyes to most of my hometown homies, including one of my best friends who lives in Denver. On top of that, nobody can possibly understand how much I will miss my nephews, who will grow exponentially in the course of 9 months.

When I went to Prague on a semester abroad, I missed major milestones in half the duration of my teaching contract. Jesse the oldest started reading, Hunter in the middle formed his own personality, and Matty the youngest started talking. They saw me quite a bit on Skype, but I will miss the little moments most of all.

Matty, 3, Hunter, 5, and Jesse, 7 being adorable as always

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. This is the longest time I will ever be away from my family, from Washington State, from America. It is my first time teaching English or living with a host family. Georgia is the furthest away from home I have ever ventured to go (an 11 hour time difference and almost exactly on the other side of the world). Despite all of that, I am also excited to be in Georgia.

It’s the transition I am not so fond of. I don’t want to say 100 goodbyes and pack my life into two bags and spend my last few weeks at home running from one task on my to-do list to the next. But alas, that is where I am right now.

Wish me luck! Until next time,

-Kacie Riann

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