Preparing for a New Experience

I packed my bags last week, and I felt the need to repack them again yesterday. I keep wondering if I am missing something or if there is something I did not anticipate. I am looking forward to the heat, but I also know the heat might be a challenge for me too. I spent three years living in Palm Desert, California when I was little. In the desert, the temperature could easily reach a hundred degrees. Then for the rest of my childhood, I lived in Southern California near the ocean which was tended to be warm most days. After being in Indiana for over a year, I do miss the heat. I might regret saying so because the Texas heat is so different. Texas weather may be milder this time of year, but with the high humidity, this heat will be vastly different from the dry heat of the desert.

With my uncertainty of the Texas weather, I wonder if I am packing the right clothes. Honestly, I am struggling more with overpacking. Differentiating what is needed versus what is unnecessary has never been my strong suit. I am the type of person to pack too much because of a “just in case” mentality. Then again, as I talk to the team about what their suitcases looks like, I find myself adding to my already mile long packing list. I will overpack my field bag. I can almost guarantee it. I originally thought I would use a small field pack, but yesterday I decided to pack my field pack to see how everything fits. I realized quickly that my pack was barely able to hold everything, leaving extraordinarily little room for anything else. I should be grateful that I always carry too much because my field pack feels light in comparison to my school bag. Yet, after multiple hours of walking through the unforgiving Texas landscape, I am not sure if I will feel the same way.

Packing considerations aside, I am excited to truly experience South Texas. I have spent a grand total of 3 days in the state of Texas before this trip. All three days were spent close to Dallas, which is quite different from the area that the team will experience. Growing up in a big state, I understand how different areas can have so much to offer culturally. The ability to experience the unique aspects of the area the team will be working in will be extremely influential. I will be exposed to many new perspectives and experiences that will provide an irreplaceable learning experience. Not only can I learn about the firsthand experiences of those that are working in South Texas, but I can learn from those that have been affected by this crisis. Our team will be able to contribute to the work being done in South Texas and, in the process, we can learn about how approaches to a humanitarian crisis differ. Understanding the nuances of humanitarian work, is one of the most important educational opportunities I will encounter on this trip.