1. We got married! (OK, this wasn't in the last few days, but it was still exciting.) June 21, 2015 :)
2. We got our official itinerary (meaning knowing WHEN we are leaving this fine country and can now answer the question "When are you leaving?" with confidence) and plane tickets. We will be flying out of Tampa on July 29, in the evening, and staying overnight in Washington D.C. The next day, we leave for Ethiopia, on a 13-hour flight. It's going to stink. Then on the 31st, we'll take a three-hour flight to Tanzania, and stay the night in Dar es Salaam. Thankfully, someone will be there to pick us up at the airport and take us grocery shopping, to the bank, etc. On the first day of August, we'll arrive in Berega, where we'll be spending a year teaching kiddos.
3. We have packed. (and repacked. And repacked. And repacked.) Now each of our checked luggage maxes out at 50 pounds. It took a lot of work. You should be proud. For those of you who don't know why this is such an accomplishment, we were donated a TON of books and school supplies to pass along to Bishop Chitemo Anglican School, thanks to Marin's coworkers at Bayshore Elementary. Like, 200 pounds of supplies. Marin was so thrilled with herself when she came home and managed to fit everything into one suitcase - yay! We still can pack three suitcases of personal items! However, that suitcase would not have been accepted by any airline due to its weight. After repacking at least a dozen times, we are bringing the majority of the donations with us, and relying on someone from the Florida area to visit us with the rest of the donations sometime this year. (Hint, hint.)
4. We got Tanzanian Shillings! Only $20 worth, because apparently Tanzania is a high-risk country financially (don't worry, only financially) right now, and so no one is carrying the shilling and ordering them is even pretty difficult. But they're cute! With elephants and giraffes on them. Marin is over the moon about them.
5. We have started saying goodbye. To things, to people. It's all very sad. Goodbye, Jets Pizza. Goodbye, Moe's. oodbye, Tandoor Indian Restaurant. Unfortunately, it gets worse. Goodbye, friends. Goodbye, family. It stinks. Thankfully, it's only for a year, but right now, that's not a whole lot of consolation. It's been really nice for each of us to live so close to family for the past couple of years, and it's hard to leave that safety net. We are grateful for the support we have had, not just through this journey, but also in the more mundane things that have gone on in the last couple of years.
Even though it's hard to leave now, we know that we are going to have the adventure of a lifetime. We are both confident that we are going to fall in love with Berega and its people quickly. We're excited to do something that can make a big difference in a small village. We're really grateful to have been given this opportunity by Hands4Africa and are excited to work for them. And hey, we want to give a big THANK YOU!! to everyone who has donated on our GoFundMe page. We keep saying this, but we want you to know that we aren't asking for money for ourselves; the donations go to the NGO - for educational, medical, and agricultural supplies - to make Berega a better and more self-sustainable village.
Lots and lots and lots of love!
Mike & Marin