These preparatory days before the trip are going fast, and even as I answer people that it’s still three weeks away, I know I’ll soon be in that moment when it’s over. I can’t get started on the strangeness of time, it always freaks me out. That’s the main reason I like to count the days of anticipation as part of the trip. It gives me time to savor the coming experience and I can make the trip seem much longer.
This week I’ve seen the list of people going on the trip. Three of us will arrive first followed by six others later during the week. I checked my passport again. Some countries require that you have at least six months left before your passport expires, and I have over a year left on mine. I had checked it earlier knowing that renewal, if it was needed could take quite a bit of time.
And there was the matter of making sure my immunizations were up to date. There’s always that sliver of a chance that one could come down with Japanese encephalitis, or dengue fever, or yellow fever, or malaria, or… the list goes on. It’s hard to imagine how people stay alive over there with all that going on. My strategy is going to be trying to avoid mosquitoes and this will probably be the worst season for them. I didn’t buy travel insurance when I bought my flight, but I’m still considering it. I’ve not been inside a Cambodian hospital but I’ve heard that getting medical treatment in a foreign country can be a pretty scary thing, and getting transported home when you’re already sick can be expensive.
For the first time, I was required to read policies and sign waivers for visiting the children’s homes of Asia’s Hope. As the number of their visitors increases they are finding the need to update their policies and protective measures for the safety of the children, which I totally understand. It made me realize that my first visits four years ago were really quite informal and unstructured in comparison.
Tomorrow I’m going to get some reprints of my family pictures – one for each of the two houses where I spend time. They have big bulletin boards on the wall of their main fellowship room where they post pictures of all the people who sponsor and visit them. One year we saw pictures on the board that had been taken the night before when we first arrived at the airport. It really made me feel special.
This week I went through my stash of Mary Kay products and chose the things I want to take to give the ladies and older girls. I came up with a few other things as well and started thinking about how much room it would take in the suitcases. I’m allowed to check two free bags on an international flight and other years they’ve been dedicated to medical supplies and presents and it will probably be the same this trip. I’m sharing one of my favorite pictures here, of the craft that our team leader brought for the children last year – Rainbow looms and rubber bands. They had such fun making bracelets for themselves and all of our team that I am taking them more rubber bands this year.
They love to sing and I know a fun song I would like to teach them but I can’t remember all of it. It is a sign language song with signs for many different animals. The end goes “I know many signs including I LOVE YOU”
. If anyone knows this song and has the music and words for it, please send it to me and I will be forever grateful.