Penultimate day in Blighty!

Dear Lordi, how on earth did those 10 months of my PhD go so quickly?  How did my fieldwork season creep up on me so sneakily?!  It seems like I've been planning this for what feels like an eternity, but somehow I am still baffled that I'm now about to depart the UK for 10 months and although I know I have put a lot of plans in place I still feel very unprepared!!

Whenever I travel off to another country for an extended period of time, I always feel baffled by how little I really need to live.  Currently, my life for the next 10 months fits into a suitcase, a holdall bag and a rucksack:
My life for the next 10 months
How do you stop the worries that you've forgotten to pack something?  Even though I've packed more than I did last time I left, I still keep feeling that there is something vital that I'm leaving behind!  Oh that's right, my boyfriend won't fit into my luggage :-(

On the plus side, I've been avidly looking at the weather in Namibia and am pleasantly surprised that, although it is technically winter there, the weather looks far nicer than the UK summer time!
The hot and sunny "winter" weather in Namibia
Sunscreen?  Check. Hat? Check. Mosquito repellent? Check. Think I'm sorted on the sun front!

Things from the UK I am going to miss:

  1. Starbucks/Dr Pepper - someone please tell me why neither of these magnificent products have made it to Africa yet?  I've always had a dream of setting up a Starbucks franchise (that also sells Dr Pepper) on the Cape Town Waterfront.  If anyone is interested in setting this up with me, please let me know - I reckon we'd make a killing!
  2. My newfound favourite sandwich topping: Lotus caramelised spread/specaloos, kindly recommended by Mr James Fowler.  Holy cow, what am I going to put on my toast from now on?
  3. Central heating!  Although during the day it gets warm even in the winter, the nights are COLD and most houses are stone-built.  Brrr!!
  4. Free healthcare.  If you know me, you'll know I'm a bit of a sickling.  Please keep your fingers, toes, heads, legs crossed that I won't get too ill whilst away!
  5. Fast internet.  Oh dear, how am I going to watch True Blood, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, etc. without this?  If any wonderfully generous person would like to download and burn these series for me, I will love you forever!
  6. Oh yes, and of course I am going to miss all my lovely friends, family, and especially my boyfriend.
 Other than that, I'm very much looking forward to getting back to the wilderness and seeing those lovely stars, sunrises/sunsets, wildlife and magnificent landscapes again.  Bring it on!
An oldie but a goodie: the view from my old house in Namibia on the way to the CCF office

PS I'm not sure when I will next have internet connection, but will try to update this blog once I'm settled in and have worked out my ass from my head!  Thanks to everyone who's helped me out thus far on my PhD, including, but not limited to, my parents, Panthera, ESRC, Douglas, Joseph, Tanya, James, Laurie, Eli, Bruce, Heike, Monique, Bernice, Marion and the Namibian Embassy for granting me a visa!

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