Sunday, 30 November 2008

I'm So Excited!

This month has just zipped by and it's already the last day - where did all the time go?

Today is my last day to chill out before things go crazy!

Tomorrow, oh tomorrow I have a million and one things to do - finish my job and clear out my room, bank my last pay check from my second job, say all my goodbyes to the fine folk I have gotten to know in the village of Chiddingfold and get back to London to pack for Africa.

On Thursday I did a little more shopping for Africa, I got a Frisbee for Francis, some more bright coloured bracelet, more stickers, a finger string game, a whole lot of 'happy men' (little yellow stretchy men) and some more pencil!

On Tuesday I plan to get the football gear in the morning and finish packing my bags ready for my flight in early evening. I have to be at the airport about 3 hours before the flight which is always a drag.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Time For A Cool Change

What's been happening? Where do I start? My second job, the one which has been funding my debt clearing, has been on hold for the last three weeks and doesn't looking like restarting any time soon. Which means my Africa trip is going to have to be mostly funded via my tax payment account - something I am not very happy about but as the trip is now less than a fortnight away what else can I do. At least I am not using my credit card, that would mean breaking my number one rule of not increasing my debt.
My luggage problem (yes there was one!) has been solved. I started to get worried about getting charged for excess baggage as some of the gift's I am buying for the charity projects in Kenya and Uganda are a little on the heavy side. And I was told that my flight ticket limited my luggage to only 20 kg's (not nearly enough). However I have since found out that this limit is for the flight between Kenya and Uganda, which means I can take up to 46 kg to Kenya (2 bags at 23 kg each only). As I will be leaving about half the gifts in Kenya I should be able to get the rest to Uganda on the 20 kg limit (well here's hoping anyway).
Because of the problems with my second job I have made the decision to end both my jobs as of the 1st of December and get new work once I am back from Africa. Not great times for looking for new work but I have an agency who does that for me. So I am hopefully that come the middle of December I should have the next twelve weeks of work sorted and from that I can work out a new budget.
As I don't really do Christmas I am hoping to get back on track and really get working on my debt, as I want it all gone by at least July 2009!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Time Is Running Out

Finally I have started getting my shopping list sorted out for my African trip which is getting closer and closer - time is running out to get it all done. The list isn't complete as I keep getting a brain wave and adding a few more items.

I have been amazed by the price differences for products online, I have been looking at prices for a children's world map. The top end price was £18 and my purchase price £4.99. This was for the same map - unbelievable! Maybe I have not been shopping for so long I have forgotten all this sort of price difference.

Some of the items I am going to try and blag to keep costs down, I want some posters, hair clips and other hair accessories, colouring books and crayons, pencil's etc, maybe even some lollipops too.

My budget of £200 for gifts is not going to cover what I have planned to purchase but I have been given an extra £100 through work which will cover the extra needed. My next problem is that of weight, as my limit is 23kg but can go up to 32kg but this will incur a £50 excess baggage charge. I am taking two giant Twister games which weight 4kg each and so I am now having to think about what everything is going to weight.

Another thing which did surprise me was just getting myself to use my designated credit card (i.e. the card I have paid in full) to buy the gifts. Even knowing that I have started to load the card, didn't change my apprehension at using it. Truth be known - it was more than a month ago that I started thinking about what I wanted to buy from the list of gifts the Charity had given me as an example. But I just couldn't bring myself to do any more than that - just think about it. Spending money has become a bit of a trial.

This trip is a real dream come true. Years ago while at intermediate school my class used to sponsor a child in Kenya and I was always involved in the 40 hour famine that was held each year on behalf of Tear Fund. So the idea of finally going to Africa is so awesome! OK, I have been to South Africa before but that just doesn't seem the same thing. I know it is going to be life changing and that is a good thing. I know it is also the first of many visits which for some one who loves to travel is great news. But the whole trip comes down to just two days - the 5th Dec in Kenya and the 10th Dec in Uganda - that's when I get to met my sponsor children. Everything else is fill in.