Tuesday, March 29, 2011

14 Time Zones and 36.5 Hours

I have chosen not to count how many days it is until I leave the country. Despite the fact that I am more excited than I've ever been in my entire life, I am also more nervous than I have ever been in my entire life. I'm not nervous about Gabs or the placement or the culture shock, not at all actually. What I am shakin' in my shoes about is the travel part of the whole trip. I fly out of Winnipeg at 6:55 p.m. Central Time on May 6th; arrive in Vancouver (don't ask why - because I have no idea why I am flying in the complete opposite direction of my ultimate destination) at 7:50 p.m. Pacific Time; depart Vancouver at 8:40 p.m.; arrive in London's Heathrow airport - one of the biggest in the world at 1:40 p.m British Summer Time- and this, my friends, is where my terror begins; depart London at 7:10 p.m.; arrive in Johannesburg at 6:55 a.m. South African Standard Time; depart Johannesburg at 8:35 a.m.; and FINALLY arrive in Gaborone at 9:20 a.m. Central Africa Time on May 8th. All in all I'll travel through 14 time zones! Can we say JET LAG! Gabs is actually only 7 hours ahead of friendly Manitoba, but travelling to get there is going to be trying to say the least. After all is said and done, my feet will touch Gaborone soil after 36 and a half hours of traveling. Oi! The trip back is practically the same except that I fly through Chicago (not quite as far West) instead of Vancouver. I'll arrive back on Manitoba soil on August 20th at 2:18 p.m.

I'll be in Botswana for 3 months and 3 weeks!

So, readers, the first map, indicated by the red line, shows the approximate distance from my home as I now know it, to my temporary home half way around the world. The second map, as indicated by the red arrow, indicates a little more clearly, exactly where I'll be in relation to the rest of the African continent.

Now that you know where I'll be and how long I'll be there, let me go over a few technicalities that I've experienced and realisations I've come to during my planning process thus far. Leaving the country for more than 90 days makes planning exceedingly more difficult. I had to put in a request for a special Manitoba Health Card, I had to buy private insurance because my extended health benefits at work lapse, and the cost of said private insurance increased significantly due to the 90+ days outside of Canadian borders. With that said, insurance = done!
Other items checked off my to-do list:
  • Security Clearance
  • Medical Clearance including Typhoid Fever vaccination, shot 1 of 3 Hepatitis Twinrix vaccination, and Tetanus booster.
Things still on my to-do list:
  • 2nd of 3 Hepatitis Twinrix (I'll get the 3rd when I get back)
  • Malaria medication for travel purposes (I don't need it for my time in Gabs, but if I happen to go into Northern Botswana, I'll need it)
  • Voltage adapter (Botswana outlets put out twice the voltage that Canadian ones do)
  • Scotiabank account (the only bank that is the same in Gabs and, therefore, allows me to avoid the $5 service fee every time I withdraw money there)
  • Cancel internet, notify landlord, notify credit card company, look into phone contract suspension, change car insurance (all of these get lumped into one bullet point because they are technicalities and otherwise the list would be entirely too long)
  • Pictures of Canada, especially snow (it's my job to get these students ready for life here)
  • PACK!

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