This week I'm trying to finish all of the paperwork to get reimbursed from my grants for my expenses in Ukenzagapia. Wow. It's insane.
While I was gone for 5 weeks, I had a little weekly planner in which I wrote down every expense (even 2 cents) and noted if I didn't get a receipt or shared a receipt with another person (i.e. Helen). Sometimes you just can't get a receipt, like for the avocado and mango you bought on the street. Still, I diligently recorded all of these expenses, marking personal expenses such as gifts with a star. I put receipts in an envelope and tried to always get receipts for expenses more than about $5, even I had to get them to use my receipt book. I didn't always succeed for various reasons.
On Monday I sat down with my planner, receipts, and receipt book to add it all up. Then I took out all of the expenses for which I didn't have a receipt (they totaled about $75- not bad). Next I categorized the expenses in the same way I'd written my grant budgets. Then I had to split the expenses between two grants which are administered by two different institutions (UBC and BNHM). Each grant had a spreadsheet and about 15 pages of receipts individually numbered and taped to sheets of paper- all in a different currency.
I can't even imagine what it will be like when I'm in the field for months instead of one month.
To make matters worse, when I get all of these reimbursements, I have to give a big chunk of it back to UBC because they seriously screwed up my advance before I left so it has to be done in this nonsensical, convoluted way. They're not used to doing advances for grad students. I've been meaning to mention that when I receive official correspondence from UBC about my grants that they address me as "Dr. Anirak" which is several years premature and thus endlessly amusing.