Monday, August 23, 2010

Three weeks to departure

(Photo via Flickr since I'm not actually in Botswana yet)

Three weeks to departure and I just swallowed my first typhoid vaccine pill. After taking any new kind of pill, I need to lie down immediately. I've found my anxiety about having an allergic reaction to new pills is so strong that I will begin to feel faint and imagine I am having trouble breathing. It's easier to just lie down right away and then in a half hour or so, I'll know my throat would have been closing up by now and that I'm probably going to be fine.

I've been having a lot of anxiety dreams, mostly about babies. First I dreamed an airplane crashed right next to my old apartment on the Upper West Side. It just stopped flying in mid-air, fell to the ground, paused dramatically, and then exploded into flames. A and I were nearby, and we ended up taking care of the one surviving person on the flight--an Indian orphan girl who had just been adopted by Westerners. Even though she wasn't that cute, we knew it was our responsibility to care for her. But we couldn't take her to Botswana, so we decided to leave her at the hospital.

I do actually have allergic reactions to some pills. Nothing serious, but I will get a rash or hives.

Then two nights ago I dreamed I was pregnant and could see the shape of the baby's foot coming out of my stomach when it kicked from inside. That was weird. And last night there was, again, some baby I was supposed to take care of.

I think about babies in the daytime, too, but not more than normal. Maybe the baby is a symbol of how nurturing I am, or a frantic attempt by my psyche to prevent me from traveling. Then again, my subconscious chose Southern Africa over the baby in the first dream, so...

Last night, we met up with J and Y, our predecessors in Botswana. They had nothing but good things to say, although Y did tell me not to bring my engagement ring (it has a pearl--no diamonds--A and I make constant self-conscious references to its cheapness). That was disappointing because it's pretty and fun to wear. I will probably bring it anyway and then regret it.

Other things they warned us about:

1) People often will simply request your clothing, jewelry, etc. I.e. "I like your shirt. Give me your shirt." This is coworkers, mind you, not random people on the street.

2) Driving is hard or complicated.

3) Finding housing is difficult.

4) Johannesburg and South Africa in general are a bad neighborhood (I stole that joke from The Onion).

5) People maybe aren't so into the Jews.

I think I've been lying here long enough that I can get up now.


  1. I don't know whether I hope you DO or DO NOT have to take the anti-malaria pills that have hallucinatory-dream side-effects. On the one hand, it sounds like your dreams are weird enough; on the other hand, maybe they need a little boost to become truly epic divine guidance type stuff.

  2. I am so excited you have a new blog!

  3. mrbenfield--i will NOT be taking those pills as i opted for the more expensive ones (see my latest post for an exploration of how absurdly expensive pills are).

    roamingolivia--thanks! i had to keep up my blog-starting rate. i've been enjoying yours, too!