Mission trip send-offs, that is!
My husband left for C uba this morning; Abigail leaves Monday for Bosnia.
Packing is an adventure: the amount of luggage we bring in for one week always raises eyebrows. Are we hoping to sell things? Once we show letters from the hospital that we have brought supplies to before, we're usually okay, but they still go through the luggage. On my last trip down, our family of six, minus our oldest daughter, was brought into a room where we had to have every suitcase opened up and inspected. It took over two hours!
Anyway, we make sure we have medicines in each suticase, & bag up smaller items so that if customs does empty everything out, we're not forever in gathering it back up, etc. We condense everything, eliminating any packaging we possibly can. We get a suitcase packed, weigh it, re-arrange or eliminate, or substitute items. With a larger group, we'll sometimes scour the house to find more items to put in, but with just two going, we had tons of stuff!! not all fit, so packing was extra time consuming. How do you choose what is least important when they need everything?
We had a catastrophe on Wednesday: Bruce's passport was missing! We searched from 11:00am until after midnight, with just a couple of breaks in between. Our file cabinet and the drawer in which my husband keeps all his church-related stuff (among other things, he is church treasurer and teaches Sunday school) are in my craft room (formerly study until my stamping took over!). We went through them both multiple times - quite an adventure considering that with making cards and organizing stamps supplies for the trip, the room was a complete wreck! It was possible that after his last trip over a year ago, it had not been put right away, so we expanded the search to the whole house. (My husband is very organized, so it wasn't likely, but still ...)
Half way through the day, I remembered that Bruce had called me from work for some data from it when applying for clerical visas - so that at least reduced the search to the craft room. And of course, meant that I was responsible. Sigh.
The trip was crucial; our beloved pastor friend has been deathly ill for over a year now, and it would have been devastating to not to go. I finally told Bruce he needed to find out if he could get a new passport. He could, but it would mean a 13 hour round trip to Connecticut! While we were relieved we could get it replaced, you can imagine how terrible I felt that Bruce would have to do this! But he was absolutely wonderful throughout all of this. I would have been seated right next to the places the passport was kept, absolutely no logical reason not to have immediately returned the passport. He had to use another vacation day, get up at 5:00 am to make his appt (he worked 'till midnight then we had to take passport pictures, so only three hours of sleep), and do all the driving. (My son accompanied him, but it was a borrowed vehicle, so he couldn't drive). (I had to take our daughter Karen to a doctor appointment two hours away). But, not one sharp word or complaint. He is so amazing!
Anyway, we finished packing around midnight or so, not too bad considering our setback! Now I will be wondering all week if everything made it through customs...