I had a very upsetting dream last night, having to do with my upcoming trip to Uganda.

In the dream, I was carpooling to the airport with my friend from Uganda and two others who were going with us. Never mind that I live in Georgia and the others are all in Minnesota.

At some point, I thought about my passport, which I had put in my suitcase as soon as I started packing, so I would be sure not to forget it. But I had an unsettling feeling about it, so we pulled into a parking lot so I could check for it. When I opened my suitcase, it was filled with my husband’s clothes instead of mine. And no passport. Then I opened my smaller suitcase, and it was the same thing.

Starting to panic, I tried calling my husband, but – as is common in dreams – I kept misdialing and wasn’t able to get through.

At this point, there was nothing left to do but head back to my house to get my correct luggage and, more important, my passport. As we did, I started to realize all the other things I should have had with me, but didn’t. Chargers and converters for my phone and electronics. Reading material to keep myself occupied during the long flights. And my journal to keep track of everywhere we went and everything we did in Uganda. It also occurred to me that I had neglected to go to the bank to get extra cash for the trip.

In the dream, I kept apologizing to my companions, who were very patient and understanding. I also kept pinching myself and banging my head on the back seat, saying, “Please, please, please, let me wake up and find out this is all a dream.” Except it wasn’t – until I woke up for real and realized that, yes, it had all been a dream.

It took me a while to get back to sleep, especially since I couldn’t stop thinking about where the dream had come from – which was pretty obvious, since I really am going to Uganda before too long – and what it meant. I’m guessing it just showed how I really feel, which is that I’m not quite ready for the trip. I always feel that way when I’m getting set to step out of my comfort zone, or do something I’ve never done before. And even though I’ve made four previous trips to Uganda, each one is different, with new agendas, new challenges, and new experiences.

I’ll try to keep reminding myself of that as I continue to get ready for the trip. I’ll also do everything I can to make sure that I am as prepared as I can be. I’ll remember the mantra that guided our team through our first trip to Uganda, which was to be 100% scripted, and 100% flexible – as prepared as we could be, but ready to deal with anything that came up.

And I think I’ll start right now to make the checklist of everything I’ll need to take with me. Chargers and converters. Malaria pills and other medications. Reading and writing materials. And, of course, my passport.

January 19, 2018
©Betty Liedtke, 2018

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