Wednesday, October 12, 2011



Are expensive ... but I'm almost guaranteed not to get Polio, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Typhoid, or Yellow Fever.

I feel like poo. I'm sure it's worth it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Update - October 9, 2011 - 83 days to go...


Ohhhh boy! Lots to tell!

Time is passing, that's for sure!

I'm filled with stress/anxiety/excitement/fear/wonder/wonder/wonder as time draws closer. 83 days...

I'm sitting in my VERY comfortable home in Costa Mesa. I've rearranged my furniture so that my desk is directly in front of a large window. I've got a mug of coffee on one side of me and "fizzy" water on the other. My book of Africa sits just behind my computer and my favorite greeting card is framed nicely on the other side - reminding me: "Then when it seems we will never smile again... Life comes back." While the temperature is the same today as it was two months ago, something about the angle of the sun and the crispness of the breeze that blows by occasionally is very, very fallish. I love it.

So what's my point? Man... I'm going to miss this place - this comfort.

The stars have aligned in a way that even I (not a super religious person) cannot deny that something divine has happened. I need to be in Africa on January 3, preferably early on Jan 3. This requires me to leave the States on Jan 1. I realized at some point in the last few months that my lease is also up on Jan 1 - nice timing! I won't have to pay rent for that month! Most of my stuff will go into storage. What doesn't go into storage will be safely secured in my parent's garage for the month of Jan. When I get back, I'll find a place to live. No biggie.

And then... Changes at my beloved (sometimes) job of seven years have brought my employment with the company to an end on January 1, 2012.

So I figure, I should just move to Africa. I mean... no job, no home... I'm gonna be there anyway, I should just stay!

So I'm looking for volunteer work to do in Africa next year. REAL volunteer work. I don't want to have to pay to work (apparently, when you try to volunteer in Africa they usually expect you to PAY to do it. Ummm No.) I don't need to get paid either; I just need a bed and something to do every day. Preferably with children. I'm putting my feelers out there, but I'm totally open to suggestions! Pipe in if you have any thoughts!

Honestly though - I am COMPELLED to do this. I realize that it is a choice, it is optional, but I really feel like this time is a gift to me. I've been talking about "saving babies in Africa" since I was 18 years old. In some ways I feel like I'm being kicked out of my own life! Divine, I'm sure.

Stress/anxiety/excitement/fear/wonder/wonder/wonder... PRESSURE!  

Fundraising: I am planning a rummage sale either late this month or early next month. I'll be looking for people to donate old stuff that I can sell and then donate the cash. I've had mixed reviews about this idea - but one of the girls on the team made 1600 bucks on a garage sale, so I figure it's worth a shot! What I NEED is a place to actually hold the sale! Again, if you have suggestions, please let me know!

I've hit up the owners of my favorite bar in Laguna (The Belg!) to see if they would be willing to collaborate with me and do some kind of matching/% donation if I can bring a bunch of people in on what would otherwise be a slow work night. Answers/details to come on that. I'm hoping for a mid-November date.

Also definitely planning on having a "Good-bye Steph/DONATE YOUR CASH" party before I leave... probably in early December.

I'm gonna be a busy girl.  

Training: Well... I've been running a lot! I'm not sure how that translates to training for climbing a mountain that's 20,000 feet in the air - but obviously I'm hoping it means something in regards to training. I climbed a ton last month. Actually, I think I hit the mountain every weekend... I'm a little bit nervous as time grows closer because my mountain is going to be covered in snow soon and climbing will not be as easy or safe. I really don't like relying on other pople to climb with me.

Peaks Foundation has a training guide to get us ready for the climbs... I have never logged into it. Karma alone might send me suffering like never before. I've been told several times that my struggle with the climb is more likely to be the altitude than my physical fitness. I believe it. I almost died on Whitney at 11k feet. All three of the mountains we're climbing are higher than Whitney - luckily we also climb all three of them much slower than what I did on Whitney (1 day). I have prepped myself with altitude sickness pills and will pump myself full of ibuprofen and hope that I don't barf. That's all I can do, right? Oh jeez. I'll worry about that when I get there.  

Preparations: I get my shots on Tuesday. I'm looking forward to having it done with - but really, really dreading it. I'm not afraid of needles or blood, or even the pain. I'm super worried about what these shots are going to do to my belly. It seems as though my belly is my achilles heal when it comes to medicine. I get sick with penicillin. I am getting shots for Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Rabies (?), and... I think something else. Pumping all that into my body at once scares me. A lot.

Along those lines... When I'm in Africa, as well as two days before I arrive in Africa and for a week after I leave, I will need to take a pill for Malaria. I'm slightly worried about this pill, as one of the side effects is "nausea"... :( What really, really bums me out is the fact that this little Malaria-killing bugger costs 9 DOLLARS A PILL. It will be the single most expensive item that I spend money on from day to day. CRAZY.

Also - of course none of this is covered by insurance. Awesome. Arrgggghh...

I just spent a ton of money on GEAR from Mountain Hardware (thanks to an awesome discount). Admittedly, gear is harder to buy now that I realize I will probably be toting it around Africa (or wherever else this takes me) for several months/year(s) - and probably won't be using it like I would if I were just coming home. That being said, I can't WAIT to receive it! I know myself... I'll try it on and bounce around the house in it. So much fun!!!

Stress/anxiety/excitement/fear/wonder/wonder/wonder/pressure... Peace.

I think I waver between feeling some crazy amount of anxiety and sincere peace with all that's going on. I'm so excited, and I really feel like this opportunity is a gift-  from the fundraising to the climbing, to getting to know my team, to actually living and working in Africa. I am a very lucky girl.