This blog, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, will be coming to you from Guatemala for the next few posts, where my Beloved and I will be assisting, a mission team of 24 medical students in village clinics near San Jacinto, Chiquemula. We are going to find out, boys and girls, how much medical (and conversational!) Spanish I have managed to retain.
Thinking about this trip is alternately exhilarating and terrifying. Part of me cannot wait to start the adventure, and part of me thinks I’m nuts. This really isn’t the immediate problem.
This is the immediate problem:
The thing I hate about travel is, well, getting ready to go. By the time we have gotten the luggage on the plane and turned off our phones, I am great. What I hate is the way “leaving” sucks down your life before you actually leave. I start trips exhausted because my worries grow in the dark like mushrooms; I lie down to sleep, and fifteen minutes later my brain has raced off into the heart-pounding nether-world of “what if” and “I still need to.”
We have, as I’ve said before, a large, old house filled with animals, birds, and plants. We cannot just lock the door and leave; we have to have what is laughingly called a “house sitter.” Over the years, we have had some less-than-stellar ones – ones who broke things and didn’t mention it, ones who did unspeakable things in our own bed (parts of my brain are trying to die, even now), ones who didn’t really stay in the house, but just checked in occasionally to walk the dog. We have a full-time, live-in for this trip, but he has to be trained, and I will have to make a detailed list of his responsibilities. One more document to type. Let’s not forget that he will have to eat while we’re gone, and presumably will want to use our wireless Internet. More lists, more documents, more errands.
Then there’s the matter of school. My VP and Dean graciously gave me a week of community-service leave, but of course my classes go on. I have to prepare a test on everyone from Robert Frost to Eugene O’Neill for my American Lit. folks, and my freshman writing students are going to have to suffer long-distance argument analysis, because I’m teaching them myself via the magic of the Internet. Of course, we have to have a backup plan should the promised Internet connection be unavailable, as it might well be if we have 40 people chatting with their rellies every night.
So. Train the house-sitter, make out the tests, do lesson plans, get passports out of the safe deposit box and put valuables in, get list of important information to daughter and sister, make arrangements to feed and check on mother, shop for necessities for house and trip . . . the list is endless. Also in there we have things like: teach, go to handbells, enjoy son who is home on his spring break, care for house and plants and animals in the present moment, sleep.
This time next week, I will be fine.
This time this week, fine is several time zones away from me and accelerating. I expect that, by the time we actually leave, fine will have circled the earth and smacked me in the back of the head. I hope.