Friday, December 31, 2010

Can You Answer These Sporcle Quizzes?

I have a few Sporcle quizzes here that relate to Africa and Uganda that I thought I would share.  How do you stand up?


I just decided yesterday that I'm going to buy a new computer before I leave.  Initially I wasn't going to.  I figured my old one was only two years old and might last the two and a half years.  But then yesterday I realized my computer is more like three years old and I just don't want to take my chances.  I don't think it would be wise to try to have one shipped to me if my old one dies, because it may never make it to Uganda.  I've been in this situation before and I didn't make the right choice.  When I studied abroad in London, I thought about getting a new computer before I left (my computer at the time was three years old).  I decided that my computer would last the three months and then the hard drive started failing less than a month in.  It ended up being a huge hassle getting a new one shipped to me.  It kind of kills me to get a new one when my old one is working okay, but I'm not making the wrong decision twice.

I decided on a Dell Inspiron 15R (I know...I can't get away from them Inspirons).  It has an Intel Core i3-370M processor, 3GB of ram, 320GB hard drive, 15.6 inch screen, integrated 1.3M pixel webcam, and 6-cell lithium battery.  I think the biggest reason I keep getting Inspirons is because they are inexpensive but still good quality.  I don't need a fancy, expensive computer, because I don't do a whole lot on it.  It's supposed to ship out next week, so I can get everything set on it the way I want well before I leave.  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Things To Do In Philly Before I Leave

So, other than the packing and preparing I have to do to be ready to go to Uganda, I made a list of things I want to do before I leave.  This list includes places to eat, things to do, and bars we have to go to.  Some of these are my old favorites and some of them are places I haven't been to, but have been meaning to go to.  (Obviously, this idea came from Julie).  I'll try to keep it updated with anything new I decide to add.

  1. Shady Maple
  2. Sonic
  3. McGillins
  4. Pat's Cheesesteaks
  5. Quizo at New Deck
  6. Reading Terminal
  7. Constitution Center (I've been wanting to go here for forever and I still haven't been)
  8. Franklin Institute
  9. The Penn Anthropology Museum
  10. Tour Citizen Bank Park (We were supposed to do this last summer and we never did)
  11. Bobby's Burger Palace
  12. The Continental
  13. The Khyber
  14. Famous 4th Street Deli
  15. Wawa (I have to load up before I go)
  16. The Mutter Museum
  17. Go to the top of City Hall
  18. Fat Burger
  19. Atlantic City (An obvious addition if we are going to Fat Burger)
  20. Woody's (Woodrow's as Jai calls it)
  21. Ajia
  22. Franklin Fountain
  23. Chipotle
  24. The Hans (Drexel's Dining Hall)
  25. Oscars
  26. Rita's Waterice
So, if you want to conquer any of these with me, please let me know and let me know when.  Hopefully, I will have a pretty lot of time the couple weeks before I leave, because I won't be working.  However, this is only if I get a lot of my preparing done before that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Language Lessons

So in Uganda they have about 50 different languages.  I will probably be learning Luganda, even though the official languages of Uganda are English and Swahili.  Here are some Luganda language lessons that I got from the Peace Corps website for anyone who is interested and has the time to learn (this one is for you,

An Introduction to Survival Luganda
Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5
Lesson 6
Lesson 7
Lesson 8
Lesson 9
Lesson 10
Lesson 11
Lesson 12

I guess you could say these would be for those who plan on coming to visit me.  I have to admit that I still haven't had time to go through any of these yet.  Hopefully, I'll find time before I leave, so I can at least be a little prepared.  They also suggest downloading the audio lessons and putting them on your iPod so you can listen to them on the plane.  I'll probably do that.  Although, I may be told in training that I'm going to be learning a different language entirely.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Packing List

So, I've started to accumulate a packing list and a list of things I still need to purchase.  This is proving to be a fairly large challenge.  Having been accepted as a PCV, I can get discounts from certain retailers, but they are not always as substantial as they seem, they are sometime difficult to acquire and sometimes many items are not included.  I've also found that some of them have shipping and handling fees that are more costly than the products I want to buy.  So far here is what I have on my list:

Toothbrush (3)
Razor Heads (6)
Hand Sanitizer
Chap Stick (3)
Body Wash
Face Wash
Nail Clippers
Nail File
Small Mirror
Pads (2)
Tampons (2)
Hair Ties
Spare Glasses

Camping Gear
Sleeping Bag
Swiss Army Knife
Water Bottle (2)
Hiking Backpack (going to use this as one of my checked bags)
Head Lamp

Scotch Tape
Thumb Tact
Index Cards
Note Pads
Address Book

iPod Charger
Rechargeable Batteries
Battery Charger
Thumb Drive
External Hard Drive
Laptop Power Cord
Camera Battery Charger
Old Camera
Waterproof Case For My Old Camera
Short Ethernet Cable (7 Feet)
DVDs (Movies and TV Shows) (DVD Case)

Below the knee skirt (2)
Below the knee dress (3)
Short Sleeved Top (10)
Hoody (3)
T-shirt (5)
Tank Top (3)
Button Down
Jeans (3)
Khakis (3)
Black Dress Pants
Shorts (3)
Underwear (16)
Bras (10)
Socks (15)
Leggings (4)
One-Piece Bathing Suit

Dress Shoes (Flats, Closed-toe)
Running Shoes
Flip Flops

Book Bag
Ziploc Bags (Gallon and Sandwich)
Bag Locks
Full Size Bed Sheets
Laundry Bag
Wash Clothes (2)
Beach Towel
Maps (World, US)
Playing Cards
Duct Tape
Small Binoculars
Travel Alarm Clock
Passport Photos (8)
Money Belt
Head Set
Power Adapter (Converter)
Travel Guides (Uganda) (East Africa)

However, I'm only taking everything here if it fits in my luggage.  I plan on using my LLBean rolling duffel bag and my new North Face hiking back pack as my two checked bags (they can't be more than 80 lbs. combined and each bag can't be more than 50 lbs. by itself).  I have a new rolling luggage that I got for Christmas that I plan on using as my carry on.  And I'm going to use my new North Face book bag as my personal item.  I plan on using that as a laptop bag.

I've been trying to get organized and figure out what I need and where I should get everything from.  I feel like I don't have that much time (especially if I'm ordering things online).  I think I have definitively decided that I'm quiting my job on the 21st of January.  I plan on telling my job next Monday (I figured I'd wait until after the New Year).

I'm also trying to organize a group to go to Restaurant Week in Philly.  I have a huge group of people that I invited and I need to make a reservation, but it is hard to make without knowing exactly who is coming.  I think we planned on making this sort of goodbye dinner for me and Alyssa (who is moving at the end of February), so I would really like it to work out and get most everyone to come.

AHHH...Sorry for the random smattering of thoughts.  I'm so overwhelmed right now.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Little More Information

So here is a link to my online welcome book.  It has a lot of information in it about the people and the culture in Uganda.  It also has some really good references.

As for my assignment, I don't have a whole lot of information yet.  I was told that I will be in Secondary Education.  Yes, I have no experience teaching, but I will be teaching.  When I leave on February 9th, I start with staging, which will be in a city in the U.S. which has yet to be determined.  I should find out in the next month.  Odds are it will be in Philadelphia, which is not all that exciting.  Most of their stagings are in Philadelphia.  Staging is for about 2-3 days, then we leave for Uganda as a group.  Once we get there, we do three months of training.  While in training, I will be staying with a host family.  I will be learning the language, the culture and some technical skills, like how to teach a classroom.  After training is complete I will get sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer and I will be sent to my site.  My site and my exact assignment won't be determined until most of the way through in-country training.

For now, I'm making my packing list and I'm looking into buying things that I will need.  I'm looking at it as a two year long exotic camping trip.  Apparently, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I can get discounts from a lot of companies.  The only problem is some of them take a couple weeks to process.  Before I know it I will be out of time.  I'm glad I started looking into all this now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Getting Ready

So, I received my invitation on December 15th and I'm scheduled to leave February 9th for my Peace Corps service in Uganda.  Even though I had all of my stuff in early, they still only gave me about 8 weeks notice.  So now I am in the preparation stage, which was really overwhelming at first.  I sent out all of my passport and visa information yesterday.  I also finished reformatting my resume and writing my aspiration statement yesterday.  However, now that Christmas is approaching, I'm going to wait until after Christmas to do any more serious preparations.  I think I am going to quit my job on January 21st, but nothing is set in stone yet.  I'll talk to them after the new year with my decision.  For now, the waiting is on.