Category Archives: Preparations

The Heebie Jeebies

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People sometimes ask me if I freaked out at any point when preparing for the trip, if I started stressing about what I was getting myself into. And I would say no, since what I was feeling was something closer to positive excitement, a pleasant unknown – a sense of adventure!

But this still was, subjectively speaking, quite an undertaking and bound to rattle somewhere. And, admittedly, I did get the fight-or-flight feeling, once: 15 minutes before boarding the flight from Helsinki. I was sitting in the terminal, feeling quite calm and looking out toward the runways – at nothing in particular. Then it hit me, like a wave from an unseen horizon – as these things usually do.

My skin started tingling and my mind was racing, frantically trying to find a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. What am I doing, moving to another country? More or less by myself, to almost the other side of the world, for six months? Did I really want to do this? What if I hate it, what if I can’t cope? What if I get seriously ill?

Alright alright alright, this was to be expected, I thought. Tried to keep a cool head, took a few deep breaths and started walking through that inner maze, telling the lizard brain that the more evolved parts got this covered; everything was going to be fine. Just let go.

Just let go.

A few minutes later the wave had passed and my head was back on my shoulders. Not as firmly as before, but good enough.

It was almost time to board the flight. Decided to call my parents, to give a final farewell from Finnish soil. Also told my mom – who, not surprisingly, is usually the more fretting one of the two – not to worry about this whole India thing; I was going to be just fine.

I’m still not sure if it was her or myself that I was trying to convince.

Walk The Walk

Leaving familiar places for the last time in a long while always has that feeling of weirdness around it. It is not entirely unlike leaving for a vacation, but there is something a bit gloomy overshadowing it. Maybe it’s the whole business of saying farewell, knowing that there will be distance in both time and space until you see again.

Exiting that scenery, which has become so familiar it’s mundane, gives a strange feeling. As you pass places you’ve seen countless times before, you kind of slow down a bit, savor it. Try a little harder to get it to stick in your mind, for those moments when you’ll miss it all.

With everything packed and ready, sitting at the gate, waiting for the flight to Istanbul to start boarding, what am I feeling? A tingling sensation. Excitement. The big unknown. Scary in its ways, but not sinister. The last few weeks I’ve been waiting for the big crash, the big realization of what I’m heading into, and the unwelcome feeling of it being too much. But it isn’t. That feeling hasn’t come. And since I managed to say goodbye to family and friends, drop my bag and go through security check without collapsing into a fetal position, I think it’s somewhat safe to say it won’t.

So, after talking the talk, it’s now time for me to walk the walk. I’ll see you on the other side.

Packlist

  • Documents
    • Passport
    • Visa
    • Contract
    • Vaccination card
    • Printed copies
  • Money
    • Cash
    • Primary bank card + backup card
  • Health, Sanitary & Medical
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Thermometer
    • Paracetamol
    • Ibuprofen
    • Antibiotics
    • Immodium
    • Towel
  • Camera Gear
    • Canon 5D
    • EF 70-200 mm “Great White”
    • EF 50 mm
    • EF 28 mm
    • Zenitar 16 mm
    • Canon G10
  • Other Gear
    • Laptop
    • Keyboard + mouse
    • Flashlight
    • Chargers
    • External mic
    • UK – EU electrical outlet adapter
  • Clothes
    • T-shirts, underwear, socks for one week
    • 3 x Long sleeves
    • 3 x Pants
    • Nice shoes
    • Good shoes
    • Sandals
    • Blazer
    • Light jacket
    • Scarf
    • Swimsuit
    • Casual shorts
    • Sporty shorts
  • Misc
    • 3.1 sound system – including subwoofer. Yes.
    • Journal

Access Granted

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After the “4 day processing time” which turned out to be three weeks I finally got my visa. So it’s all good now?

Nope.

My work contract is from October 1 to March 31 – exactly six months. Business / employment visas can be issued for a maximum of six months, so it was not a coincidence that I put down the same dates on my visa application. They should fit together quite nicely. Right?

Wrong.

For some reason, which – despite several efforts of communication – is still unclear to me, they decided to put September 18 as the starting date. An odd choice, considering that the earliest date that I was allowed to pick up the visa was the 26th. Which means the visa ends two weeks before my work contract does. After more questions it became clear that it was essentially impossible for me to get a six month visa that would perfectly overlap the working period.

But I can apply for an extension to the visa during my stay there, right? I asked. The clerk, a mellow Indian man, smiled and said in a delightfully cheery, accented voice “You can try”, almost as if he’s cracking a joke. Maybe he was.

I could do little more than smile and say ok, I guess I’ll have to go with what I got, and since this is what I have then it’ll have to do. At least it’ll get me into the country. He smiled back as I turned and left the embassy.

A Temporary Farewell

So yesterday I threw something of a farewell party at lovely Milli Miglia. “A Temporary Farewell” is what I called it. And it is.

It was super nice to see so many dear friends, and just sit down for a few beers and chat. Some of the attendees I hadn’t seen in a long while. Way too long.  Which would explain why we broke out the Cuba Libres and said farewell until the bars closed. True bromance.

Still, it does feel strange to say farewell. Makes me realize the situation a bit more. Makes it a bit more real. And with ten days to go, I’m starting to get that tingling sensation.