We haven't even left yet but still I feel a need to start this post. I'm about to take the journey of a lifetime and so much of the journey is starting here with all the endless choices and decisions to be made. Things to buy...people to say a goodbye for now to...lists to double check....lists.....lists.......lists..... The beginning is actually not here but started almost a year ago.
My daughter who was a freshman in college was being urged to go in the studies abroad program at her university with friends was talking about what a great trip it will be. Then she was worried about being homesick, something she has wrestled with to some extent in the past. I jokingly said, "Then I will just have to go!" Turns out that since I'm an instructor who can teach in three content areas (Education, Theatre, and Psychology), I was a good candidate to go. Then things started falling into place so fast. My husband, Cliff, was invited to go as well and a wonderful lady (who had been a freshman when we first moved here to teach) was able to come and take his place for the semester and not leave the theatre program completely without leadership. As we speak, she is already here and the students enjoy her witty and amusing style of teaching very much. So, all this left was a very enthusiastic 11 year old, Jon Michael, who very willingly agreed to homeschooling for three months to attend school in Europe!
Since I was building a counseling practice, I was very concerned to build it up for 6 months and then leave for three. I've been so appreciative of my clients who understand the need to seize an opportunity like this. So, I finally committed to the plan this fall when I had not found a suitable full time job to supplement the growing practice. God has been amazing, providing for us both financially and emotionally as we plodded the very lean path toward our wonderful trip.
To add to the financial stress, we didn't know how much we would have to buy! We needed all weather coats (much different from what we usually wear in Tennessee). We needed boots. We needed warm socks and long underwear. We needed expedition backpacks that would carry all we needed for our free travel including one two week stretch. Oh, and we needed passports....yesterday....Becky and I were okay since we had been doing medical mission trips but Cliff's had expired and Jon Michael had never had one. Cha-ching. Expedited service for passport to get in time for tickets to be ordered at a decent price. Cha-ching. Electric adapters and converters.....day bags for carrying our lunch, water bottles (oh yeah, we bought these too so they would handle the rough treatment of constant travel), and cameras etc. for day trips. Clothes for layering....lined gloves...hats for warmth...travel size everything...not to mention texts and teaching materials. Thankfully, the text books that Cliff and I were using are available in a downloadable ebook format. I could go on and on but you get the picture. Oh yes, we all had to get our meds written for 3 months and are waiting until the last possible day to get them filled so they will last until we get back IF we can afford to pay for three months worth before we go. HA!
We had some very generous friends and family that donated money (we had a very GREEN Christmas!), backpacks, clothes, etc. The university has been very generous too. My doctor was hoping to find some samples of my meds but mine are all generic and not available as a sample.
I'm going to leave this post for now. Still so much more of the planning process to explore with you, my virtual travelers. But that will have to wait to another time. It is time for sleep since I will be a bit sleep deprived on the trip I'm sure. Stay close and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. I'll post pics and everything. Caio!