It’s the life expectancy of a worker bee during the summer, the length of time it takes zucchini to grow, and the time remaining until we board a plane to fly back to the States: SIX WEEKS! After three years at RVA, we are down to our final six weeks until we return to Indiana for an 8 month home assignment. As you can imagine, we are a mix of both grief and excitement as we anticipate another round of goodbyes and another round of hellos.
As we mentally and physically prepare to leave, we’ve been comparing notes with others in the same boat and are noticing some common themes. And so, without further ado, we present to you the Top Ten Signs That You’re Preparing for Home Assignment…
10. Your walls are bare. At this point in the game, anything that is not purely functional has been packed away, given away, or sold. Though it makes things a bit dreary, you trust it’ll make things less crazy those last few days.
9. You find yourself getting creative with duct tape. Broken watchband that needs to last three more months? Nothing a little duct tape can’t handle. Oh, and don’t forget that you have to use hot pink duct tape because you already packed away all the more subtle gray.
8. You start marking the lasts: last staff in-service, last arrival day, last mid-term break, last dorm party, last Kiambogo night.
7. Paperwork has become your middle name. Leave Requests, End of Term Reviews, and Health Physicals, just to name a few. Who knew moving across the ocean required so many forms?
6. Your mindset for grocery shopping shifts from buying large bulk quantities to trying to precisely estimate how much you will eat over the next six weeks. Goodbye 10 kg. (22 lbs.) boxes of margarine and hello smaller 1kg tubs. And yes, you remind yourself to avoid thinking about the fact that the margarine you’ve been using all these years is labeled as “medium fat spread”.
5. You begin using silly strawberry toothpaste and babyganics lotion because you’ve already finished the adult varieties and are in “everything must go” mode.
4. Deep cleaning is the name of the game. You find yourself breaking out the Q-tips and toothpicks and digging in every nook and cranny of anything you are storing until your return. After all, nobody wants to come back and find spilled spaghetti from a meal they ate 12 months ago.
3. You start talking to your kiddo(s) about the goodbyes they are going to have to say to some of their favorites.
2. You’ve run out of pepperoni, parmesan cheese, chocolate chips, peppermint extract, taco seasoning, Ziploc bags, and all the other goodies that you’d brought from home and sparingly used throughout the last three years.
1. And finally, you know you’re preparing for home assignment when the elastic in all of your clothes is nonexistent- as in gone, disintegrated, not functioning. At first it’s not so bad, but after constant tugging, pinning, or tucking, it gets a bit old. It’s safe to say that you won’t need much luggage going back; instead of throwing all your clothes into suitcases, you’ll likely just be throwing them away!