Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting Ready

I'm going to need a cruise vacation to recover from getting ready for this trip.  Packing for four months is complicated.  I've often though, when I go away for a week or two, that surely the amount of stuff I take then would be enough for any length of time.  After all, there are laundry machines.  But four months require a greater variety of things.  I suppose I could get by with the two weeks worth of clothes, but the thought of wearing the same two dresses for the two formal nights a week for sixteen weeks is simply not appealing at all.  I'm not exactly a fashion plate, in fact I very rarely wear makeup and any thoughts I have about clothes concern whether an item makes me look even fatter or not.  (Menopause and body image, a whole other topic.)  But I do want some choice of what to wear while I'm away, some variety so I don't get bored and so the people who have to look at me don't begin to not see me because they know what to expect and so don't really bother to see.
  Plus I have to pack for warm weather.  This will be first time I cross the equator, and the season is summer in the southern hemisphere.  And I have to pack for cold weather, unless the Antarctic is more affected by global warming than I think.  I hope it isn't unduly affected or changing, simply because it is unique in the world.  I'm not usually good at going along with rules unless I understand why they exist and that reason makes sense to me.  We won't be able to set foot on any Antarctic territory but I do understand the concerns of a thousand people per ship tromping around and so I have no problem with this rule.  Simply seeing it will be a thrill.  And seeing penguins will be the icing on the cake, or rather the ice on the frozen dessert.
  So I've ben sorting clothes into piles - stuff I want to take, stuff I definitely won't take, stuff that's a maybe, and stuff I have to try on.  I've kept pretty well every piece of clothing I've ever earned.  I even found a shirt I wore during the 70s, with sleeves that puff out from shoulder to elbow, and then again from elbow to wrist.  Anyone remember that style?  Then after I decided what I wanted to take, I had to cut it down by at least half so it would fit not only in two suitcases, but so it will fit in the cabin.  There's a fair amount of storage space but the cabins are not big.
  Then there are books to read and books I like to have when I teach certain topics.  Books to read isn't really an issue, as there is a good library on board the ship, but my to-be-read shelf is turning into to-be-read shelves, and so I want to whittle it down somewhat.  The teaching books ended up not coming along.  I'll just have to  wing it.
  This whole teaching experience will be an exercise in flexibility.  I'll have hour-long sessions instead of the two or three hours I'm used to.  I'll be covering all genres instead of designing a course to cover a particular one.  I'll have larger groups than I'm used to, although I have experienced this in the past.  There was one school up north I went to.  They'd asked how big a group I wanted to work with, and I said no more than twenty-five, but when I arrived a found they'd been so excited about having a writer come visit that they wanted to whole school to participate, about one hundred kids.  I managed.  Flexibility and the ability to think fast on your feet, those are real assets for teaching writing.  Probably for lots of other things, too.
  Anyway, I am packed.  I have clothes, books, puzzle magazines, quilting stuff, personal items.  I'm sure I'm forgetting something, but that's the way it always works.  Four months is just a little long to do without something important, but probably I can find the item or make do with something else.
  Flexibility.  I guess that's my mantra for this trip.


  1. Thanks for posting your itinerary and have a wonderfu trip!

  2. Bon voyage Judy! I'm looking forward to seing some pictures. Have fun.


  3. This is really exciting, Judy! I'd love to see photos of you on the ship and hear stories about the characters you meet. Keep it coming.

  4. Have a great trip, Judy. I look forward to reading about your adventure. Bon Voyage!!

  5. I am enjoying your experience. It's exciting to have such a glamorous holiday without the physical effort usually involved. Thanks for letting us join you in every aspect of it. As for the packing: we can relate to that. Remember that you can, no,should aim to buy whatever you failed to bring, at every stop-off of your journey.