Hey folks! Only two more days until I take off for Myanmar!!
The last three weeks have been filled with pre-departure training, a few too many needles for my liking, and many goodbyes with friends and family.
A few weeks ago I and 21 other volunteers spent five days in Ottawa for pre-departure training. Cuso International worked hard to prepare us for some of the realities of working abroad, as well as placed an emphasis on cross-cultural communication to help us integrate into the communities we will be working and living with. Check out a fellow volunteer’s post of the SKWID training for a more detail look at what we did!
After returning from Ottawa and thinking my passport was another few days before arriving, I was surprised to wake up early on Friday to my passport with my newly inserted Myanmar official visa in the mailbox! Meaning I would get the chance to visit Ciara in NY before I left!! We spent a great weekend chatting over coffee, ciders, wine, and mimosas. We added some great food to keep us going and a few board games to round out the weekend. This was the last time I would see Mike and Ciara before the wedding in January! We were all so glad to spend the weekend together before I left.
Last weekend Mom and I went to up to Muskoka to visit Gram. We spent a lovely weekend visiting some sites and catching up. It’s starting to hit me that I won’t be back for Christmas, so won’t be seeing any family, including my grandmothers, uncles and aunts and my brother for a long time. Fortunately, with returning in January for Ciara’s wedding, I will get to see Mom and Dad shortly after Christmas.
Yesterday the Fisher fam came down to Kingston for a goodbye BBQ. Lots of drinks, great food, and some laughs were shared between us all! Must say, except for a few friends and Sean, I was fortunate to be able to see most of my closest family and friends before I leave.
So what do you need to do before you move to Myanmar (with Cuso International)?
- Renew your passport – make sure there are more than 6 months remaining on your passport validity from your anticipated return date.
- Get an official Visa – there is a lot of necessary paperwork, including personalized letters from employers in Myanmar. Thankfully Cuso took care of all of that for me!
- Medical Clearance – provide results from a full physical and medical history to the Cuso medical advisor.
- Get vaccinated! – I had to get Rabies, Typhoid and Japanese encephalitis vaccinations, as well as a polio booster.
- Get 7 months worth of prescriptions – because I won’t be in Yangon (the biggest city), there is a higher risk of malaria – meaning 253 pills to bring with me.
- Go to SKWID! – 5 days of pre-departure training and preparations for being a Cuso International Volunteer. (See link above for more details!)
- Pack – perhaps the most time consuming and tricky part of getting ready (new culture + new climate = new clothes, medications and lots of toiletries).
Tomorrow, my last full day in Canada, I will get my final Rabies vaccine and get all 252 anti-malaria pills to take with me. The final pack will be done and I will make sure I have photocopies of all necessary documents in my luggage, as well as to leave with mom and dad in case of emergencies.
Now that I have everything I need and have said all my goodbyes, it’s time to rest up for the long, 28-hour trip to arrive in Yangon. I’ll check in with you all once I’ve landed!
Thanks again for reading!