It’s almost six in the morning and I’m sitting here at work with my mind abuzz. Even though it’s almost five months until I leave for Germany, it just seems like there’s so much to do! I just spent the last few hours fretting over the wording of my fundraising page and tinkering around in Photoshop to make the most appealing promotional flyer I could come up with. When I finished that, I hopped onto Duolingo to take my daily German lessons.
I started practicing German when I first found out that my sister’s family would be stationed in Germany for three years but after a few months my attention switched to Spanish. Living in the states, it seemed like the most practical language to learn. Now that I’ve decided to go through with this trip to Germany I’ve had to readjust my priorities though! I’ve also signed up to several German/European social networking sites in hopes of making friends and doing a little bit of networking before I get there. It would be awesome to have a native German speaker to help me practice the language too.
On Tuesday I go to get my passport photo taken at the post office. I’ll be picking up the forms I need to fill out tomorrow morning after I get off work. Black ink only, only allowed to use a single line through any mistakes that you make instead of scratching or whiting it out; it’s a lot like the medical documentation that we do at work so it should be easy enough to adhere to those rules. I’ll just have to take my time and make sure that my usual chicken scratch is a bit more legible. I’ll be able to buy a money order at the post office to send photo, forms, and fees all in one trip. It’ll cost $135 for my passport and since I’m planning this all out well in advance, I won’t have to pay the $60 extra it would cost if I had to get a rush on the process.
My sister and I need to finalize the flight that I’ll be going over on. Fortunately, we can choose a flight and still have several weeks to pull together the money to pay for it. If need be, we can always ask for an extension but I should be able to pull together enough money to cover it in about a month if I cut my expenses back to nil. Which is easier said than done with my poor spending habits but I think this could be a great opportunity to teach myself a bit of discipline. I’ve sat down and worked out a budget with a goal in mind of saving a little over $1,200 by the time I leave. That’s assuming I can get as many overtime hours as I’m willing to pick up. Fortunately, with the company I work for being critically short staffed, there’s no real shortage of hours to be had.
Then there’s the technical details to figure out. I need to see what vaccines I need before going over to Europe. I need to figure out whether the doctor can give me a three month prescription for my medications so I have them while I’m overseas. For that matter, I need to figure out how my insurance is going to be paid for while I’m gone since I get it through work. I was in the process of looking for a new job when this trip was proposed. So, rather than start a new job only to disappear after a few months to travel abroad, I’ve decided to stay at my current place of employment until it’s time to leave. I will give them my notice about a month before my departure and stay on for two to three weeks to help ease the transition. But leaving is going to mean losing my insurance and with the inflated prices COBRA throws out there, affording healthcare while I’m out of the country is going to be tricky. I plan to spend some of the time while I’m gone searching for my new job and working in healthcare as I do, I’m confident that I’ll be able to find something new by the time I return home. But even if I start back to work right away, there’s usually a 90-day wait before new employees have access to benefits.
Anyway, yeah. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of thoughts floating around in my mind about this trip. Five months to go and so very much to figure out and do before I get to the departure day! I just hope these belly butterflies settle down soon because they’ve been awfully stirred up since I made the official decision to go ahead with this trip.
P.S. Check out the flyer I designed for my fundraiser and tell me what you think!