It’s finally here.  After weeks of preparation, and an extra week for good measure following a small faff with the paperwork for my visa, I am finally getting on a plane and heading for Dhaka.  Everything seems to be a total whirlwind right now – from my emotions to the state of the spare room with all my stuff waiting to be packed.

Packing is turning out to be a little bit of a nightmare.  We’ve been advised that it is really difficult to get most toiletries in-country – cue six bottles of mosquito repellant and eight boxes of contact lenses!  I’m just hoping that it will all fit in my rucksack…

Passport, journal, mini eggs, teddy bear, Ganesha
The essentials…obvs!

But as long as I’ve got space for my journal, my little Ganesha statue (in Hindu mythology, Ganesha is the Remover of Obstacles and is likely to come in handy), a pack of mini-eggs for Easter (from previous experience, these don’t melt in the heat), and my bear for moral support (he’s been all around the world with me over the years) – oh, and my passport, of course – I think I’ll be okay!

Friends keep asking me how I feel, if I’m nervous, if I’m excited, if they can come too…  To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel (and of course, I would love you to come but please see the previous comments about the utter lack of space in my bag!).  I feel like I’ve been getting ready to go for so long that I just want to get out to Dhaka and throw myself into the project.  There is so much I am looking forward to but those are also the things that scare me, the things that are going to be the most challenging.  Some of these are quite big and important like am I going to do a good job supporting the volunteers?  Will we have a positive impact on the community, are we really going to make a difference?

Others are a bit more trivial, but will no doubt have a big impact on day-to-day life.  Will my host family like me?  Will I like them?  Will I get on my with counterpart?  Given that I will be living and working in very close proximity with these people for over 3 months, I really hope so.  I’m a little apprehensive about only being able to wash with a bucket and cold water, squat toilets and no toilet paper (there’s a reason you don’t eat with your left hand in this part of the world!).  I’m going to miss my friends and family – hopefully, I will be able to stay in touch but I don’t know how easy this will be, although not being able to constantly check Facebook might be a pleasant upside!  How will I get on with the food – rice and curry at least twice a day – especially being a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food?

But even though these things make me a little anxious, as I’m writing this, I can’t help but smile.  I’ve got butterflies in my tummy…

excited, little girl, roller-skates, black and white, 1940s

Hold on to your hats, this is going to be one incredible adventure!

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