I'll start with a disclaimer. The monkey thing will probably not happen. Sorry to disappoint you. Becca was kind enough to point out that it was a terrible idea.
In other news, tomorrow we start our voyage. It will take us from Owego at about 10 a.m. to Binghamton. After a stop off at the dentist, we will then go to Syracuse to catch a bus. This bus will take us to Philly where we will spend the night with our good friend McDee, after which we will fly to Miami. Then to Puerto Rico. That might sounds like fun but then you realize that we have yet to go to the Dominican Republic. Then to Guadeloupe, Martinique, and finally, Cayenne, French Guiana, arriving at about ten at night on the 25th. No need to dust off your calculators: 60 hours of traveling/layovers The only route that way more direct was to go to Paris, then to Cayenne. Doesn't matter what we do, sore butts will be a sure result of this trip.
But it is worth saying that in order for us to even get to this sitting marathon, we've had to get through another type of marathon- that of paperwork. Now the French Bureaucracy (FB) tends to like paperwork and tend to take plenty of breaks- to eat baguettes, of course- before they return the paperwork to you. In addition, life in South America (SA) tends to run more slowly. For all you math minded people, that gives us FB+SA=ARRRGGGGGGG. Seriously- look it up.
For example, the application for this job was sent in November, and you get notified if you're hired in May. Also, we had to have something called an "arrêté de nomination" in the mail to get our visas. This paperwork was sent to them in March, and we then had to sign up for a visa appointment in NYC about two months in advance but had to cancel because we didn't have the arrêté. After asking someone, we finally found out that our arrêtés were in fact NOT coming in the mail, but they were sent straight to NYC. Then we went, applied, and went back again a week later to pick up our visas.
But we didn't only have problems on the France end of things. We had to get our birth certificates translated by a certified translator. It took about a week to translate the twenty words on a birth certificate, that apparently Becca and I were unable to translate ourselves, even though we both just graduated with a degree in French. $50 later, the lady forgot to send us the hard copies of the translations, and then, she forgot to put my name on it. Probably couldn't find the French word for Cody. For our vaccinations, of which we need proof to get into the country, we had an equally difficult time. After playing phone tag with the vaccination clinic, Becca spend literally (and those of you that know me know that I don't say literally unless I really mean it) ten minutes on the phone trying to convince the woman that French Guiana did indeed exist and what vaccinations we needed to go there. Then, when there, we had a wrong prescription as well as having to remind them to give us our paperwork, and then remind them that they needed to fill it out. We got to pay them $70 for their services.
We are writing this not to vent or to make you feel sorry for us, but rather for the comedic value. So, thanks to everyone who has made this possible. Seriously, we are grateful for everything. We have proven our desire to go through with this by jumping through all the hoops, and we are hoping it will pay off. And, this way, anyone reading this, thinking about doing this same program in the future, will be able to read ahead and see if it is all worth it or not :)
And thinking about it, what would we do with a monkey after our seven months are up?