Saturday, October 08, 2005

falling into place

So, wow, incredibly and inexcusably long time since my last post. I can only attribute it to being incredibly busy and rather exhuasted every evening. Let's see if I can make up for lost time.
The tag sale went fairly well. I made enough to make it worth my while and spent the day outside in lovely weather, getting to catch up with mom. The stuff that wasn't sold was donated to goodwill, so at least it went to a good cause.
Since then I've been working 50-60 hour weeks here at the farm. Lots of chores to do every day - there's always something to do and never enough time to do it in. Top that with taking care of dogs, ducks, cats and cooking dinner every night for the whole family and you can get somewhat of an idea of how tired I am at the end of the day. But it's a good kind of tired - the fulfilling, i deserve-to-be-exausted cause I've worked so hard, sleep really well all night kind of tired. And it's gotten cold enough to use the hot-tub, so I can soothe my aching muscles in a steamy pool and look at the stars, which are amazing out here. I just hope I can see a shooting one.
I finally made enough money to make the final payment, and it feels really good to have everything sqaured away. My passport came a few weeks ago and I just sent out for my visa, so almost everything is set including the flight. College applications have been coming in the mail, so that will certainly give me something else to occupy my time. Additionally, I've managed to buy a few skirts and appropriate tops for the trip, though I have a few more things to get. Now I just have to start learning swahili.
This past week I took a bit of a break and went home for Rosh Hashannah, and it was so nice to have a meal with the family. The chocolate cake I made was absolutely killer - yum. I also got to spend some time with my sisters and visit with some friends. It was also nice to have time to read, which I love to do and missed so much.
Now I'm back in Williamstown and things are getting back into full swing. My stepmom's brother and wife are here and the bed and breakfast is booked. Back to work on Monday so I can hopefully save up enough for a safari when I get to Africa.
It's getting closer and closer and my nerves are starting up a little. So excited - I can't wait to finally get there.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

boston and the vineyard

Not too much to report here. Things have been going well and I have been working pretty much all day, every day, on the farm. There's breakfast to cook for the guests, laundry to be done, beds to be made, messes to be mopped, stalls to be mucked, aisles to be swept, fences to be paintd, and animals to take care of. The list is endless but it's great to be busy and to be in the fresh air.
We are off to Boston tomorrow for a bar mitzvah and then to Martha's Vineyard for a few days of relaxing. I'll use the time to get started on transfer applications and get paperwork in order. It'll be good to have some time away from the hustle and bustle.
After I get back, it's straight home to Longmeadow for the tag sale. I still have a lot of money to make for the trip, but it can't come soon enough. Being able to stay in touch with Colgate has me doubting my decision and feeling as though I'm missing out on something. Some real separation will be nice. It's so hard to separate my feelings with so many different people and things influencing me.
Anyway, we're off at 5 am tomorrow and I need to get things in order before we're off. Later.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

rain, rain, rain

Not too much to tell since the past few days have been rather dull. I've been helping out with the bed and breakfast and working out in the barn all week. It's nice to be outside and doing some physical activity though not so great to be covered in dirt every night when I'm done working.
The weather has been really crummy what with the hurricane and all. On and off showers and downpours all day lately, which doesn't let me get around to painting the fences and those other very outdoor chores. Hope it clears up soon so that I can get some sun and get down to work.
That's about it for now. Hopefully more exciting things to come.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

moving up north

Yesterday was my last day at the DA's office. It was kind of sad to go just because I've gotten to know everyone there so well and I've decided that I'm probably not going to go back again next summer. Sitting at a desk and working a regular 9 to 5 job gets dulldrum after a while. The good news is that they threw me a going-away party complete with greasy pizza and sheet cake. There was a great card and even flowers. Plus $85 towards my trip. Best of all, we managed to complete the New York Times crossword puzzle, which is a rare feat on Fridays.
Now I've moved up to Dad's house for the next two months to work my butt off around the farm. I need the money for the trip and hopefully all the outside work will give my see-through skin a little bit of color, though it is highly doubtful.
All in all things are going smoothly and time is whizzing by. It's kind of weird knowing that everyone else is getting ready to go back to school and I'm still here. It'll be good to get into the swing of things up here so I don't have time to think about if I'm really doing the right thing by taking the year off and traveling halfway around the world to a disease-ridden, third-world country.
Anyway, it's a gorgeous day here in the Berkshires and I'm going out to enjoy it and start in on that back-breaking labor. More later.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

so much to do, so little time

I'm finally starting to get things in order but my to-do list for this trip just seems to keep growing and growing. As does the cost for it.
I opened an account just for my trip and deposited the $900 worth of change that my sister and I collected over the past ten years. We were saving it for charity but I think that this qualifies. I've sent out tens of solicitations to family, friends, and businesses and hit up everyone at work. The tag sale I have planned should help out too.
Speaking of the tag sale, I still need to go through my basement and determine what I'm going to sell. Then I have to price everything, apply for a permit, and advertise. And of course since the tag sale is going to be up at my dad's house I need to transport all the junk and god only knows how I'm going to fit it all into my car.
There are some things that are going well. I got all my vaccinations - typhoid, yellow fever, polio, hepatitis A, and pre-exposure rabies - and the medications I'll need to take while I'm abroad to protect against malaria. And I had an interview with the paper, so hopefully the publicity will bring in some donations.
I still need to book my flight and apply for my visa. Hopefully I can get this all in order in the next couple of months without going totally crazy.
So let's see where I stand.

Things that are all set:
1. vaccinations
2. passport
3. job for the next two months

Things that I still need to do:
1. apply for my visa
2. book my flight
3. organize and execute tag sale
4. learn some swahili
5. buy long skirts (it's appropriate attire for Tanzanian women)
6. fundraise a few more thousand dollars
7. do research on Tanzanian culture and history

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

about my trip

I'm a 19 year old who recently decided to take the year off from Colgate University in order to gain some insight into 'what I want to do with my life.' I really had no clue what I wanted to do at school or when I got out and made the choice to take a break and figure that out.
When I made the choice to take the year off I promised myself that I would take advantage of really incredible opportunities and do something new and exciting instead of living at home and working. While at Colgate, I had a wonderful time participating in various community service groups and the fulfillment I got from helping others gave me the idea to volunteer abroad. After doing some research and talking to a few people I found a volunteer program in Tanzania with an organization called Cross-Cultural Solutions. Cross-Cultural Solutions is a nonprofit volunteer organization and registered charity in the UK that offers a program placing volunteers all over the world including Brazil, China, Thailand, India, Peru and other countries. It is a recognized leader in its field and was granted Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council in May 2003.
While in Tanzania I’ll be living at a home base in the Mount Kilimanjaro region with other volunteers. My volunteer placement will be working with children, either caring for orphans or teaching children various subjects such as English and arts and crafts.
Cross-Cultural Solutions’ programs are run solely by volunteer contributions and therefore each program has a fee. The fee for the 12 week program in which I am enrolled, including meals, lodging, travel medical insurance, and in-country transportation, totals $5000 and does not include airfare to Tanzania. To be able to go on this trip, I need some financial assistance, which I hope you can provide. I appreciate anything that you can offer to help me out.
To make a donation is really easy. Simply use this web address below to get to the organizations payment page and then use my email, which is, to make a secure payment online. You can also write a check out to Cross-Cultural Solutions put my name, Sarah Micley, in the memo line and mail it to the following addess:
Cross-Cultural Solutions Headquarters
2 Clinton Place
New Rochelle, NY 10801