12.15.2006

Pluggin' On

This will literally be me the next couple of weeks until I leave for Uganda, reading away in every spare moment I can find. Not only do I have my From The Stacks Challenge to keep up with but I have oodles of articles that I wickedly printed off at work on Uganda and Africa to read to be up to snuff on the current events. Also, in addition to reading Last King of Scotland for the From The Stacks Challenge, I'll be bringing and hopefully reading a couple of African themed books while in Uganda. Does anyone else theme their book choices with a trip? I've never gone anywhere noteworthy before, so this will be the first time I'm doing it. I'm interested to see how that books will affect me being in Africa as I read them. Right now I'm reading Half of a Yellow Sun and am really enjoying it. It's been a while since I've been able to really get into a book and lose myself in it and I find myself doing this in Half of a Yellow Sun. It's well written and the characters are complex and interesting. It is also giving me some ideas of different feelings and perceptions of "white people" and colonialization in Africa. Even though the book takes place in Nigeria and not Uganda, I feel that these feelings are most likely similar across Africa since many of the countries were similarly colonialized by Europeans at some point in their long histories. Even though I was already fairly up-to-date on the issues in Uganda, I've been reading more and more about the country's history and many of the different issues in Uganda I had not focused my attention to previously, such as their AIDs epidemic or the land issues that are arising with the IDPs (Internally Displaced Peoples) returning home. There is so much content to read in such little time, I'm a little overwhelmed and have recently taken to being anti-social during my lunch break to sit at my desk to read.

I've also started to more seriously pack, though for Christmas my hubby bought me a new travel backpack (you know, one of those huge ones that you can backpack across Europe with... which I'll probably use it for as well) and I'm eagerly awaiting for its arrival so I can start packing for real. Right now I have many items laying in neat piles in my closet (man, it's a bitch keeping your house clean 24/7 when you're trying to sell your house) eager to find a place in my new backpack. I'm happy to get a new backpack though because I would have had to use my hubby's, which is much too big for me and might not be able to be carried on, and it had no pockets other than the main compartment and a shoe compartment on the bottom. Have I mentioned yet that I'm an obsessive organizer and love tons of pockets? So I was in packing hell trying to work it with that backpack. We figured I'd need my own for Europe anyways, so mine-as-well get one now so I can use it for Uganda, too.

I'm getting more and more excited to go as the time approaches. I'm going to feel like a newbie since it seems like most of the other gals going this will not be their first time in Africa, but for me it's my first time truly out of the country. My poor hubby meanwhile is lining up X-Box 360 dates for while I'm gone!

Oh, one bit of exciting news though! Hubby and I requested only money from everybody for Christmas, but his father insisted on at least buying us one thing so that he could wrap something up for us, so my one thing was Suite Francaise which I've been hearing so much about and am eager to read. Hopefully he gets it for me! Wahoo! The best presents will always be books for me.

4 comments:

Patry Francis said...

Books are my favorite gifts, too--and I always have a long list. Makes me SO easy to buy for.

mai wen said...

Oh I know, I'm very easy to buy for because even if they don't know what book to buy me (though they usually do because I distribute a list) they can just get me a gift card to a book store.

I think my book wish list is a black hole, it just never ends.

Renée Robinson said...

Good luck in Uganda, Mai! It will be the experience of a lifetime.
Books are a perfect Chrissy gift.
And I love backpacks and bags and pockets too. Must be that feeling of planning to go somewhere that's so appealing...

mai wen said...

Thanks, Renee! I'm gearing up for it and am super excited/nervous!

I'd never thought of the fact that the feeling of planning to go somewhere is what makes packing and getting ready so much fun for me, but I think you're right. It's one more step to get ready for a trip, and trips are so much fun!

 

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