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At times it seems as if it’s a count up, as my todo list seems to be growing instead of shrinking (despite the fact that I am checking things off of the list). So I am recalling those related rates problems from my calculus days many years ago, hoping that the equations will change over the next week so that the list does start to shrink. And then again, when my plane departs, only minutes under 2 weeks from now, whatever is done will be done and I’ll just have to make due. Somehow I don’t think that will be a problem.

Of course there are the things that can’t be ignored, such as one last post-sabbatical trip out to see mom (and the preparation for temps over 100 that comes with that), 5 final days of work, and getting all the documents that I need for various Visas, etc. organized and in one safe spot in my carry on bag.

I do also hope to have all of my travel plans solid, and I am very close on that – just waiting on a final booking of a spot in the south of France for my first week there, and the train tickets to and from there. And I want to learn at least a little bit of Nyanja before getting to Zambia (maybe I can do that for at least part of my flight time to and from mom’s this weekend.

So I am glad that while I finish up my pre-sabbatical work next Friday, I am not flying until the Wednesday after that, and I will be able to hopefully change those rate relationships during that time. And I will be able to pack while not feeling rushed. And that will be after a relaxing yoga weekend at Stonehouse Farm.


Wish me luck!


All was set. I was in a cab, on the way to the airport, and on my way to Africa for the first time.

Or so I thought.

Part way to the airport I got a message that my flight from Chicago to New York was cancelled. OK, my flight to JoBurg isn’t until late morning the next day. It’s only early afternoon at this time. And there are TONS of flights between Chicago and New York.

Or so I thought.

Being a seasoned traveler, I figured it was best to continue to the airport and just get in line at the ticket counter. They’ll easily be able to help me.

Or so I thought.

The glitch was that this leg of the trip was booked on Jet Blue. And they only had one more flight that day. And it was full. And they don’t have good relationships with the other airlines to let them accommodate passengers.

So, the first option, which was actually booked for a bit was to go back home, come back the next day and fly via Istanbul to Cape Town meeting up with my group a day late. Well, at least I was going to get there and there would be less of a chance of another cancellation since both of those flights were on large planes.

But I wasn’t going to go away that easy. I left Jet Blue land and headed over to where I am much more comfortable, the United counter. There were some options here as there were flights that day, and I could just buy a ticket if I needed, maybe even with miles. Heck a few hundred bucks was a small price to pay given the whole cost of the trip. However, since I now no longer was booked on the JFK to JoBurg flight, I had to go back to Jet Blue to get some more help from them in order to make this work.

So off I went, back on the shuttle with both bags (thankfully we had to pack very light for this trip). And a couple of hours later I finally had a Delta flight to LGA and was back on the JFK to JoBurg flight the next day. Whew. I am so thankful to the folks at Jet Blue who worked this for me, they were fighting with a system that is not set up to handle things like this yet they got it done. They even got me water from behind the counter when I was getting very thirsty after dealing with this for such a long time.

In the end, I got to New York a bit later than planned, and had to cab it from LGA to our hotel near JFK,  but I was going to make the flight to JoBurg, with the rest of the group (most of whom also had issues getting to JFK). And not miss a day of my long awaited trip.



As the dates of my second sabbatical got closer, I got more serious about spending at least part of it doing volunteer work and the other part continuing to learn French at the same school where I studied during my first sabbatical (I’ll even be staying in the same super cute studio).

When I originally thought about the volunteer portion, I was hoping to find a location where I could use my French. However, as the time got closer this did not seem very practical. Thankfully, without out much searching I found that IVHQ had many opportunities, and shortly after that I was registered and planning for spending 5 weeks teaching in Kenya.

Since my break officially starts on July 27th, and I don’t leave for Kenya until July 29th, I was also able to slot in a weekend yoga retreat to kick things off. It’s at a center near Chicago so it will be easy to get to and from.

Even though the trip is 137 days away, I already have a pretty extensive packing list created. And I am sure the time will go fast now that it is warming up here, and I have a lot of things to get in place (immunizations, visa research, etc.). And I have to make a few plans for the week before and the week after my time at the school when I will be in France, but not necessarily in Aix.

As things get closer, I may have a few more stories to share, and once I am there I will share as much as I can, dependent of course on connectivity.   Wendy

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