I've learned to prepare slowly for travel rather than waiting until the last minute. So I'm just about done except for the packing, which I'll do Saturday morning before my flight.
Here's what I've gathered this week:
- Excellent counsel from my friend Stacey, who spent three months volunteering earlier this year. She gave me advice on what to take, what to wear, etc. She said this will be a memorable and rewarding experience. For someone who's never done this, Stacey's words were encouraging.
- A cash donation from a woman I met at the bank. She overheard me talking to the teller about my upcoming trip and approached me. She was Muslim, dressed in black from head to toe. And she handed me $100. "For the children," she said. "For food or clothing or whatever they need."
- A donation of 50 pairs of reading glasses and three dozen sets of earbuds from my friend Lillian - recommended by Stacey as needed by the refugees in the camp she worked at.
- Two inexpensive cotton T-shirts and a comfy pair of capris, for cheap, at Old Navy.
- One pair of very comfortable capris and a lightweight long-sleeved blouse, for not so cheap, at REI. If it gets buggy, I may need to cover up.
- Electrolyte tablets from REI, to add to water. I expect the temps will be in the 90s, and humid.
- A hat, and four bandanas, containing crystals which, when exposed to water, form a cooling gel. I tried out the hat yesterday on a two-mile walk in my neighborhood, and it worked.
- Promises of cash from several friends, to take with me for purchases for the people we will be serving.
I got my hair cut three weeks ago. On Tuesday I am having it cut again. It will be humid, and I have curly hair, so the shorter the better.
I've had my phone unlocked and will buy a Greek SIM card so I can keep in contact with the people there. I'm also taking my laptop so I can email and blog.
I will be packing light. Jenean and Savvy and I have rented an apartment through Airbnb and will have laundry facilities. Our lives will be much easier than those of the people at the camp.
I won't have much time to catch up on sleep and time zones. My current plan is to stay up very late on Friday night - like 4 a.m. Then sleep for three or four hours. Then pack and go to the airport. About halfway through the flight I'll take melatonin. If I can sleep for four hours on the plane, I should be fine during the layover and ready to sleep again when we get to Athens.
That's just the current plan, though. Anything could happen between now and Friday night.
I wish it were Friday already! I feel blessed to be able to do this.