In 9 days I'll be back home.
It's a strange feeling. I know that it's coming up, but it doesn't quite seem real. Realizing that it is coming up coupled with having a lot of free time with classes winding down (but not enough free time to do much traveling since I still have morning classes) has left me feeling a bit anxious and not quite sure what to do with myself. So in order to cope with that I've found myself doing everything I can to come home.
My preparations have included a variety of activities. I took advantage of my health benefits here and got an eye exam done. And once again I found out that the phrase "costo cero" (zero cost) does not mean zero cost. My eye appointment that I scheduled was supposed to be free, but I ended up having to pay about 12.000 pesos (about 24 dollars). This wouldn't have bothered me too much, but I didn't have the money on me at the time and so I had to reschedule the appointment. When I went back it was like a typical appointment in the States: The eye doctor's assistant trying to unsuccessfully shoot a puff of air into my eye due to my excessive blinking and sensitivity to light and touch, reading letters off of a chart with one eye covered at a time, and the doctor shining lights into my eyes to check them out. An interesting difference was that in addition to reading letters off of the chart they also had objects at the end of each line, such as a shoe, a ball, a duck, etc.
In the end I found out that my prescription hasn't changed at all. I also found out that sadly I'm not eligible for laser eye surgery becuase my eyes are so bad to qualify. I was pretty much expecting that response. I would be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed, but there are much worse things that could happen in life.
I've also been cleaning through my apartment and am getting rid of old things I don't need. I filled up 4 medium-sized bags with clothing that are a bit worn out or that I don't wear any more. After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting a donation pick-up company to take the things away, a Chilean friend was over and was able to take the things to share with his family and friends. I'm also getting rid of a bookcase that is too big for the apartment and will hopefully be getting a smaller one once I get back.
Perhaps the most exciting part of preparing to come home is contacting family and friends and making plans. It's going to be so great to see everyone I know and be back home around what is familiar to me. Another part of returning home is going to be shopping for clothing and things at cheap prices and one-stop shopping at places like Target as well as enjoying the food. I'll also leave the Stone Age with my computer that is dying a slow and painful death (it's 6 years old) and enter modern society with a laptop that has an integrated webcam and microphone. This will let me Skype with people and be able to see each other while we talk, and it will be awesome to be able to catch up with people.
I'm expecting (and hoping) that these next 9 days will go by quickly. My bosses are having an office celebration for 3 of us that have February birthdays on Tuesday, and one of my friends and I are having a joint birthday party Saturday night. A few of my friends aren't able to make it on Saturday, so they suggested going out for drinks on my actual birthday (which is Thursday).