This time next week, I, along with a group from Airside Kirk, will be winging our way to Malawi, to visit our twin church partner. While there, I will officially begin probation - the 'final' stage in training (I say final, because I don't think the process ends, this is just the end of the beginning).
It's a great opportunity, and one I know will live with me for many, many years to come. And, now that I'll be earning a wage (so there's actually a chance Spot and I might get a holiday!) I don't feel guilty about doing this, unlike some of the trips I could have gone on with New College.
Over the last couple of weeks, I've been gathering up various bits and pieces I'll need - sun screen, anti-malarials, toothpaste, notebooks - to name a few. And my 'first world problem'? Which camera to take. With the best will in the world, I cannot change the fact I am (in world terms) very well off, but I don't want to be looking like an idiot either.
There are many things which daunt me about the trip (as exciting as it is). Will I get on with the group I am travelling with? Will I 'ding' at every airport security barrier (which will get waring)? Will I cope with the culture shock? Etc, etc. But the main thing which is concerning me (and the moment) is the heat.
The last couple of days have been lovely weather - sunny, bright and dry. I think yesterday and this afternoon may have even pushed up into the low twenties. For me, this is too (like way) too hot. And that's without the need to wear long sleeves and trousers to prevent sunburn and mosquito bites. Also, with the lack of reliable water, I can't do my soak my hat and top before wearing, to make it a bit more pleasant. I know, when I'm really hot I get grumpy. Yes, people say it's a different type of heat, and I will get you it has been very humid here, but it's still HOT.
Yet, I am looking forward to this great opportunity to experience and share with my brothers and sisters in Christ. To talk with them, to eat with them, to share faith with them. Even in the heat.