Another Edinburgh University Alumni once said;
“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”
~ Alexander Graham Bell
So, we prepared. Kirsty came and delivered some key pre-departure training. We learnt to not put our USB sticks in other people’s computers because of infectious viruses (no double entendre, computer safety is no laughing matter). We played a game of “what to wear to not offend the locals” and learnt some vital information on travel safety, key anti mosquito bite tips, how to get the most of our prospective colleagues and how to not make any host families cry through a lot of personal encounters and stories courtesy of Kirsty and her previous volunteers. Extra bonus was for once we got catering from Edinburgh First without having to scavenge like vultures after an ECCI conference!
We spent a good wee while chatting about what we could and couldn’t wear, and for the life of me I can’t get the image of Tom in some daisy duke shorts out my head. Inappropriate Tom, more than just culturally! Once we moved past that, a little nugget of glory from Kirsty was to make sure you had your toes covered up at official meetings, makes sense right, don’t have your digits and squiggly toes on show with government official or village elders, but I tell you, there was going to be nothing by sandals and flip flops in my bag before this training! But then I found the shoe love child of a clog and a Birkenstock and all my dreams came true!
Thanks to the very generous Laura Jeffery of the Social Anthropology department, I am going to arrive in her beautiful Shalwar Kameez, on the road to not insulting any of the collaborators and instill faith in my ability by dressing to impress, dress smart-act smart!