One more day- Wow!
Houston Travel Blog› entry 7 of 114 › view all entries
I cannot believe it is time- a long awaited event that is finally here! It's the last section of our big trip. I'm thrilled and sad at the same time. Thrilled to be going, sad it will be over before we know it. But most of all, I'm tired of packing!
I do admit that this is the most organized I've ever been before a trip. Maybe it's because we had 5 weeks since Part III - practically an eternity to prepare!
Today I worked a little on Ciao Baby and felt emotional, like crying, when leaving her. That's a bit embarassing, but true. I'm happy that the nice Behan family from Ireland will get to enjoy her while we're gone. I'm REALLY happy that we're not storing her in Amsterdam for 9 months. Still, it was hard saying "Ciao Baby!" to Ciao Baby.
Orla and Kieran, our Irish exchange family, emailed a list of all the travel and camping books that we can use. Wow! That resource consists of about 30-40 books. What a huge help!
My Camping Card International did arrive from Canada- whew! I did not want to have campground offices hold my passport overnight.
I'm much happier about our new plan to wander around Ireland and the UK before heading down to see Ned in Paris the end of April. It almost sounds relaxing! Our culture shock into Mexico was so intense that avoiding that feeling is profound motivation. I think the combo of not speaking enough Spanish, scraping the rig on the concrete at Customs, seeing a dog get hit by a car, and getting lost in Matamoros with the agressive panhandlers resulted in a difficult entry. And to think that my biggest concern now is jet lag. Ahhh, what a relief.
In the midst of packing for Europe, I began planning social activities for our Lazy Daze group at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta this October and somehow ended up in helping lead it this year. It's great fun to plan field trips, potlucks, dinners out, tours, educational sessions, etc. Our very fun Lazy Daze Yahoo group has been a complete distraction to my packing. So even though our family trip ends in July, we can look forward to Albuquerque in October!
Now, back to Europe... tonight I booked tickets to the Irish dance show "Riverdance" in Dublin! We have 2nd row, middle seats for a matinee performance right before we fly home in July. I'm really excited and they had a "family plan" for savings. (Canada often had a nice "family plan" for larger families.) I've always wanted to see Riverdance and what a treat to see it in its "home" city!
I still need to prepare "the notebook" of my important docs. I don't know why I took it all out and stacked it messily on my desk. I think I just crescendo into completely wacky by the time I leave for a trip.
We're traveling carry-on-only for the flight and that is tricky. Fortunately, kind Orla and Kieran are supplying us with everything we need. I have to admit that becoming friends with them has been the best part of this exchange. I am SO looking forward to meeting them and the kids!
Anyway, we followed Rick Steves' packing list - there really is very little that we NEED. We can buy whatever we really must have, but we're going to explore, learn, grow, experience... not necessarily use much stuff.
Speaking of Rick Steves, if you want a good laugh, read this article about Rick's first trip to Europe with his best friend - hilarious: http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/destinations/europe/gutter.htm
Ned got me all set up on a wonderful little recycled Sony Vaio (why oh why did I order that 19" computer I named "Moose" from Dell?). I even now have Boingo Global with thousands of hotspots throughout the world. For $8 additional a month he put it on Charles' iTouch, so we can use that too for emails. We're all set up, thanks to our TechNed.
Ned said that he is really sad this time that we're leaving because he knows how much he'll miss us. This surprised me since the travel/return pattern is fairly predictable and it's our last trip. Plus, we'll see him in just 5 weeks, but then we learned that it is no longer football season and so he won't be enjoying the peace and quiet quite so much... Fortunately, he's very supportive and we cannot wait to experience Paris with him!
There is a big rugby game Saturday night in which Ireland is a finalist, called the Six Nations Cup. I'm really excited to be there during it and hope we win. I need to buy a green jersey, right away upon landing! http://www.rbs6nations.com/en/home.php
We're trying to learn Art History time periods as framework for our trip- not so easy! We're using Rick Steves as our definitive source. Ha! Just our speed. We're through Egypt, Greece, and Rome, which covers about 1/5 of our goal.
I'm going to get to work on that notebook stack. We now only have 61191 seconds until heading to the airport! We might try the Boingo hotspot at the Houston Airport tomorrow.
The excitement of adventure is building...