Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Over the Waves

Things you have to thinka-bout before going overseas for extended periods:

* What's the voltage, Hz, and amps over there?
* What sunscreen gives me the best value per oz?
* Who do I have to give a change of address to besides the post office, everything that has my credit card, and everyone I email?
* Where is the US embassy located in [whatever country]?
* What all do I have to cancel: subscriptions, Netflix, other services?
* What records might I need besides copies of my transcripts, licenses, diplomas, medical and immunization records?
* What do I need besides my credit cards, passport, ID, extra passport photos, and duty-free cigarettes to barter my way out of a civil war or coup?
* What are the laws regarding [anything you own] in [whatever country]? Do I have contraband? How can I smuggle it in without them knowing? What happens to me once they've caught me?
* How do you get a library card/ set up internet/ get a phone?
* How do you set up a will and power of attorney in case something happens overseas?
* Do they drive on the right or the left? Is it bicycle friendly? Pedestrian friendly?
* What's the food like, and do I have a prayer in trying to prepare it myself?
* How much is [everything]?
* Really? I can't believe milk is so cheap while potato chips are that expensive. Huh.
* What is there to do to stay occupied? What's the low-down on the various neighbourhoods? Which parts of town are crime-ridden, touristy, or bargain shopping meccas?
* How do you say [anything] in the local language?
* Which newspapers are popular? Radio stations? TV channels? Blogs?
* Just whose in charge, there, anyway? Are they popular? Is it an election year? What's the voting age? How does their government function? How is it dysfunctional?
* What are the social norms? Who do you tip? Which hand do you use to eat with? What hand gestures do you avoid? How do you greet someone in [any scenario]? What are the religious beliefs and all of their customs and procedures?
* What's standard boilerplate for a renter's contract? An employer's contract?
* Are they on metric?
* How do you convert to metric?
* What don't you need to bring? Should you bring your social security card, voter's registration, birth certificate, parole officer's card?
* How do they dress? Should I dress that way? Where can I get those [garments]?
* What is the weather like?
* That bad, huh?
* What lives there, grows there, and passes through? How big will the spiders in my tub be?
* Where is it cheaper to buy [anything]: over here and pay shipping, or over there?
* What's the cheapest way I can call [whoever]?
* Which entertainment items/tchotchkes/clothing items/supplies will I need? What will be unnecessary?
* When was the last time they had an epidemic/flood/fires/nuclear meltdown? How did the government handle it? Which areas are safest?
* What's the public transportation like?
* Why am I doing this?

* Why would I not be doing this?

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