1. Write in my journal almost every day. But actually write -- not just "I did this and this and this," but reflecting, digesting, taking time to think. Writing's the best stress reliever for me, so I'll probably need journal time anyway. Sub-goal: to remember to make it visual. My Italy journal is full of little mementos -- tickets, candy bar wrappers, newspaper clippings in other languages -- and it's fun just to flip through all the little pictures and things.
2. Learn enough French to be comfortable in it (not fluent, but comfortable). Learn enough of my village's tribal language to communicate. And remember to not hate myself when I don't magically acquire both overnight.
3. Have some really hilarious/awkward culture shock moments, and learn to deal with them gracefully. I anticipate having a couple of oh-my-god moments, some embarrassing misunderstandings and at least one accidental insult. Goal: to roll with them, do what I can to fix them, and then move on.
4. Control my temper when Beninese gender roles make me angry. Two major issues to watch: dramatic gender inequality in Benin, and general intolerance of LGBT relationships. Goal: to bite my tongue and breathe deeply before I accidentally kick somebody in the face.
5. Make a Beninese friend. Not just someone who'll have me over to chat, but someone I have a connection with, even over the language barrier and cultural differences. Tough goal, but I'll try.
6. Go on adventures, and come back with stories. As long as I'm in Africa, I might as well travel, and I hope I get lost at least once.
7. Get over my somewhat debilitating fear of bugs, particularly cockroaches and spiders. Right now, my main line of defense is to trap the offending insect/arachnid under a glass bowl (so I can see that it's still there), name it something like "Voldemort," and wait until someone with a stronger set of nerves gets home. I'm guessing that's not going to work in Africa.
8. Eat something scarily exotic, something delicious, and something I don't think I'll like. I hear they serve gigantic snails over there.
9. Respond to every letter I get. I'll need mail to remind me that people care about my existence and work, so I'll make it worth the $0.98 or whatever it costs to mail me a letter. Promise.
10. Be a good teacher, and a good investment for the Peace Corps. It sounds a little too idealistic to say that I want to make a difference for Benin as a whole, but I do want to do something positive for the people I work with. I want to, above all else, show them that education is important and worth the effort/money/frustration. In Benin, education above primary school is all private, and it's often really expensive, so lots of kids drop out at a young age. If I can get a couple of kids to stick it out a little longer, it'll be a big thing to me.