6 Month Reflection

It’s almost been 6 months since we’ve been here – we flew in just before American Thanksgiving, around 21 November 2010. Aside from a small handful of frustrating situations, we have no complaints, and are happy here (for a variety of reasons) – in my case, I know I’m happier than I could be in a Western country, but that’s because I’m a terrible American, etc. and so on.

One thing about being here for six months is that we can now look back and say “Hey… here’s what we would have done differently” in the packing and run-up, and hopefully this can be useful to anyone planning a trip out here for a prolonged period that will include the winter months.

Things We Wish We’d Brought

  • spices/mixes (garlic powder, Adobo seasoning, dried onion, maple extract, dry apple cider mix)
  • another pair of flip-flops/sandals each (some of the good sturdy brands you just can’t find out here)
  • Ziplock bags (we ask everyone to send anything they have to send us, in ziplocks)
  • another really good set of knives (thank you Cheyenne & Fox!)
  • another really good set of measuring cups (thank you Andrew & Michelle!)
  • our KitchenAid mixer (yes, I know it’s unfeasible. Still – I do wish we had it!)
  • good silicon spatulas/flippers/scrapers/general kitchen tools – we’ve picked up some wooden ones, but I’m worried about monsoon.
  • hatchet
  • Adam’s housecoat:  you don’t really find bathrobe/housecoats up here. Nightgowns or thin thin robes, but not terrycloth, fleece or similar.
  • Adam’s hiking boots
  • a pair of good winter slippers for each of us (sheepskin & lined, or felted & lined, with good solid soles)
  • board/card games (Guillotine, Once Upon A Time, Settlers of Catan, Munchkin, etc)
  • cooling pad for overheating laptops

Things We Wish We Hadn’t Brought

  • Darcey’s winter coats: unless you’re going up to Jammu & Kashmir or planning a winter holiday with snow, they’re overkill for the climate (given that I have no blood, I’m always cold–but I wore one once!).
  • Darcey’s winter boots: again for the ‘mountains in winter’ theory, even with only a possible little bit of snow; ended up with blisters the one time they were worn, because the temps warmed up so quickly.
  • Queen size fitted sheets: they don’t fit the beds here, which are literally two single beds pushed together. The sizes don’t match up.
  • As many pairs of jeans: we were misled on the availability and quality of denim, and Adam can’t wear it to teach… so we didn’t need to bring all 7 pairs of his, and 5 of mine.
  • Playstation 3: it’s hard to find transformers that will work well with high powered electronics (e.g. gaming systems, electric blankets, desktops), and we haven’t been able to use it yet.
  • Electric blanket: my mother kindly bought us one as a Christmas gift, and it blew–even with the transformer!–and so now it’s just a blanket with wires in. Buying one here is possible.

Things We Forgot, Lost, or Otherwise Can’t Find, Rendering Items Useless

  • USB mouse dongle for Adam’s fancy cordless mouse
  • the power supply for my external 1TB hard drive

Otherwise… this has been a good six months. We don’t want to kill each other, any arguments we’ve had are ones that have been defused with sensible conversation, have lost significant amounts of weight, get daily exercise (even if it’s only walking to and from school), are learning the local language and using French more frequently, just because. Adam is getting to teach, shoving information into heads, and occasionally they even regurgitate it properly and get good marks. We’re enjoying the sights and what we learn from them, even if some of them are a bit uncomfortable than others.

Getting me to go back West when there’s still so much world to explore is going to be a very difficult thing indeed. 🙂

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