makethislast

Packing List, Final Cut

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on February 28, 2010

To the next 27 months…

My final Packing List for Morocco

General Clothing

  • Lightweight, waterproof jacket (e.g., a windbreaker)
  • Fleece jacket
  • Thin jacket
  • Down vest
  • 2 Hoodies
  • Bathing suit
  • Bandannas
  • A few long skirts/dresses
  • Several long-sleeved shirts and cardigans
  • A few pairs of capris
  • Shorts
  • A couple pair of jeans
  • One dressy outfit
  • Sweatpants and leggings
  • Several tank tops
  • Beanie and cap
  • Scarves and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Undergarments

Shoes

  • 2 pairs of sturdy sandals
  • Pair of New Balance
  • Warm boots
  • Flats

Miscellaneous

  • Two lightweight towels (long and medium length)
  • Camelbak water bottle
  • Hand wipes and antibacterial gel
  • Backpack for day trips
  • Leatherman
  • Watch with 3 alarms
  • Duct tape
  • Pocket-size Arabic-English book
  • Morocco travel guide
  • Maps of Morocco and world
  • Money belt
  • Monopoly Deal
  • Sleeping bag and liner
  • Markers and pens
  • Yoga mat
  • Journals
  • Reading books
  • Extra duffel bag
  • Buddhist beads and Protection bracelet

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

  • Razors
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Makeup
  • Scissors
  • Body butter
  • Lip balm
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Medicine
  • Reading eyeglasses and repair kit
  • Personal preference hygiene products (shampoo, conditioner, moisturizers, etc.)

Gadgets

  • Laptop computer, case, and lock
  • External hard drive and flash drive
  • Adapter
  • Camera and supplies
  • iPod
  • Flashlight
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Packing List, Draft

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on February 27, 2010

Draft packing list compiled circa December 2009:

…oh, this will be fun…(considering 3/4 of my wardrobe won’t make the cut)… ;)

Seeing as I’ve got a month before I receive reporting instructions for Staging and a couple months before I report to Staging (and the next two years of my life – yi-ikes!), I’m dedicating this page to keep myself organized. There’s no way I’d want to take everything listed nor would I be able to (thank you packing limits!), so this is just where I’m starting. List will whittle down closer to take-off.

(Note to self: black = need, gray = have, crossed out = not taking, italics = reminders/comments)

Packing List for Morocco (as recommended by PeaceCorpsWiki):

General Clothing

*Reminder: that Morocco gets very cold in the winter and layering is important!

  • Lightweight, waterproof jacket (e.g., a windbreaker)
  • Heavy jacket or waterproof shell to wear over layers
  • A few sweatshirts (Berkeley), fleece tops, or sweaters (Gap gray wool) for cool evenings
  • Bathing suit
  • Bandannas or handkerchiefs (indispensable for dusty road trips) (gray and red)
  • Several long skirts/dresses or pairs of khaki trousers (though it is acceptable for women to wear trousers, it is not the norm to teach or attend professional meetings in them) (www.macabiskirt.com)
  • Long-sleeved shirts (do cardigans count?)
  • Knee-length dressy shorts (do capris count?)
  • Athletic shorts (for sports or leisure time at home only)
  • Several pairs of jeans (getting there…or do I have enough already?)
  • For women with the potential to be in rural or more conservative sites (especially in Health/Environment sectors), several shirts that do not show too much cleavage but also cover to the top of thighs
  • One dressy outfit (need to select)
  • Sweatpants or leggings to wear under long skirts (not Lycra, which is hot and inappropriate)
  • T-shirts (without controversial slogans on politics, drugs, or sex)
  • A favorite hat (which one…)
  • Wool or fleece scarves and gloves (brown leather or other?)
  • Thermal underwear (how many pairs?)

Shoes

  • Sturdy sandals (Rainbows and Zoe…sturdy enough?)
  • All-purpose shoes (which you can walk, run, or bike in) (these are the same as my sneakers…hmm…)
  • Sneakers or hiking boots
  • For women, one pair of dress shoes, preferably flat (Payless it is…and/or Crocs?)

Miscellaneous

  • Two lightweight towels (get from home)
  • Water bottle (e.g., Nalgene)
  • Coleman camp shower
  • Hand wipes
  • Flashlight with extra batteries (thank you, SN!)
  • One or two sets of double-sized bedsheets and pillowcases
  • Compact umbrella (can be bought in Morocco)
  • Backpack for day trips
  • Swiss Army knife, Leatherman, or the equivalent (definitely want one of these!)
  • Travel alarm clock (battery-operated)
  • Bicycle gloves (if you use them at home)
  • Duct tape (you would not believe all of its uses)
  • Pocket-size dictionary and thesaurus
  • Maps (good for traveling and wall hangings)
  • Plenty of pictures of your home, family, and friends
  • Money belt or other means to conceal your passport and valuables when traveling
  • Favorite music, CDs or tapes
  • Frisbee, hacky sack, and travel-sized games (Yahtzee, cards, Uno, etc.)
  • Sleeping bag (too big to travel overseas with?) and ulta-compact backpacking pad(great for sleeping at large gatherings at volunteers houses or a hotel roof)
  • Art supplies
  • Lightweight exercise equipment (e.g., jump rope, yoga items)
  • Sticky tack to attach photos and artwork to walls
  • Incense
  • Journals (thank you, PPP!)
  • Postcards from home to share

Personal Hygiene and Toiletry Items

All of the following items are available in Morocco, but they are sometimes expensive and may not be of the quality you are used to.

  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Contact lens solutions ( Bausch & Lomb’s Renu brand is available in the capital; if you require a special brand, bring a two-year supply because the Peace Corps does not provide contact lens supplies) (Yippee!)
  • Lubricating eye drops (preservative-free – Blink Tears or Restasis)
  • Makeup
  • Scissors or other hair-cutting device (there is usually at least one Volunteer in a group who can cut hair)(planning on growing out my hair but I’ll volunteer to cut other peoples’ hair! Hoping my green pair of scissors show up…)
  • Lotion travel-size (Lubriderm is provided by the Peace Corps upon request, and Vaseline Intensive Care and Nivea are available locally)
  • Lip balm (Chapstick comes in the medical kit, but you may want to bring a different brand) (SPF 15 – The Body Shop or Neutrogena)
  • Tampons (available in large cities for a price) (feminine hygiene…what an inconvenience)
  • Three-month supply of any prescription drugs you take (to last until the medical unit at the Peace Corps can order them)
  • Two pairs of prescription reading eyeglasses, if you wear them; also consider bringing a repair kit (Sunglass Hut travel kit)
  • Any favorite brands of personal hygiene products (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.) (hmm…)

Kitchen

You can easily buy most kitchen supplies dishes, pots, glasses, and utensils in Morocco. There are, however, a few items we highly recommend bringing:

  • Plastic food storage bags (freezer bags are best)
  • Favorite spices
  • French coffee press (if you drink coffee)
  • Favorite cookbook (you can purchase a Volunteer-produced cookbook filled with recipes using locally available ingredients in-country)
  • Save favorite recipes on computer/hard drive
  • Pocket knife sharpener

Miscellaneous

  • Laptop computer (be sure to insure it, and bring a good surge protector and backup disks to fix any software problems), laptop case
  • external hard drive (need to unlock current one) and a flash drive is optional but very useful for carrying large files
  • Good-quality adapter for electronic gadgets (Morocco uses 220 volts)
  • Electric or solar-powered battery charger and rechargeable batteries 112
  • Camera + supplies (a variety of film types is available in the large cities, but the quality of film processing may vary) (Canon PowerShot – which one?, memory card, memory card reader)
  • Shortwave radio, for listening to programs on the VOA and the BBC
  • Discman with speakers (can be bought in Morocco for about the same prices as in the United States)
  • iPod? (or iTouch?)
  • Flashlight (a small Maglite is great, but bring extra bulbs; or an LED flashlight, the bulbs last longer and take less energy) (purple keychain)
  • Hand-held tape recorder (to record language lessons or tapes of your voice to send home). Sector Specific Suggestions

Health Volunteers (sector-specific):

Health sites in Morocco are all over the spectrum, from being on a main road, having hot water, satellite TV, and DSL in the house to being a few hours away from a main city on limited transportation, with no running water or electricity. For the most part, health sites tend to be more rural and in small villages. All but a handful of the sites have electricity. Some sites only have running water for a few hours a day; some have to rely on wells or public fountains.

Many health Volunteers have laptops, DVD players, iPods and speakers, camera equipment, and many other electronic gadgets. These things make life easier and help pass the time, but are not necessary. Some Volunteers buy CD players or speakers here (quality may not be as good) and just bring CDs with them. It is a good idea to bring some simple art supplies, too (construction paper, colored pencils, markers, etc.).

Bring clothing that is comfortable but keeps you covered. Some sites are very conservative; generally T-shirts are ok, but shorts are not. Women in small villages almost always wear long skirts, although this is not a must for female Volunteers. Pants (as long as they are not tight) are fine. It is a good idea to bring one nice outfit for special occasions, like your swearing-in ceremony, or if you just want to get dressed up and head into a city, where people are much less conservative.

Health sites in Morocco are all over the spectrum, from being on a main road, having hot water, satellite TV, and DSL in the house to being a few hours away from a main city on limited transportation, with no running water or electricity. For the most part, health sites tend to be more rural and in small villages. All but a handful of the sites have electricity. Some sites only have running water for a few hours a day; some have to rely on wells or public fountains.

Many health Volunteers have laptops, DVD players, iPods and speakers, camera equipment, and many other electronic gadgets. These things make life easier and help pass the time, but are not necessary. Some Volunteers buy CD players or speakers here (quality may not be as good) and just bring CDs with them. It is a good idea to bring some simple art supplies, too (construction paper, colored pencils, markers, etc.).

Bring clothing that is comfortable but keeps you covered. Some sites are very conservative; generally T-shirts are ok, but shorts are not. Women in small villages almost always wear long skirts, although this is not a must for female Volunteers. Pants (as long as they are not tight) are fine. It is a good idea to bring one nice outfit for special occasions, like your swearing-in ceremony, or if you just want to get dressed up and head into a city, where people are much less conservative.

The most important thing to remember is not to stress too much about packing. Most Volunteers rush out and buy a lot of new clothes and gadgets to take with them, and it’s not necessary. Pack the basics, and any specialty items you know you’ll want (certain toiletries, a favorite sweater, etc.), and the rest you can almost certainly get here. Best of luck and see you in Morocco!

The most important thing to remember is not to stress too much about packing. Most Volunteers rush out and buy a lot of new clothes and gadgets to take with them, and it’s not necessary. Pack the basics, and any specialty items you know you’ll want (certain toiletries, a favorite sweater, etc.), and the rest you can almost certainly get here. Best of luck and see you in Morocco!

iLike: Travel

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on February 25, 2010

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s life.

– Mark Twain

Twain says it best and I wholeheartedly agree.

Next stops: Philadelphia then Morocco!

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my quarter-life vacation

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on February 25, 2010

Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

– Lao-Tze

What’s this California gal been up to these 2.5 months? How has she spent her time at home? Let’s see…

I read, wrote, and rested.I watched, I listened, I learned. I spent so much time with family, hung out with longtime friends, and made new friends. I was reintroduced to Los Angeles and explored the area around my mom’s house.

During this time, I thoroughly examined each angle of my life, literally and figuratively.

I revisited my childhood, teenage, and college years as I unpacked box after box of stuff. I laugh when I think about how I used to be so adamant about keeping everything and how so many material things that once mattered no longer carry much weight now. Detaching myself from materialistic possessions is liberating; discovering that I’m making progress on my goals is encouraging.

I also did some mental and spiritual housekeeping. While it’s difficult to face oneself sometimes, it wasn’t as painful as I anticipated, likely because I did the heavy digging and lifting last year. (Yay, woot-woot! :)) This time around, I reaffirmed my foundation and focused on improving my life and self. I created new bonds, strengthened existing ones, and retired a handful of ancient ones. I want to align the different aspects of my life with my being as a whole – essentially, to consciously live consistently – and this exercise further enabled me to achieve that objective.

My quarter-life takeaway: Life is all about choices. It’s the choices you make and, conversely, the ones you don’t make that determine who you become as a person.

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Tiger Woods and infidelity

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on February 21, 2010

Tiger finally emerged from his cage: Tiger Woods breaks his silence and admits to cheating.

Tiger Woods used to be the exception. He used to be a standup guy that everyone wanted to be around, on and off the golf course. As it turns out, he’s not invincible and indestructible. He self-destructed.

I heard someone say once, “I’ll change when the right girl comes around” in reference to his infidelity. It bothers me so much when people refuse to accept responsibility for their actions. It’s so disrespectful to the person you’re in a relationship with. If you’re no longer interested in being committed, then end the relationship because you’re unhappy. Don’t mislead or string someone along because you don’t want to be alone. It’s inconsiderate and immature. Rather than admit they were wrong, I’ve seen people justify, even outright deny, their behavior. Don’t blame another person and don’t be a coward –  take responsibility for your actions.

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s what you do after committing that mistake that matters – admit and learn from it, or deny and repeat it.

Needless to say, I don’t think very highly of Tiger anymore. In my mind, he’s in a separate category now, keeping company with the likes of Bill Clinton and Kobe Bryant. Men who are exceptionally talented but unfaithful to their spouse and inconsiderate of their family.

As for the women who were involved,  they knew who Tiger was when they met him. They knew he was married and had a family, yet still they maintained a relationship with him. No sympathies.

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