It’s Crunch Time
But It’s Worth the Pressure

In my previous essay, I mentioned that my former colleague’s critique of me was that I wanted to control everything. The central issue of control relates to getting everything ready for my upcoming trip. In a month from today, I will be in Lahore, Pakistan. Several days later, I’ll be in Yangon, Myanmar.

I admit that having all my ducks all lined up in a nice orderly row is desirable. However, I know that how I play the cards dealt me is all that I can really accomplish. Randy Pausch articulated that in his Last Lecture. “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game.” In a month from now, all the loose ends will be addressed. I told my friend that when I take off, the only things about which I have any control will be in my backpack and suitcase.

Kayla will care for Ginger for the month while I am overseas. She will have all that she needs to know written down for her. That will be a major relief. I have everything in the house checked like the furnace and sump pumps. All my grades will be posted, along with everything ready for teaching when I return in January. I will have paid all my bills paid.

There are some issues about which I still need to be deal. I still need to get my visa for Pakistan approved. My email software is still problematic. However, I have a temporary fix and have access to emails. While I spent most of the past weekend cleaning up the leaves, cutting the grass, and generally getting the yard ready for the winds of winter, there is still more to do. I have to bring in my kayaks, furniture, and planters for flowers, which have long since died. Therefore, those issues need to be done soon.

Finally, the last item on my Must Do List is to pack. I ran across this quote on the Internet. It is advice to me. “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” That is good advice. If I were to add up all the time that I have spent traveling overseas, it totals surely more than two years. Once you get wherever you are traveling, you don’t need a lot of clothes, but you do need a lot of money.

It won’t be long before I will see my granddaughters in Myanmar.

These are my granddaughters: Fatty, Ti Ti, and Snow. They attended a ten day hot air balloon festival in Taunggyi. When I arrive, Fatty will yell as loud as she can, “Bo Bo Gyi.” Bo Bo Gyi is a Buddhist nat, which is essentially what we call a saint. Ti Ti and Snow will call me PaPa Al. Several days later, the whole family will take a hot air balloon ride over Bagan, which consists of acres of stupas, pagodas, and temples. These Buddhist shrines cover forty square miles and were built from the 9th to the 13th century. There still remain about 4,000 of about 10,000 Buddhist monuments. Imagine what floating over all these shrines will be like. This area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

That will be us in the balloon over Bagan.