Getting ready …

For the last several weeks at work, I’ve been testing kids, writing reports, adding notes to existing reports, completing files, making lists, clearing out unwanted and unnecessary crap from my office, labelling furniture – all the things teachers do to close out the school year. I don’t actually enroll a class and I have a truckload of paperwork to do as part of my job, so I shut down the teaching part of my program early in June in order to do all this year-end stuff.

Because I teach elementary school, our kids attend (or are supposed to attend: sometimes parents have different priorities than we do!) almost right to the bitter end of June, the 29th. We teachers then have what is called an “administrative day” on June 30, which is technically the day all the filing and end-of-the-year cleanup is meant to be done. Of course, it really can’t be done all in one day, so most teachers, even the ones who teach a class, have been pecking away at many of these jobs already.

I’m almost done all my tasks. Yay me! Yet, every year, I feel swamped and pressured and stressed that I have given myself too much work and not enough time. I worry that I won’t finish it all, or that I’ll forget something important. I agonize, I have bad dreams. Yet every year, suddenly, I realize that I’ve done it all. I did what I had planned to do. And I am surprised at myself.

So that’s where I am right now at work. And now my energies are shifting to my upcoming trip. I am starting to fuss over that.

I think I’m okay on the clothes front. It’s now a question of exactly which clothes to bring so that I have a minimal amount. I need to leave room in my bag for purchases, you see! And as DD reminds me every time we prepare to travel, “Mom, you’ve done this a thousand times! You KNOW what to bring! Just pack it and forget about it!” My sensible daughter.

I’ve already bought a dual-voltage flatiron with a built-in converter. DD and I both like to flatiron our hair (and yes, any hairdressers out there, we both know that it can damage our hair so yes, we do use a protective spray before doing it), so that is now a must-bring on a trip. I already had a small travel blow-dryer, which I may not bring because Egypt is a pretty hot place, I’ve heard, so my hair will likely dry quickly on its own. DD and I will have to discuss that.

My cosmetic travel bag is permanently packed, so all I need to do there is replenish the travel containers of shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer. I don’t wear heaps of make-up, particularly in the summer, so I won’t need to add much.

What I sill need to get includes:

1) Sunscreen. I have a bit, but it’s only 15 SPF. I will need more, with a higher SPF. I tan quickly and easily, but we have had little sun on the Wet Coast this spring, so I have basically my winter white skin as of now. I don’t want to fry on my first day in the Egyptian sun. That might put a bit of a crimp in my holiday, and make me even more leathery and wrinkly when I am old. DD’s skin tone is much paler than mine, so she definitely needs strong sunscreen, or she will burn rapidly. The mother part of me must take care of my offspring.

2) Washing detergent. We are not spendthrift travellers. We do not, for example, take taxis to get from Point A to Point B, we take local transit. We also do not take our clothes to laundromats or send them to the hotel laundry. We wash them ourselves in our bathroom sink and drape them all around our hotel room to dry. So I need to go to our local travel store and pick up some of their eco-friendly liquid detergent. I’ve used it on previous trips, and although I forget the brand, it has no strong fragrance, which is nice, but it also doesn’t clean as well as the more commercial brands. Still, I am going to a crowded part of the world that really doesn’t need me to add to its pollution.

3) Money. Kind of important, money is. I know I can always use my credit or debit card if possible, and I can get money at local ATMs once I’m there, but I also like to have some cash on hand to start with. I plan to get both Egyptian pounds and US dollars, and small denominations in both. Apparently, there is whole lot of tipping required in the country, and people apparently like to be tipped in American dollars. This is because, I am told, they end up with more if they are tipped in American dollars. One Egyptian pound is currently equal to about 20 cents Canadian, which is not that far off from 20 cents American. So, if you tip the bellboy, let’s say, one American dollar, he is actually making five Egyptian pounds. He would certainly rather have that than a one-pound Egyptian note, wouldn’t he? And to a tourist, whom they perceive as all being rich (because of course you are rich if you can afford to travel from North America to Egypt, right?), what’s one American dollar in the grand scheme of things? But I don’t think that regular Egyptians would have a lot of places to spend those American dollars, so I’m thinking that it would be better to tip in the local currency so that the person I’m tipping can actually use the money. Plus, I hate to be seen as an easy mark just because I’m a tourist. One of the men I spoke to in Cairo recently told me that although it would be obvious that I was a tourist, I could at least appear to be a tourist who has visited Egypt several times by not over-tipping and by tipping in Egyptian pounds. I like that idea a lot!

4) Sinus medication. I NEED this. My sinuses do not enjoy flying at all. Well, to be more precise, they do not mind the actual take-off and the actual flying, but they very much mind the descent and landing parts. I must keep those sinus passages open, because all told, we will be on nine flights. Nine. Three to get there, three to get home, three very short ones during the tour. That means nine descents and landings. I refuse to be in pain nine times. I will need to take meds a lot. I cannot stress this enough: I NEED this!

5) Haircut and colour, nails, pedicure. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity. But I’m worth it. ‘Nuff said.

As you can see, although I really don’t have a great deal left to do to prepare for the trip, I have begun my usual routine of overthinking the details. I do have time to deal with all of this. I have just over a week, and I will have finished work as of Wednesday the 30th. I will get it done. But I am somewhat anxious anyway.

I think I need a vacation already!

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10 responses to “Getting ready …

  1. Don’t forget sunglasses! Nothing worse than being in bright, bright sun without something to protect your eyes.

    It’s hard to avoid the pre-trip stress, but if you just remember that most anything you forget you can probably buy where you’re going (for most destinations anyway), then you can relax just ever so slightly.

    Can’t wait to hear all about Egypt!

    • Kimberly – I did actually forget that I can likely buy whatever I need when I get there – thanks for the reminder! And really, DD and I survived two days in Athens last year when our bags didn’t arrive with us (also two days back at home when again they didn’t accompany us!), so I suppose I’d be just fine if I forgot something important on this trip.

  2. Pauline – I didn’t even know that there was an SPF 60! I think DD might like to have that.

    bevchen – Sounds horrendous, doesn’t it? But really, it’s all part of the vacation experience, I think. I mean, I live on the West Coast of Canada, so if I want to get to Europe, it’s a minimum of 9 hours and two flights to get there (it used to be one, but it’s really tough to get a direct flight from Vancouver these days: everything seems to stop in Calgary or Edmonton).

  3. 9 flights?! Yikes!

  4. Ah I’m so excited for you! I wear SPF 60! Sounds like the bare minimum for Egypt! 😉

  5. I think those 9 flights have just put me off the desire to visit Egypt. I really dislike airplanes. But I’m still looking forward to hearing about your adventures before I make up my mind.

    • Linda – Thanks. I can’t imagine not using makeup when travelling like your friend, though! Like I say, I don’t use much and what I do use is probably not that obvious to anybody else, but I really would miss my lipgloss and my eyeliner if I didn’t bring them.

      XUP – Yeah, but you’re in Eastern Canada, so right away you’re down two flights. I have to fly to Toronto, then to Athens, then to Cairo, and on the way home, it’s Cairo to London, then to Edmonton, then to Vancouver. The three flights during the tour are a bit worrisome, I must admit, because I have this feeling that they’re very, very tiny and possibly very, very rickety. However, good drugs should help.

  6. Have a great time. Egypt is so special–and very hot. I have a friend who doesn’t use makeup at all when traveling. Saves time and packing. I’m too vain to do that myself.

  7. Oh I do so know what pre-travel anxiety feels like because I am susceptible to those same stresses as the time draws nigh. Oh, except for the flat-ironing my hair. I hardly ever do that. Have a wonderful trip my dear and lovely friend.

    • mrwriteon – Well, if you ever do want to flat-iron your hair in a foreign country, just let me know and I’ll lend you my dual voltage, converter-equipped flat iron. And thank you for your good wishes – I may post during the trip (depending upon available time and available internet cafés), but there will definitely be a full report upon our return to Canada. Maybe even with photos!