1. Detox. In anticipation of restricted access to coffee I have been trying to cut back on my consumption. As a result I get a massive headache every day at about 2pm, and it lasts until the next morning when I make the morning pot. So, that's nice.
2. Shoes. Can someone please tell me what is the appropriate amount of shoes to bring on a 2 month trip to China that will involve the following: fieldwork (boots), travel by train (sneakers), sightseeing (sandals &/or sneakers), visiting various official offices (nicer shoes), presenting at a conference (ditto), attending banquets (dressy shoes) and wandering around Beijing trying to figure out how to get back to my hotel (hopefully not dressy shoes). Plus evening after fieldwork post-shower shoes (flip flops). I am just now realizing that I do not own a pair of shoes that fit very well into the International Conference/visiting the Embassy category. Rats.
3. Language. I have negative capacity to learn languages. This handicap is not helped by the fact that I keep forgetting to take my Pimsleur CDs out of Adam's car. I am worried about making a bad impression. Hoping that being the only American for hours will help this process along, once I get there. Trial by fire.
4. Departure. I booked my ticket through the NSF's travel agents, and so I know that I had to think about the time difference in order to make sure I arrived on the right day. But since then I have been so fixated on my arrival date, that somehow I stopped thinking about my departure. I arrive in Beijing this Sunday, and I have started telling people/myself that I leave on Sunday as well. Suddenly yesterday the 13 hr. time difference sprang to mind & I remembered that it is not actually possible for me to leave and arrive on Sunday. I leave on SATURDAY. I just lost a whole day of preparation. Crikey.
9. Gifts. I need to bring thank-you gifts to my collaborators/people who have been helping me with the planning, and will continue to help me while I'm there. The only ideas anyone can give me are booze and baseball hats. Neither of these thrill me with their originality. But then again, I love it when people bring a bottle of whiskey to my house, so who am I to judge? Also, booze is heavy.
10. The Crazy. I can't believe the range of emotions I have been gone through in the past few months, in regards to this trip. Excitement to freaked to stressed to excited to nervous to my current state: totally incredibly nervous. I think the issue is that it's not like I'm just going on vacation. I have to actually perform actual research, in a foreign country, with no one responsible for me, and a big fancy federal agency that I have to report my results to. I have to get some data. Please let the data happen! So, pile all of that on top of the general nervousness that would come from traveling alone in Chine for 2 months and there I am. I can't believe Adam has not locked me in a closet by now; I am driving him bonkers with my crazy.